Last month my trip to Andretta , also landed us at Norbulingka Institute in Dharamshala. I am personally very fond of Thangka paintings and Buddha Statutes and the more I read about the place , the more I wanted to visit it.
In the early 1980’s, Kelsang Yeshi, Minister of the Department of Religion and Culture, and his wife Kim Yeshi began to imagine an institute in India which could act as a cradle for the revival of Tibetan art, and provide a haven for artists to practice their crafts. The goal was to return Tibetan art to its former glory, following the strictest standards in terms of the selection of materials, quality of craftsmanship, and adherence to traditional methods. With the growing interest in Tibetan culture in India and abroad, Norbulingka could also serve as a emissary of Tibetan culture, a place where people could come and witness artists at work and immerse themselves in a Tibetan community for an afternoon or a few days. The increasing fascination with Tibetan Buddhism internationally created a demand for exceptionally crafted art objects, which would make the project sustainable
“Our art apprenticeship program trains Tibetan students in the traditional arts of thangka painting, statue-making, and woodcarving as a way to ensure that these methods are passed down as they have been for centuries. Becoming a trained artist in traditional arts requires great dedication: the most basic course for thangka painting and woodcarving is three years, while for statue-making it is seven. After completing their studies, most apprentices join our workshops and continue to hone their skills, becoming true masters at their chosen art forms.”
“All of our students have great ambitions for the future. Some hope to return to Tibet to share what they have learned with people in their hometowns who have not gotten the opportunities they have, while others dream of becoming translators. Many join Norbulingka after their graduation, becoming an integral part of our community. One student shares that she wants to “help those who are illiterate in all corners of the world, especially this Tibetan generation.”
” I want all Tibetans to get an education and be able to soon stand on their own feet.” Students such as these, who are so excited to study and preserve their own culture are a light in what might seem like a dark era in Tibetan history. They are a hope and an example for all future generations to come, having the strength and the energy to carry the torch of their heritage for the benefit of their nation. ”
Loved these Yak pouches that women were making
To learn more about Norbulingka Institute and shop their products click here.
Image courtesy : Pictures were clicked by me at the Institute except the actual product images are from the Norbulingka website.