Norbulingka Institute Dharamshala-great experience of Tibetan culture

We visited Norbulingka Institute in Dharamshala during last week's trip to Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort. I had not visited this institute during my 2015 visit to Dharamshala so visiting this institute was first time experience for me.

Why should you visit Norbulingka institute in Dharamshala?
  • To understand Tibetan culture
  • To see various activities- painting, woodworks, metal design etc first hand
  • To experience the campus built on traditional Tibetan architecture style making best use of natural forces (such as flowing water)
  • To visit doll museum
  • To visit the temple and gift shop
  • To stay in the institute (you can request to book a stay)
Where is Norbulingka Institute?
Norbulingka Institute is located in Sidhpur, HP, on Palampur-Dharamshala road, roughly 10 kms from Dharamshala towards Kangra. Pin code is 176057. Map location here

Norbulingka Institute Visit details:
  • Open from 9 AM till 5.30 PM. Open on all 7 days but best to check before visiting during holidays. Restaurant open till 9.30 PM (useful for residents)
  • Entry fee INR 50 per person
  • Approx time recommended- min 1 hour, max 2 or 3
  • Rest rooms and a cafe is available, parking outside 
Our visit to Norbulingka Institute
We visited on a weekday morning hour, one of the staff volunteered to show us around. Norbulingka institute offers almost free education to its students.They need to clear an entrance test and once they qualify, students get to study various courses that teaches then different life skills. We first visited the wooden carving centre where students carved nice art work on blocks of wood. Some of these blocks I saw kept for sale in the shop inside the institute.
Next we visited the paint shop where students were colouring various pieces of art work. The painting on the woods is done by experts. There is a plain 2D painting and a 3D painting.
Next stop was Thangka Painting where students carefully coloured the art works
Next stop was Thangka Aplique Studio. Here crafts are done on cloths using templates given by experts. Designs are pressed, stitched and readied for final use. Lots of patience and careful craftsmanship is needed.
Next we visited metal shop, here multiple metal objects- statues, faces etc were being made. There are two ways to make metal objects- one is to make a cast of the shape you need and then pour hot molten metal into it and get the desired shape- items made like this will be heavy and full of metal. The other option is to press a sheet of metal in between two casts to get the desired shapes. This model is easier, cheaper and gives a hollow object.
Losel Doll Museum
Interesting place- a small room full of hundreds of dolls depicting history and tradition. Name plates besides the box give details on the doll.

Temple
A small temple with giant Lord Buddha statue inside- didn't find anything extra ordinary about this temple. We were told top portion is pure gold while bottom is copper with gold coating.

Gift shop- no photos allowed inside- finished goods- dress materials, paint work, art work, wood and metal objects etc are kept for sale here.

Campus:
Norbulingka institute campus has a continuous flowing water, which keeps the energy levels high and constant sound of flowing water feels good. The flowing water's energy is used at multiple places to rotate religious symbols or other such simple applications. There is a hummingbird cafe, Norling House (we were not shown inside- don't know much about it- website says you can request to stay here) etc. With lots of trees, colourful buildings, the campus is nice place to stroll.
Be sure to include Norbulingka institute in your plan on your next visit to Dharamshala. Their official website is https://www.norbulingka.org/

2 comments:

  1. This is such a colourful place!! Love Tibetian monasteries but I don't think I have been to an Institute like this. Thanks for sharing!

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