Nepal: The Great Plunder

Saving Nepal's religious artefacts from black market dealers

Nepal: The Great Plunder Mustang is one of Nepal’s remotest regions and boasts a rich cultural history. Yet holy sites are being ransacked at an unprecedented rate, and stolen artefacts sold to wealthy collectors and museums.
“Religious places of worship all over the place are being broken into. It’s pretty drastic at the moment. We’re suffering heritage loss at quite an alarming rate.” Tashi Bista grew up in Mustang and has been studying the region’s religious icons for a decade. He has been witness to plunder in even the most far-flung temples and sites of worship. The trail is traced to Kathmandu, and hidden cameras expose a wealthy antiques dealer who freely acknowledges his sales to the black market. When presented with the evidence, Pushkar Karki of Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau is nonplussed: “I do admit that we should have been more proactive on this”.

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