Landslides threatening Tawang monastery

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 07, 2011 06:49 hrs

Itanagar: The monks at the over 300-year-old Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, the largest in Asia, are praying and lighting butter lamps before a colossal gilded statue of Lord Buddha because of the threat to its existence by landslides.

Massive landslides in September and December last year triggered by torrential rain occurred just below the monastery, founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-81.

The monastery, which is home to over 570 monks, stands on the spur of a hill, about 10,000 feet above sea level and offers a picturesque view of the Tawang-chu valley.

"The monastery is not only national property, but the priceless property of the entire world. If concrete steps are not taken in time, there is every possibility that continuous rainfall in summer and snowfall in winter will result in more landslides and complete damage to it," Guru Tulku Rinpoche, Abbot of the monastery said.

"We have apprised His Holiness the Dalai Lama and he advised us to perform pujas and take up massive plantation around the monastery to protect it," the abbot said.

The monks conducted various rituals and erected stupas to stop the occurrence of landslides, but the situation remained as vulnerable as before at the monastery, officially known as Gaden Namgyal Lhatse, he said.  

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