Sustainable housing: the beginning

In 2005, the Reverend Dagpo Rinpochee's greatest wish was fulfilled. A long-term project, the relocation of the monastery Dagpo Shedrup Ling, became a fact. From a temporary home in the Tibetan settlement of Mainpat in Central India, the monastery moved to a new and permanent home in Kaïs in the Kullu Valley. In this monastery, the unique Dagpo traditions are studied in a place that is also accessible to visitors from all over the world.

Quite unexpectedly, in 2015 it became clear that there were a number of major problems that turned out to be of a structural nature. These problems require thorough renovation of the buildings to avoid serious consequences for the safety of the children and monks. 

Of course, Reverend Dagpo Rinpochee hopes that the problems with the buildings be solved as quickly as possible in a sustainable and ecological way. The advice Reverend Dagpo Rinpochee gives is very valuable to the monks and to TWF.

His most important advice for the moment: “Take on the issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Then proceed step by step with what is feasible until the desired end result is achieved.”

Safety at risk

After the monks requested support from The Dagpo Educational Fund (TDEF) for the installation of heating in 2015, the problems with the buildings came to light.

In India, it turned out that there was hardly any knowledge of installing sustainable heating in existing buildings. That is why help was sought and found in the Netherlands at the Tu Delft. Architecture students from the Architecture department were prepared to research the possibilities of sustainable heating in the monastery. They were also commissioned to design a medical post on a plot of land in front of the monastery.

However, the study, which took place in 2015 and 2016, had a surprising outcome. The conclusion was that before the construction of heating could be started, an investigation had to be carried out into the safety of the site and all buildings! The Kullu Valley is very sensitive to earthquakes and landslides and this was not taken into account in the construction of the monastery. Due to the great danger of landslides, the medical post could not be built at the planned location either.

Research into the danger of earthquakes and landslides

In 2017, as a follow-up to the TU-Delft research, the international construction and consultancy firm Arup conducted an exploratory geological and constructional survey into the safety of the site and buildings. Arup performed this as part of their Community Engagement ProgramThe outcome was that the buildings are in a poor technical condition. Especially given the great risks of earthquakes and landslides. The groundwater management must also be tackled urgently to prevent damage to the foundation and subsidence.

Significant measures must be taken to make the buildings for the school children and monks safe, healthy and sustainable. 

Creation of a foundation

The realization of these major measures will require a lot of work and time and will cost a lot of money. That is why in 2018, in consultation with Reverend Dagpo Rinpochee, it was decided to set up The WHISE Foundation. The main tasks are the fundraising and the project management of the renovation. The foundation is committed to good, safe and sustainable renovation of the monastery and school building and the medical post with great enthusiasm.


  • The realization of sustainable, safe monastic buildings that can withstand earthquakes and landslides in the Kullu Valley.
  • Tackling the environmental problem by realizing clean waste incineration, a proper sewerage system and good drainage of the site.
  • The realization of a safe school building for primary education.
  • Rebuilding the housing of the medical post. 
  • Good heating and cooling in all buildings.

master plan

In 2019 The WHISE Foundation asked Hopper bv An masterplan to set up. This describes the different phases of the entire renovation. It provides insight into what needs to be done in the short, medium and long term. The plan pays attention to all relevant aspects of the renovation, such as good drainage of the site, sufficient ventilation in the buildings, a safe electricity supply, environmentally friendly sewerage, a sustainable clean (hot) water supply, insulation and heating, as well as a clean waste processing.

The objective of The WHISE Foundation is to realize the various phases of the master plan over the next 10 – 15 years. The basic principle is: first do what is necessary and urgent and then what is feasible. The monastery determines the urgency in consultation with the engineers, architect and The WHISE Foundation. An important task for The WHISE Foundation is to ensure sufficient financial capacity.


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