Sowa-Rigpa is an Ayurveda-like traditional Tibetan medicine method that is practiced in the Himalayan belt of India. It is common in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling of West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, and Ladakh’s Union Territory. Sowa Rigpa’s theory and practices are similar to Ayurveda and incorporate some principles of the traditional Chinese medicine system.

“India has approached UNESCO calling for the Sowa Rigpa an Ayurveda to be enlisted as its ‘ intangible cultural heritage. China raised objections to it,” said an official. An Indian delegation strongly pushes the country’s request on the basis of comprehensive documentation and evidence provided by the AYUSH Ministry, which worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue, officials said.

On November 20, the Union Cabinet approved the establishment of the National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa (NISR) as an autonomous organization in Leh. Under the Ministry of AYUSH, it will be an autonomous national institute with the mandate to undertake interdisciplinary education and research programs in Sowa-Rigpa in collaboration with leading national and international institutions and to facilitate the integration of various medical systems.

 It is perhaps one of the Union Cabinet’s first decisions on the creation of Ladakh after it became a Union Territory on October 31 after Jammu and Kashmir were bifurcated. According to an official, the establishment of NISR would provide an impetus for the revival of Sowa-Rigpa an Ayurveda medicine in the Indian subcontinent. To provide opportunities not only in India but also from other countries for students of the traditional medicinal method.