Ecological Pilot Project in South India:

Drepung Monastery

Sustainable Water and Waste Management for Tibetan Refugees in Mundgod

Since 1970 Exile Tibetans have found a new home in Mundgod and have tried to make a new start for themselves and their Buddhist culture. A lack of financial means and Town Planning knowledge has led to an uncontrolled growth of the settlement with a negative impact on the ecological system, as well as a growing health hazard for the people living there. Based on the initiative of Dagyab Rinpoche, members of the Tibet House (Germany) have conceived an ecological aid project to redevelop the infrastructure of the Tibetan settlement in south India.

What are the objectives?

Aim of the project is to build an ecological water and wastewater system for the Tibetan settlement in Mundgod, to which the monastic universities Drepung and Ganden belong. By means of an exemplary application of adapted environmental technology the sustainable usage of limited water resources (as is the case in this remote area in India) will furthermore be demonstrated.

What has been done so far?

In the past three years substantial preparatory work has been accomplished in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Ing. Detlef Glücklich of the department for “Fundamentals of Ecological Building”, at the Bauhaus University (in Weimar), and members of Tibet House to establish a solid basis for an ecological pilot project.

What is the actual task?

Approximately 10.000 people live in a confined space in Mundgod without a proper sewage and waste management system. Several large Monasteries for thousands of ordained monks and nuns have been established here. The idea is to start the Water Management Project by completing one cell and to widen this successively to encompass the entire settlement area – a task that will take many years.

Starting point will be the Lama Camp No. 2 with a high infrastructure density of about 300 buildings. Most of the buildings of Camp No. 2 belong to the Drepung Monastery. This has an urban administration which can act as an institutionalised and reliable partner to effectively promote the project on-site. The Tibetan Monasteries have managed to maintain their traditional leadership role within the Tibetan society - also in exile. Thereby they are in a position to take over a role model with respect to ecological behaviour. After successful realisation in Lama Camp No. 2, this concept can be transferred to and implemented in the other ten camps of the settlement.

This ecological redevelopment project involves establishing a Master Plan for Camp No. 2 and subsequent detailed planning of the different construction phases, to be realised one after the other. In this way the lessons learnt from the first phase can be effectively incorporated into the construction phases following thereafter.

Who are the responsible partners in India?

The Drepung Monastery Administration has already agreed to fund 25 % of the building costs in India to demonstrate how serious and interested they are in this undertaking. All further funding - for planning activities and 75 % of the building costs (maybe even for training material) – must be raised through donations.

The entire project was personally presented to the Dalai Lama – Patron of the Tibet House – during his stopover in Hamburg in the summer of 2007. He was very touched by the project. In the meantime he has sent a letter of recommendation (foto).

Who are the responsible people in Germany?

The „Mundgod Water Project Initiative” consists of six members and a circle of supporters. In accordance with Dagyab Rinpoche’s immanent wish, it is our mission to contribute to the improvement of the ecological situation in Mundgod. As Rinpoche had originally received his spiritual education in Drepung/Tibet, we have a close association with “his Monastery” located in Mundgod and its neighbours.

The project cannot be conducted directly through the Tibet House due to a shortage of resources and experience. For this reason the Initiative is in search of a competent body that has sufficient experience in realising foreign aid projects in Asia. Nonetheless, Tibet House supports the project within its means, for example by administrating donations received.

For more information please contact: tsering(at)tibethaus(dot)com, Frankfurt
We welcome your email and any donation you wish to make!

Donations account:
Konto-Nr. 6300014079
Kontoinhaber: Tibethaus
BLZ 501 900 00
Frankfurter Volksbank
Designated use: Donation for Mundgod Water Project

Please don’t forget to put your name and address on the bank transfer so we can send you a donation receipt.

This project requires a high degree of experience and know-how. Therefore, we ask for your understanding that it will only be started if a suitable organisation for the project can be provided. With your bank transfer you give Tibet House your approval to use the donation for another aid project for Tibetans should no such organisation be found.