April 5, 2019

Paintings of the Himalayas with Medhavi Gandhi

This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to  Medhavi Gandhi, the founder of Heritage Lab (heritagelab.in), a unique media platform for citizens to interact with museums!  

Today's destination: The Indian Himalayas in paintings by Nicholas Roerich! 

Nearest Airport: NA 

Nearest Railway Station: NA 

Length of the itinerary: 5-8 years, 25,000 kms 

Itinerary Highlights:  

-  Medhavi takes us on the Himalayan expedition covered by Nicholas Roerich and his family in the early 20th century (1923) in search of the mythical kingdom of Shambala, that is believed to be home to the King who will bring peace and harmony to humanity.  

  • Roerich's expedition started from Sikkim through Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Karakoram Mountains, Khotan, Kashgar, Qara Shar, Urumchi, Irtysh, the Altai Mountains, the Oyrot region of Mongolia, the Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet" with a detour through Siberia to Moscow in 1926.  

  • The journey was done on horses and mules, with minimal resources and it is during this expedition that Roerich painted more than 500 marvellous paintings of the himalayan landscapes, architecture and people.  

  • Roerich also uses very novel ways to paint, using crushed rocks minerals in his paintings to give them a unique finish.  

  • The expedition wasn't witout controversy - Roerich was often accused of being on a spy mission and was also detained in Tibet for over 5 months in very harsh climatic conditions.  

  • After the expedition, Roerich settles down in Naggar, Kullu in Himachal Pradesh - it is now converted into a house museum and run by the Naggar trust and still houses a lot of his important paintings.  

  • Other important paintings of Roerich can be found in the Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York.  

  • A huge collection of his paintings is also available in National Gallery of Modern Art, Allahabad Museum, International Roerich Trust, Naggar - Himachal Pradesh, Government Museum and Art gallery, Chandigarh, Shri Jaganmohan palace, Mysore,  Chitrakala parishad, Bangalore.  

  • Some of his paintings that were passed on to his son, have been the subject of a legal tussle for his estate that has gone of for the longest time, with paintings worth several lakhs reportedly stolen and sold abroad.  

  • Over his lifetime Roerich made over 7000 paintings, but his Himalayan paintings and the mystery of the expedition live one! 

Some notable paintings from Roerich's Himalayan expedition detailed in Medhavi's blog 

  • A view of Kanchenjunga from Sikkim (Tashi view point) 

  • A view of Kanchenjunga from Darjeeling (Tiger hill) 

  • Tashiding Monastery, Sikkim (Bhumchu festival/Banners of the east) 

  • Mt Kailash (tibet) 

  • Kinner Kailash (HP, 28 colors of the ranges) 

  • Lahual (Himachal), Rohtang Pass;  

  • Buddhist MOnks, Sissu waterfalls 

  • Ladakh - shooting star in Changthang plateau 

  • Buddhist sculptures on boulders (Zanskar range) 

  • Maitreyi Buddha, near Mulbek monastery 

  • lamayaru Monastery, Leh (Yuru Kabgyata festival, masked dance) 

  • Lake sheshnag, Kashmir (enroute amarnath yatra, Shiva's serpent) 

  • Naggar, Kullu 


Link to Medhavi's website: http://www.theheritagelab.in/

Link to the blog post: http://www.theheritagelab.in/himalayas-paintings-roerich/

Image Credit : The Heritage Lab, Painting at Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York 

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