Due to the effects of globalization and climate change, the environment and culture of the Dolpo region are facing major challenges. The DTCF promotes renovations of monasteries, the restoration of art objects and the preservation of the Dolpo Himalayan culture.
Even in the high altitude region of the Dolpo at over 4,000 meters, climate change is making itself felt through increased rainfall and fluctuating temperatures. These weather conditions are damaging the buildings and roofs, whose traditional construction methods with wood, clay and sand can no longer withstand the changed conditions. As a result, many monasteries and stupas are falling into disrepair, not least due to a lack of funds.
The DTCF promotes and accompanies the renovation of the historical cultural sites of the Dolpo with systematic reconstruction projects. The renovation of individual monasteries has begun and the eight large stupas in Dho Tarap could be rebuilt. Other projects will follow. Restoration of ancient wall paintings will soon be impossible, but original ancient texts can be preserved in adequate storage facilities. Many ancient cultural objects are also being collected and safely stored.
The DTCF also supports the ongoing translation of historical texts through the Ancient Translation Project and the Universal Mother’s Guru Association of Nepal. In addition, religious practice texts such as the Konchok Chidu are translated to make the practice accessible to a wider audience.
In the past, both the history and the stories of the older generation in Dolpo were traditionally passed on orally in order to preserve them. However, globalization has also reached Dolpo, bringing rapid changes in social structures. In order to preserve the history of the Dolpo region for the future and to document the influence of important local personalities, significant events and the work of the two main religions, Bon and Buddhism, the DTCF has decided to publish the annual magazine entitled “Himalayan Platform Magazine”. The magazine is distributed to various schools and monasteries and lays the foundation for a social-historical reference work.
The goal of the bridge renovation program is to restore dilapidated bridges throughout the Dolpo area so that they can withstand summer flooding. The bridges are essential because without them, people cannot get to their fields and pastures, schools and medical facilities, and neighboring villages.
Frequently, the bridges are washed away due to summer floods and then, when the water has receded, are only makeshift repairs. Therefore, the DTCF builds a stable substructure of stones fixed with iron mesh and wooden structures connected with iron to make the bridges more sustainable. By 2017, five bridges had been repaired.
Here are some examples of projects:
Monastery Roofing Project in upper Dolpo
The effects of globalization and climate change are great challenges for the environment and the culture of the Dolpo region. Due to unseasonal and heavy rainfalls, the cultural heritage sites in Dolpo were deteriorating every year.
During 17 days of walk the international team of Upaya`s Nomads Clinic visited together with Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche nine different villages in September 2018.
In all these places they found the traditional buildings, above all the historically important monasteries, in alarming condition: leaky roofs, weathered outer walls, inside already dramatically damaged wall paintings.
Therefore, Dolpo Tulku Charitable Foundation (DTCF) is leading this initiative of supporting the renovation work of these monasteries starting from 2019 onwards. As a first step the foundation proposed to provide Colour Coated Tin Sheet for Roofing which is easy to use, durable, environment-friendly, fully recyclable and economical to work with.
In close cooperation with the DTCF the local population will collaborate in renovating the monastery, which is one of the most important monuments in the Buddhist community.
Estimated costs: 19.200 Euro / 21,380 USD
Renovation of monasteries and wall paintings
To renovate monasteries and their invaluable wall paintings, like at Champa Gompa in Dho Tarap, a 700-year-old temple, which is still being used today, different building materials, paint, artists, and workers are needed. Roofs, windows, and doors need to be repaired, new plastering needs to be applied, old paintings need to be restored or sometimes redone completely. This is the only way to preserve this precious cultural heritage.
Renovation of the Pema Samdup Chöling Monastery, Kawasoti
The DTCF supported the renovation of the monastery in 2017 with 1.300 Euro / 1,550 USD
Renovation of the Stupas of Champa Tempel in Dho Tarap
The Stupas of Champa Tempel were built 700 years ago by the Mustang king Amapal. In the last decades, their condition got so bad, that they were renovated in 2011. But the rainfalls in the following summers were so heavy, caused by climate change, that they crumbled and the earth around them was swept away. Now taking these environmental factors into consideration, they will be renovated again.
The Stupas, a cultural heritage site originally built in the 14th century, represent an important contribution to preserve Dolpo culture, its history and enriches religious life in the region. The renovations were carried out by professional workmanship, local lay workers and by the Lamas, who carefully attended to place holy texts and objects into the Stupas during each structural construction phase. All this helped validate the population in the region as well as inspire a reconnection with the cultural and historical significance of the Stupas.
Costs: 33.600 Euro / 37,260 USD
Yearly magazine about Dolpo, its culture, religion, and history
In the past, most of what needed to be learned was transmitted orally from teacher to student. The same goes for stories. Crafts were simply shown to the student and repeated until mastered. Now that globalisation has reached Dolpo, the social structures are deteriorating rapidly with a younger generation mainly learning in school and leaving the region to get higher education in Kathmandu. To preserve the history including the influence of local historic figures, document the traditional crafts and lifestyle, and the two main religions of Bön and Buddhism the DTCF publishes a yearly magazine called “Himalaya Lengteg Magazine“. The first issue was published in 2012.
Estimated costs: ca. 1000 Euro / 1,100 USD per magazine
Plastic Awareness Campaign
One of the main concerns of the Tulku Charitable Foundation (DTCF) is the protection of the environment, not only in Dolpo but all over Nepal. Since the inception of the organization 2008 several awareness programs about garbage and especially the harmfulness of plastic have been conducted by Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche. 2016 other organizations like the youth group Hyolmo Helping Hands (HHH) joined in conduction the campaign “SAY NO TO THE PLASTIC” to educate the general population on the impact of plastic and ways to reduce its use through different mediums such as power point presentation, audio and visual information. Additionally activities such as the collection of plastic, garbage and the cleaning of rivers were conducted.
Annual costs: 900 Euro / 1,000 USD
Renovation and building of bridges
The aim of this program is renovate or completely rebuild 11 bridges all over Dolpo, so they can withstand the strong waterflow in the summer. The bridges are an essential part of the infrastructure in the region as they allow people to access their fields and pastures; children can go to school and sick people can go to health stations.
Many times though, the bridges get swept away from the string currents in the summer, when the snow in the Himalayas melts. After the water recedes, the repairs are mostly just superficial, laving the structures vulnerable to be swept away again the next year.
Therefore the DTCF finances projects, where the support for the bridges is fixed with chicken wire and stabilised with wood structures held together by iron fixtures. By 2017 five bridges were completed.
Estimated costs: ca. 5.000 € / 5,500 USD to 10.000 € / 11,000 USD per bridge (depending of the current state of it and its location)
Bridge project in Saldang
Bridge project in Tingyu
How you can support our charity projects in “Culture and environment”
The historically significant monasteries and monuments of the Dolpo region are unique, but in great need of renovation. Many cultural treasures are in danger of being lost. Therefore, there is a need for quick and sustainable construction and restoration! Get involved now in this important mission to support the reconstruction projects for “Culture and environment” in the Dolpo region!
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