Pink Twins

Pink Twins
Gangtok

Yellow Villa

Yellow Villa
Gangtok

Sparkling Rai Saag

Sparkling Rai Saag
Gangtok

Lovely Poppy Flowers

Lovely Poppy Flowers
Gangtok

A Different type of Seasonal Flower

A Different type of Seasonal Flower
Gangtok

Blue Flavour

Blue Flavour
Gangtok

Pink & White Combination

Pink & White Combination

Dark Pink Flavour

Dark Pink Flavour
Gangtok 6th March 16

Purple Charm

Purple Charm
CS Quarter Gangtok

Magnificent Yellow and Red Tulip

Magnificent Yellow and Red Tulip
Conservatory Near Selep Tank

Charm of Red Tulips

Charm of Red Tulips
Conservatory near Selep Tank

Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha
1-D Terminal New Delhi

Attraction of Red Panda

Attraction of Red Panda
Saramsa Garden

Lord Ganesh made of oranges

Lord Ganesh made of oranges
Saramsa Garden

Charm of Seasonal Flower

Charm of Seasonal Flower
Gaurds Ground Gangtok

Unmatched beauty

Unmatched beauty
Sikkim Organic Festival

Green is always soothing

Green is always soothing
Sikkim Organic Festival 2016

Yellow Orchid

Yellow Orchid
Somewhere in Gangtok

White Orchid

White Orchid
Manan Kendra

Purple Orchid

Purple Orchid
Manan Kendra, 31-10-2015

Gift of Nature

Gift of Nature
Near Cherry Building

Majestic View of Sea

Majestic View of Sea
Marina, Chennai, 19-10-15

Typical Sikkim Pillar Carving and painting

Typical Sikkim Pillar Carving and painting
Hotel Nork Hill

Mirror Reflection, Changed Angle

Mirror Reflection, Changed Angle
Nork Hill, 24-11-2015

Mirror Trick

Mirror Trick
Hotel Nork Hill, Gtok, 24-11-2015

Yes we have the power

Yes we have the power
Qtr at Devt Area, 25-11-2015

Majestic View of K.jenga from SLA

Majestic View of K.jenga from SLA
Gangtok dt 20-11-2015

MIRROR IMAGE OR COMPUTER TRICK

MIRROR IMAGE OR COMPUTER TRICK
NEW DELHI 22-10-15

BRILLIANT KATHAK PERFORMANCE

BRILLIANT KATHAK PERFORMANCE
MRS MALI SMU 13-10-2015

SAROD RECITAL

SAROD RECITAL
SMU CONVOCATION 13-10-15

SHOWCASING SIKKIM CULTURE

SHOWCASING SIKKIM CULTURE
ITM GANGTOK 14-10-15

RED BEAUTY

RED BEAUTY
GANGTOK

ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL

ARCHITECTURAL MARVEL
MAYFAIR GANGTOK

OM NAMAH SHIVAY

OM NAMAH SHIVAY
MAYFAIR GANGTOK 02-11-15

Smile and Joy

Smile and Joy
24th September Delhi

Catelia Orchid

Catelia Orchid
Gangtok

Beautiful Chinaware Lampshed

Beautiful Chinaware Lampshed
Gangtok

Catelia Orchid

Catelia Orchid
Gangtok on 7-10-15

Morning Glow

Morning Glow
Denzong Regency- Gangtok on 7-10-15

Pink Orchid

Pink Orchid
Pakyong Area

Green Orchid

Green Orchid
Bojeytar Pakyong 26 Feb 15

Tabla or Log Piece

Tabla or Log Piece
HMI Darjeeling Nov 2014

Hand can do anything

Hand can do anything
Birla Science Museum Kolkata

Legacy and Heritage

Legacy and Heritage
Indian Museum Kolkata

Queen Nephretus of Egypt

Queen Nephretus of Egypt
India Museum Kolkata 4th Mar 15

A Buddhist Stone Art Piece

A Buddhist Stone Art Piece
Tashi Delek June 2014

Foot Print of Bason

Foot Print of Bason
Satpura Forest

Foot Print of Tiger

Foot Print of Tiger
Satpura Forest (MP) March 14

Unique Piece of Pine Wood

Unique Piece of Pine Wood

Lovely Twins

Lovely Twins

Pink,Pink,Pink

Pink,Pink,Pink
Orchid,not only Spl ,It lasts longer Also

Clean Water has a Different Impact

Clean Water has a Different Impact
Rangeet at Jorethang ,24-11-14

What a Ravishing Beauty ?

