tibetan report  
the project

The village of Dangkhar is situated in Himachal Pradesh, a state in Northern India. Dangkhar is home to a monastery, a handful of associated temples, and a fort. It is in fact one of the five major monastic centres in Spiti, the others being Tabo, Ghungri, Gomic and Key. A Gelug-pa institution since the 1450s, Dangkhar is also known to have been Nyingma-pa, Sakya-pa and Kagyud-pa before that, depending on the religious allegiance of the Nono’s family (royal family).

The main purpose of this project is to generate an accurate and detailed record of the old monastic complex and to take its many aspects of architecture and design into equal consideration. Having worked on an accurate analysis and elaboration of the plans during the course of field research, the foundations were laid for an enhanced insight into the history and basic structure of the buildings, which was indispensible for the final analysis and structured elaboration of necessary preservation measures to guarantee the future existence of this unique cultural monument.

The following reports represent the cumulative data gathered during the fieldwork research program in 2010 and 2011. It is our hope that it provides valuable information regarding the history of the place and therefore shall contribute to bring more awareness and support.


After Markus Weisskopf had secured the funding, the research project was launched at Graz University of Technology with the aim of compiling accurate documentation of the ground plan and buildings of the monastery area as a basis for a restoration concept.

We wish to personally thank Markus Weisskopf who contributed to this work by financing the whole project. Without his generous and unconditional support none of this would have been possible. May all the merits be his! Last but not least we would like to thank all the friends and goodhearted spirits who have helped us before, during, and after our stay at Dangkhar. 

Markus Weisskopf >>
Graz University of Technology_Institute of Architectural Theory, Art History and Cultural Studies>>
Graz University of Technology_Institute of Applied Geosciences>>
University of Applied Arts Vienna_Institute of Conservation>>

annual report 2010

With the fieldwork in 2010 and the elaboration of a survey report, the foundations were laid for an enhanced insight into the history and basic structures of the monastic complex. This preliminary work was indispensible in order to present a comprehensive documentation and preservation measures.

The first field research in Dangkhar took place in summer 2010 under the expert leadership of Professor Holger Neuwirth who was assisted by Carmen Auer and Dieter Bauer from Graz University of Technology and actively supported by Lobsang Nyima, a Swiss archaeologist and Buddhist monk at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, South India.

The whole monastic complex was meticulously surveyed and photographically documented. The measurement was undertaken on the basis of 6 tachometer marks to gather a digital point cloud. It was then complemented by a conventional measurement of small-scale indoor structures. At the same time a catalogue of damages was compiled for each room. The data pool collected during this three week field research was thereafter evaluated at the TUGraz and processed into a collection of plans, including all necessary ground plans, sections, and elevations.

the monastery´s complex_ building description >>
the fortress-monastery of brag mkhar: an anamnesis >>
plan documentation >>

current state of the building >>
sustainable restoration measures >>

annual report 2011

In order to complete the documentation elaborated in 2010, the second fieldwork included the participation of various actors.
Due to the nature of the location, a geological assessment of the site and its stability was evaluated in an interdisciplinary cooperation with the Institute of Applied Geosciences of the TUGraz. A team of restorers from the University of Applied Arts Vienna surveyed the wall paintings of Dangkhar and elaborated the technical preconditions for their restoration. Lobsang Nyima continued to research the historical setting and acted as interpreter. The restoration and stabilization procedure was realised in cooperation with the architect Jitender Yadav. It includes the elaboration of plans, an inventory of construction materials, detailed and scheduled planning in prevision of 2012 – 2013, and the estimated cost for the work.

This second fieldwork took place from 21th June till 31th July 2011. It involved teams of experts in the disciplines of Geology, Archaeology and Tibetology, Painting Restoration, and Architecture.
The participants were Scott Kieffer and Christoph Steinbauer (Institute of Applied Geosciences at Graz University of Technology), Lobsang Nyima (Swiss archaeologist and Buddhist monk at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, South India), Kathrin Schmidt and Maria Gruber (Institute of Conservation at University of Applied Arts Vienna ), Holger Neuwirth and Carmen Auer (Institute of Architectural Theory, Art History and Cultural Studies at Graz University of Technology) and Jitender Yadav (Architect, New Delhi).

leaflet >>
tibetan report >>
geotechnical remediation strategies for the ancient monastery of dangkhar >>
material and structural documentation >>
spatial Model of the monastey´s main building >>

mural montage of the upper temple and the v illage chapel >>
building restoration 2012 >>

wallpaintings of dangkhar monastery: inventory and approaches to conservation >>
more historical research on brag mkhar >>
the multilingual glossary >>

site notice

Research Project „Save Dangkhar“
Graz University of Technology
Faculty of Architecture
Institute of Architectural Theory, Art History and Cultural Studies
Technikerstr. 4/3, A-8010 Graz / Austria

Project manager: DI Carmen Auer
Scientific coworkers:
a.o.Univ-Prof. DI Dr. Holger Neuwirth , DI Dieter Bauer, DI Dagmar Ley, Christoph Steinbauer, Lobsang Nyima
mail to:

No part of this website may be reproduced without prior permission. For personal non-commercial purposes the corresponding copyright must be annotated.For further information on the project or high-resolution images, please contact us.

Picture index of photographs with initials:

HN Holger Neuwirth
DB Dieter Bauer
CA Carmen Auer
LN Lobsang Nyima
CL Christian Luczanits


© save dangkhar 2013