Tabo Monastery
Ritual Documentation

Kanden Rinpoche, abbot of Tabo Monastery in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, asked Core of Culture to document the 1000 year old Vajradhatu ritual performed there since being re-introduced by the Dalai Lama in 2005.

Tabo Monastery was founded in 996, and is the oldest operational monastery in India and the Himalayas. Tantric Buddhist rituals have been performed there, in uniquely designed spaces, for over 1000 years, and reveal mysteries of tantric ritual transmission and embodied practice in Buddhism.

Sculpture of Vajrahasa, in relief, Assembly Hall, Tabo Monastery; part of an architectural and artistic Vajradhatu Mandala composition executed within the temple, along which devotees walk. From Tabo, Art and History, by Deborah Klimberg-Slater, private publication, 2005, Vienna. p. 42

Dogra Ethnic and Dynastic Dance Documentation

Dr Karan Singh, son of the last Raj of Kashmir, asked Core of Culture to document the extant dances and cultural traditions of the Dogra people, a cultural and ethic group, and also basis of a family that ruled as the Dogra Dynasty from the 19th century. Since 1947 the Dogra community has dispersed and traditional expressions are dying out. Archival documentation can be saved and shown in the Amar Mahal Palace in Jammu, India.

Gulab Singh, (1792-1857), the first Dogra Raja of Jammu in 1822. Painting by an unknown artist from the collection of Sir William Rothenstein, 19th century.

Dorje Drak Monastery Ritual and Dance Documentation

After successfully documenting and publishing a documentation of the Obstacle Clearing Ritual from the Mani Recitation practices in 2019, Core of Culture was invited to return to document the entire ritual and dance ceremonies of a three-week great ritual at Dorje Drak monastery in Simla, India.

A young monk learns the finer techniques of making a sand mandala. Dorje Drak Monastery, 2019. Photo by Jonathan Greet.

The Obstacle Clearing Ritual documentation by director of photography Jonathan Greet was an unprecedented record of an ancient tantric ritual with existing documentation of any kind, relying solely on oral transmission. Successfully documenting the three-week great ritual would be another new achievement and assistance to the cultural memory of the monks and the continuity of ritual transmissions.