Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks

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.

Laguna Golf 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
No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

Were there any blood tests done, a toxicology report should be available for all to see,a visual che...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

Sorry Mr. Kurt but i dont understand your problem because i have my own pump and dont have problems ...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

Sorry mr Wiesel. In Thailand is a lot of 'planning-talks' happening . After that it stops, i...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

Herein lies the problem. The officials that do the inspections are either paid for their favorable r...(Read More)


Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

As if there aren't enough fast and furious drivers already on the roads in Phuket, now to glorif...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

For a country that finds no sign of prostitution in Pattaya, not finding cruelty at the zoo is hardl...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

“No evidence of animal cruelty has been found.”. Just in the same way than Thai police can make...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

This is similar to the police walking along Bangla Road recently and reporting that "nope...ain...(Read More)


No animal cruelty at Phuket Zoo, say officials

That concrete cell that the tiger is shown in should be considered as cruelty to animals. What a ho...(Read More)