Achi Association
  • Dakini Achi on horse, Nako temple
  • Papier-maché sculptures at Wanla, representing the generic Kagyupa lineage
  • Painting detail Kanji Tsuglag-khang, Achi Association logo


The association takes its name from the Dakini Achi (‘A-phyi), who is considered to be the protectress of the Drikung Kagyu order. Historically Achi is said to have manifested herself on various occasions: once, for instance, as a spiritual consort of Padmasambhava. About two centuries later she assumed physical form (interestingly this time as the daughter of aged parents) as the consort of a Yogi, whose son was to be the grandfather of the founder of the Drikung Lineage.

Achi is represented in several forms. One, showing her three-eyed but two-armed, peaceful but with hints of her latent vexed and wrathful potentiality, mounted on a “water-coloured” (transparent blue) horse riding on clouds, can be seen in practically every Drikung monastery or temple, often over the entrance porch.

The association concentrates its efforts on the cultural heritage of the Drikung Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. Not only does this order have a long history with establishments all over the Himalayas but its head makes active efforts to preserve its material heritage along with its religious and philosophical traditions. Furthermore, the long-standing relationship between the association and the order facilitates effective organisation and long-term planning and furthers the collaboration of local people and institutions.

The Achi Association has a cultural focus. Nevertheless, it deeply respects the religious character of the objects and their cultural importance. Thus, the Association actively seeks the co-operation and support of local people and institutions at the place where conservation work is to be undertaken.

Although the association considers the Drikung Kagyu heritage as a whole, priority will be given to monuments and artefacts in immediate danger. Currently the Achi Association limits its activities to the region of Ladakh in Northwest India.