On April 25, 2015, when a large deposit of rock and snow fell from a height of over 1,000 meters over Langtang, it produced an extreme air blast comparable to those created during some of the most powerful (EF5) tornadoes.
The Langtang village was gone, and with it 178 of its nearly 700 residents, 50 foreign nationals, and unaccounted porters and daily-wage workers from neighboring villages.
Langtang Lirung, the highest peak of the mountain, has a history of falling rocks and powder avalanche. According to the older residents, a similar incident occurred during the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, when the village was settled at an even greater height. The devastation from that earthquake resulted in the “first shift,” when the village was rebuilt further down the mountain.
The valley witnessed another shift in settlement with the boom in tourism in the region. One after another, the little houses characteristic of the valley, many running as guest houses, moved further down the mountain and closer to the area that was hit on that fateful April day in 2015. But like before, Langtang is rising from the rubbles – quietly, inevitably.
Ever since I arrived in Nepal in 1975 as a Peace Corps volunteer, I have been taking photographs of the country and its people. In the 1980s, I traveled across Nepal by foot with a tripod-mounted camera. The photographs I took during this period captured village and farm life continuing much as it had for […]