Himachal Pradesh Government’s decision to open a Roerich International College of Fine Arts at Naggar in District Kullu, is a real tribute to Roerich Nicholas a great lover of mountains and nature. Roerichs family had an ambitious dream to develop Naggar into a Research Center where documentation studies of the valleys traditions, culture, customs, flora and fauna could be undertaken. Born in 1874 at St. Petersburgh graduated in law but his real interest was art, culture and archaeology. During his lifetime he made nearly, 7,000 paintings, published 30 books, besides archaeological and scientific findings in Russia and the Himalayas.
He was a really versatile personality, endowed with a rare spiritual and altruist bent of mind. After coming to India, in 1923, he undertook expeditions for cultural and spiritual research into Tibet, Mangolia China; Turkistan, Gobhi desert; and Altai mountains of Siberia crossing over the Himalayas on foot and horse back travelling over 20,000 miles and across 35 of the highest and coldest and inaccessible mountain passes of the world.
The first Prime Minister of India Pt. Nehru while paying tribute to this master of the mountains wrote, “When you look at these paintings of the mountains, you see to catch the spirit of these great mountains which have towered over the Indian plains and have been our sentinels for ages past.” In April 1993, Mrs. Devika Rani ,wife of Roerich, donated the Hall EState at Naggar to the International Roerich Trust. Trust opened the whole house to the public as the heritage museum and now public visiting can seethe Tibetan sword, other weapons and equipments of the Roerich used in expeditions. Among the collections, manuscripts, biography of the doctor known as father of Tibetan medicine, furniture, crockery, dolls, priceless Tibetan folding stool and many other articles of beauty and great interest are well preserved since the 1920s.
Naggar is half way between Kullu and Manali in the left bank of river Byas and accessible as well crossing the bridge of Patlikuhl. Roerichs cottage is surrounded by variety of snow-capped mountains and golden valley below, gurgling streams and springs flowing, is a visitors paradise.
By: Mohan Lal Relingpa