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Phase II: Regional expansion

First South Asia Sub-regional Caucus

Group picture of participants © UNESCO

Location: Gangtok, Sikkim, India
Dates: 18-19 January 2005

The South Asia Sub-regional Caucus was organized by UNESCO and the Indian National Trust for Culture and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) with the generous support of the Government of Sikkim.

The Caucus brought together resource persons and representatives from the project sites in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan to provide updates on the implementation at each site, and to jointly establish procedures for sharing of resources and monitoring.

Most sites have identified documentation and surveying of existing condition of the temples as the first priority for action.  However, the procedures for documentation are not clearly articulated in each site.  The need for guidance by the project resource persons was brought up.  In response, the Indian National Trust for Culture and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the caucus co-convener, has agreed to develop a guideline handbook focusing on the range of craft traditions common to the sub-region, with a special focus on the crafts targeted by many of the sites: thangka painting, woodblock printing, and woodcarving.

In terms of linking the projects to larger goals of socio-economic development, the site representatives proposed a range of constructive ideas to improve both preservation and tourism at the sites.  In particular, the role of the monastic order as the “hosts” at the temples should be leveraged to inform the experience of visiting the temples, in conformity with authentic modes of religious practice.  This could take the form of developing informational and educational materials or training sessions for visitors, professional guides, and community-based guides. 

Please visit Resources for more information about the meeting.