Glorious Riceland, gateway to Tibet

Northern Sikkim in Tibetan and Western travel reports. Postdoctoral Project, LMU Munich.

October, 2016 - September, 2017

Once an independent Buddhist kingdom, Sikkim is now part of India, lying in the north-east of the country, nestled between Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. Villages in the north of Sikkim, such as Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung, lie on ancient trade routes that were used by Tibetan masters but also by European travelers. The aim of this project is to analyse travel accounts of Tibetan masters who described the very north of Sikkim from historical, cultural, and religious points of view in their travelogues. Furthermore, these descriptions are compared with those of European explorers who came to this remote area. By analysing the heterogeneity in the Tibetan and Western perception of the same area, an unresearched facet of Sikkimese Studies will be examined.

Sponsored by the Bavarian Gender Equality Grant (BGF) and the women’s representative Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich.

  • 2019: Taming of supernatural entities and animal sacrifice. The synthesis of Tibetan Buddhism and local shamanistic traditions in Northern Sikkim (India), Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines [Online], 50 | 2019, DOI 10.4000/emscat.3915.
  • 2015: “Wild and Lawless Area”? Monastic Institutions in the Lachen Valley (North Sikkim, India), Bulletin of Tibetology 51 (1+2), Special Issue: Buddhist Himalaya: Perspectives on the Tibetan Cultural Area ed. by Anna Balikci-Denjongpa and Marlene Erschbamer, pp. 47-70.
  • 04/2017: Sacred landscape and the creation of a pilgrimage site: The Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim (India), The New School, New York, conference “Mountains and Sacred Landscapes”, International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC).
  • 03/2017: Taming of Demons and Animal Sacrifice: The Synthesis of Buddhism and Shamanistic Traditions in Northern Sikkim, LMU Munich, workshop “Evolving through Context: The Transformation of Buddhism(s) and their Legitimation(s)”, Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies.