Ngawang Ramtoe village in Tading, Samtse was considered as one of the possible cultural landscape sites because of people’s strong sense of attachment to the village’s unique bamboo architecture.

At the Cultural Landscape and Sustaining its Significance (CLASS) workshop in Thimphu on October 25, 13 officials under the division for conservation of heritage sites studied six sites to build capacity to identifying cultural heritage sites in Bhutan.

Department of Culture’s senior architect, Karma Tenzin, said that the village was chosen for its belief in local deities and social system like death ceremony. “Ngawang Ramtoe is the only village that has undergone minimal interventions compared with the rest of the villages of the Lhop communities.”

One of the panel members, Ugyen M Tenzin, said that the study should have focused more on what had gone wrong in the other Lhop communities. “For all the admiration for their unique culture, we cannot expect them to remain like that in the future.”

Karma Tenzin said that architects considered converting the village into a living museum but the idea was abandoned as it was not feasible. “The management plan is an intermediate and a test plan only.” He added that it was the right time to intervene to preserve the unique settlement and at the same time to educate people.

Panel member Ganesh B Chettri said that management guidelines appeared restricted as people in the village may not be able to cope with it.

Another team panel member Sonam Tenzin said that the aim of the management plan was to improve the livelihoods of the people while also preserving the unique settlements through careful interventions.

One of the panel members, Nagtsho Dorji, said that one of the reasons to conduct the study was the lack of a good inventory of the cultural sites. “I think it is also important for us to understand the process of how we need to be more selective about cultural site.”

She said that the village was the only site that stood out from the rest.

The two-day workshop ends today.

Rinchen Zangmo