This album was recorded in Nepal at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries of the Gelugpa and Nyingmapa sects. Most of the cuts are Gelugpa, including part of the Chäd – a cleansing ritual. Other sections include the assembly call (with conch horns), prayer wheel, prostration rites, and more. A second group of tracks includes a ritual to Vajrayogini – a major female deity in Tibetan Buddhist practice. Various ritual instruments (thigh-bone trumpets, hand drums, cymbals, oboes, etc.) are heard.
Typically impressive natural vistas from director Jean-Jacques Annaud (some secretly filmed on location in Tibet) highlight this adaptation of the memoir by Heinrich Harrer. Brad Pitt stars as the arrogant Heinrich, a famed Austrian mountain climber who leaves behind his wife and infant son to head a Himalayan expedition in 1939, only to fall into the hands of Allied forces as a prisoner of war. He and a fellow escapee, Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), make their way to the Forbidden City in Tibet, where Peter finds a wife and Heinrich befriends the Western culture-obsessed teenage Dalai Lama (Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk), the spiritual leader of his Buddhist nation. As Heinrich waits out the war, his friendship with the Dalai Lama begins to transform him from haughty to humble, but a crisis with China looms. A controversy over the revelation of the real-life Harrer's Nazi Party affiliation brewed during the film's production, forcing Annaud to briefly deal with the subject in the film.
Each year, groups of Tibetan children secretly flee their homeland over the Himalayas to reach schools in India founded by the government in exile. Entrusted to smugglers, they are risking their lives by illegally crossing the great Himalayan range, a towering rampart between Tibet and India. The director will take us in the Mussorie school, in North India, where two thousand four hundred children have been rescued. They have left behind their family childhood and are now considered as orphans. We will discover the itineraries of Sonam, aged nine, and Dholma, the little new girl of the school. Here in India, they are taught about Tibetan culture and will find out about the history of their country and their ancestors. Sonam and Dholma's story is that of thousands of Tibetan children. Are they orphans of a lost country or bearers of hope who will save an endangered culture?
Seven days’ journey by car going west from Lhasa, Tibet is a desolate desert area known as Khyunglung Valley. It was here that the Guge Kingdom flourished for 700 years – an extraordinary Christian and Buddhist civilisation rich with art and culture – that vanished mysteriously in the 17th Century. Until now, archaeologists have not been able to solve the mystery of Guge’s demise, but a recent discovery may unlock the enigma of who the Guge people were and what happened to them 400 years ago.