Wanla is a village in Lower Ladakh located at the confluence of two streams (Yalpola and Shillakong) in a side valley between Khaltse and Lamayuru on an altitude of approximately 3260 metres. The village is placed on the slopes around a prominent rock hill that once boasted an impressive castle. Today the ridge is dominated by the lofty structure of the three-storeyed Wanla temple and an adjacent residential building erected in the 1980s. Only two towers from different periods and a number of walls remain of the castle, which had once surrounded the temple. The temple is oriented towards the north eastern side valley hosting presumably the oldest part of the village.
Since several years, the three-storeyed Chuchig-zhal has been investigated and has also become a conservation site of the Achi Association.
The architectural team also assisted in the construction of a habitation for the custodian monk in a discreet corner within the rocky surroundings of the temple. The challenge was to maintain the unique silhouette of the Wanla temple complex on top of the ridge as much as possible.
The approach to include the cultural landscape of the complete ridge with its diverse historical settings into a comprehensive preservation concept, led to the survey of the historic passageway chorten, located at the foot of the ridge.
A first investigation of the other structures on the ridge and the historic core of the village in the eastern side valley was carried out in the first year of the program entitled “The Ancient Fortress and Monastery at Wanla: A Pilot Youth Training Program for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Ladakh”.
These efforts led to some essential trust within the community and so the Achi Association was asked to help with the restoration of a building, which was feared to fall apart. It can be considered as a part of the Wanla Heritage Path and is called the 8 chörten building.