Reflections on My official visit to Germany
at the Invitation of Technische Universität Berlin (December 14, 2017-January 12, 2017)
“Reading broadens the knowledge, travel extends the horizon and allows one to reframe the orientations.”
I arrived in Munich, Germany on December 15th, 2016 with Turkish Airlines. I was warmly welcomed by Mr. Gerald Richter at the airport despite the cold weather of Europe. I know Mr. Richter since 2014 November as a team member of the Research Project of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thekla Schulz-Brize since their first visit to Nepal. We have been friends during our research activities related to the documentation of the Cultural Heritage Monuments of Kathmandu valley and the surrounding areas of Nepal. Mr. Gerald drove me from Munich to Regensburg, Germany in his car. I am also thankful to Pro.Dr. Peter Morsbach of OTH Regensburg and other friends who managed to go around with me to various cultural, historical and recreational centers around Bavaria Germany. It was great pleasure for me to step into the cultural region where the great philosophical and practical thoughts of the thinkers like Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Einstein, etc. had originated. My limits of happiness cannot be expressed in few words rather they can be meditatively visualized in the silence under the Buddhist contemplation. I have both collected many eye-opening experiences and shared my academic experiences of working in Safeguarding Cultural Heritages of Nepal during my stay in Germany for a month. I would like to take an opportunity to share my impressions on working and learning during my inward and outward journey in Germany in this visit.
I am glad to be invited as one of the members of the research project on the conservation of the Newari Houses at the Department of Historical Building Research and the Preservation of Monuments with the financial and academic support of Technical University Berlin. My visit is organized and has been successful with the letter of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thekla Schulz-Brize at the TU Berlin who has been conducting research activities in Dhulikhel Nepal. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Schulz-Brize for organizing this occasion and accepting my proposal to work in my PhD Dissertation related to the Buddhist Cultural Heritages of Lo Manthang-Mustang, Nepal under Prof. Dr. Susanne von der Heide and herself at the TU Berlin as my academic mentors. I look forward to exhibit my academic and research credentials during my dissertation project. I would also like to thank the administrative and technical staff of the Historische Bauforschung-Fakultat VI for all the administrative supports during my stay. I would also like to thank Dr. Philip Brize for taking me around Berlin and sharing his knowledge regarding the archaeological, historical and artistic consciousness of the World Cultures in general and European and Inner Asian in particular. I am glad to learn so many things with my synthetic apriorie perspectives during my visits to different Museums, historical buildings, monuments and history of Germany in various phases from him. My understanding of this nation has widened after traveling with him to different points of classical modernity in academic manners. I would also like to thank Mr. Tillmann Kuhnel and Dipl.-Ing. Martin Gusson for their wonderful time in Berlin. Mr. Kuhnel has been so important for me to have the geographical and touristic impressions of Berlin, the multi-cultural hub of Europe. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to know the inner and outer details of Berlin without his regular and easy organizing of trips within the city. His descriptions of different hubs scattered around will be of great importance for me to learn and see during my regular visits in the days to come. I am glad to share with all of you that this journey has been successful in many regards.
During my Regensburg stay for two weeks, I worked at Dr. Peter Morsbach Verlag GbR in Regensburg for Master’s Studies Course in Historical Building Research at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule in the Documentation and Archival of the historical and old photo archives for Nepal as part of the master’s course in Historical Building Research under the direction of Prof. Dr. Peter Morsbach and Mr. Gerald Richter. I worked with the primary responsibilities of identifying the historical dates, name(s) of the person(s), place(s), temple(s), building(s), image date, occasion, and other specific inner details and characteristics linked to the image. The project is also an integral part of the Exhibition “Nepal (Kathmandu) Then and Now”. Prof. Dr. Susanne von der Heide collected the historical pictures in Nepal from various sources ranging for around a century. The historical pictures were handed to this team led by Prof. Dr.-Ing.Thekla Schulz-Brize and Prof.Dr.Peter Morsbach for “Digitization and Exhibition of Nepalese Culture, History and Societies” to be followed by a publication. I also got chance to be introduced to the faculties and students of OTH during the Christmas party where I shared about my research activities in Kathmandu and Mustang Nepal. The people I was introduced to were excited to listen my sharing.
Likewise, in my second part of the German stay I was driven to Berlin by Mr. Fritz, one of the friends of prof. Dr-Ing. Thekla Schulz-Brize in his car along with Mr. Tillmann Kuhnel. The journey to Berlin was well organized with a stop at Wittenberg. I got chance to observe the 360 degree LUTHER 1517 Panorama at Wittenberg, which is the great example of Yadegar Asisi’s design, who has demonstrated the excellent work of art in the exhibition reformation of religion in the world. Martin Luther was able to leave revolutionary impacts in the history of religion through his thesis of reformation in sixteenth century that have even been influential and exemplary for the contemporary time when the world is going through different forms of religious fundamentalism and resulting with crimes and terrorism against humanity in the name of religion. I got impressed and deeply thoughtful while observing the aesthetic realm of the lively and picturesque representation of the moments and life in 1517 AD (500 years before). The exhibition has transformed the impressions for the 21st century digital humanities world with use of media space in a marvelous manner.
Similarly, my visits to various cultural and historical heritages along with the Museums and Forums have widened my understanding of preservation and conservation activity. I am impressed by various works of art, architecture, documentation and exhibition of the rare objects of the world cultures in various museums with some exceptions and doubts. I would like to learn more on the Museum techniques and exhibition methods in Germany in future and try to develop suitable exhibition methods for Museums in Nepal by contextualizing and localizing to Nepalese architecture, tradition, religion and culture in harmony to nature and culture. Nepalese culture and tradition deserves special restoration techniques for preserve the delicate and multiple layers of history. I am looking forward to work with proper orientations under the methodological apparatus of the Technical University Berlin for the completion of my PhD Dissertation in the following years. I would like to handover the great cultural tradition of Mustang Nepal to the future generations with special emphasis in harmony with nature and culture when the world is going through the extremes of Modernity at the cost of Tradition. I would like to conclude that this visit to Germany has shaped my orientations for merging traditions and modernity suitable for humanity and changing global contexts. I look forward working under the Technical University Berlin rules and regulations during and after my studies.
Thanking you all for your patience in reading these lines.
Umesh Regmi , Researcher from Nepal