Library of Tibetan Works and Archives is in Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh.
This library was founded by none other than the 14th Dalai Lama himself in 1970, and it is a treasure trove of Tibetan history, culture, politics, and art.
With over 80,000 manuscripts, books, and documents; 600 thangkas, statues, and other Buddhist artifacts; 10,000 photographs; and plenty of other materials, this place is like a time machine that’ll transport you back to the 12th century.
But wait, there’s more! The second floor of the library is home to a museum that opened in 1974, featuring artifacts and items that will blow your mind. From ritual dress and masks to mandalas and scriptures, there’s something for everyone here. And let me tell you, these are not just any old artifacts – these are the very same objects that were hidden away from the Chinese during their invasion and carried over the Himalayas by pack mules and people’s backs.
And the best part? You be lucky enough to secure special entrance to a locked vault room, where a monk-librarian may show you boxes of manuscripts and hand-painted scriptures wrapped in muslin cloth for protection. He can even unwrapped this to view the unbound individual pages and read and translate a passage in the sing-song Tibetan language that is the only language with diacritical markings (letters) that provide sound to the text.
How cool is that?
But even if you don’t get the VIP treatment, the museum-type displays that are open to the public are well worth the visit. Trust me, this library is not just a bunch of dusty old books – it’s a window into a fascinating culture and a must-see destination for any traveler with a sense of adventure and curiosity. Happy travels!”