Tibetan Buddhism Retreat Dharamshala 2021

Wellness
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    This tour is provided by

    Vibrant Women Travel provides retreats and inspirational journeys for women. Shared adventures in extraordinary places. Bespoke, curated, fully escorted, small group women’s travels and experiences for the soul.

    Solo travellers can take the opportunity to travel in the safety of a small group, as well as doing some exploring on their own. People travelling with friends will have wonderful memories to share well into the future.

    • 8 Days
    • Buddhist Philosophy Retreat
    • India

    This retreat is for women with an interest in Buddhist Philosophy, Tibetan Culture and in living a Meaningful Life.

    Imagine a week in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the home of His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, surrounded by beautiful nature, eating delicious vegetarian Indian food, engaging in workshops and classes about Buddhism, practicing yoga and meditation, swimming, hiking, shopping, relaxing, dreaming, being, just imagine…

    There’s something so liberating about stepping outside of your life for a moment waking up in a new land. Excited for the adventure learning a new philosophy, being intellectually and spiritually stimulated and building new connections with yourself and others. Being fully present to a new culture, breathing deeply into your heart, centre and allowing space and light to enter. Moving your body in gentle, restorative and healing ways and taking quiet time to reflect. Capturing memories and life lessons that last a lifetime. Being new but still being you.

    Arrivals & Departures

    Arrivals

    You will arrive and depart from Dharamshala Kangra Airport (DHM) via Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi.

    There are no direct flights to Dharamshala. Depending on the airline you travel with you may need to transfer from the international to the domestic terminal. If you need to spend a night in Delhi we suggest the Aloft Hotel at the Delhi Aerocity. The Lemon Tree Premier Airport Hotel or Red Fox Hotel at Delhi Aerocity are also fine, just rooms are a lot smaller (they are all within a 3 minute walk to each other and we can do drop offs and pick ups). Tammie will be staying at the Aloft hotel on the night of the 4th and 13th of April and can fly with you the next day to Dharamshala. *Flights are not arranged as yet but we will put them here when we have them.

    Please note you can arrange to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel etc, for around $20AUD each way if you prefer that. Our quote is more expensive because it is someone who will wait at the arrivals gate for you with a sign with your name on it and even if your flight is delayed will still wait for you. Not everyone is comfortable arranging taxis although it is fairly straight forward at Delhi airport. The drive to the hotel is only around 7 minutes.

    Departures

    You can depart anytime on the last day of the retreat this is the 12th or 21st of April. You need to leave the retreat centre 4 hours before your flight departs so please consider this while you are also considering your return international flight. You will possibly need to take a shuttle bus from the domestic to international terminal so please also allow time for this. DIAL provides a complimentary shuttle bus service for passengers, every 20 minutes between domestic and international terminals of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. You can also spend an extra night in Delhi we can help you will all arrangements. 

    Additional Flight Information

    Airport Transfers

    Return trip from airport  to hotel with car and driver and drop off to airport with car and driver – A$120 (this is only if you are spending the night in Delhi, airport transfers in Dharamshala are included in your package) *This is per car which can take 3 people and you can divide the cost. If there are more than 3 people we will have to send a mini bus and will notify you of the price.

    Flights Delhi to Dharamshala

    We will discuss flight times with you to fit in with your international arrival and departure flights. Please note: cost for flight is subject to change until they have been paid for. Flights are currently fluctuating so we suggest contacting Donna McHugh – [email protected] our personal Travel agent if you wish her to book flights for you. She will send you a quote first and charges $55 for the booking and will post tickets to you. She can arrange international and domestic flights anywhere in the world. 

    Flight Booking

    Donna McHugh from Wauchope Travel to arrange all of our flights please contact her if you require assistance on (+61) 02 65852288 or email [email protected] Donna can arrange flights to and from anywhere in the world and she knows our itineraries.

