Kathmandu, June 10
US Ambassador Randy W Berry and Provincial Assembly member Mahendra Bahadur Thakali inaugurated the restoration of the 16th century Dzong Chode Shedup Choepel Ling Gompa also known as Dzong monastery at Dzong village in Mustang.
Through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the US embassy contributed $100,000 of the total $123,681 budget allocated for restoring and seismically strengthening the historic site, which was damaged during the 2015 earthquakes, according to a press release issued by the embassy today.
Dzong Gompa Management Committee will contribute the remaining $23,681, and Heritage and Environment Conservation Foundation Nepal will carry out the restoration work, which is expected to be completed by September 2020.
Through extensive consultations with the local community and DGMC, HECFN will seismically strengthen the structure while preserving the centuries old paintings inside the monastery. The project will employ local artisans and provide on-site training to local youths to sustain maintenance of the monastery after the project is completed.
“Our cultural preservation partnership with Nepal is a tangible symbol of our mutual friendship, and shows our respect for Nepal’s diverse and rich heritage,” said Ambassador Berry in the statement. “This restoration will support local community efforts to protect these structures, and encourage future generations to continue caring for these unique, invaluable treasures of the Himalayan culture.”
AFCP is the only US government programme that provides direct grant support to preserve cultural heritage in developing countries. Since 2003, the US embassy has supported 24 other AFCP projects totalling $3.37 million in Nepal. AFCP projects in Nepal include the restoration of ancient Buddhist chhortens in Upper Mustang, the 11th century Rinchenling Monastery in Humla, and the historic Gaddi Baithak palace in downtown Kathmandu.
A version of this article appears in print on June 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.