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Audio Visual

Audio-visual Archive is dedicated to factual recordings of the contemporary Tibetan culture as witnessed or recalled by important figures, scholars, professionals and refugees. The Archive primarily houses collections of audio and visual resources significantly related to Tibetan culture including rare resources of both religious and secular life. It is by nature a long-term endeavour that necessitates documentation of the vanishing aspects of Tibetan culture as much as possible before it becomes too late besides recording the evolving traits of the contemporary culture. These valuable resources gathered by the Archive not only help preserve the culture but also play an important role in educating the younger generations of the rich cultural heritage of Tibet.

Since its inception in 1976 the Audiovisual Archive has been able to collect more than 42,000 hours of recorded materials which include interviews of senior Tibetans, lamas and other religious figures, former government officials, craftspeople, doctors, astrologers, traditional story-tellers, traders, pilgrims, etc. on various subjects of Tibetan culture. The recordings have predominantly been done in Tibetan, mostly of the teachings of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and other eminent masters and scholars. Besides, it also records and live telecast Daily Buddhist philosophy classes and Special Buddhist philosophy class held at LTWA. The teachings can also be freely downloaded from the institute’s website at www.tibetanlibrary.org and from our Youtube channel Click Here. Moreover, audio/video CDs and DVDs of the teachings and addresses of H. H. the Dalai Lama, recordings of classes on Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan language and culture and many other teachings and lectures given by eminent personalities of Tibet and renowned scholars are produced for public listening and references.

Recorded materials are found in various formats – audio cassettes, reel tape, video-cassette, 16 mm films, digital audio-tape, compact discs and digital video discs. Though the majority of the collections are in analogue audio format but these are being digitized and archived. These archival materials have been meticulously documented and catalogued that can be conveniently accessed both in Tibetan and English. In an effort to preserve the collections the resources are kept in a climate-controlled chamber where humidity is also automatically checked and controlled for better safeguarding the resources from the effects of humidity and other external elements detrimental to their safety and security. Since 2013 they have been stored in an enhanced storage system that has a capacity of 160 terabytes and the same editions of the resources have been backed-up and retained in a high-performance data-storage system, if in case.

Since 2013 the Department stepped ahead to do video recording that not only gives the better edge to the collections but also provides additional information through visual representations. It now has a dedicated audio-video library where any researchers and visitors can listen to or watch any of its collections. This new facility has since then been attracting growing number of users from different parts of the world. The Department looks forward to providing better services and further development.

Photo Archive

Photo Archive of the Audio-visual Archive of LTWA holds one of the finest collections of photographic representations of historical insights of Tibet and its people which make the resources essential tools for anyone interested to learn about contemporary Tibetan civilization.Tibet has for centuries been a mystery and fascination for the world outside because of its ‘forbidden country’ tag making the photos of Tibet and Tibetans extremely rare and unique. The prime purpose of the Photo Archive is to preserve and archive these visuals and make them available to anyone interested in Tibetan studies.

The collections primarily include donations received from various individuals and institutions and photos taken by the Archive in India and Nepal. The present collections contain approximately 7,000 hard copies, 75,000 soft copies, 295 slides and around 1,080 films including both positives and negatives.

The Archive is open to anyone interested to view the contemporary Tibetan civilization captured on lens. Loans of digital copies of photographs are also available to scholars, researchers, students and the general public subject to the formal agreement of terms and conditions set by the Archive.

Department Head


Name: Tsering Dolkar
E-Mail: av_archives(at)tibetanlibrary.org