AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

[pib] National Institute of Sowa Rigpa (NISR)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sowa Rigpa

Mains level : AYUSH

The Union Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa in Leh.


  • “Sowa-Rigpa” commonly known as Tibetan system of medicine is one of the oldest, Living and well documented medical tradition of the world.
  • It has been originated from Tibet and popularly practised in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and Russia.
  • In India, this system is widely practised in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling (West Bengal), Dharamsala, Lahaul and Spiti(Himachal Pradesh) and Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir.

Similarities with Ayurveda

  • The majority of theory and practice of Sowa-Rigpa is similar to “Ayurveda” .
  • The first Ayurvedic influence came to Tibet during 3rd century AD but it became popular only after 7th centuries with the approach of Buddhism to Tibet.
  • Thereafter this trend of exportation of Indian medical literature, along with Buddhism and other Indian art and sciences were continued till early 19th century.

Major books

  • rGyud-bZhi (four tantra) the fundamental text book of this medicine was composed by Yuthog Yonten Gonpo who is believed to be the father of Sowa Rigpa.
  • The book is based on indigenous medicine of Tibet enriched with Ayurveda, Chinese and Greek Medicine.

About the Institute

  • The setting up of the National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa would provide an impetus for the revival of Sowa-Rigpa in the Indian Sub-continent.
  • The Institute will also provide opportunities for students of Sowa-Rigpa not only in India but also from other countries.
  • The Institute will be an autonomous National Institute under Ministry of AYUSH with the mandate to undertake interdisciplinary education and research programmes in Sowa-Rigpa.
  • The National Institute of Sowa Rigpa would identify the best treatment – including their standard procedures-within the framework of traditional principle and possible co-relation with bio-molecular western medicine in providing health care facilities to the general public.
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