The Institute has a faculty of six Khenpos and about 300 monks from various locales and monasteries, representing all sects. Most of the students are refugees from Tibet. The Institute has produced 15 Khenpos and now graduates 1-6 Khenpos each year. The Khenpo degree encompasses a complete theoretical education in Buddhism and generally requires a nine year program of studies. Some of the Institute's graduates have returned to Tibet where they are now teaching. Western dharma students are now beginning to engage in studies at the Institute. The Institute includes facilities for closed meditation retreats which are also available to Western practitioners.
From 18th September to 7th October 1999 His Holiness Sakya Trizin and his entourage visited Dzongsar Institute in Bir to formally consecrate the Institute. As Glenn Fawcett reports from India, the ceremonies were a great success, but not without their challenging moments. Rinpoche, in true Western style, instructed to have preparations for the consecration under way months before the event.
This is distinguished from the Tibetan style of improvising on the day. Rinpoche used this difference in styles to instruct his Khenpos who, after nine years of philosophy, seemed "distanced", perhaps even "practically challenged" to use a politically correct euphemism. Rinpoche quickly introduced taking notes - to those who never have - and even though Rinpoche sometimes upbraided them with great gusto, in the end only one of four used a notebook. Westerners, of course, had a lot to learn by dealing with the chaos principle, which is how most things work in the Tibetan Buddhist framework, especially in India.
Distance from the resort 2 Kms
The centre belongs to the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism which was founded in 1073 by the great Tibetan Master Khon Konchok Gyalpo. The Sakya lineage has been a stable force that has greatly enhanced and preserved, in a pure form, the teachings of the Buddha. The head of their lineage is His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin, a great Spiritual Master. His Eminences Gyalsay Rinpoche and Dungyud Rinpoche are the joint Spiritual Heads of Sakya Tharpa Ling.
Barot also forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary which lies across the Uhl. The sanctuary is home to the Monal, Black Bear and Ghoral. Within it are forest rest house s at Thaltuckhod and Silbandhwari. Through woods of cedar and pine a trek route cuts across the sanctuary to Kullu.
Distance from the resort 2 Kms
Sherab Ling Monastery is located at Baijnath in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. It provides a complete range of facilities for monks to study and practice. The monastery has shrine halls, a monastic college, school, library, museum, exhibition hall and dispensary. Accommodations are available in rooms and apartments. There are full retreat facilities for monks, nuns and lay people.
The monastic college offers seven years long basic education. Debates are organized regularly for the students. The exhibition hall displays photographic exhibits, art and other presentations that show the life at the monastery and spirituality and works of the Tai Situpa, one of the main disciples of Buddha. The craft center intends to teach traditional Tibetan arts, religious paintings, metal-work, wood carvings, sculpting and tailoring. Direct buses are available from Kangra. Baijnath Paprola Railway Station is the nearest railhead.
Distance from the resort 13 Kms
Of late India has emerged as one of the famous destinations for adventure sports. This incredible land is dotted with some salubrious hill stations which are equally significant as tourist place and as adventure destinations. Himachal Pradesh is one such state of India which is blessed with some fantastic places that attract thousands of adventure buffs.
Himachal Pradesh is embellished with snow-capped mountain peaks, verdant valleys, untamed hilly rivers etc which are ideal for various kinds of adventure sports. Apart from trekking and mountaineering, para-gliding is another adventure sport which is gradually captivating the attention of adventure freaks.
Located at an altitude of 8,500 m above the sea level in Kangra district, Billing is famously known as the para-gliding capital of India. The bald hills of Billing are perfect launching pad for nascent para-gliders. Apart from para-gliding, Billing is also famed for hang gliding. Hang gliding is usually performed by using air current without an engine power.
The pilot is suspended in a swing harness from the centre of the keel and maintains control wholly by weight shift arrangement with the help of airframe. To take off, the pilot runs on a down hill approximately at a 40-degree slope and is airborne the moment he crosses the gliders stalling speed, which vary from 15 Kms to 30 Kms per hour. Soaring can be done by using ridge lifts created by wind striking the hill face or by hot air columns known as "thermals" that keep rising upward from the sun heated surface. One can fly as long as one wishes once he has acquired good experience.
