The Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF) has decided to support the restoration of the old stupas, religious structures of Buddhists, in the Ladakh region that has become a major tourist destination for domestic and foreign visitors.
The first such initiative will be taken in the Murgi village of the Nubra valley.
Residents of Murgi recently held a significant meeting that was presided by Dr Sonam Wangchok Founder Secretary HCHF to discuss restoration of old stupas in the village.
HCHF has initiated a series of training workshops for local masons on Stupa restoration and construction in last five years and restored several old stupas in Ladakh.
While interacting with the villagers, Wangchok said, “For various reasons, most of the stupas in Murgi village built by the ancestors are in an advanced stage of preservation but some of them still can be restored.”
He stated that the main reasons for the damage to stupas are lack of knowledge on the part of the local people about the possibilities of restoration, time factor, and climate change in Ladakh.
While appreciating the initiative, HCHF has extended support to villagers in terms of expertise, guidance and preparation of necessary research and report about the conservation works.
Lobzang Stanzin from Diskit Gonpa highlighted the importance of preserving and restoring the old monuments in the village. He appreciated the initiative of Murgi villagers and Wangchok for guidance and support.
The owners of lands near the old stupas to be restored voluntarily offered to curtail their fencing to create more space and circumambulation paths. The meeting was also attended by stupa expert Tsewang Phuntsok, members and the villagers.
Murgi village in Nubra valley is dotted with the symbols of their Buddhist heritage, including one of the largest petroglyph sites in Ladakh, Entsa Gonpa, the footprint of Dachompa Nyima Gungpa and old stupas (Chorten) are characteristic to the region.
Stupas in Ladakh are religious structures venerated by Buddhists, and many of them are said to have housed corporal remains of high Lamas or mark an important place associated with the religion. Almost all the stupas in the region are living and under worship. The Buddhist devotees worship and circumambulate the stupas as an act of merit.