In 2007 the well-known Tibetologist Glenn H. Mullin led a 45-member pilgrimage tour to Tibet on behalf of the Theosophical Society of America.
Mullin himself is a great scholar, with dozens of books on Tibet, including biographies of most of the Dalai Lamas, and has also been very active is promoting Tibetan culture.
Despite the title Olcott is never mentioned in the film, and Blavatsky’s meeting with the Panchen Lama is noticed only a couple of times, so that the film hardly comes across as being connected with the Society.
What does come across though is Mullin’s deep knowledge of his subject, and his ease is conveying it to others, making this record of the trip a very enjoyable film.
The documentary covers most of the places that were covered in a similar pilgrimage film I showcased here a couple of weeks ago: Mystic Tibet with Lama Zopa.
But here the start of the trip is in Beijing, with Mullin reminds us was built by Kubilai Khan, and was where he established Tibetan Buddhism as the official religion in his vast empire.
From there they travel to Tsetang (Yambhu Lhagang Castle, the Dradruk Temple, Sang Ngak Choling Nunnery, Samye), Gyantse (Kumbum Stupa), Shigatse (Tashi Lhunpo Monastery), the Turquoise Lake on the way to Lhasa, and then many places in Lhasa and its environs itself.
Along the way we get to learn something of the history and culture of the region, and the significance of its statues, paintings and icons.