Describing them perfectly as “nuisances,” Buddhist monks in Nepal are banning TikTok video creators from using their country’s religious heritage as a stage for the popular social media app.
There’s nothing that detracts from the beauty of a sacred place more that when a sizable fraction of the visitors endlessly use it as a social media backdrop.
To this end Nepal has decided that enough is enough. Containing many of the holiest sites in Buddhism, security companies and Buddhist groups from the capital Kathmandu and elsewhere are enforcing “no TikTok” zones around all sacred sites.
This has, since 2021, included visitor infrastructure including “No TikTok” signs, installing CCTV cameras to help watch for TikTokers, and hiring security to ask anyone found TikToking to please leave.
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“Making TikTok by playing loud music creates a nuisance for pilgrims from all over the world who come to the birthplace of Gautama Buddha,” Sanuraj Shakya, a spokesperson for the Lumbini Development Trust, told Rest of World. “We have banned TikTok-making in and around the sacred garden, where the main temples are located.”
Some of these influencers, Rest of World adds, bring with them hordes of adoring fans or curious passersby, creating serious disturbances in otherwise quiet places of meditation and Sanga.
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TikTok is the most popular social media app in Nepal, and one creator with a few hundred followers in Kathmandu doesn’t begrudge the monks and police from asking TikTokers to leave, saying that what makes the app great is not over-exploitation of famous landmarks, but being creative.
The bans have so far been implemented in Buddhist pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Kathmandu’s famous Boudhanath Stupa, Gadhimai temple in Bara, and Ram Janaki Temple in Janakpur.
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