    Pre Retreat Accommodation

    We prefer the Aloft Hotel Delhi but you can also stay at a cheaper hotel, the Red Fox which is adjoined to the Lemon Tree Hotel and is around $35 a night cheaper, you can book these yourself online, please note all bookings are subject to 25% tax and you may want to include breakfast in your room rate. You can book this yourself via their website on the link below and when you go to add your personal details it also gives you the option to add an airport transfer. I cannot vouch for these not having used them before.

    If you want us to book for you

    1 Night accommodation at Delhi Aloft– $250AUD per room single, (*Lemon Tree is cheaper and very small room with single bed you can book this yourself here) $290AUD twinshare per room (A$145 per person)

    *you may not need this accommodation if you are flying on the same day as the start day and can arrive to Dharamshala before 2pm in the afternoon. 

    Highlights

    • Explore the foothills Himalayas (optional ½ day hiking) people who don’t want to do that can explore the local village where we are staying, enjoy the coffee shops and beautiful gardens and surrounding
    • Explore Tibetan Culture and in particular Thangka Art, Spirituality, Politics and Architecture
    • Visit colourful local markets (this is the place to buy your singing bowl!)
    • Meet Jetsumna Tenzin Palmo and visit her nunnery which is in a truly stunning location (Author of “Cave in the Snow”)
    • Visit the Dalai Lamas Temple, a local nunnery where we can have ghee lamp lit on our behalf and our charity for this trip Jagori which focuses on gender equality and Womens rights
    • Visit the artisan village of Andretta known for pottery, purchase a lovely ceramic souvenir to take home
    • Tea Tasting at Wah Tea Estate in Palampur
    • Three workshops providing an Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism with an English speaking university educated Nun Emma Billsberry (Lozang Drolma)
    • Three workshops with Tammie Day (Founder of Vibrant Women) on how to incorporate Buddhism into western daily life
    • Spend time with our local guide who will share his passion for everything Dharamshala, from his home town Naddi and hiking, to the best coffee shop in McLeod Ganj
    • Optional daily yoga and or meditation classes
    • Experience the peace and serenity and beauty of the Dhauladhar range (lit. The White Range) which are part of a lesser Himalayan chain of mountains
    • Stay in rustic and authentic Tibetan and Indian accommodations, clean and comfortable with artistic touches
    • Find peace and happiness

    Price Includes

    • Meet and greet by Vibrant Women Representative at Dharamshala airport
    • 7 nights’ accommodation with breakfast
    • 1 dinner and local dance performance at the Norbulingka Institute
    • Guided Tour of the Norbulingka Institute
    • 3 Lunch and Dinners at The Mirage, Andretta
    • Pickup and drop off at Dharamshala airport
    • Sightseeing in and around Dharamshala as per itinerary
    • Entrance fees
    • Tea Tasting at Wah Tea Estate
    • 3 Workshops on Tibetan Buddhism with a Lozang Drolma at Norbulingka Institute
    • 3 Workshops on incorporating Buddhism into busy western lives
    • Lamp light ceremony and visit to Dolma Ling nunnery
    • Donation to DGL Nunnery, Dolma Ling Nunnery and Jogori Charitable Foundation (on a group basis)
    • Local English speaking guide throughout tour

    Price Excludes

    • International and Domestic Air fare
    • Indian visas
    • Lunches & dinners (where not included)
    • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
    • Occasional optional items not identified in itinerary description
    • Tipping and personal expenses (we suggest $15 a day per person to cover our drivers, accommodation and guide tips. You can pay this in AUD $105 or 5,000Rp. We will collect this at breakfast on the first day of the retreat)
    • Bottled water and other beverages not included with meals

    Your Hosts

    Your Workshop Leader

    Lozang Drolma (Emma Billsberry) is originally from a small village in the English countryside. Emma met the Dharma in 2005 when volunteering at an FPMT centre in Australia, Chenrezig Institute. Within a few months she was ordained as Lozang Drolma and began her formal studies with the five year Buddhist Studies Program and became a registered FPMT teacher in 2012. She continued with two years of further Masters studies completing nine years of studies while living and serving in Chenrezig Nuns Community.

