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National Museum Institute documents Ladakh's cultural heritage

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MNI documents Ladakh's cultural heritage

New Delhi, Nov 6: The age-old culture of Buddhist-dominated Ladakh is bracing for a fresh breath of life amid winds of modernity, as the National Museum is documenting the intangible cultural heritage of the remote Himalayan plateau known for its distinct dance, music, cuisine, architecture, costumes and agriculture which have evolved over centuries.

The effort of the National Museum Institute (NMI), to work with Ladakhi people to develop an inventory on their unique lifestyle has gained renewed vigour, with brighter prospects of a string of museums coming up in the high-altitude valley.

The ongoing project on ICH (intangible cultural heritage), which has support from the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), aims to safeguard the region's heritage in the wake of increasing pressures of new-age needs, tourism and globalisation.

Dr Venu V, who is Director-General of National Museum, said today that NMI's department of museology was giving in-service training for the personnel from several monasteries dotting Ladakh so as to realise the ambitious task.

"True, the area has several monasteries, some of which serve as museums on local Buddhist religion, art and culture. Maybe more such heritage repositories are set to open, but NMI is helping them adopt new techniques of conservation, display and documentation," he added.

Prof Manvi Seth of NMI, which is a deemed university providing higher education on art history, conservation and museology, informed that the training programme has been designed with special consideration to the needs of Ladakh. "We have identified three remote villages in the region; work is already on at Gya. The broad topics being covered in this module are around documentation (of museum objects and of ICH), preventive conservation and security," she added.

Chiktan and Skurbachan are the two other villages where NMI will work on exploring the nature and range of ICH. "At present, substantial data has been collected from Gya," Prof Seth informed.

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