Ethics in Conservation of Religious Heritage Sites of Leh – Ladakh

Masooma Rizvi


Heritage sites of Ladakh and Leh are under constant threat from many dangers and are in urgent need for conservation. Many stakeholders are a part of the conservation process and it requires multi-layered and close ties. Ladakh’s cultural heritage is phenomenal and incredibly diverse. The constant contact with the cultures of its neighbouring regions for centuries has resulted in a high degree of influence on the indigenous cultures and traditions. There is a visible Tibetan contribution, which has manifested in its monasteries, monuments, art forms, oral cultural traditions, folklore, festivals, and language. The earliest Buddhist heritage of Ladakh comprises of petroglyphs, stupas, ancient rock carvings, and inscriptions that are found scattered throughout the region. Monastic establishments, fortresses, Thangka paintings, manuscripts, ritual objects, and decorative elements in architecture, particularly wall paintings. These have to be conserved and preserved for the generations to come. These have major challenges as the faith and local stakeholders need to be involved. This paper discusses these challenges and the way forward for conserving such heritage places where religion is practised.


conservation; heritage; petroglyphs; rituals; indigenous cultures

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ISSN: 2454-2296

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