The name translates into the “Jewelled Garden” from Tibetan and is a palace and park in Lhasa, Tibet and served as the traditional summer palace of the Dalai Lama till 1959 when the 14th Dalai Lama was exiled. When China annexed Tibet it made sure that the remnants and the knowledge of the ancient culture was decimated. There was a concerted attempt to destroy all evidence of Tibetan culture. Books were burnt and precious statues melted down for their copper. Centuries of accumulated knowledge was not spared. Scholars were branded reactionaries and imprisoned and killed. Craftsmen’s guilds were disbanded and artists were forced to abandon their trade.
It was at that exile at India then that the Norbulingka Institute was founded and today comprises a Centre for Arts, an Academy of Tibetan Culture and a Literary and Cultural Research Centre and the Library and Publications. The Norbulingka Institute a registered trust under the Chairmanship of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was founded in 1988 by the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in an effort to promote and preserve Tibetan culture in exile. Today it stands as an unique testimony to the perseverance of people who stood up to be counted.