THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Inside Nepal’s forgotten medieval kingdom

NEPAL: In Nepal’s isolated, high-altitude desert of Upper Mustang, a new road to China is bringing economic transformation to the former Buddhist kingdom, once a centre for trans-Himalayan commerce.

culturereligionconstructionland
By AFP

Saturday 10 September 2016, 03:00PM


Nepalese artists restore sacred murals in a monastry in Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. Photo: AFP

Nepalese artists restore sacred murals in a monastry in Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. Photo: AFP

The remote region is ringed with vast canyons and red mountains that, legends say, are stained with the blood of a demon killed by the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.

Yet the recently completed unpaved highway that connects Upper Mustang with China is also bringing unprecedented cultural change to a region that was closed off to foreign visitors until 1992.

In the medieval walled capital of Lo Manthang, young men have swapped Tibetan robes for blue jeans and local cafes broadcast live coverage of English Premier League matches to rapt viewers.

Nevertheless, while modern life holds considerable allure for many, the push to preserve traditional culture is no less important to the local Loba community. Buddhists who speak a variant of the Tibetan language, they have lived in Upper Mustang for centuries.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the ongoing effort to restore sacred murals and monuments, supported by foreign and Nepali non-profit organisations, including the Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation, which is headed by the former king of Upper Mustang.

Although the region’s rich heritage escaped the ravages of the Cultural Revolution that hit neighbouring China, its monuments fell prey to environmental damage.

QSI International School Phuket

Wind and rain eroded mud walls and caused wooden rooftop beams to decay, while smoke from ceremonial butter lamps darkened indoor frescos.

Over the last decade, restorers have been working hard to shore up structures, clean murals and retouch damaged paintings in line with Buddhist beliefs.

Buddhists believe it is better to pray to undamaged images of the Buddha, and see it as their duty to repair and retouch them when necessary.

The painstaking process involves grinding gemstones like lapis lazuli and malachite into a fine powder, which is then mixed with water and animal glue to create luminous pigments fit for gods.

After last year’s massive earthquake killed nearly 9,000 in Nepal and severely damaged monasteries in Lo Manthang, restorers now face an even bigger challenge.

Like many here, they too are locked in a race to preserve Upper Mustang’s unique cultural legacy for future generations.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

"The court later released him and Yong on bail of B400,000 baht, and Thanee on B500,000, and pr...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

Why is the truck on the wrong side of the road, and what part of the accident involved the pickup?...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

Premchai's been released on bail. Does this mean he has a suspended sentence or that his appeal ...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

So, just the 1000 dollar question, who did kill the black leopard? Don't tell me that one of the...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

"How long is the old poor Thai couple.." Try to google it or sent a petition and ask for a...(Read More)


New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

"addicted to psychotropic drugs" Would that be an excuse for his doings. Surprised that se...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

"Where has the reader been the last decades" and what country is suspending a license for ...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

For how long is the old poor Thai couple in jail for plucking mushrooms in a national park?? How is...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

ok the truck should not have been there, but the motorbike was apparently overtaking over a double y...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

One wonders who the real troll is... . I use the road on a regular basis and it IS dangerous if one ...(Read More)