Tibetan Arts – Thangka paintings and woodcarving from Dharamsala

Dharamsala is a small town nestled in the foothills of the Dhauladhar Ranges of Himalayas in Kangra district of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.


The suburbs of the town include McLeodGanj, Bhagsunath, Dharamkot, Naddi, ForsythGanj, Kotwali Bazaar (the main market of the town), Kaccheri Adda (government offices such as the court, police, post etc.), Dari, Ramnagar, Sidhpur and Sidhbari.

Dharamshala is the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. It was in 1960 that following the 1959 Tibetan uprising there was an influx of Tibetan refugees here who followed the 14th Dalai Lama. His presence and the Tibetan population has made Dharamshala a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, including students studying Tibet and Tibetan culture. Many cultural centers have sprung up for the preservation and study of traditional medicine, thangka painting, wood carving, folk opera, music, astrology, handicrafts and much more.

Kala Cafe organizes trips and workshops for the following art forms to Dharamsala where art lovers get to stay in homestays nearby villages and experience an amalgam of Himachali and Tibetan culture.

Thangka Painting are traditional roll paintings that may depict Budhha, Tibetan deities, mandalas or scenes from the Buddha’s life. Paintings are made according to a proportional grid relevant to each deity.They are painted in opaque watercolor on cotton fabric, then mounted in traditional Tibetan silk brocade. Thangkas are meant to be more than simply two-dimensional images, but seen as 3-dimensional forms or concepts, used for meditation or reflection. Generally, thangkas last a very long time and retain much of their luster, but because of their delicate nature, they have to be kept in dry places to prevent moisture from affecting the quality of silk. It is also called as a scroll-painting.

Vajra Thangka paintingThangka painting

In a 2 week long workshop, the apprentice has to devote 5 hours everyday with the master of Thangka Paintings. During this time one is taken through art of sketching, and gradually through filling colors into the sketch proportions.

Thangka workshop

Thangka Sketching


Needless to say, one cannot perfect this art in 2 weeks but the exposure to this brilliant art form in a Tibetan environment is unmatched. One not only gets involved with the art but the lives of the fellow Tibetans as well – an experience you can get only if you visit Dharamsala.

Woodcarving is an art of carefully drawing and mastering images on pieces of wood.This unique Tibetan wood carving technique involves drawing beautiful traditional designs on selected variety of wood and then carving out the design using tools.

wood carving

Some of the most common designs are the ancient Tibetan Gods. The artists are renowned in producing excellent woodcarving, carved and painted crafts being their specialty.


KalaCafe deals in exclusive interior|exterior decors, art installations, custom designs of authentic Indian art forms like miniature art, terracotta works, batik, etc. – created by our highly experienced traditional artists and an in-house design team. We also organize workshops for art lovers who wish to learn new art forms from only the masters or none. Here, art aficionados get to stay with the artist gurus to learn and experience the process of creating the art piece.

To buy authentic Indian art forms, call us on +91 9920458957

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2 comments on “Tibetan Arts – Thangka paintings and woodcarving from Dharamsala

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