The Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS) at Sarnath is one of its kinds in the country. The university was established in 1967. The idea of the university was mooted in course of a dialogue between Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a view to educating the young Tibetan Diaspora and those from the Himalayan border regions of India, who have religion, culture and language in common with Tibet. Originally called Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), it began functioning as a constituent wing of the Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, and eventually emerged as an autonomous body in 1977 under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Education, Government of India. Originally it functioned as a special constituent wing of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi. In the early 1970s the Government of India reviewed the progress of the institute and decided to accord it a status of an autonomous body under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Education, Government of India in 1977 with 100% financial support from the Indian government.
The institute steadily progressed and the Indian government declared it a Deemed University on 5 April 1988. Formerly headed by the like of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Prof. Samdong Rinpoche (former Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administrations), and Prof. Ngawang Samten, also a former alumnus, the institute is headed by Prof. Lobsang Norbu Shastri. Assisted by faculty members, with the goal of achieving excellence in the fields of Tibetology and Buddhology. The university attracts a large number[clarification needed] of students from many regions of the Himalayan family, with students coming from Kinnaur, Lahaul, Spiti, Ladakh, Monpas from Arunachal. Students from Nepal consist of students, from Sherpas, Lamas and many more from the bordering regions of Mustang and Dolpo. Other than these, students also come from Bhutan and Mongolia.
Restoration Department was established as an independent wing of the Research Department to restore ancient Indian science and literature preserved in Tibetan language, into original Sanskrit. It is not only aimed at restoring the texts for research purpose, but also to revive a lost Indian culture into its original form. The top priority is given to important works of Acharya Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Shantarakshita, Kamalashila, and Atisha and so on. To restore a text into Sanskrit, the scholars of this department work in collaboration with Indian Scholars of Sanskrit experts.
This is a well-known tradition coming down from 9th century in Tibet. It was compulsory for a Tibetan translator to work with an Indian Pandit as a subject expert. Abiding with that tradition, this department is also working with Indian scholars who are well versed both in Sanskrit as well as in Buddhist Philosophy. Till date the University has published more than 60 important titles in the form of restorations, translations and critical editions. A few of the works of this department have received U.P. Sanskrit Academy awards.