At the heart of every Monastery—as in every home—is the kitchen. Monks take turns on kitchen duty to prepare the tea for morning and afternoon prayers, cook the breakfast bread or prepare the tsampa (roasted barley flour), to produce lunch and supper for 400 monks out of the cheapest ingredients, while making sure that it is still nutritious and filling. The kitchen also caters for guests and copes with many extra visitors during the great festival period of Losar (New Year).

While the infrastructure of the Monastery has been improving over the years, the kitchen, in spite of now catering for a greatly increased number, has not been improved or modernised for many years. The Administrators are also working very hard to maintain the quality of the food they are able to offer the monks from day to day. This Appeal is to raise funds to build a new kitchen to supply the whole Monastery for many years to come.

THE PRESENT SITUATION

Morning tea and bread is prepared in the main kitchen and must then be carried to the far side of the Monastery, past the old temple and hostels, past the new Choera (Debate Hall) and across the veranda into the main Dukhang (Prayer Hall) during morning and evening prayers. Especially in the rainy season this is very difficult.


Lunch and supper is collected in bowls and buckets by the younger monks in each house and carried back to eat with their teachers and the more senior monks. Since the construction of the new Dukhang the main hostel rooms are now even further away from the existing kitchen, so it is a long run back home carrying the hot food. The existing kitchen has had to expand in size to cater for the ever-increasing numbers of monks, but it has not been possible to plan this expansion carefully due to lack of funds. It is difficult to control the mouse and rat population; the very old water tanks are now leaking badly which not only wastes a precious resource, but also makes the floor unsafe as it becomes very slippery. Preparation and storage areas are not under cover, which leads to inevitable contamination by flies and other insects, and the whole area, due to its nature, is almost impossible to keep clean and hygienic.

THE PLAN

The Monastery is building a new kitchen in a purpose-built building, capable of serving the catering needs for the whole monastery, in the centre of the Monastery’s campus. There is space to store wood for the main oven, for the gas cylinders as well as rooms for storage, preparation and cleaning of utensils. The site of the new kitchen has good access to the new Dukhang, the old Temple and the Choera and the new Library, and is equidistant between the existing old and new hostel accommodation. Guests could be served meals either in the Choera or the Dukhang, but the kitchen is far enough away from both to pose no problem of smells from cooking or smoke from the fire.   A water supply is nearby from the Monastery’s water tanks, and vehicular access to the kitchen is simple using the main road.

Construction is well under way, with the ceiling of the first floor now complete.  The top floor will be used as storage and as additional residential accommodation when needed.  Proceeds from the last tour of the monks were put towards the cost of the kitchen, but much more needs to be raised to complete the building and to install the necessary equipment.

THE NEW KITCHEN APPEAL IS JUST ONE OF THE FUNDRAISING PROJECTS SUPPORTED BY TASHI LHUNPO MONASTERY UK TRUST.  FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ADDITIONAL PROJECTS, PLEASE CLICK ON THE DONATE BUTTON BELOW.

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