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Norbulingka Institute

TIME : 2016/2/17 12:53:23

The wonderful Norbulingka Institute, 6km southeast of Dharamsala, was established in 1988 to teach and preserve traditional Tibetan art forms, and you can watch artisans at work on woodcarving, metal-statue-making, thangka painting and embroidery on free tours. The shop here sells the centre's expensive but beautiful craftworks and home-decor items. On Sundays and the second Saturday of each month, the workshops and shop are closed but the rest of the grounds are open. Vegetarian meals and snacks are available at the Hummingbird Cafe, also in the gardens.

Also set among the Institute's delightful Japanese-influenced gardens are the central Deden Tsuglakhang temple, with a 4m-high gilded Sakyamuni statue, the Losel Doll Museum, which uses charming puppet dioramas to illustrate aspects of traditional Tibetan culture, and the peaceful, stylish Norling House offering comfortable rooms decked out with Buddhist murals and handicrafts from the Institute, around a sunny atrium. A short walk outside the complex is the large Dolmaling Buddhist nunnery.

To get here, catch a Palampur-bound bus from Dharamsala and ask to be let off at the Sacred Heart School, Sidhpur (₹7, 15 minutes), from where it’s a 1km gentle uphill walk (or ₹80 taxi ride). A taxi from McLeod Ganj costs ₹400/600 one-way/return.