I am immensely pleased that the National Commission for Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan, in close cooperation with Ministry of Culture of the Government of the Republic of India and the National Museum, New Delhi, is organizing the Bhutan Exhibition in the two Indian metropolitan cities of New Delhi, and Kolkata.
In the 8th century, when Guru Padmasambhava, a renowned Buddhist saint from Uddiyana visited Bhutan, he imbued the Bhutanese mind with the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism. The Buddhist teachings and practices which our people received from the great Guru blended with the rich and vibrant local customs, habits and traditions, giving Bhutan a distinctive identity of its own. Bhutan today is still deeply influenced by the profound teachings of the Buddha, which is found amply reflected in every aspect of its life. The development philosophy of His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, called the 'Gross National Happiness' is deeply influenced Buddhism and it aims to build a nation where both material and spiritual needs of its people are fulfilled.
The last Bhutan exhibition in India was held in New Delhi, the capital city of the Republic of India in April, 1999 called 'Bhutan Week in India-the Way of the 'Dragon'. The need to hold periodical cultural exchange programmes between Bhutan and India stems from the need to highlight the fact that our age-old friendship and understanding are based more on our shared heritage and common interest and aspirations, rather than on purely materialistic considerations.
The exhibition not only displays highly valuable objects of great antiquity but also projects Bhutan's spiritual, cultural, religious and artistic expressions. The publication of this catalogue and the artifacts presented in the exhibition are expected to highlight the Bhutanese cultural and spiritual heritage and thereby establish a deeper appreciation of our values and aspirations among the India audience.
Bhutan and India are not only linked by geography, but also by our shared heritage, common aspirations, unbroken friendly ties and other mutually beneficial cooperation that have helped to establish a bond that is exemplary in South Asia. I hope that this present exhibition will help to promote mutual trust and confidence among the Indian and Bhutanese peoples.
Palden Drukpa Gyelo and Jai Hind!
Lyonpo Thinley GyamtshoHome Minister, ChairmanNational Commission for Cultural AffairsBhutan
The cultural heritage of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, "the Land of the Thunder Dragon" is unique as through a conscious effort it has been able to preserve its traditional values, crafts and artistic sensibilities in its purest form.
We are indeed fortunate that we will have an opportunity to have a glimpse of this magnificent heritage in the exhibition, which is appropriately entitled "The Living Religious and Cultural Traditions of Bhutan". Through the exhibits we will be able to experience a way of life which for centuries has inspired communion with the divine through contemplation and meditation. This will give us a better understanding of a life style which is based on a Bhutanese world view which has a close and respectful relationship between man and his natural surroundings.
On display will be a rich repertoire of rare objects including stone vessels, textiles, manuscripts, armour, dance costumes and metal work from the great monasteries and fortresses of Bhutan. The exhibition will also give us an opportunity for a glimpse of Bhutanese architecture and art. This will be supplemented by live demonstrations of craftsmen from Bhutan.
The exhibition has been made possible by a joint effort of the National Commission for Cultural Affairs, Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, National Museum of India and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
I am sure that such collaboration at the cultural level will help foster a better understanding among the people of both the countries and give an opportunity to Bhutan to expose to the world its great cultural heritage.
(SMT. MANEKA GANDHI)
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