    While at Chenrezig she assisted the spiritual program offered at Chenrezig leading meditations and pujas. She also regularly taught introductory courses and led retreats at Chenrezig a becoming well known for her natural warmth, kindness and wisdom. In 2012 she assisted the Kopan November course as meditation leader. Since arriving in India in 2015 where she is learning Tibetan and has taught at Tushita Meditation center and Root Institute. Currently Drolma resides in Dharamsala as a student at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics.

    Your retreat leader

    Tammie Day  is a mindfulness, meditation, yoga, nia teacher and group facilitator. A social worker by profession she spent 17 years as a counsellor. She runs retreats and workshops worldwide. Tammie has been facilitating retreats for 10 years and has found the most unique and beautiful places for you to visit whilst engaging in personal development acclivities. She likes to call these meaningful holidays. 

    Your Local Guides 

    Vikas and Ashish Kumar are a local guides who come from a small, picturesque village above Dharamsala. They are passionate about the area and the Himalayas and have worked as a trekking guides since leaving school. In this time both guides have introduced many international visitors to the wonders of the India and the Himalayas. They are very excited to be showing us around their local area, (beware everyone knows them so its a bit of a slow process walking down the main street in McLeod Ganj). One of the guides will be with us on outings and for our hike.

    The Workshops

    Introduction to Buddhism

    This retreat is equally appropriate for beginners and those with some background knowledge however please let us know if you are a very experienced practitioner as we want to ensure your expectations are met and or exceeded. Although this retreat is a great reminder of Buddhist fundamentals it is aimed at people with a beginners curious mind, as is the yoga and meditation.

    To study about Buddhist Philosophy is to study yourself. During our retreat, our experienced teacher will explain Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practices giving instruction in order to help you apply this ancient wisdom to increase peace, happiness, and compassion in your daily life.

    Topics include:

    • What is Buddhism? The Buddha’s life story
    • How Tibetan Buddhism differs from other types of Buddhism
    • How to be respectful and considerate when visiting Buddhist sites and places of interest
    • The Four Noble Truths – How to release yourself from suffering
    • The Noble Eightfold Path – The path to liberation and spiritual enlightenment
    • Wheel of Life, Karma & Re-birth

    The body of the course is composed of philosophy classes supported by yoga and meditation sessions, as well as visits to local monasteries and nunneries and opportunities to practice meditation.

    Practicing Buddhism In Daily Life

    You don’t have to be a Buddhist to learn from the Dharma. There are so many ways we can incorporate the wisdom of Buddhism into our busy modern lives. During these workshops Tammie will weave tips, tools and spiritual practices from her many years of teaching mindfulness and meditation to give you a fresh perspective on your daily life and activities.

    Topics Include:

    • Mindfulness and Meditation practices for busy people
    • Buddhist Rituals
    • Incorporating the “Six Perfections” in our daily living

    Yoga and Meditation

    During this retreat participants will be welcomed to take place in either morning yoga, and/or meditation. This will be a gentle hatha/yogalates style, allowing space for those to work at their own ability and comfort level. Please note these sessions are in no way compulsory, and if yoga isn’t your thang, you can just come to the meditation or sleeping in is also an option. 

    Location and Accommodation

    The Place – Dharamshala Northern India

    When travellers talk of staying in Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj is usually where they mean, however we are staying in the quieter, more relaxed and peaceful town of Sidphur. A sweet village that is home to the Norbulingka Institute, (where our accommodation is based) and some cute cafes. 10km’s up the road is the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and home to a large Tibetan population, including many maroon-robed monks and nuns. The Tibetan government-in-exile is based in between at Gangchen Kyishong. McLeod Ganj attracts thousands of international visitors, many of them volunteering with the Tibetan community, taking courses in Buddhism, meditation or yoga, trekking in the Dhauladhar mountains, shopping for Tibetan crafts, or just hanging out enjoying the spiritual/alternative vibe and the plethora of good cafes where you’re never far from an interesting conversation with new friends. Dharamshala is also for people who believe in the magic of mountains, the nature lovers. 

