Young Tibetans keen to watch paintings of Dalai Lama

By Hemant Chauhan, ANI, Sept 13, 2007

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh (India) -- Traditional Tibetan paintings on Buddhist spiritual leaders drew hordes of youngsters to a ten-day exhibition in Dharamshala.

The paintings, exhibited at Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Arts, in the traditional Thangka style, depict the life and teachings of five Dalai Lamas of Tibet including the present.

The Institute is making paintings of all the spiritual leaders of Tibetans and so far made on eight Dalai Lamas.

"Our prime object is to create awareness within Tibetan community and in the western world of Norblungka Thangkas. We are using our traditional way of keeping the Thangkas. Before independence in Tibet, we used to make Thangkas like this we are using the same way of making the Thangkas," said Kunsang Tsering, organiser of the exhibition.

The exhibition seeks to raise awareness among the younger generation of Tibetans, most of who are born outside their homeland, about their spiritual leaders.

"For awareness of new generation, it is very important. The older generation knows about it but those students who are studying history, for them it is very helpful," said Tsering Phuntsok, Minister of Religion and Culture.

The exhibition will continue till September 21, and has attracted a large number of young Tibetans and foreign tourists visiting the abode of the Dalai Lama.

"This is unique and very beautiful. If anybody who comes to India, I recommend they come to Dharamshala, to Norblungka in particular, to see the traditional Thangka paintings," said Julia Westrn, a tourist from Great Britain.

Thangka paintings are drawn on cloth with fine brushes and natural colours. One Thangka takes more than a year to complete.

These paintings became popular among travelling monks, as the scroll paintings could easily be rolled and carried from one place to another. These paintings served as important teaching tools on the life of Lord Buddha and other important Buddhist religious leaders.