Study art history, architecture, and Buddhism across northern India on the Tibetan Plateau.
Learn inside and outside the classroom.
This program provides learning in traditional and nontraditional formats as you travel from Delhi across remote areas of northern India. In-classroom lectures are interspersed with site visits, readings, Hindi language classes in overnight camps, hikes, treks, picnics, and painting excursions.
Explore Vajrayana Buddhism.
You will examine the unique Vajrayana Buddhist culture, which has nourished a rich, visual tradition in sculpture, painting, and architecture.
Study rare art and art history in remote and beautiful areas of Indic Asia.
You will visit monasteries built into mountainsides as you learn about the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the Himalayas. The program engages with those who have reconstructed this history, those who are creating new history, and those who preserve the art that remains.
Travel the road across northern India on the Tibetan Plateau.
You will travel through the valleys of Spiti, Ladakh, and Zanskar, situated on the Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of between 11,000 and 12,000 feet, crossing high-altitude passes close to 18,000 feet in elevation.
Here, you will discover how the Spiti, Ladakh, and Zanskar regions remain culturally intact, their ancient monasteries and distinctive secular communities vibrant and creative. Often referred to as “Little Tibet,” the region has been an important part of Buddhist and Silk Road culture for hundreds of years. Many of these areas have only recently become accessible by road.
See the stunning natural landscape and unique wildlife of the western Himalayas.
Besides having a spectacular natural landscape, the western Himalayan area is also significant for its unusual wildlife, including the Himalayan wild ass (kiang), wild yak, ibex, golden marmot, and blue sheep (bharal). Many unusual birds, including the Himalayan snowcock and the enormous lammergeier and griffon vulture, are also seen in the region.
Lecturers and Contributors
- The program’s academic director, Dr. Mary Storm, is a Buddhist art history scholar with many years of experience in this northern region of India. She will give some of the lectures along with other scholars and professors at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies.
- The program’s lectures are also presented by the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in Choglamsar, one of the preeminent centers for Tibetan Buddhist studies in India.
Independent Study Period
Near the end of the program, you will be given a short period to independently research and write a paper related to Himalayan Buddhist art and architecture. This will give you a chance to sum up and evaluate your experiences and think deeply about Himalayan Buddhist art and architecture. You can opt to join a trek to visit the eleventh-century monastery of Sumda Chun, where you will complete a site visit of plans, drawings, and assessment.