GHT Blog

Eric Valli – Putting Nepal on the map through film and photography

April 29, 2016

Eric Valli

“These Himalayan Trails, where I had some of my wildest adventures and experienced my deepest emotions…that’s MyGHT.” – Eric Valli

Eric Valli knows the Great Himalaya Trails in Nepal very well. The renowned photographer and film director from the plains of Dijon in France has dedicated his career and much of his life to exploring and capturing inaccessible locations on camera to show to the rest of the world. The Himalayas provided an alluring canvas.

Over the past 30 years the mountain regions in Nepal have been the source of inspiration for much of Valli’s creative work. His documentation of the perils faced by the Gurung tribesmen collecting cliff-honey in the mountains of west-central Nepal was reflected in the award winning 1987 photo story Honey Hunters.

Perhaps more well known is Valli’s 1999 adventure film Himalaya (Caravan), portraying the life of salt traders in the remote mountain region of Dolpa. Himalaya became the first Nepali film to receive an Academy Award nomination for best foreign film in 2000. The film depicts not only the lifestyle of the people residing in Upper Dolpo but also their traditional customs and their struggle to survive in the harsh yet beautiful nature that prevails in the high-altitude mountain regions of Nepal.

The exposure Valli has given to Nepal over the years through books, magazines and film has contributed to the promotion of tourism in the country. The GHT is very thankful to have Eric Valli be part of the MyGHT campaign which encourages visitors to share their stories from the Great Himalaya Trails as a way to create awareness for the rich natural, cultural and spiritual experiences ready to be had in Nepal.

Dolpa for instance was closed to foreigners until 1989. What little the outside world knew of this restricted mountain region was gleaned from artistic and spiritual accounts from early visitors like Valli. His beautiful film Himalaya added to the allure of this before unknown land.

Today the region welcomes visitors and while more and more trekking agencies are venturing into Upper Dolpo every year the region still only receives a fraction of the visitors thronging popular trekking regions like Everest and the neighboring Annapurna region. For trekkers who enjoy solitude and having endless trails all to themselves, Dolpa is waiting.

Photo by Debra Kellner and contributed by Eric Valli.


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