Distance from the resort 14 Kms
In 1958, having foreseen the imminent coming of the communist Chinese, the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Kalzang Dongyu Nyima, left for India with a group of 16 monks and reincarnate lamas. In Eastern Tibet he had been the head of Khampagar Monastery, which had over 200 branch monasteries, nunneries and retreat centers. It was considered one of the foremost monasteries of the Drukpa Kagyü lineage. In India, they settled first in Kalimpong in West Bengal, where many lay people from the Khampagar area in Kham came seeking refuge, and affiliated themselves with the newly formed community. In 1969, they moved to Himachal Pradesh in North India. There they settled in the peaceful Kangra valley on 37 acres of land, which was named Tashi Jong, Tibetan for Auspicious Valley. The late Tokden Amtin mentioned that at the time of the initial consecration of the land of Tashi Jong, both H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and H.E. the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche clearly felt this place to be the pure land of the Five Manjushris.
A monastery of recent origin, Tashijong is a community rather than a monastery. It encompasses a small stratum of the Tibetan refugees where one can see the dwellings of the people in exile.
This monastery depicts structures at different levels, with a college for freshers and a Tibetan restaurant. The main shrine is placed on a top platform at the fag end of a garden.
Distance from the resort 14 Kms
Andretta Pottery is run by Mansimran "Mini" Singh, son of famous potter Gurcharan Singh. Andretta Pottery and Craft Society was started in 1983 and is situated between the old Shuahk hills and the towering range of the Dhauladhar Mountains in the Himalayas. As well as being a production studio pottery making attractively designed earthen slipware; it also provides 3 months' courses for aspiring potters. These courses include accommodation, food and tuition. The cost is around Rs. 48,000. Panchrukhi (paanch(five)-rukhi(trees)), as name suggest had five big trees, is the main town and used to have lot of hustle and bustle. Area around Panchrukhi and Andretta, also has small Katoch village and is always cherished with its wonderful ice tea. The beautiful small fish pond also known as machhyal is another stoppage to feed fish and a bath in small natural water pond (bouri).
In the early 1980's there were still 120 out of nearly 270 potter families still existing in this area. Mansimran and Mary Singh were anxious to get them interested in pottery to suit modern day demands in an effort to stop the youngsters from leaving to look for jobs elsewhere.
Distance from the resort 24 Kms
Uttrala is a small hamlet located nearly 11 Kms north of Baijnath. Uttrala is an ideal place to enjoy a break from the humdrum of the city life. If you are a Trekking enthusiast, this serene destination is worth the visit. The trek to Ravi valley over Jalsu Pass starts from Uttrala. Jalsu Pass (3600 m) is one of the lowest passes of the majestic Dhauladhar, and is easy to cross. Alternatively, one can also trek from Uttrala to Gdoh village.
Uttrala to Gdoh village trek: The first destination of this trail is the Parai village located at an altitude of 2390 m and at a distance of 12 Kms from Uttrala. The trek to Parai Village winds up all along the Parai Nullah. Parai is a captivating village located at an altitude of about 2,390 m above sea level, on the Baijnath - Jalsu Pass trek route. The village offers panoramic view of the Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. It is also an ideal base village for trekking and mountaineering and several base camps are available here.
From Parai to Yara Jote: (13 Kms): You need to cross the Jalsu pass to reach Yara. It's an easy and accessible pass. Yara is covered with vast expanse of verdant meadows. The residents of the area set-up temporary tea stalls to help trekkers during the trekking season.
Distance from the resort 24 Kms
Dongyu Gatsal Ling located in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh has several nuns who already aspire to train as Togdenmas and are prepared to undertake the long, rigorous and austere practices which require many years in retreat, in order to attain enlightenment in one lifetime. The efforts Tenzin Palmo is making to re-introduce the precious Togdenma lineage to DGL Nunnery is strongly supported by the senior lamas of the Drukpa Kargyu Lineage. The third intake was in September 2006 with the arrival of twenty-eight young women from Kinnaur, Bhutan, Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Tibet. After a year they received novice ordination from His Eminence Dorzong Rinpoche in the presence of senior monks from the Khampagar Monastery.
The nuns' daily life is varied and full, starting with pujas and meditation in the early morning and finishing with yoga and a final puja. Each nun shares the chores of the Nunnery such as maintaining the puja / prayer hall, the purchase and cooking of food, recycling materials, cleaning and maintaining the buildings and basic health care for the nuns.
