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
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
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
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.