No, we are not in Nepal but at Expo 2015 in Milan.
Near the west entrance of the fair is the Nepalese pavilion with, in its centre, a reconstruction of a characteristic temple much as one might see in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur.
The temple at Milan is particularly poignant since it was far from completion when the catastrophic earthquake shook that country and shattered so many lives and buildings. The temple took five years to sculpt and it arrived in Milan in hundreds of pieces in containers.
When the earthquake hit in April many Nepalese working on the temple had to return to their country to join distressed families and sadly, in too many cases, attend funerary rites. Through a display of solidarity with the Nepalese people, workmen from a firm in Brescia were called in to help complete the temple in time for expo’s opening, offering their labour completely freely. The temple’s Buddha statue was thus blessed in time for Expo’s inauguration.
Visitors to the temple have already offered close to half a million euros towards Nepal’s reconstruction and when the expo closes the temple will be offered to the highest bidder. It would be nice to see it in some park in Milan rather like the peace pagoda in London’s Battersea Park.
The temple is a delight with its intricate wood carving depicting gods and goddess in the Nepalese pantheon. It certainly made me feel I was back in a country I’d visited quite a few years back.
(some photos from my teenage trek to Katmandu)
With fluttering prayer flags, Nepalese dishes and handicraft on offer in the precinct, the area provided us with a great start to our second day of sightseeing round Milan’s huge and rewarding expo 2015.