Distance from the resort 25 Kms
Palampur is a fascinating green hill station and a municipal council in the Kangra Valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, surrounded on all sides by tea gardens and pine forests before they merge with the Dhauladhar ranges. Palampur is the tea capital of northwest India but tea is just one aspect that makes Palampur a special interest place. Abundance of water and proximity to the mountains has endowed it with mild climate.
The town has derived its name from the local word "pulum', meaning lots of water. There are numerous streams flowing from the mountains to the plains from Palampur. The combination of greenery and water gives Palampur a distinctive look. Palampur is at the confluence of the plains and the hills and so the scenery shows the contrast the plains on one side and the majestic snow covered hills on the other side. Behind this town stands high ranges of Dhauladhar mountain, whose tops remain snow covered for most part of the year.
Distance from the resort 35 Kms
Barot is a picnic spot and tourist location in Mandi district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated 40 Kms from Jogindernagar and 66 Kms from Mandi, the district headquarters. The road to Barot branches off at Jogindernagar-Mandi high ways and from Jogindernagar the distance is 40 Kms. If one is lucky enough one can use the trolley up from Jogindernagar which, apart from the thrill, knocks the distance down to 12 Kms. Through terraced fields and thick cedar forests, the track rises to Jhatingri, an enchanting spot atop the hill. The remains of the summer palace of the former rulers of Mandi are located here. Through the little village of Tikkan, the road carries on to Barot. The town has a range of outdoor activities. For a start there is a trout breeding centre from where fishes are released into the Uhl and there is a 30 Kms section of the river which is excellent for angling. Barot also forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary which lies across the Uhl. The sanctuary is home to the Monal, Black Bear and Ghoral. Within it are forest rest house s at Thaltuckhod and Silbandhwari. Through woods of cedar and pine a trek route cuts across the sanctuary to Kullu.
Known only to a select band of angling aficionados and some intrepid trekkers, Barot has all the wonderful views , wildlife, adventure- and even the option of solitude - poured into a small but satisfying dish.
Distance from the resort 54 Kms
Situated in Kotwali Bazaar of Dharamsala, Kangra Art Gallery was inaugurated in 1990. It houses an impressive collection of arts, crafts, artefacts, costumes and other treasures, which can be traced to as far back as 5th century. The variety of items on display includes woodcarvings and tribal jewellery, sculptures and pottery, anthropological items, collections of coins and manuscripts, royal tents, shamianas and pandals, etc.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, Kangra Art Museum has a library and a separate section to display the works of contemporary artists, sculptors and photographers. There is also an art gallery that houses exemplary specimens of famous Kangra Kalam works or the Pahari miniature paintings, the exquisite art that is being actively promoted from the museum. This school of painting is famous for the use of seductive figures and fine colours.
It is said to be a pictorial representation of the cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh. The colors used in this style of painting are extracted from dried-up flowers and herbs and this art form has a strong thematic base.
The most famous miniature paintings of the Kangra School revolve around historical, religious and traditional background of the royalty and the courts of the former rulers of Kangra that belonged to Katoch dynasty.
Distance from the resort 55 Kms
Losel Doll Museum inside the Norbulingka Institute exhibits beautifully decorated dolls. Costumes and activities of the people in each of the regions of Tibet are represented through these dolls. Along with the crafts produced at institute, models of dolls are also put on sale.
The Losel Doll Museum can be found in the Norbulinka Palace ("Beautiful Garden Palace", originally the name of the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas in Tibet) in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India. It is a place that might have been designed by a Tibetan relative of Jan SvanKmajer, filled with stately, strange, vivid dolls recreating the lost traditional clothes and customs of the Tibetans.
Distance from the resort 55 Kms
Norbulingka is dedicated to handing down tradition and restoring standards by providing training, education and employment for Tibetans. It supports an environment in which Tibetan community and family values can flourish. It reconciles the traditional creatively and respectfully with the modern, and seeks to create an international awareness of Tibetan values and their expression in art and literature.
Situated at a distance of 4 Kms from Dharamsala, Norbulinka Institute has a mission to preserve and promote. It is a picture of old rural Tibet with all its shady paths, wooden bridges, small streams and tiny water falls, along with wooden carvings, Tibetan Thangka paintings, Tibetan handicrafts and arts. The setting of the institute makes it look paradisiacal. Department of Religion and Culture founded the Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture.The aim behind his was to keep the coming generation of Tibetan refugees, living in exile, in touch with their culture. The name 'Norbulingka' means 'Jewel Garden' and it has been derived from the Summer Residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, situated at Mcleodganj. Today, with occupied-Tibet undergoing the bleakest period in its history, the Norbulinka Institute in Dharamsala has taken the initiative to preserve the roots of Tibetan culture in exile.
