Thubchen monastery renovation under way

- Ghanshyam Khadka, Mustang
Thubchen monastery renovation under way

May 12, 2014-

The Thubchen Monastery Management Committee in collaboration with the Annapurna Conservation Area Project has started renovating the historic monastery in Lomanthang. The Himalayan Foundation in the US has provided financial assistance for the work.

Located in Lomanthang, also known as the City of Walls, in upper Mustang, the Thubchen monastery carries immense cultural and historic significance. Renovators have already completed work on the exterior of the monastery and are busy refurbishing the scriptures and wall paintings in the interior walls now. “We sought help from donors to conserve, repair and renovate the monastery,” said Indradhara Bista, chairperson of the monastery management committee. “The 700-year-old monastery is not only a symbol of cultural heritage but also the means of livelihood for the people of Upper Mustang,” he said.

The renovation of the monastery built during the reign of Tashi Goen, the third King of Lomanthang, in 1472, was initiated as early as 1997 at the initiative of the then King of Mustang, Jigme Parwal Bista. And in order to preserve its original form, specific type of wood was imported from Tibet at the time. “Since 1997, painters and sculptors have been refurbishing the interior of the monastery,” Bista said.

Presently, 35 local Mandala painters have been re-painting the images of Lord Buddha etched in the interior walls. The painters are paid Rs 18,000 to Rs 30,000 per month based on the nature of their work.

The committee members said that with an initial investment of Rs 4 million, high quality paint, especially made by grinding and mixing various precious stones, is being used to re-paint the interior walls. According to the management committee, approximately Rs 100 million has been spent in renovating four historic monasteries in Lomanthang, including Thubchen monastery, till date.

The monasteries in Lomanthang are alluring and contain Buddhist religious scriptures dictated by King Samdhuwa Palwar and written with gold-plated letters. Besides its natural beauty, Upper Mustang is also considered rich in terms of culture and architecture. Mustang was annexed to Nepal during the end of 18th century.

Published: 13-05-2014 08:44

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