About Us


In the early years of exile, refugees escaping to India carried hundreds of manuscripts out of Tibet. On the arduous journey across the Himalayas, these precious texts were often guarded above all else. Once safe in India, many of these sacred manuscripts were offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In order to preserve them, His Holiness conceived of and founded the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. The cornerstone for the Library’s impressive Tibetan-style building was laid on 11th June 1970 in the hill station of Dharamsala, northern India, the heart of the exiled Tibetan community. In November the following year the Library opened its doors for the first time, growing to become one of the most important and premier institutions in the world dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Tibetan culture. To this day pious Tibetans circumambulate the Library day and night in reverence of the sacred texts housed within.

Located within the premises of the Central Tibetan Administration, the LTWA was accorded the status of National Library, Museum and Archive by the Parliament-in-exile. Having begun its life with humble collections of manuscripts and books in Tibetan and English, the Library is now a repository for significant collections of artifacts, manuscripts and other records, while also serving as a centre for language and cultural education. It now houses ten full-fledged departments including two significant libraries, a museum, audio-visual archives, research & translation bureau, cultural research and publication departments, oral history and science departments and the administration. Holdings have grown to include more than 110,000 titles in the form of manuscripts, books and documents; hundreds of thangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings), statues and other artifacts; and over 15,000 photographs. The Library’s significant oral history project was the first outside of Tibet. The LTWA also distributes its own titles in Tibetan, English and Hindi, largely on the topics of Buddhism and Tibetan culture. In recent years, another feather was added to the Library’s cap when it was designated as a Resource Centre for National Mission for Manuscripts of the Government of India.

As a centre for education, the LTWA has welcomed scholars from all corners of the globe and has had a proud association with many of the world’s most eminent “Tibetologists”, as Tibetan scholars are known. Educational programs in language, philosophy, culture and other fields of Tibetan study are run on a regular basis. Other educational activities include seminars and programs such as the annual Cultural Education Program, Translation Workshop, Science for Monks Initiative among other activities. In 1991, the LTWA was recognized as a Centre for Tibetan Studies by Himachal Pradesh University.

In its over four decades of service LTWA has made significant contributions at numerous fronts in preserving and promoting Tibetan culture. Besides, it created the first-ever Tibetan typewriter in 1970s and introduced in Tibetan offices and other institutions. With the advent of computers and their prevalent use in various Tibetan establishments in exile LTWA stepped in to create and integrate Tibetan fonts into computer in 1995-96 for the first time in the exile history. As the twenty-first century begins, LTWA is confident in its role of preserving and educating others about a culture threatened with destruction. Now in its fourth decade, the LTWA continues to develop as the need for such an institution becomes more urgent. The Library holdings increase every year and enrollments in philosophy, language and culture courses continue on climb. Each year sees an increasing number of visitors, researchers and students drawn to this institution, which is able to provide them with an educational and cultural experience hard to avail elsewhere in the world.


The primary objectives of the LTWA are to provide a comprehensive cultural resource centre and to promote an environment that encourages research and an exchange of knowledge between scholars and students. These factors are of the utmost importance in a contemporary world shaped by political and spiritual confusion. In trying to fulfill its objectives, the Library’s priorities include:

  • Acquiring and conserving Tibetan books, manuscripts, artifacts and works of art.
  • Providing access to books, manuscripts and reference works (in Tibetan as well as in foreign languages) in study areas within the premises.
  • Compiling bibliographies and documentation of holdings of the libraries and related literature available worldwide.
  • Providing copies and prints of library holdings and acting as a reference centre for such source materials.
  • Promoting and publishing books and manuscripts under the library imprint.
  • Supporting research and study of the Tibetan language and culture, both classical and modern.  

Governing Body

LTWA has a Governing Body of nine members, three of whom represents the Government of India. The remaining six are appointed by its Chairman, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This Board directs policy and development, oversees all major projects and departments, and provides advice and guidance for future initiatives.


Management of the institute is done by its Administration Department. Its responsibilities of include the overall management of the institute as a whole, relations with staff and support personnel; fiscal, accounting and budgetary operations; coordination, security; building maintenance and construction; computer and information services; printing and reprography services, registration of scholars and students, etc.


Ven. Geshe Lhakdor
Ngawang Yeshi
General Secretary


Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala 176215
HP, India

Main office Tel: +91 9218422467
Reception: +91 9882255047
Mobile: +91 9816066677 (Director)

Fax: +91 (0)1892 229106
Email: ltwa1970(a)gmail.com


Working hours of the Library are from 9 am to 5 pm but briefly closes for lunch from 1 to 2 pm. However, it remains closed on Sundays, second and fourth Saturdays of every month and gazetted holidays.


The Library is located at Dharamsala, India, in the northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. It can be reached by bus plying from Delhi that takes around 11 hours. Flight is also available from Delhi that takes a little more than an hour. However, it is advised to check availability of flight before you plan to travel.