Heritage: After years of delays, the Lhakhang Karpo reconstruction project is picking up pace.

With an initial budget of Nu 22.5 million (M) the Lhakhang Karpo reconstruction project was started in October 2010, following a Royal Command to reconstruct the 119-year-old lhakhang, the bastion of Haa valley’s guardian deity, Ap Chundu.

It was supposed to be a three-year project. Between 2009-2012, the government spent more than Nu 36.5M, but the project’s progress slackened.

In 2012, the project came under the scanner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, followed by several court proceedings that ended with a final verdict in October 2015. The project was also kept on hold for several months in 2013.

“We are happy with the progress and hopeful that it will be completed within two years including the inner works,” dzongkhag tshogdu chairperson, Tshewang Tandin said.

The gup pointed out that many had raised concerns although they had not officially complained about the slow progress of the project. The lhakhang is not just a sacred place for the Haaps but also a venue to conduct several auspicious festivals like tsechu and kurims.

The dzongkhag does not have a dzong to hold such festivals.

Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that for the last six months, they’ve been focused on the project. “We make weekly scheduled visits and monitor accordingly,” he said.

The dzongdag said that various works are ongoing such as paintings, sculpturing and masonry.

Construction of drasha is complete and the rabsey and utse are nearing completion. The dochay and paintings inside the lhakhang are also completed.

Only electrical and plumbing works remain, along with the construction of a dining hall.

The extreme winter in Haa makes it impossible for laborers to work which also causes some delay, officials said.

Meanwhile, Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that the plan is to complete the entire project by the end of 2017 butpointed out that it is an ambitious target.

The lhakhang is expected to accommodate more than 100 monks.

Dawa Gyelmo | Haa