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Sang-yak Drak choerten under construction

Lho Talung Monastery: - a protective new roof has been built over the main chapel housing the majority of the remaining 15th-century murals. The roof has been designed by THF conservation architect John Harrison, THF carpenter Chuchok-la and THF foreman Namgyal-la. It is based on the traditional "Gya-pip" design, a very light Chinese-pagoda-type structure which will prevent rainwater from further damaging the murals (in the past, a heavy second floor sheltered the murals - this has been found impossible to rebuild). In addition, drainage around Talung was improved, as mural fragments on the main walls became eroded through damp penetration from below. The project was carried out under official permission from the Nargatse Dzong and Lhoka prefecture authorities.
Total costs: US$8.000,- provided by the Shelley-and-Donald-Rubin Foundation.

Chushur Choerten: THF was contacted by nuns inhabiting the cave hermitage of Sang-yak Drak in Chushur to help. Located at the southern slopes of the holy mountain Riwo Tsen-nga, Snag-yak Drak was founded in the 9th century by Guru Rinpoche, who is said to have erected a huge choerten there (also known as stupa, this is a special monument for the preservation of relics common throughout Buddhist areas in Asia). The nuns, hoping to attract more pilgrims, wanted to rebuild the disappeared choerten. The meagre funds collected by the nuns were only enough for a cheap version built of concrete. THF was interested to learn the traditional way to build a choerten, and decided to fund the project as a study case. An old masterbuilder from Lhoka joined forces with THF staff and the choerten was completed, with full permission of the Chushur authorities, in the summer of 1999. The funds of $2,172 for the rebuilding and consecrating of the choerten were part of a larger grant by HRH the Prince of Wales. Thanks to Mathew Akester for suggesting this project.

section drawing of Gyama Trikhang choerten, by Jian-Jun and Huang Xiao Ling/THF

completion of Gyama 
Trikhang is celebrated

Gyama Trikhang Choerten: - click here to go to the Gyama Trikhang page (use your "back" button to return here) - Gyama, located 80 kilometers east of Lhasa, is the birthplace of king Srongtsan Gampo, founder of Lhasa. In the 12th century, a huge bumpa-type choerten was built here to house the relics of the revered Buddhist teacher, Sangye Wontoen Shongnue Jungnay. During the 1960s, the top was taken off, but the Gyama choerten's body survived. According to an old photo taken by Hugh Richardson (and recently published in his "High Peaks Pure Earth"), two minor choerten once flanked the site; they are now gone. The late Horkhang Sonam Pembar, and his son, Jampa Tendar, funded a first restoration in the late 1980s. THF completed the project, with full permission of the Medrogongkar authorities, by laying arga on the roof and reconstructing the top of the choerten modeled on the old photo. The interior stairs and some cracks in the huge steps leading to the platform on which the choerten rests have also been repaired. A total of US$2,226 was kindly donated by Ms Pamela Ross and Mr. Charles Gay.

Handicraft Project: Funded and instigated by Ms Geraldine Kunstadter of the Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation, Ms Claire Harris undertook a field study of Tibetan village handicrafts for THF ($5,000). She has produced a very detailed and handsomely illustrated two-volume report, and a handicraft pilot project is planned for 2000.

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