by WANGCHUK BHUTIA
MANGAN, 04 Sept: Tholung Monastery in Upper Dzongu which suffered substantial damage in last year’s earthquake still awaits reconstruction and renovation work. The posts and pillars of the monastery are almost tilting and appear structurally compromised even as most of the partition walls have collapsed and severe cracks have developed in the remaining partitions. All the belongings of the monastery have been shifted to the Sheda building attached to the monastery.
Panchayat Secretary, Bey ward, Nima Lepcha, while speaking to NOW!, informed that the Ecclesiastical Department had provided an initial amount of Rs. 5 lakh as earthquake relief for Tholung monastery which was utilised in the maintenance of kitchen, footpath to Tholung and other expenses incurred while shifting the belongings of the monastery to the Sheda.
Similarly, the Zilla Member Sakyong-Pentong GPU, Topnam Lepcha who is also a committee member of Tholung Monastery, informed that recently the department had sanctioned Rs. 10 lakh for renovation of the monastery and added that the Gumpa Committee is not sure if this amount would be enough for restoration works.
He further informed that the construction of the Khamsel Lhakhang has been delayed due to the disruption of power supply to Tholung. The power supply line from Bey to Tholung was extensively damaged in the 18 Sept 2011 earthquake.
It may be mentioned here that the Tholung Monastery hosts the auspicious “Khamsel” ceremony every three years when the clothes and other belongings of Lhatsun Chenpo are put on display for devotees who come from across the world. Owing to the lack of space at the monastery, the Khamsel Lhakang was being constructed with a pavilion for this ceremony.
The public and the committee members have requested that the monastery be reconstructed with the same design and size. At present, prayers are being conducted on the ground floor of the under construction Khamsel Lhakang located behind the monastery.
Power Minister, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha who is also the area MLA Dzongu on being asked if the monastery will be reconstructed said that the decision to either renovate or reconstruct the monastery would be taken following the report of technical experts and engineers from the concerned department.
He further informed that, accessibility being a problem, the technical experts had not been able to reach the area till now but with the pathway restored work may begin soon.