What a Ravishing Beauty ?
Teesta near Kalijhora, 19-12-14

Pre Dawn Captivating Beauty

Pre Dawn Captivating Beauty
K.JUNGA, 6:20 AM 18 -12-14

Another Dawn View -Different Angle

Another Dawn View -Different Angle
K.JUNGA, 18-12-14

View at Dawn in Biting Cold

View at Dawn in Biting Cold
K.JUNGA 18-12

Dawn Scene-2

Dawn Scene-2
V Awas 18 -12-14

Dawn Scenario

Dawn Scenario
K.JUNGA

Morning Means End of Night

Morning Means End of Night
K. JUNGA,

View at Dawn

View at Dawn
K.JUNGA 2 ,18-12-14

Early Morning Freshness

Early Morning Freshness
K.JUNGA, 18-12-14

What an eye opener early in the day?

What an eye opener early in the day?
View of 17-12-2014 from Terrace of V. Awas

Another view of full snow around Mt Kanchendzonga

Another view of full snow around  Mt Kanchendzonga
17-12-2014

Magnificent view after bone chilling night

Magnificent view after bone chilling night
17-12-2014

Beauty of Kachendzonga after a cold night

Beauty of Kachendzonga after a cold night
Vidhayak Awas Gangtok

Amazing charm of Green Orchid

Amazing charm of Green Orchid
HMI Darjeeling

Green Orchid

Green Orchid
HMI DARJEELING (13-11-14)

Bell Flower in full bloom

Bell Flower in full bloom

Yellow Orchid

Yellow Orchid
Dec 14 Circuit House

View of Kanchendzonga always inspires

View of Kanchendzonga always inspires
Vidhayak Aawas Gangtok

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom
November 14 Ganesh Tok Gangtok

What a view after getting up ?

What a view after getting up ?
B-1 Vidhayak Aawas Gangtok

Chanda Mama looking at Kanchendzonga

Chanda Mama looking at Kanchendzonga
11-11-2014 VIP COLONY

Red Rose

Red Rose
Gangtok

Cranes having Gala Time

Cranes having Gala Time
Tigaon, Faridabad (2nd Oct 14)

Yes I am from Faridabad

Yes I am from Faridabad
Tiny, Beautiful Bird at NTPC, Ballabgarh (29.9.14)

Water Vital for Life

Water Vital for Life
Awesome view of Teesta near Kalijhora

Yes I had a Bath

Yes I had a Bath
Gladiola at 6200 ft.

Soothing Morning View

Soothing Morning View
Mt. Khangchendzonga from C.House (April, 14)

Natural Yellow Fascinates

Natural Yellow Fascinates
Gangtok (April, 2014)

Flowery Bell ?

Flowery Bell ?
Circuit House (May 14)

Riot of Colour in Monsoon

Riot of Colour in Monsoon
Circuit House, Gangtok(May 14)

Blushing orange

Blushing orange
Circuit House Gangtok (May 14)

Magnificent Taj

Magnificent Taj
Sept 2013

I can lift Taj Mahal

I can lift Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal,Sept end 2013

Natural fan to beat the heat

Natural fan to beat the heat
India Gate (24.08.14)

Engineering Marvel

Engineering Marvel
Coronation Bridge (22.08.2014)

Cascading water, soothing to eyes

Cascading water, soothing to eyes
Scene near Teesta Baazar (22.8.14)

Teesta attracts at every bend

Teesta attracts at every bend
16.7.2014

Monkey jump

Monkey jump
Teesta River, Birik(22.8.14)

Onset of Night

Onset of Night
Qutub,Sept.13

Qutub,Dusk Scene

Qutub,Dusk Scene
Sept.13

Together we take a Plunge

Together we take a Plunge
Clean Calicut Beach, Feb-2013

Setting Sun, always soothing

Setting Sun, always soothing
Dusk at a Gaya village(15.5.13)

Green Paradise in Concrete Jungle

Green Paradise in Concrete Jungle
Lake surrounding Purana Quila(20.10.13)

Monday, March 23, 2009

THANKA PAINTINGS

The small and beautiful state of Sikkim has remarkable art, craft and vibrant traditions. The various art forms have been deeply influenced by the places of workship, festivals and eight lucky signs of Buddhism.
Religion as an extremely significant system of belief or faith has always been instrumental in maintaining and sustaining a strong blend of communal harmony and tranquility in the Sikkim situation. The state’s magnificent places of worship, even those situated in far flung and remote corners, reverberate with unusual spiritual energy. Apart from keeping the people of three main communities (Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali) together, these also have their own unique influence on art and craft forms and practices.
The architecture and fa├žade of most of the places of worship, therefore, hold a rather magnetic appeal for visitors and tourists. One can also see exquisite workmanship, intricate carving, uncommon colour combinations and painting in them. Needless to say, most of the religious institutions abound in colour and festivity
The monasteries or the Gumpas hold an extremely significant position in the life of a follower of the Buddhist religion. ‘Gumpa’, literally means, a solitary place. It is believed that isolation from the world is needed, not as an art of self punishment but to escape worldly temptations and weaknesses. A monastery is built in such a way that it should look out towards the east direction to catch the first rays of the rising sun. Sikkim, due to its unique heritage is a land of very old and deep-rooted handicraft and handloom traditions. The art and craft forms which have emerged from, or are linked to the monasteries, are Thanka paintings, mask-making, wood carving, metal craft, etc.

