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 Prof. Nicholas K. Roerich

Prof. Nicholas K. RoerichNicholas K. Roerich was a versatile Russian genius who settled in Kullu valley at Naggar , a beautiful village on the left bank of river Beas among dense sloping pinewoods. He was an artist, philosopher, archaeologist, writer, traveller, collector of antiques and a mystic who worked almost in every plane of human quest and endeavor.

Nicholas Roerich was born in Petersburg in 1874. He arrived at Kullu in 1928 after his tough expedition to central Asia with his wife Elena Ivanovna Roerich and his two sons, Yuri and Svyatoslav. The serene beauty of Kullu valley deeply touched him and he decided to make it his home. He bought a piece of land named 'Hall Estate' at Naggar from the king of Mandi and formed it his residence. For the rest of his life, Nicholas Roerich stayed at this quite place to follow his vision. He was an admirer of ancient Indian Vedic culture and wisdom. He founded the Himalayan Research Institute 'Urusvati' together with his son Yuri (George) to study the spirit of the Himalayas, history and culture of the region and the traditional Indian and Tibetan medicines. He authored a great number of books, including 'Altai- Himalayas', 'Shambala', and 'Himalaya- The Abode of Light'.

A Painting by Nicholas RoerichThe beauty of the Himalayas and the mysticism of its civilizations and culture occupy a prominent place in the vision and works of this Russian orientalist. Through paintings, he reflects the unmatched grandeur of sunlit Himalayan mountains, which he experienced during his scientific expeditions to the central Asian regions of Sikkim, Tibet, Mangolia, China, Leh- Ladakh, Lahaul- Spiti and Kashmir. The Himalayas appear as spiritual images in these sublime paintings and convey Roerich's message of Truth and Eternity.

Nicholas Roerich started a worldwide movement to promote world peace and protect the valuable cultural monuments from mad destruction in wartime. This movement was later embodied in International 'Roerich Pact' signed at the White House in 1935 by the representatives of twenty-two countries. By now, more than 60 countries have joined this noble idea of establishing universal unity and humanity. This pact prohibits the warring nations from attacking Churches, Museums and Hospitals, where Roerich's banner of peace is flown.

This banner has a white background and three red spheres enclosed in a circle in the middle. These spheres symbolize past, present and future.

Elena Roerich, wife of N.K. Roerich was a great scholar and philosopher. She wrote a great number of books including ' AgniYoga '. Their Elder son Yuri was the Director of 'Uruswati' Himalayan Research Institute. His major works are focused upon Buddhist philosophy and religion. Younger son Svytoslav was an eminent painter and a member of Russian Academy of Arts. He married Devika Rani, the first lady of Indian silver screen and grandniece of Gurudev Ravindranath Tagore.

Nicholas Roerich died in 1947 in Naggar. He was cremated according to Indian culture and his ashes are preserved in a 'Samadhi' near his residence. The groundfloor of the residence has been converted in to an art gallery where his paintings of Himalayas are displayed. This art gallery was founded in 1962 by Svyetoslav Roerich. It is now run by International Roerich Trust as a Roerich Heritage Museum. The paintings displayed at this gallery form a small portion of his creations. A great number of his works are preserved in museums all over the world.

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