The Himalayan region is undergoing a transformation characterised by rapid developmental activities that pose a significant dilemma between progress and cultural preservation. The region is witnessing a surge in infrastructural projects, facilitating economic growth while challenging the preservation of indigenous cultures. Indigenous cultures comprise rich traditions, knowledge, and spiritual beliefs deeply ingrained in their ancestral lands, generating distinct relationships to the environment and community. These cultures frequently emphasise collective harmony, sustainable living practices, and the preservation of oral traditions passed down through generations. Culture, inherently subjective, necessitates a qualitative approach to study, given its intensely personal and socially constructed nature. The study explores the intricate dilemma the Tibetan community in the Himalayan region faces amid burgeoning development and the advance of the globalised world. Employing the innovative mind map technique, the research seeks to grasp the nuanced perceptions of cultural alteration within the Tibetan community in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. The spatial mind map prepared shows the cultural sentiments and perceptions of the Tibetans overlaid with developmental projects. Primary data collection methods, including participant observations, questionnaires, interviews, and photographic documentation, are utilised to elucidate generational perspectives on cultural change. Complementing primary data, secondary sources such as books, research papers, and case studies enrich the analysis, providing depth and context to the findings.

The study unveils significant worries inherent in the conflict between development aspirations and cultural preservation imperatives through meticulous analysis and synthesis of primary and secondary data. It proposes alternative strategies aimed at finding the middle path between the adverse impacts of development and the indigenous cultures of Tibetans, which honour the Himalaya’s rich cultural heritage. Central to the study’s contribution is the development of narrative analysis, synthesising insights to illustrate the complex economic-cultural dynamics at play. By shedding light on the delicate balance required for development projects in culturally vibrant and ecologically fragile regions, the findings serve as a valuable resource for international policymakers, scholars, and development practitioners. Ultimately, the research aims to foster a deeper understanding of the Himalayan region’s unique challenges and opportunities, guiding efforts towards more culturally sensitive and environmentally sustainable development practices.

Keywords: development, cultural heritage, preservation, Tibetan community, Himalayas