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Chandra Das

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Chandra Das

For other uses, see Sarat Chandra.
Sarat Chandra Das
শরৎচন্দ্র দাস
Sarat Chandra Das
Born 1849
Chittagong, Bengal, British India
Died 1917
Nationality British India
Ethnicity Bengali Hindu
Occupation Explorer, Scholar
Religion Hinduism

Sarat Chandra Das (Bengali: শরৎচন্দ্র দাস) (1849–1917) was an Indian scholar of Tibetan language and culture most noted for his two journeys to Tibet in 1879 and in 1881–1882.


Born in Chittagong, eastern Bengal to a Hindu family, Sarat Chandra Das attended Presidency College, as a student of the University of Calcutta. In 1874 he was appointed headmaster of the Bhutia Boarding School at Darjeeling. In 1878, a Tibetan teacher, Lama Ugyen-gyatso arranged a passport for Sarat Chandra to go the monastery at Tashilhunpo. In June 1879, Das and Ugyen-gyatso left Darjeeling for the first of two journeys to Tibet. They remained in Tibet for six months, returning to Darjeeling with a large collection of Tibetan and Sanskrit texts which would become the basis for his later scholarship. Sarat Chandra spent 1880 in Darjeeling poring over the information he had obtained. In November 1881, Sarat Chandra and Ugyen-gyatso returned to Tibet, where they explored the Yarlung Valley, returning to India in January 1883.[1]

For a time, he worked as a spy for the British, going on expeditions into Tibet to gather information on the Tibetans, Russians and Chinese. After he left Tibet, the reasons for his visit were discovered and many of the Tibetans who had befriended him suffered severe reprisals. For the latter part of his life, Das settled in Darjeeling. He named his house "Lhasa Villa" and played host to many notable guests including Sir Charles Alfred Bell and Ekai Kawaguchi. Johnson stated that, in 1882 Das met with Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, the two individuals notable for the founding of the Theosophy Society.


  • Contributions on the religion, history &c., of Tibet: Rise and progress of Jin or Buddhism in China. Publisher: s.n. (1882).
  • Narrative of a journey to Lhasa in 1881-82. Publisher: s.n. (1885).
  • Narrative of a journey round Lake Yamdo (Palti), and in Lhokha, Yarlung, and Sakya, in 1882. publisher: s.n (1887).
  • . Asiatic Society (1890).
  • The doctrine of transmigration. Buddhist Text Society (1893).
  • ISBN 978-8129108951.
  • . 1st Edition - Calcutta, 1902. Reprint: Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1989 and Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1970, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1991, 1995 and 2000.
  • ISBN 978-81-7020-435-0.
  • An introduction to the grammar of the Tibetan language;: With the texts of Situ sum-tag, Dag-je sal-wai melong, and Situi shal lung. Darjeeling Branch Press, 1915. Reprint: Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1972 and 1983.
  • Autobiography: Narratives of the incidents of my early life. Reprint: Indian studies: past & present (1969).


External links

  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

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