This page contains photos during the
initial stages of reconstuction
Monasteries throughout the country and the
ever-present red-robed monks indicate the important role that Buddhism
plays in almost every aspect of Bhutanese life. Every district in the
country has a Dzong which houses the official monk body and several temples.
And every village has a temple, around which the life of the community
There are more than 2000 monasteries in the kingdom many
built centuries ago in honor of the teachings of Buddhism. Some are national
treasures, some are within easy reach or a few hours walk and receive
international visitors, international exposure and aid.
Some others require seven to eight hours of hiking are more remote and
inaccessible, have little contact with the rest of the country and falling
This project will focus on getting aid to a difficult to reach village
Monastery & School - "Shali Pankha",
nearly 180 years old and in need of critical structural needs.
Gaselo Village - Gaselo geog is located towards
the south west region of Bhutan. The terrain is mainly rugged with pockets
of gently facing slopes. Gaselo is made up of 13 villages and consists
of 220 widely scattered farming households.
Shali Pankha Monastery - It is not known when and how the Shali
Pankha Monastery came to be. It is an age old village monastery established
by our ancestors and has been a community of prayer and action for about
180 years. The 220 households of Gaselo come to Shali Pankha Monastery
to perform community ceremonies to pray and offer butter lamps to their
protective deity, Aap Bumrip. They pray that their crops will be bountiful,
natural calamities will be less, that there will be no sickness in their
village, to dispel misfortunes and to usher a good harvest.
There is no telephone service or mail delivery to Shali Pankha and no
electricity except by a small-scale solar power facility.
A Caretaker is chosen from the community to administer the properties
and to keep the monastery functional.
Shali Pankha School- The Monastic school is housed in the Monastery,
the sleeping quarters as well as the study rooms. Daily, monthly, and
annual rituals form an integral part of Bhutan and almost every important
occasion in the life of the Bhutanese is invested with religious significance.
Rites related to diverse events such as birth, marriage, sickness, death,
construction of houses, inaugural or opening ceremonies of any occasion
and other day-today functions are performed by the monks.
To carry out this religious role, the community enrolled children as monks
with the Monastery and appealed to the Central Monastic Body for teachers.
"Getting Aid to a difficult
to reach village
Monastery & School - Shali Pankha"
To donate: see information at the
bottom of this page.
In 2002 The Central Monastic Body made available 4 teachers to the Shali
Pankha Monastery and this made it possible for the children from the community
to receive Monastic education, to study traditional Buddhist Scriptures
and learn sacred musical practices in the Monastery. The school currently
has 30 monk students from ages 9-23. 15 monks are registered to the central
Monastic Welfare fund and receive a very modest support- the funds for
two meals a day- the rest of the 15 student monks share the modest supplies.
The services provided by the monks are a primary means of self-support
for the Monastery.
Children begin with the learning of the alphabet, spelling, reading, and
proceeds to the memorization of prayers and other relevant texts and observing
daily monastic rules and regulations. Besides memorization of texts, they
also learn various ritual arts, metrical rhymes, trumpet, making ritual
cakes etc. As they proceed to higher classes, they learn grammar, prosody
or literary science which is geared towards pursuing higher Buddhist philosophical
English and arithmetic are also taught so as to enable the monks to become
more effective communicators. After completion of their studies from the
school, they join Buddhist Colleges (Shedras) for higher studies while
others opt to join the Central Monastic Body.
Current Situation of the Monastery & its students
"Shali Pankha" Monastery & School have temporarily suspended
the school and monastic functions to attend to the immediate major restoration/renovation
needs of the Monastery. The Gaselo Community undertook capital fundraising
for the much-needed restoration of their Monastery & its school and
with Nu. 1,600,000 (US $ 40.000) of funds and assurance in hand, the Gaselo
villagers began the restoration work in June 2008 in order to improve
the facilities and accommodate an increase in the number of monks studying
at the institute.
The Current construction focus is on:
- accessibility to the work site,
- the main shrine building,
- replacing the door and window casements,
- Building 2 study rooms & a living quarter for the monks in the Monastery
1. Government assisted by permitting timber for the restoration work
at a subsidized rate.
2. The farmers contributed community labor and stocked up supplies of
food items of rice, vegetables, cheese and butter.
3. The student monks lend a hand at the construction site. The older student
monks cook the meals for the construction workers so that they do not
have to stop work in order to prepare their meals.
4. The four teachers and caretaker take care of the administration and
5. People living in the bigger towns supported by providing the initial
funds to start the project in time because climactic conditions at 2800m
limit the construction season to approximately May through early November.
6. 52 people are presently working on construction on-site, plus others
are involved in the delivery of materials. Sand, stone, timber and gravel
are delivered from local villages, cement and other construction materials
are brought in from Thimphu. The transportation of the construction materials
to the monastery is extremely difficult because of the complex and narrow
new access road.
Help us build the study, living quarters & Toilet Blocks for our
student Monks. No matter how minute our role or contribution might be
we wish to contribute a little help towards the children to have re- access
to education by building up the study rooms, living quarters and toilet
Construction Materails - US $ 10,000
Transporation - US $ 2,000
Masonry & Carpentry - US $ 3,000
- See the latest photos taken December 2010
Click here to see photos taken in
Click here to see photos of the
construction taken in January 2009
additional photos taken May 2009
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