Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (India)

A review of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (བོད་ཀྱི་དཔེ་མཛོད་ཁང་།) (Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India).

(19 October 2015) The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) is in Dharamshala, India. It welcomes scholars, offering its own vegetarian café and rooms for researchers.

LTWA was founded in 1970 by the 14th Dalai Lama to preserve various Tibetan artifacts, manuscripts, printed texts, and records in exile. It has since become one of the key institutions solely dedicated to the study of Tibetan culture and civilization. In addition to LTWA’s rich foreign and Tibetan language library resources, it also houses an Audio-Visual Archive, an Oral History Department, a Photo Archive, and a Museum.

The Audio-Visual Archive was once a branch of the Oral History Department, and includes recordings of Buddhist teachings as well as interviews with Tibetans from all walks of life.

The Oral History Department (OHD) contains a wealth of information pertaining to Tibetan culture in general, and in particular to modern Tibet.

The Photo Archive remained in a dormant state until 2009, when LTWA appointed a photo archivist to rebuild and revive this section. It hosts a collection of pictures from pre-1959 Tibet as well as black-and-white photographs depicting the early life of Tibetans in exile. One key highlight of this archive is their special collection on Tibetan architecture, which was once a part of LTWA’s Tibetan Architecture Documentation Center. A digital catalogue/index is only available for photos taken before the year 1959.

The Museum at LTWA is also home to 600 different statues, 50 Tibetan scroll paintings, and 20 unique bronze and silver stupas. In addition to Buddhist stationary objects, there are number of other artifacts that were once used in everyday life in old Tibet—such as ink pots, pens, slate, cups, and a matchlock rifle.

Read the full description of the LTWA by Tenzin Tsepak here.