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Pavilion of Tibetan Culture Auroville
Patron: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

October, 2001

Construction Report

In our last Newsletter, we announced to you the great news that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had donated $ 20000 for the Pavilion. This donation has brought a tremendous boost to the construction of the building and has taken us one step further towards the completion day.
More than 50 construction workers including masons, barbenders, electricians, painters, carpenters are working hard on the site.
Recently, we have concentrated in building the forms above each rooms which give the Pavilion its architectural particularity. Although work and material intensive, these forms, using ferro-cement technology with a 2-meter cantilever, not only protect each room against the monsoon rains or the summer's sun, but their four different elevations give the Tibetan look to the building. In fact, upon reaching the gate, the many visitors are impressed by the majestic look of the building. The view from the roofs is even more imposing.
On the ground floor, a few rooms are already in use, in particular the two rooms for the doctor's monthly consultations, the Exhibition Hall and the room which will later be used for the Restaurant, (now used as a meeting place). Work is progressing on the first floor and the guest rooms will soon be completed. We plan to finish the care-taker's room in October and hopefully our colleagues Kalsang Dolma and Namgyal will be able to shift soon to become the "Guardians" of the Pavilion.
With the Northwest monsoon setting over Tamil Nadu in October, our first priority during the next two weeks will be the waterproofing of the roofs. For the purpose, we have purchased white ceramic tiles which will assure a perfect protection against the leaks and at the same time will reflect the light, thereby cooling the rooms below. This will be particularly appreciated for the guest rooms and the Conference Hall.
But all actions have a consequence: the quick pace of the work has seen our funds decreasing accordingly and once more we are looking for material help to complete the building.
It is estimated that $ 30000 will be required to finish the rooms of the first floor as well as painting, furnishing and giving the last Tibetan touch to the rooms.
We appeal to all those who can help us in our endeavour have a center of Tibetan culture in Auroville, to continue their generous support.


Since two months, we have had in Auroville, two trainees, sent from Kollegal Tibetan Settlement in Karnataka.
One of them is a long-time trainee which is learning offset printing. He is a very serious and quick-learning young Tibetan. We do hope that after a few months he will be able to become a good offset printer, a qualification which is definitively required in Tibetan society. The other one is learning book-binding. He should be returning soon to his settlement to practice his newly-acquired skills.

Visit by a team of the Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute

On July 13, a team of Materia Medica Department of the Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute (Men-Tsee Khang), Dharamsala visited Auroville and South India for two weeks.
The team was headed by Dr. Dawa, the Department's Director and included Dr. Tsering Norbu, Dr. Tenzin Thaya and Dr. Tsultrim Kalsang. We had invited them for a field study of the flora of South India and see if some of the medicinal plants locally used could be of any help for the Tibetan medicine.
It was an old project to share the knowledge of some of our Auroville units (such as Pitchandikulam Forest or Shakti Nursery), involved in preservation of local healing traditions in the area around Auroville, with a team of Dharamsala
Soon after their arrival, the doctors proceeded to Pitchandikulam where they could meet Joss and Anita who have been working in this field for more than 20 years. Two botanists Dr. N. Loganathan and Armugan participated to these first exchanges of views and guided their Tibetan colleagues through the forest.
Dr Loganathan, with his great expertise in medicinal plants growing in the Eastern Ghats especially around Pondy and Auroville, is in constant contacts with folk traditional healers; his own father being a well-known local eye specialist using plants to cure most of eye diseases.
Dr Dawa later wrote: "We had some discussion with them about the uses of medicinal plants and they shared with us how to diagnose [the disease] through their traditional way. At same time we also shared our medical views with them." This kind of exchange can only be beneficial to both sides.
During the following ten days, the Tibetan doctors visited different places where research is conducted in Auroville; they also went for field visits to some of the primordial forests in Auroville's bio-region. They had the occasion to meet local traditional healers who have a deep knowledge of the flora growing in the area and the plants' potencies. Dr Dawa commented: "Without their help it is hard to find the medicinal plants since the Eastern Ghats have thick and wide forest resources."
One of the most interesting parts of the visit was the sharing of the list traditional of traditional plants brought from Men Tse Khang with the Auroville's list. It was found that some 50 medicinal plants listed in the Tibetan scriptures are growing in Auroville and its surrounding areas. There are locally known to have the same potency than the one described in Tibetan texts.
On the last day, Dr. Dawa gave, a lecture on "The Use of Tibetan Plants in Tibetan Medicine", to interested members of Auroville at the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture. He and his colleagues left for Bangalore where we had arranged for them to meet Dr. Darshan Shankar, the Director of the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) which is the most prestigious institution engaged in preserving medicinal plants in India. We understand that their two days in Bangalore were a good continuation of their field visit to Auroville and very fruitful for future collaboration.
We hope that this visit will be the first step of a collaboration between Men Tse Khang and Auroville. We are particularly keen to explore the possibility to cultivate some of these plants in an organic and natural way in Auroville. This could eventually help to avoid over-harvesting the same plants in some parts of North India.

