US Embassy funds protection of 11th-century Buddhist monastery in Nepal; global warming flood threat cited

Rinchenling, an 11th-century Buddhist monastery in NW Nepal at risk from glacial melting

An 11th-century Buddhist monastery in Nepal is at risk from climate-change-driven flooding, and the US Embassy is stepping in to help.

Reuters reports that rising temperatures in the Himalayas have melted some glaciers into lakes, threatening flood destruction downslope. One historic site in the crosshairs is Rinchenling monastery in Halji village, 355 km north of Kathmandu. It is perhaps the oldest surviving Buddhist temple in Nepal, and narrowly avoided destruction in a 2011 flood. Through its US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the US Embassy in Nepal has granted $87,800 to protect Rinchenling in the future.

Local people believe Rinchenling to have been one of the 108 temples founded by the renowned Tibetan translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055). See this blog post for a wide-ranging discussion about the evidence for this claim.

Photograph by Astrid Hovden,