Yarkyi Festival

TIPA as an institution is highly focused on celebrating and promoting the Tibetan religion and culture in India. Owing to this, the cultural training institution organizes the Yarkyi Festival to promote the Tibetan culture and highlight the rich vibrance of the Tibetan musical heritage among people. The festival occurs on an annual basis and is essentially the anniversary date of the formation of TIPA.

This particular festival transpires in the summer months and was initially started in Kalimpong, back on August 11, 1959. It is an internal competition where participants from two houses compete, specifically Ngonpa and Gyalu. The names of these houses come from two famous characters in Tibetan Opera and dance. Both of the groups separately research the folk dances of Tibet. Later, they come up with one solo and one group song each that they have to perform for the competition.

The participants take part in the competition, and specialists chosen from different fields judge their performance. As for the date, the competitions occur on the founding anniversary of TIPA. Imminent guests, as well as the dignitaries from the Central Tibetan Administration, are the main audience of this particular festival. Moreover, the competition occurs live in front of the regular spectators and is later recorded and produced for DVD.

In 2019, the Yarkyi Festival at TIPA marked the 60th anniversary of the promotion and preservation of the excellent Tibetan Arts as well as the culture in exile. The competition lasted for 2 hours and included performances centered around cultural songs, Tibetan Opera, theater, and dance. Yarkyi Festival 2019 earmarks the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of TIPA.  In the year 2020, Yarkyi Festival was celebrated as a year of gratitude for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The 2020 Yarkyi Festival was organized to pay homage to His Holiness’ promotion of human values, service for humanity, as well as his dedication to the people and cultural goals of Tibet.
TIPA has worked to keep the cultural history of Tibet strong in the minds of people since 1959. In Tibet, the control of the Chinese government is oppressing the cultural lifeline of the people.

Yarkyi Festival - Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts

How it is Celebrated

The prominent manner in which the Yarkyi Festival is celebrated is as a cultural competition. The TIPA students from Ngonpa and Gyalu houses participate in the festival. Each group comes up with two songs as well as two dances based on traditional Tibetan teachings of folk dance and music. In the musical segment, they decide on two songs for the solo and group categories. Generally, a total of fifty artists take part. The artists take one month to research the traditional Tibetan arts and come up with their setlist. They do not take instructors’ help; the participants write, compose, and choreograph all of their materials based on the research. Moreover, in the case of costumes, they need to come up with a design and obtain said items on their own.

Usually, the budget for the festival covers around Rs. 7 Lakhs. Through Tibet Fundraising, the officials manage to acquire Rs. 5 Lakhs of donation. All the funds are handled and ratified by the CTA and other Chartered Accountants.

Besides that, the organizing board raises money through contributions from the general public as well. They manage this collection via Crowdfunding in India on the date of the competition; the estimated amount that is generated is Rs. 2 Lakhs.

All of these are estimated figures based on the 2019 budget of the festival.

Yarkyi Festival

11th August, 2021

02:15 PM(IST) Onwards

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1. When was TIPA established?

The 14th Dalai Lama established TIPA or Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts on August 11, 1959. It is based in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh and was registered by India’s Government under the Society Act XXI of 1860.

2. What is the importance of TED? What is its relation to TIPA?

The Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development or TED is an initiative-based program for individuals who wish to start their startups that uphold the values of Tibetan culture. 

The program does not directly link to TIPA but has a similar aim as the institution. The purpose of this organization is to give a platform to the emerging entrepreneurs from the Tibetan community. With this support, individuals can create impactful and sustainable enterprises. Therefore, they can contribute to the economic sustainability of the Tibetan community in exile. 

3. What are the cultural endeavors of TIPA to preserve Tibetan culture?

TIPA focuses on preserving the cultural lifestyle of Tibet and promoting its values to the general public. For this, the institution organizes two festivals, namely the Shoton Festival for Achhe Lhamo and the Yarkyi Festival. 

4. Who takes part in the performance competitions?