    Our Accommodation – Norling House

    Located in the ground of the Norbulingka Institute, Norbulingka is a unique institute dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art and culture. They are a self-sustaining community located in Dharamsala, India, dedicated to ensuring that the integrity of Tibetan artistic traditions is maintained for generations to come. Art is a large part of culture, and by maintaining artistic lineages, the institute helps to conserve the unique identity of Tibetans and the sacred traditions which took root in Tibet. Their studios produce museum-quality artwork using methods that have been practiced and passed down for many centuries.

    Norling House is located within the grounds of the Norbulingka Institute and is surrounded by the lush gardens and flowing streams. Each room is themed according to a different animal from Tibetan mythology and is a showcase of the work of Norbulingka artists, as all the furniture and original paintings were lovingly hand crafted and painted in Norbulingka workshops. Our guesthouse is the perfect place to spend a relaxing retreat, in a setting so peaceful you will feel you have stepped into paradise. We strive to offer our guests all the modern comforts in a setting of traditional Tibetan charm.

    During the day Norbulingka Institute is open to the general public and is a popular tourist destination, outside of the hours of 9 – 5pm we have the place to ourselves. Within the grounds there is also a cafe, restaurant, shop, museum, temple and workshops for the artists, it is a truly special location to host a retreat. It is also safe to walk around the local area outside of the institute which is mainly one street that leads up a hill, there are cafes and shops close by.

    I’m hoping people can choose their favourite mythical animal for their room, after booking I will let you know what rooms are left. Perhaps think about which one you would you choose, the Snow Leopard, Dragon, Parrot, Tiger, Snow Lion, Ibex, Phoenix, Garuda, Fish or Sea Monster!

    The Place – Andretta

    Andretta is a village and an artists’ colony in Himachal Pradesh. The artists’ colony was established in the 1920s, when Irish theatre artiste and environmentalist, Norah Richards moved to the area. Just 13 km from the tea gardens of Kangra valley’s Palampur district this peaceful village is home to around 550 species of birds and sits on the gentle gradient below the snow covered peaks of the Dhauladhar range. Andretta is approximately a 2 hour drive from Norling House and the location of our Retreat Centre The Mirage.

    Our Accommodation – The Mirage

    The Mirage is a cluster of traditional Himachali mud houses which have lovingly been restored to an inviting homestay with modern amenities.

    Set amongst dense foliage in the artist’s colony of Andretta, against a backdrop of jungle & bamboo groves of the Shivalik hills, the Mirage is a veritable museum of hand picked Indian furniture & artifacts.

    Retreat Information

    This retreat is for you if you want to…

    Immerse yourself  – in one week of meditation and Buddhist philosophy, yoga, discussions, workshops, deep thinking all of which can bring new and exciting elements to your spiritual practice.

    Get a new perspective – Going to a new place creates an opportunity to experience a new landscape externally but also internally.  

    *Actually* meditate – When you have extended free time, it’s a lot easier to meditate. No cell phone buzzing or boss reminding you about deadlines. On retreats, it feels a lot more natural to breathe deeply and be present in the moment. There is perhaps no better place in the world than to practice meditation than Dharamshala, the collective energy is very powerful, you actually want to participate and meditate. 

    Detox digitally – One of my favourite things about a retreat is shutting off my technology. While we do have wifi, you don’t feel the need to constantly text, update Facebook or call friends. It feels good to unplug. Trust me the wifi is crap, you’ll have no choice anyway!

    Relax and de-stress – Sometimes we have to be far from home to give ourselves the permission to truly relax. Being on a retreat allows you to listen to your body, rest when you need it, and be free from stress. Even though we have a full schedule, its not taxing and there are lots of nurturing activities like yoga and walking, watching movies, sightseeing, having all meals loving prepared for you etc. 

    Replace old habits – The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new healthy one. When you feel motivated you can replace unhealthy habits with conscious new behaviours that support you in being your best self.

    Make new friends – Undeniably, you will meet individuals with similar interests. Even if you go alone, you have a chance to make friends with people who you might know for the rest of your life. 

