Utilizing lockdown time to preserve an important cultural heritage site in a Himalayan village

The worldwide lockdown meant that people like myself who had been working in the tourism sector had no work to do and were forced to stay at home. The lockdown brought an abrupt halt to the daily lives of many people. With all this time in our hands, it seemed like there were many things we could do. I chose to go back to my hometown to create my own lockdown adventure.

After the lockdown was announced in Nepal, I returned to my hometown in Solukhumbu Dudhkunda municipality 2, Tumbuk. When I got back, I was determined to not waste time just by staying at home and browsing the internet and instead wanted to something productive. Being back at home, I saw that the shrines on the rocks in our village that had very high historical and cultural significance for Buddhist pilgrims, needed to be cleaned and preserved. Dozens of shrines in the village had been buried under mud or under a pile of dried leaves and had scriptures that were becoming illegible. I felt that it was the responsibility of youths like me to protect and preserve heritage sites of such importance. I then decided that I should spend lockdown time by cleaning and preserving these shrines.

I shared my plan with a friend Ningma Tenzi Lama who then also agreed to support me in my project. The two of us began work. Luckily, we also received immense support from our village. Those in the village who had time helped us physically with the preservation work while those who didn’t have the time supported us financially. We also received moral and financial support from villagers living abroad. In this way, the project that the two us had started got a big boost.We are incredibly grateful to all the support we have received for the project.

We are now into over 70 days of lockdown. In this time, we have completed the cleaning of selected significant shrines in Salabesi, Tumbuk and Tactor located in Dudhkunda municipality 2 and are in the process of making the scriptures on the rocks legible.

The lockdown came as an opportunity for me to complete my plan that had been in the works for many years. I feel that the completion of this project will give a new look to the village and will help preserve the shrines that our ancestors had put hard work into building hundreds of years ago. I firmly believe that if youths can help protect and preserve important cultural sites like these, they will be preserved for future generations to see, attract more foreign visitors and as a result help in the socioeconomic development of the entire village.

Tshering Dorji Sherpa is a trekking guide at Royal Mountain Travel. His story is a great inspiration for youth across the country to take an interest in cultural preservation and help preserve it, where possible.

This version has been translated from an article published on Fonij (Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists) News. You can find the link here:

लगडाउनकाे समयलाइ माने सरसफाइमा खर्चिरहेकाे छु ।

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