Tibetan Culture

Monasteries and nunneries

The monasteries and nunneries act as cultural centers by preserving the major fields of study. In addition they provide essential spiritual guidance to all members of Tibetan society, who strongly depend on the monasteries as a source of advice, comfort and consolation.

At present there are 181 monasteries and 8 nunneries in India, Nepal and Bhutan established after 1959, representing all five traditions of Tibetan religion. The survey of the monasteries and nunneries undertaken for the second Integrated Development Plan and the records of the Department of Religion and Culture indicate that there are 17,376 monks and 549 nuns in these monasteries and nunneries.


A number of other institutions were also founded to preserve and promote specific aspects of the Tibetan religious and cultural traditions, and these now operate independently under the auspices of the Department of Religion and Culture.

The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dharamsala, was founded in 1959 to ensure the survival of Tibetan opera, song, dance and musical traditions (see 7.5 below).

Tibet House, New Delhi, was established in 1965 with a museum, library and emporium. Tibet House runs courses in Tibetan studies, holds conferences and seminars, undertakes research and translations, produces publications and stages exhibitions.

The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, was established in 1971 to preserve religious and cultural artifacts and documents which survived the destruction in Tibet; to preserve ancient Tibetan crafts; and to provide facilities for those who are interested in learning about Tibetan language, history and culture, and the history and philosophy of Buddhism (see 7.6 below). The Library has been recognized as "Center for Tibetan Studies" by the University of Himachal Pradesh.

The Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, Varanasi, was established in 1967 to educate Tibetan students and others in the fields of higher Tibetan, Buddhist and Himalayan studies, and Sanskrit, as well as providing modern education in English (see 7.7 below). The Institute has been granted "Deemed to be University" status in India, and is funded by the Government of India.

The Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala, was established by the Department of Religion and Culture in 1988 to provide an environment for the future development of Tibetan culture, both in its artistic and literary aspects. Thus it seeks to preserve and develop ancient Tibetan artistic traditions through its Center of Arts, as well as to preserve and develop Tibetan literary and scholarly traditions through its Institute for Tibetan Learning (see 7.4 below).

The Norbulingka Institute is directly managed by the Department of Religion and Culture. The others, while functioning as independent bodies, have an official affiliation to the Department.

Copyright 2006 Adventure-Tibet All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited.

site mapfeedback