Distance from the resort 55 Kms
Public relations are important to the Tibetans, for McLeodganj is more than just temples and the Dalai Lama's residence. It is home to a flourishing number of enterprises, political, religious and commercial, all of which are designed to demonstrate the seriousness and competence of the government in exile. Everywhere we go we are handed well-produced information sheets by well-dressed, knowledgeable and patient young men, who do a thoroughly professional job of marketing the mysteries of Tibet.
McLeod Ganj, also known as Dharmsala, is located in Himanchal Pradesh near the spectacular Dhauladhar Mountains. Historically important as it is beautiful, this destination is filled with Buddist Temples, sanctuaries, churches and natural attractions to make a traveller's visit here memorable.
Then there are two temples, the Tsuglagkhang itself and the Kalachakra temple, plus a series of buildings forming the Namgyal Gompa where many monks live and study.
It's a rather strange experience to walk into these temples finding the same statues as one would see in Ladakh and Tibet in important monasteries but the external look and feel being nothing like those gompas.
Distance from the resort 65 Kms
The Kangra Fort is situated at a distance of 20 Kms distance from Dharamsala on the out start of the Kangra Town. From here a long and narrow passage leads up to the top of the Fort through the Ahani and Amiri Darwaza, both attributed to Nawab Alif Khan, the first governor of Kangra under the Moghuls. Some 500 feet from the outer gate the passage turns around at a very sharp angle and passes through the Jahangiri Darwaza. The Jahangiri Darwaza, however, has entirely the appearance of a Mohammedan building and, judging from its name, would seem to have been raised by Jahangir after his conquest of the Fort in 1620 A.D. There is some reason to assume that a white marble slab bearing a Persian inscription, of which two fragments were recovered in 1905 which in all probability was a record of Jahangir 's conquest of the Fort. The Darsani Darwaza, when extant, was flanked by defaced statues of he river-goddess, Ganga and Yamuna, and must date back to a time previous to the Muslim occupation of the Fort. Along the south side of this stood the shrines of Lakshmi Narayana, Sitala, and Ambika Devi which were square chambers profusely decorated with carvings. It is questionable whether they have been rightly designated as temples, as there was no indication that they ever contained any object of worship.
Their ornamentation, however, left no doubt that they were originally intended for religious purpose. Next to the Kangra fort in the old town of Kangra is situated a beautiful Jain temple which was built thirty years ago. Build in traditional Jain architecture it incorporates skillful stone carving of which the exquisite rosette at the centre of the ceiling is especially worth mentioning.
Distance from the resort 65 Kms
While exploring the sylvan beauty of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh you can embark on various excursions. A place called Triund, situated at a distance of about 17 Kms from Dharamshala, can serve as an ideal gateway. This wonderful retreat is thronged by scores of tourists and is ideal for a short outing or picnic.
Triund is placed at a height of 2827 meters. It provides you with mesmerising views of the surrounding places, enveloped with snow. This white sparkling snow is a delight to the eyes and instantly rejuvenates you. These enchanting surroundings will leave you in awe of nature's beauty. From here you can also view the famed Dauladhar mountain ranges.
Many adventure activities like trekking are carried out here in Triund. You will come across many exciting treks which offer a unique experience. The trek from Macleodganj to Triund, through deodar and oak forests, is very famous among the tourists. The total one way distance is just 10 Kms, but it can take a day.
On your way, you will come across Dharmkot and Rakkar villages, where you can closely observe the sylvan Himachal life. However, you will have to start the trek from Mcleodganj in the early hours of morning if you are planning to return on the same day. The trek includes climbing a pretty steep slope from Mcleodganj for about three hours, after which one reaches the final destination. For a safe and informative trek you can take help of the guides that are made available.Reaching Triund is not a problem at all. You can reach Dharamshala which is accessible by road, rail and air. Thereafter you can avail of the buses or taxis and go further to Triund. You can also reach here on foot, through a trek.
Distance from the resort 80 Kms