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Preserving Samsara III: Photographic Recollection of Pakistan

The “Preserving Samsara” series was unintentionally started several years ago with a talk on The Siam Society’s study trips in Syria and Nepal, and later on Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The title was inspired by the karmic truth of cyclical conditions in conservation and that of damages and devastations by natural disasters or human ravages in conflicts and wars. In this informal talk, Dr Navamintr Vitayakul will showcase some of his photographs taken during a recent study trip to Pakistan. The travel was under the leadership of Mrs Bilaibhan Sampatisiri from 12 to 23 April 2024. This expedition explored the country’s fascinating history of the Mughals and the Gandhara Civilisation. The journey was then followed by a road trip from Skardu along the renowned Karakoram Highway up to the stunning Hunza Valley, combining cultural discovery with the breathtaking landscapes of the region.

The highlights from the trip are priceless cultural heritage of architecture and artefacts, splendid natural scenery of steep snow-capped mountains, and friendly and hospitable Pakistanis. The trip started in Lahore, with the Badshahi Mosque and the complex of the Lahore Fort, to evocative Gandharan Buddha images in the Lahore Museum, and the rip-roaring flag-lowering ceremony at the Pakistani-Indian Wagah Border. Then it continued to the ruins of Buddhist monasteries and the museum in Taxila, the bustling bazaars in Peshawar, and the modern mosque in Islamabad. After the flight overlooking the western Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges, the landscapes of Skardu with towering peaks, meandering rivers and the world’s highest cold desert are truly spectacular. Along the Karakoram Highway, a part of the ancient Silk Road, the route swerved via Gilgit to Hunza Valley, where the Baltit Fort perched high on the hills and the locals with one of the world’s longest life expectancies dwell. In the Hopper Valley, the natural marvels of the Hopper Glacier, the apricot orchards in full bloom, and charming villages are certain sights to behold. The travel experiences were reflected by Pakistan’s rich tapestry of history, ancient cultures and civilisations that have evolved over the centuries.

About the speaker

Dr Navamintr Tom Vitayakul worked in the Branding and Communications fields and now helps manage his family’s hospitality businesses of the Rose Hotel Bangkok, the Rose Residence and Ruen Urai Fine Thai Cuisine. He is a Council Member at The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage and currently chairs The Society’s Lecture and Communications sections and is a Committee Member of the Thai Textile Society. He has contributed to Thai and English publications and websites on the arts and culture, travel and lifestyle. He wrote two columns in Bangkok 101: “Tom’s Two Satang” commenting on Thai culture and society and “Now/New/Next” featuring both local and international classic and contemporary artists, designers and other creative minds. Previously, he gave two talks at The Society on “Preserving Samsara: Photographs from Syria and Nepal” and “Preserving Samsara II: Photographs from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan” and three other talks on his textile collections for the Thai Textile Society.


Thursday, 25 July 2024 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students (to undergraduate level) — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 300

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