Group Workshops

The Drepung Gomang Tour will present workshops on a variety of topics related to traditional Tibetan art.

All workshops will include a short talk/explanation of the tradition of the various crafts as well as a short demonstration.  The monks will facilitate full "hands on" participation by the public.They will supply photo step-by-step displays of how to do each craft and, in addition, clear sample drawings laminated for each workshop.

We foresee groups of 5 to 15--larger than that would be difficult to manage.

The following are the workshops currently planned:

    Butter Sculpture
    Coloring Tibetan Designs
    Sand Painting
    Mani Stones



Time limit depends on the size of the groups.
Butter Sculptures created at workshops.

For children:  a simple version of the Losar traditional butter sculptures on wooden plaques. Designs for adults--adapted for various levels of ability--include

    flowers (several styles)

A longer workshop with a higher level of complexity will also include the Four Friends and the Eight Auspicious Symbols (Tashi Dargye).

Materials Required (unless indicated, participants bring their own materials)
roll of was paper
scotch tape
form cardboard or thin plywood for the cutouts
patterns for cutouts (supplied by tour)
play doh (mixed colors)
carving tools (supplied by tour)

Butter sculpture is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist art. Although it is not as well known as another Tibetan ritual art, the sand mandala it is still an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism in its own right. Butter sculptures symbolize impermanence, (a main tenet of Buddhism,) along with more ritualistic components, and are usually destroyed in anywhere from a day to a few years. They are traditionally made with yak butter, but in exiled Tibetan communities, as the weather is usually warmer, it is made with ghee, fat, and wax. Butter sculptures are displayed on altars and shrines in monasteries or family homes. They are traditionally made every Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and for the Butter Sculpture Festival, part of the Great Prayer Festival, or "Monlam Chenmo" that is held soon after Losar. In it, monks made huge, story high butter sculptures displayed outside the Jokhang in Lhasa, the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism.

Butter sculptures are displayed in many different ways; typically, they are made on a paddle, as free standing sculptures, or a decoration on tsampa cones called tormas.  They are usually made in the form of flowers, "metog," or traditional symbols such as the 8 auspicious signs.


This one-hour workshop is designed with small children in mind.  The monks will provide prepared drawings of Tibetan designs, such as the Eight Auspicious Symbols and yaks.  All that is required is that the children bring their own crayons.

Eight auspicious symbols
Symbols of Tibet


This workshop includes teaching how to create the following designs using the same techniques as monks use in creating a Sacred Sand Mandala:

    Eight Auspicious Symbols (Tashi Dargye)
    snow lions
    stylized fire patterns

Materials for Local coordinators

All of the designs will be be pre-drawn so visitors can draw the sand following the lines.

  • Materials Required (participants will bring their own supplies)
  • small pillows
  • two thin steel tubes (about 1-foot long and a half inch in diameter)
  • thin plywood "slates"
  • colored sand (available in crafts stores)
  • We usually use a white cardboard.  Larger than 81/2 x 11, but not too large as to be jostled by someone next to you.

Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form. The Sacred Sand Mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the particular esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. It is a transient art form, thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. The sand mandala is constructed as vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and a social/cosmic healing of the environment.

Millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of several days, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and the ideal world. The most common substance used in the creation of dul-tson-kyil-khor is colored sand, which is ground from stone.  Other popular substances are powdered flowers, herbs or grains.  In ancient times, powdered precious and semi-precious gems were also used.  Thus, lapis lazuli would be used for the blues, rubies for the reds, and so forth.  When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry the healing energies throughout the world.  For detailed information about the construction process of a Sacred Sand mandala, go to mandala.

KINDLY NOTE:- workshop for kids only under adult supervisions

Green Tara Sand Mandala created by Drepung Gomang Tour group.




Mani Stones WORKSHOP


The stones are painted with the prayer Om mani padme hum," a prayer asking for the qualities of wisdom, compassion, and a good heart.   The monks will teach you how to create images on flat stones and decorate them with sacred mantras and buddhist symbols.

You will need:

  • Smooth surface stones, like river rocks, at least 4” or 5” across.  Each student needs one stone.
  • Acrylic paint, in tubes, primary colors – red, blue, green, yellow, white and black, at least.
  • Aluminum foil to serve in place of wooden pallets.  This is so you can put enough paint of each color on a piece of foil for each group of students to share.
  • Paint brushes – fine to medium.
  • Small bowls of water to wash the color off when switching to another color.

Paper towels – to work on.

It is such good fun to create what are known as mani stones... and these are done by writing the holy mantra om mani padme hum on decorative rocks that are smoothed by having been in water for hundreds of years; the best stones are those found in the rivers or streams. If you find it impossible to get your hands on these stones, then any rounded stone the size of a palm will do.

Write the holy words onto the stone first in black ink and then if you wish, use special glue to gold leaf these holy words. The act of doing this is said to bring much good merit. You can collect all the stones painted with this sacred words and place in around one corner of land.