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Local NGOs in Ladakh lay emphasis on restoration of ancient Stupas this World Heritage Day

Last Updated on April 22, 2021 at 8:17 pm

World Heritage Day was observed by the Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF) in collaboration with the Community of Tukla Village, Changthang. 

HCHF has been celebrating this day every year since 2010. The organization has tried to deliver a significant message through this celebration, each year. Keeping up with the theme of World Heritage Day 2021 i.e. Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures, HCHF initiated a Stupa Restoration Project, under which the organization aims to restore ten stupas across Ladakh till October 2021.

Thupstan Chhewang (President, Ladakh Buddhist Association) attended the event as the Chief Guest on the occasion. H.E. Khamtak Rinpoche Jigme Nawang Namgyal blessed the day with his gracious presence. Also, Ven Shatup Chamba (President, Ladakh Gompa Association), and Thinles Nurboo (Counsellor, LAHDC Leh) also graced the event with their presence.

The day began with the Deconsecration Ceremony of the Kagan Chorten, an ancient stupa that once marked the entrance to Tukla Village. The stupa has been in a depleting condition and requires urgent attention.

An ancient stupa

HCHF and the village community of Tukla Village decided to observe this World Heritage Day with the restoration of this ancient stupa. Following the Deconsecration Ceremony, Dr Sonam Wangchok (Founder/Secretary HCHF) explained the significance of observing the World Heritage Day. He also threw light on the theme of World Heritage Day 2021 i.e. Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures. He stressed upon the importance of Heritage education and conducting awareness programmes to educate the people, especially the youth for different values of culture and heritage.

He also emphasized on local communities taking up the responsibility and actively participating in conservation and preservation of the Heritage and Culture of their region. He appreciated the community members of Tukla Village for having shown interest in their local heritage and joining hands in making this significant celebration possible. 

“For various reasons, most of the stupa in the villages of Ladakh built by the ancestors are deteriorating and are in various stages of preservation. Some of them may still be in good condition, but a good number of them have well past the stage of recovery and rehabilitation. According to our observation, one of the main reasons of damage to stupas is lack of knowledge on the part of local people, about the possibilities of conservation. Time factor and climate change are some other reasons for deterioration of stupas in Ladakh”, said Dr. Sonam Wangchok.

All the dignitaries present shared their views and enlightened the attendees on the importance of the conservation of local Heritage.Sh. Thupstan Chhewang (President, Ladakh Buddhist Association) focused on the importance of village communities to realize the importance of culture, heritage, language and the traditional way of agricultural activities for sustainable development. Whereas, Sh. Thinles Nurboo