The Himalayas in central Asia, span 300km from north to south, and 2400km from east to west. The vast mountain range cut through China, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, India and Pakistan. The Himalayas is called "the roof of the world" and "the home of snows" in Sanskrit. Some of the world's highest peaks, including Mt. Everest are there. Sagarmatha National Park with Mt. Everest in Nepal is designated as a World Heritage Site. The Himalayas was formed as the result of the Indian subcontinent colliding with the Eurasian plate. The Indian plate is still moving north, and increasing the Himalaya's altitude.
A Japanese expedition was the world's first ot climb Mt. Manasulu in 1956 and reached the top of Mt. Everest in 1970 led by Mr. Naomi Uemura, an internationally renowned mountineer. In 1975, Mrs. Junko Tabei successfully reached the top of Mt. Everest, becoming the first woman to scale the highest peak.
The charm of the Himalayas extends far beyond it's glaciers and vertical rockfaces. The various climate zones in the region each possess native fauna and flora. The many different ethnic groups that inhabit the region have developed unique cultures and traditions. Hinduism and Buddhism trace their origins to Himalaya. The Indus and Ganges, two great rivers originate there and the region is a major source of spirituality.
The region is affected by global environmental problems. Global warming has melted glaciers forming many glacier lakes that have overflowed causing extensive damage and great distress for local communities. Himalayan forests have been destroyed by illegal logging and some experts worry that the region may become a desert. In addition, the five nations in bordering the region are politically unstable. Natural destruction in the region is affecting the world enviroment, including Japan. The Himalayas, is a mirror of world issues where we can deepen our understanding of the earth.
Himalaya Film Festival
The Himalaya Film Festival (HFF) was officially started in 2003 in Amsterdam by Himalaya Archief Nederland, a Dutch NGO.
The main objectives of HFF are:
- Internationally introduce films related to the Himalayas
- Foster people's understanding of the Himalayan region.
Selected films from around the world attract more than 30,000 people to this 3-day annual festival. Producers and directors from around the world are invited to the festival. Through dialogue, and other filmmakers and the audience, they are given new opportunities for screening and ideas for future projects.
To foster links with the Himalayan region, the festival is also scheduled to be held in Tokyo and other cities in 2006, giving people a rare opportunity to take a closer look at the Himalayan world and to think about global enviromental problemss and human diversity.