It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to officially launch, together with you, the trilogy "Life Cycle Rituals in Nepal". Our launching ceremony today marks the end of more than 12 years of intensive research, sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany. The objective of this research project is the exploration of Hindu und Buddhist life cycle rituals among the Newar in Nepal especially in Bhaktapur. The German heads of this research project are Prof. Gutschow and Prof. Michaels, they were supported by Bajracharya and Sharma from Nepal. Due to your strong commitment and longlasting, consistent efforts, we can launch the three illustrated volumes "Handling Death", "Growing Up" and "Getting Married" to the public. Your work is a significant contribution to the preservation of the Newar cultural heritage.
On behalf of the German Government, I congratulate all members of the research project on their successful work. It is the first time that life cycle rituals have been studied over such a long period and in so great detail. The books are a major contribution to the preservation of Nepalese tradition. Supporting this research project Germany has significantly been contributing to maintaining the intangible cultural heritage of Nepal.
Thank you, Prof. Gutschow , Prof. Michaels, Bajracharya, Sharma and your colleagues, for ensuring that the unique cultural customs of the Newar have been recorded for posterity.
This research project is funded bythe German Research Foundation (DFG) and has been implemented by the research center "Ritual Dynamics" of Heidelberg University in Germany. This research centre is the largest research institution worldwide which is exclusively researching rituals and their dynamics and change. Its research on "Ritual Dynamics" was listed by UNESCO as one of the official contributions to the United Nations Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations 2001.
The South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University is a unique interdisciplinary centre for research and academic teaching on South Asia of world-wide academic renown, which, for more than half a century, has been implementing numerous projects in South Asia in close cooperation with local researchers.
In Kathmandu there is a branch office of the South Asia Institute which is headed by Mrs. Khanal and which is facilitating the cooperation of German and Nepalese scientists. The research on life cycle rituals is an impressive example for their longstanding and successful cooperation supported by the Kathmandu office of the South Asia Institute.
Furthermore, the project „Life Cycle Rituals in Nepal“ is an element in the proud tradition of German support for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Nepal since the 1960s with numerous restoration and research projects. The most recent projects were the 2008 to 2010 restoration of the Tusha Hiti and the Bhandarkhal Reservoir which are outstanding examples of 17th century water architecture at the Patan Royal Palace Complex and the restoration of the Mul Chowk Golden Doorway ensemble in 2012.
Prof. Michaels and Prof. Gutschow have been active in several important German-supported restoration and research projects. For more than 30 years they are both strongly linked to Nepal in their scientific work and particularly by numerous publications on Nepalese culture. I take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the German government, my respect and appreciation for your significant professional achievements in the context of German-Nepal cooperation.
The launching of the three books is another highlight in the longstanding and successful cooperation of our two countries regarding the preservation of the cultural heritage of Nepal. May the trilogy „Life Cycle Rituals in Nepal“ provide another fresh impetus for future German-Nepal research cooperation building on our proud joint achievements of the past.
Meyke is German Ambassador to Nepal, exceprts of his statemnt delivered on the occasion of the launching of the trilogy " Life Cycle Rituals in Nepal"