For the purpose of writing and verifying the contents of the heritages of Bungamati, we had reached Bungamati a number of times. In the past, our visits to Bungamati had filled us with anticipation as we listened to the stories, myths, Jatras, practices, and festivals associated with Rato Machhindranath, all shared by the venerable “Panejus” of the Pujari Sangh. However, this time it was a mix of emotions, primarily excitement and happiness with a bit of nervousness as we, Saarang Services, were the ones re-telling these original and unique heritage stories through QR technology.
We reached Machhindranath’s temple complex where local residents, children, local representatives and priests were, all awaiting our stories. The atmosphere was filled with excitement, and a red curtain concealing the QR Storyboard was the center of everyone’s attention. In a matter of moments, Ward Chairman Sagar Tuladhar inaugurated QR story board by unveiling the curtains, and his words conveyed the joy of Saarang’s contribution to preserving the valuable and unique stories of different heritages of Bungamati.
Likewise, Saarang’s Research and Content Head, Mr. Diwakar Rizal, shared the importance of telling the stories of an ancient heritage like Bungamati which had its own unique history of more than roughly 2000 years. He shared that the place which was known as ‘Amarapuri’, the city of Indra, the king of gods; currently has many heritage sites that have many tales of interesting battles, origin of local foods, extraordinary myths and a place of hope and compassion (Karuna). Being able to bring out these important stories of Bungamati upon which the current Bungamati is based is truly a dream come true for Saarang that believes in the power of storytelling. He also extended heartfelt gratitude to all the stakeholders of the temple and local government in making this process of QR storytelling boards remarkable. After which, Saarang’s representatives assisted locals and visitors in scanning the QR boards and immersing themselves in the digital storytelling experience. It created an atmosphere of excitement and pure joy.
After installing the QR Story board at Rato Machhindranath, we proceeded to the Bhairav Temple and then to Aaju Aji Temple for further installations and inaugurations. The local residents were thrilled to discover their heritage stories digitally, a testament to the profound impact of technology on our lives. They were also taken aback by the transition from traditional oral storytelling, where children gathered around their grandparents, to the world of digital narratives.
An hour later, a tourist couple from Germany arrived at Rato Machhindranath, eager to explore the local heritage. We excitedly introduced them to the stories of our heritage and invited them to scan the QR board to learn about stories of Rato Machhindranath. They were delighted to discover that the story was also available in German language, allowing them to experience it in their mother tongue.
Furthermore, to make it easier for the natives of Bungamati to discover the tales of their heritages in their own native language, the stories are made available in Newari language as well. In this way, we aim to unveil the untold and unexplored stories of several heritages digitally which are prone to vulnerable circumstances and we could easily lose them if they are not preserved and retold in a more sustainable way of digital storytelling.
The installation of QR Story boards marked a significant step in preserving the rich stories of Bungamati’s cherished heritage. Places like these are hidden in the dark spaces of ignorance and their true form needs bright rays of digital storytelling ecosystem.