Visiting Committee of the Government of India

A high powered Committee of the Government of India spent three days in Auroville at the end of September. The purpose of their visit was to review the innovative research being done in Auroville in the field of education. Their report is to be presented to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Planning Commission.
The Committee was headed by Prof. G.C. Pande, eminent historian and one of the foremost scholars of Buddhism in India. Prof Pande is also Chairman of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath and the prestigious Indian Institute of Advance Studies in Simla. His colleagues included Dr K. Venkatsubramanian, Member of the Planning Commission (GOI) who, by the way, in 1987 inaugurated our first Tibet Festival in Auroville. He was then the first Vice-Chancellor and Founder of Pondicherry University. This Tibet Week had been organized with the collaboration of the Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute and the Department of Information and International Relations, Dharamsala. It was a great pleasure to meet Dr Venkatsubramaniam again.
The other members were Dr Subash Kashyap, former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha and member of the Committee reviewing the Indian Constitution. Dr Kashyap has also been associated with the drafting of the Tibetan Constitution. Shri Champak Chatterjee, Joint Secretary, was representing the Ministry of Human Resource Development. As a young IAS officer, he had been posted as the District Magistrate of Darjeeling district of West Bengal where he had the good fortune to have regular encounters with high lamas such as Ven. Kalu Rinpoche. He was accompanied by Shri P.K. Gupta, his Deputy Secretary.
The Pavilion had the privilege to receive the Committee for a session on the Faculty of East-West and Human Unity. We reminded the distinguished guests that His Holiness' concept of Universal Responsibility is very similar to the ideals of human unity, the raison d'Ítre of the national pavilions in the International Zone of Auroville. After a brief explanation of the concept of the zone, we presented to the members an update of the progress of the different projected Pavilions (in particular the Unity Pavilion), as well as a more detailed work on the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture.
We briefed them on our aspiration of being not only being a window on Tibetan culture in South India but also a center which could propagate His Holiness' vision of a world where compassion and kindness will replace strife and anger; a world where the citizens will be linked by a common responsibility for a more humane planet earth.
The members were accompanied by our Chairman, Dr. Kireet Joshi who had the privilege to receive His Holiness in 1973 when he first visited the Mother and Auroville. We had displayed a small photo exhibition of this first visit of His Holiness in Auroville and his reception by Dr Joshi who was then the Registrar of the Ashram school.
The visit of the Committee was not only inspiring for the Pavilion team who had worked very hard to prepare the visit, but also all the other members of Auroville involved in the International Zone.

"Himalayan Journey": a Painting Exhibition

After the presentation of the International Zone, the Committee moved to the Exhibition Hall where Prof. G.C. Pande consented to light a butter lamp to inaugurate an exhibition entitled "Himalayan Journey". This exhibition consists of 12 exquisite watercolour paintings by Aron, a 19-year old Aurovilian, who spent a couple of weeks in the Himalayas and meditated in front of the majestic peaks of Lahoul valley. This extremely talented young artist produced these watercolours which according to one of the members of the Visiting Committee combined the strength of the Himalayas and extreme delicateness of nature.
This exhibition will remain on display till October 10.

Once more, we would like to request your help and support to continue (and complete) the construction of the Pavilion which we hope will soon be a vibrant center of the culture of Tibet in the universal township of Auroville.

For further information or contribution, contact
Claude Arpi, The Co-ordinator
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Auroville, 605101, TN India
Tel: 91-413-622172/622136 Fax: 622062
Email: tibpav@satyam.net.in 


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