Wisdom Loving Mother

The Wisdom Loving Mother blog is for those who enjoy learning about Buddhism, Feng Shui, travel in Asia (Bhutan) or Essential Oils.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Buddhist legacy in Mustang Threatened


A priceless treasure trove of Buddhist teachings,
manuscripts, paintings and other historical artifacts lie
under grave threat, ironically from the
development of a Highway in remote northern Nepal.

Mustang - once part of an ancient Tibetan kingdom -
has been safeguarding thousands of caves, some of which
are nearly 3,000 years old, full of paintings and manuscripts
in ancient Tibetan scripts. Archaeologist Sukra Sagar Shrestha,
who specializes in high-altitude archaeology estimates there
are over 10,000 such caves, most of them undiscovered.

Written in at least four different Tibetan scripts, the manuscripts,
once deciphered, are likely to provide a wealth of historical data
about the ancient Tibetan kingdom, its relations with China, Nepal
and India, and perhaps even about the Buddha himself.

The remoteness, near inaccessibility and freezing climate of Mustang
combined to protect and preserve the ancient Buddhist heritage.
“The caves, where the temperature is never more than eight degrees
Celsius, provides the best natural preservation for the relics,” said
Shrestha. However, now the advent of an ambitious trans-Himalayan
highway – planned for connecting India, Nepal and China as well as
other Asian cities – is threatening the hidden treasures.

Nepal’s director-general of archaeology Kosh Prasad Acharya is,
therefore, appealing to the international community for help to preserve
this unique heritage.
“Development can’t be denied. So we have to look at the best compromise,” said Acharya. That, according to him, means launching a full-fledged mission to discover the caves and then to document the treasures.
“It is an expensive matter and we need help,” he added. “We ask the international community to help in any way it can - by providing funds, expertise and information.”


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