Rinchen Bumpa monastery in Lhuentse without adequate water for over six years

Water is a crucial element of everyday life, but it is also a rare luxury in many rural parts of the country. For monks of Rinchen Bumpa monastery in Lhuentse, water crisis has become a part of their lives. They have been living without adequate water for more than six years now. And the increasing number of domestic pilgrims over the years has only added to their water woes.

Without a proper water source, monks of Rinchen Bumpa monastery have been harvesting rainwater since 2016 for drinking and cooking purposes. Lhuentse Dzongkhag supplied the rainwater harvesting equipment for the monks.

They have to make the best use of the harvested rainwater stored in tanks. Maintaining hygiene is, therefore, very difficult.

The monks here can hardly remember the last time they took a shower or washed their clothes.

“Initially, we had sufficient drinking water as we used to harvest and store rain water in twelve plastic barrels. But over the last few years Rinchen Bumpa has become a popular sacred place and the number of people coming on pilgrimage has increased rapidly, leading to acute drinking water shortage,” said Goenpo Dorji, Principal of the monastery.

He that they reported the matter to the Lhuentse Dzongkhag Administration. A team from the Dzongkhag Administration then carried out a feasible study on a water source and assured the monks that they will soon have a reliable drinking water source. “Upon their request we have also identified a water source last year. And a team from the Dzongkhag also visited the water source and carried out studies on water pressure and found that the water source is a feasible one. They also said that we would soon get drinking water.”

With the borders closed, domestic pilgrims at the monastic institution has been increasing in the last two years.  This has worsened the issue. This year alone, more than 400 pilgrims visited the monastery. The monastic institute was established in 2015 and currently there are seven monks and a principal residing at the monastery.

Sonam Tshering, Lhuentse

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen 

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