Mustang – U.S. Ambassador Randy W. Berry and Provincial Parliament Member Mahendra Bahadur Thakali inaugurated the restoration of the 16th century Dzong Chode Shedup Choepel Ling Gompa—or Dzong Monastery—at Dzong Village in Mustang. Through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the U.S. Embassy contributed $100,000 out of the $123,681 budget for restoring and seismically strengthening the historic site, which was severely damaged during the 2015 earthquakes. The Dzong Gompa Management Committee (DGMC) will contribute the remaining $23,681, and the Heritage and Environment Conservation Foundation Nepal (HECFN) will carry out the restoration, scheduled for completion by September 2020.
Through extensive consultations with the local community and the DGMC, HECFN will seismically strengthen the structure while preserving centuries-old paintings within the monastery. The project will employ local artisans and provide on-site training to local youth to sustain maintainance 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. “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 U.S. Government program that provides direct grant support to preserve cultural heritage in developing countries. Since 2003, the U.S. Embassy has supported 24 other AFCP projects totaling $3.37 million in Nepal. AFCP projects in Nepal include the restorations of ancient Buddhist chhortens in Upper Mustang, the 11th century Rinchenling Monastery in Humla, and the historic Gaddi Baithak palace in downtown Kathmandu.