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Editorial . August . 2017

Heritage, History, Exploration

As anyone who’s spent even a short amount of time in Nepal knows, the country is blessed with a rich, colorful and fascinating heritage. For such a small strip of land, there’s a remarkable variety and concentration of unique religious, cultural and historical artifacts, sites, and shrines. And each of these places has a story, a background, a myth, a history—some famous, others lesser so. 
You could probably spend years of your life studying and still not completely know a fraction of all there is to learn about the country. I know that I am still learning and coming across new things about Nepal all the time, a fact which was brought home to me quite emphatically during my work on this special issue dedicated to Nepal’s heritage. 
Take for example, our article on the musical tradition of Gunla, a Newari custom that I was entirely unaware of before this. Or the artifacts in the Chandrabhoga jungle in the eastern district of Saptari. It’s been a little bit like a treasure hunt that involves both uncovering new things and also shedding a new light on things we thought we already new about. In the latter category, you probably won’t think of Krishna Janmastami in the same way ever again after reading the way this issue’s article has brought a bit of old history to life. I was also fascinated—and educated—by reading the piece by an Austrian team who have been helping to renovate monuments and heritage sites damaged after the 2015 earthquake. And there’s a lot more to explore in this issue than just the sampling of articles mentioned above.
Perhaps a treasure hunt is the best analogy for exploring heritage in this context—as you read about the following places, people and experiences, we hope that something you discover in these pages will cause you to feel curious, and maybe to go a little deeper, research more, and learn more yourself about one of these or the many other aspects of the country’s rich and deep cultural heritage and history. 
We should never stop learning, and there’s a lot to learn about what’s right here on our doorstep!

Evangeline Neve
Associate Editor