The thankas are the religious scrolls found hanging in the monasteries or in Buddhist houses. Considered very Sacred and auspicious, these are supposed to drive away evil spirits. Primarily, life stories or sketches of gods and goddesses in different forms are shown in them. They may depict Lord Buddha, Goddess Dolma, God Manjushree, Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning, the Goddess Tara, an embodiment of compassion, Guru Padmasambhava, God Chana Dorji or for that matter, any Tibetan Saint, the Wheel of Life or some other deity, surrounded by deities of lesser significance. With the passage of time, a sort of secular touch has been witnessed in these unique painting. No wonder, nowadays, they also show Hindu gods and goddesses, such as Lord Ganesh, Goddess,Saraswati, Lord Balaji, Lord Venkateshwara, etc.

The Wheel of life, one of the purest Buddhist emblems, is prominently found on the Thankas. The circular form of this Wheel signifies wordly existence and the hub of the wheel as a cock, a snake and a pig. The cock shows lust or desire, the snake, anger, and
the pig signifies ignorance, as also stupidity. Placed in the centre of the wheel, these are supposed to be the root causes of the disturbances on earth. While the white portion on the wheel signifies good deeds of human beings, the black portion represents bad or evil deeds. In the same way, individuals shown in the white portion are those who perform good deeds in life and are, therefore, eligible for a rebirth in the world of gods. On the other hand, human beings figuring in the black portion indicate hell or the world of animals.

The Thankas are made, or painted by religious artisans, popularly known as Lharipas. In view of the fact that these are made by referring to religious texts, it is necessary for the artist to know the Tibetan language. These are not mere objects or pieces of decoration for the artist, but a powerful aid to the Tantric meditation. Stone colours and vegetable dyes are used in plenty while making such scroll paintings. Two primary colours namely, red yellow, highlight the difference between fire and life, between the material and the immaterial. The orange colour symbolizes the knowledge of the highest form of spirituality. Blue suggests depth, purity and infinity, while green is supposed to represent the vegetable aspects.

The value of a Thanka depends on the intricacy of its drawing, the quantum of gold dust prevalent in the painting material and the amount of gold thread used in the tapestry.

On an average, a Thanka takes about a month or two to make, though the larger and more detailed Thankas may take a longer time. Consequently, these are somewhat expensive paintings but at the same time, worth keeping and worth presenting to dignitaries or one’s near or dear ones. In addition to occupying a place of importance or prominence in a monastery or a home, these age-old attractive paintings are also required during special occasions, such as, birth, death, marriage, house-warming, etc. When a Buddhist expires, as a part of ritual on the forty-ninth day, a Thanka depicting a particular god or goddess is worshipped. The selection of such a Thanka is decided upon the perusal of the horoscope of the deceased person.
The wealth possessed by a particular individual or a monastery is reflected in terms of the icons and Thankas possessed by them. For instance, the important monasteries of Sikkim, such as, Dubdi, Pemayangtse, Tashiding, Ralong, Rumtek, Enchey and Pal Zurmang have huge and priceless Thankas.

It is a matter of concern that the art of Thanka painting is witnessing a diminishing trend on account of various factors, such as, lack of interest in the younger generation of artisan families, rapid urbanization and rising materialism as well as the declining patronage of artists by art lovers and the monasteries, To date, barely 25 Thanka painters are active in the state. Only four or five of them have been successful in getting National, State or other Awards, while a majority of them live in isolation. A few like Gyanden Lharipa, Khandu Wangchuk, Nima Tshering and Pema Wangyal are in a position to not only leave an impact but also to sell their products well. Thanks to the telecommunication revolution in this part of the country, they can avail of cell phones and the much needed access to the internet. In addition to making his own products, Pema Wangyal has been teaching 20-25 students of Loyala University, California, USA, twice a year. Such an exercise initiated in 2005, has transformed 60 foreign students into Thanka painters. To sum up in the words of Pema Wangyal, winner of the Kala Mani Award (Suraj Kund Mela-2002), “the ancient art of Thanka painting badly needs financial and marketing support from the government and financial institutions, failing which, the art may be swept away be rapidly changing technological innovations.”

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