The Gorsam Chorten, a replica of the great stupa of Boudhanath of Nepal was built in 12th century at Zemithang by Mon-nyon Sangye Trelthar of Pangchen village of Tawang district. It is probably the largest Buddhist stupa of the Mon region. In the past it used to serve as an important centre of pilgrimage and ritualistic performances. However, it lost its past glory and was completely neglected for about half a century.
In 1994, the Buddhist Culture Preservation Society took initiative for the renovations of this important religious shrine under the able guidance of its president H.E. the 13th T. G. Rinpoche. The renovation of the stupa was completed with the voluntary labour services of twelve thousand Buddhist Karsevaks (volunteers) on the occasion of Losar in 2006. The whole structure has been renovated in such a way that utmost care has been taken to keep the original structure intact. The path for circumambulation has been relocated so as to give a serene look to the sacred enclosure. The Society has also constructed the hospice (Dharamsala) for the convenience of pilgrims.
Tireless effort of the Society has turned this place into a well known tourist destination. In 2006, the Society handed over the whole property associated with the Gorsam stupa to the local community by forming a committee to look after the maintenance of the stupa complex. On several occasions the Society in collaboration with the local communities celebrated annual religious festival (Locally known as Gorsam Kora festival) just after the Tibetan New Year (Losar). Every year thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world and particularly from the neighboring countries like Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan visit here to witness this festival. Such an initiative for cultural development is bound to help the people of the locality to turn it into an opportunity for their economic development also by properly marketing this cultural destination.
The work for setting up of the Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies, started in the year 2001-2002. The construction work was undertaken with the grants received from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, New Delhi. The institute started functioning from August 2003 with the Purva Madhyama Ist year class, but at present it has gone up to the Ph D level. It is the first institution of higher learning in the state of Arunachal Pradesh where a beautiful blend of traditional knowledge and modern studies are the part of the curriculum.
The institute is located in the lush green picturesque Dahung valley, whose tranquility is broken only by the sounds of cascading rivers, chirping birds, noise of wild insects. The institute is affiliated to the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The institute lays stress on syncretism of tradition and modernity. That is why subjects like Boudh-Shastra, Sanskrit, Pali and Bhoti are offered along with a wide range of optional subjects like Physics, Botany, History, Political Science, Economics, English, Hindi and Computer Education.
In the year 2011, one year before the 25 years Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Society, the Institute was handed over by the Society to the government of India for its faster development. Since then, the Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies, Dahung has been running as an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.
For details, please visit www.cihcs.edu.in