Urgent Kitchen Work

Urgent Work on the Dolma Ling Kitchen

With about 250 nuns and 20 staff to feed daily, the kitchen at Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute is the most heavily used part of the nunnery complex. Unfortunately, poor ventilation and leaks mean that working in the kitchen is almost unbearable for the nuns during the summertime.

The Dolma Ling nuns urgently need help to improve the ventilation, gutters, and roof of the kitchen so that the kitchen can function smoothly. The work must be completed before the onset of the heavy monsoon rains and the summer heat. Last June, the temperature in Dharamsala reached 105°F or 41°C. Inside the Dolma Ling kitchens, it was hotter!

Dolma Ling Nunnery kitchen

Two Tibetan Buddhist nuns on kitchen duty at Dolma Ling. In the summer, the temperature outside regularly reaches 97°F or 36°C. Inside the kitchen with big pots over gas burners it is far hotter!

All the cooking takes place in huge pots on gas burners and the kitchen becomes extremely hot. This is dangerous for the nuns’ health. There is one extractor fan, but it does not provide sufficient ventilation. Moreover, the noise and smell from the exhaust fan in the kitchen wall are very disturbing for the teachers who live in the building adjacent to the kitchen. When the nuns are cooking the smoke goes out the windows and straight into the teachers’ living quarters.

During the monsoon, heavy rains sometimes overflow the gutters between the original roof and the roof extension. Water pours into the kitchen, making the floor wet and dangerous for the nuns on kitchen duty.

The nuns would like help to remove the old slate sloped roof and replace it with a flat concrete roof to avoid any leakage. This would also provide an easily accessed rooftop that can be used for many things such as food preparation, additional outdoor seating, for drying cleaning cloths, and to set bowls of the nuns’ homemade yogurt in the sun to set during the colder months.

Estimated Budget: US $53,800

To help you can:

  1. Make a gift online
  2. Call our office in Seattle, U.S. at 1-206-652-8901
  3. Mail a check to The Tibetan Nuns Project, 815 Seattle Boulevard South #418, Seattle, WA 98134 U.S. (note that it is for Dolma Ling Kitchen)
  4. Donate securities
  5. Leave a gift in your will to the Tibetan Nuns Project

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The Plan for the Kitchen Work

In 2015, with the help of TNP donors, the nuns expanded the original kitchen built when there were just 82 nuns. This created a covered area on ground level for the delivery of vegetables where they were stored, cleaned, and prepared. The main kitchen on the first floor was extended providing a much larger cooking and washing-up area.

The plan is to dismantle the existing sloping slate roof, raise the walls of the kitchen building, and install a steel box pillar-and-beam structure to provide a lightweight but strong frame on which to pour a flat concrete roof slab.

Dolma Ling Nunnery Kitchen

At times it is unbearable to cook in the Dolma Ling kitchen. When the nunnery was started in 1993, the state of the world’s weather was different and summer temperatures rarely exceeded 91°F or 33°C. Now there is an urgent need to improve the ventilation for the nuns’ safety and wellbeing. Photo by Brian Harris.

This flat roof will be designed to incorporate the bank of solar panels which are currently fixed on the slate roof, thus providing much easier access for cleaning and maintenance. The new, more useful flat roof space will be accessed from the first-floor corridor above the dining hall, outside the tailoring section.

The main portion of the roof will be covered with a sloping powder-coated steel roof supported on a steel framework. The resulting large covered floor open at the sides will be used as an overflow from the now quite congested dining hall. This will be especially useful during the monsoon when the nuns cannot spill out onto the courtyard to sit and eat outside. The nuns feel this extra space will be very useful and the roof will protect the slab.

Urgent kitchen work needed at Dolma Ling

Here is a photo of the existing kitchen roof with solar panels. The plan is to dismantle the existing sloping roof, raise the walls of the kitchen building and have a flat roof area to provide extra work and seating space and where the solar panels can be easily accessed for maintenance and cleaning.

The plan for this renovation includes removing the old pressed steel-framed and wooden-shuttered windows which provide insufficient ventilation and are also very difficult to maintain. The windows will be replaced with larger UPVC windows with sliding glass and mesh shutters. The ground-level sink used for cleaning the big cooking pots will also be made larger.

Our architects have agreed to make a plan to improve the use of the kitchen area. At present the cooking takes place against the walls and utensils racks are placed up against the windows. The centre of the kitchen is generally unused.  Our aim is to work with the nuns to providing a much more congenial working area.