Cultural Projects

Preserving the culture and traditions of the indigenous Himalayan people

Tengboche Monastery

Tengboche is one of the most sacred monasteries in the Sherpa community and thus is the spiritual and cultural center of the Khumbu region. It is surrounded by Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Ama Dablam, Mt. Tamserku, Mt. Kangtega, Mt. Kwangde, and Tawoche. It is the gateway to Mount Everest at a height of 3,800m.

Completed wall paintings at Tegboche monastery

Project 1: Restoration of Buddhist Art: Tragically in 1989, Tengboche Monastery was completely burned down due to electrical mishap.  With donations from the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation, the Himalayan Trust, the American Himalayan Heritage Foundation and other donors, the Monastery was rebuilt and opened in 1993.  Although the monastery structures, as well as interior of the main rooms and quarters have been rebuilt, there are still several rooms which have not been completed.  Mrs. Phurba Sherpa has provided funding for the religious painting of the Guru Rimpoche room of the Monastery.  The project was completed in September 2008, and ceremonies consecrating the new room was done by the abbot Tengboche Rinpoche himself.

Summer 2009, the Tengboche Kani (Gate) nears completion

Project 2: Rebuilding the Entrance Gate : Every village in the Himalayan region has a religious entrance gate to welcome guests and to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.  The gateway into Tengboche is particularly important with thousands of visitors from all around the world passing through each year, as it is half way to Mt. Everest base camp.  The Tengboche entrance gate was built around the 1940s, or earlier.  The traditional slate roofing and the mud walls of the entrance gate has been worn down by weather and age, and is in bad condition.  The religious and cultural paintings inside the gateway have also deteriorated due to leaks in the roof.  As a cultural restoration project, the Greater Himalayas Foundation funded the entire rebuilding of a new entrance gate to Tengboche.  It was designed by a traditional artist, and overseen by a monk from the Monastery.  The gateway also serves as a memorial to Mingma in memory of his contribution to Sagamartha (Everest) National Park and his dedication to the Sherpa people.

For more picture of Tengboche Gate, Go Here

Phortse Village Gomba

The Phortse Gomba sits on the top of the village.

Phortse is a small and culturally well preserved village, and one of the most remote areas in the Khumbu valley. A British gentleman helped raise funds to build the village a gomba (small monastery), and the villagers themselves provided the labor work.  In October 2006 after the tragedy, Phurba visited several villages in the Khumbu region.  When she met the villagers in Phortse, their first request was to help fund for artwork inside the Monastery.  The villagers asserted that they are more than willing and dedicated to do any of the labor work in building and setting up the monastery, but said they have neither the skills nor the funds for the religious artworks.  With such a touching proposal, Phurba agreed to personally fund this project through the Greater Himalayas Foundation.  The paintings were started in Spring 2008 by skilled Buddhist artists and completed by the end of 2009.

For more pictures of Phortse, Go Here


Khunde Mani wall & Memorial Chorten

The completed memorial chorten sits between Khumjung and Khunde

Mingma was born and spent his childhood years in the village of Kunde, in the Khumbu region.  As a memorial for Mingma, a small chorten was constructed along the path between Khumjung to Kunde.  The memorial chorten was completely funded by Phurba Sherpa. A chorten is a very old architectural and sculptural form of art, religion, and culture.  Its’ structural designs symbolize nature’s elements – earth, water, wind, and fire.  The very top of the chorten is capped by a sun and moon, representing truth.  Chortens are built with the belief that they will benefit all sentient beings, including nature.  The presence of a chorten is also believed to foster harmony, peace, and well being. Alongside the chorten, we restored old mani walls.  Mani walls are made of slate stones/rocks with Tibetan inscriptions.  The mani stones in Khunde date back to the 1600s, and were voluntarily hand carved by local community members. The chorten was completed and consecrated in fall 2008.