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į”kyamuni - An Exhibition of Rare Thankas


Mr. R V Vaidyanathan Ayyar, Secretary, Department of Culture





NEW DELHI - 110 001


The Thankas are the portraits either of Buddha or Bodhisattvas. A Thanka illuminates the mystical experience and stages of spiritual development of the divine personality represented in the painting. Thankas have spiritual significance as well as aesthetic value. These are installed either in the family shrine or assembly hall of monastery as the objects of worship. The devotees offer votive offering such as fruits, flowers and light the butter lamp for a better life and spiritual development as well as love and compassion for all beings. The Thankas do not have religious value unless the divine spirit is infused in them. Consecration (prana pratishtha) is accomplished by Lamas according to religious rites.

The exhibition of these rare; Thankas is being organised in Delhi, Hyderabad and Varanasi by Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Leh. Selection of Thankas has been made under the supervision of Ladakh Gompa Association from four different monasteries of Ladakh. Ladakh region, inspite of improvement in transport and communication, is still largely inaccessible. Consequently, Thankas in Ladakh monasteries have been shrouded in mystery for a long period of time. The object of this exhibition is to provide a glimpse of this rich legacy of Buddhist culture to people in different parts of the country .It is hoped that this exhibition will stimulate curiosity and determination to conserve this vast heritage.

R. V. Vaidyanatha Ayyar

January 29, 2001

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