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15 Conservation of Leh Old Town—Concepts and Challenges

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Chapter Summary

The Tibet Heritage Fund (THF), an international NGO which was founded in 1996, has experience of working in both Lhasa and Leh. Between 1996 and 2000 it conducted the Lhasa Old Town Conservation Project, which developed an approach of using local craftsmen to restore the area, with the full support of the local community. In 2003 a THF team came to Leh and, after carrying out an initial survey of the Old Town, decided to launch a similar project in Ladakh. This chapter shares their experience. It begins with a summary of the history of Leh, and then discusses the challenges that the THF has faced, the solutions that it has found and the implications for the conservation of Ladakh's built heritage. The THF next worked with this core group of artisans to restore a communally owned shrine, to demonstrate the practicalities and desirability of restoring Leh's historic building stock.

Keywords: Ladakh; Leh Old Town; Lhasa Old Town Conservation Project; Tibet Heritage Fund (THF)



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