    Appreciate home and your life more – While a week away is always nice, we often come home with a refreshed appreciation for life, feeling happier, healthier, and re-energised to jump back into your routine with new vigour. Heck, it might even feel fun. 

    You deserve it! – Thoreau said: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” While this quote might be on your refrigerator, chances are you make excuses about why you can’t YET. Often times the excuses are about money, time or circumstances but guess what, you deserve a break. You work hard for a reason and you can always find reasons why you should or should not do something. The key to happiness is deciding what you really want and making it happen. No excuses. The time is NOW!! 

    This retreat is not for you if … 

    You have recently gone through a major crisis and are still very emotionally fragile – the whole experience may be too overwhelming so it may be best to wait until you have regained some inner strength (feel free to contact us if you want to discuss this)

    You are seeking a therapeutic program, this is a skills development retreat with a focus on understanding Buddhism. This does not mean that you will not experience therapeutic or life enhancing benefits we just want you to make sure your expectations match our program outline.

    You are expecting to have individual sessions/counselling with the retreat leader, unfortunately time does not allow for this. 

    Your health and/or mobility prevents you from travelling to a country such as India.  The footpaths are very uneven and there are stairs at the accommodation.

    You expect India, a developing nation, to have all of the comforts and conveniences of a Western country. (The places we stay in are beautiful, comfortable and perfectly suited for a retreat experience but India is not a western country so things run differently – I guess this needs to be met with a level acceptance and understanding). For example beds are very firm and hot water and good water pressure are not guaranteed. 

    This retreat is designed to support busy women to slow down and connect with themselves, in a beautiful location, in a fun and supportive way, whilst in the company of other like-minded women.  

    Indian Rupees

    Indian Rupees are only available in India as it is a closed currency. You can change some money at the Delhi airport on arrival and then a credit card and an ATM card as well just in case you need a back up. Good to have a few options in case one doesn’t work.

    You will need to take some money to cover drinks, laundry and souvenirs, plus any additional sightseeing that may be offered to you. We think around AUD$300/£165/$215USD per week should be enough. Your India retreat does not include some lunches and some dinners however, you will also need to allocate a certain amount of money for shopping and drinks while on retreat. These meals are at your own arrangements so the amount allocated will be different for each participant. On average in 2019 our meals were around $15 AUD.

    E-Visa India

    Visa Requirements
    The most convenient and cheapest way to get your visa is online e-Visa – To complete online choose E-Visa Application. The online application can only be completed 30 days prior to travel, unless you want a 12-month visa. Previously it has taken 3 days to receive the E-Visa. This cost is between $10 and $50USD, prices change all the time sorry but just to give you a guideline.

    Some further details – India Mission is where your application will be lodged ie Canberra, Sydney etc the office closest to you. You can use these contact details for hotel and reference in India sections. You can use these contact details for hotel and reference in India sections.

    Address:
    NORLING HOUSE
    Mohli Lahrandi,
    Himachal Pradesh 176057,
    India Phone: +91 94184 36410

    or alternatively

    Ekno Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd,
    Dickey Cottage Village Molhi,
    PO Sidhpur, HP 176057,
    Ph 0981685999

    Your reference in Australia is your emergency contact. It seems there is no other option but to request a 1-year visa and for 60 days even though you may only be travelling for 8 days. You also only require single entry unless you are planning on visiting India twice in the same period. Good Luck and welcome to Indian Bureaucracy!

    Itinerary

    Day 1Norling House

    Arrive to Norling House from the airport, settling your room, have a snack in the café.

    4pm we meet for a guided tour of the Norbulingka Institute, so we can better understand the purpose of this beautiful institute which focuses on preserving the Tibetan art of Thankga, (Tibetan Buddhist Spiritual Painting/Woodcarving/Metal work). You can see the craftsmen in their workshops, and it has a lovely shop as well with paintings, carvings, clothes and soft furnishings. I recommend the pencil cases for presents they are very sweet and original.

    5pm – Introductions on the first floor of Norling House includes Masala Chai. Here we will discuss the week ahead, answer questions and get to know each other.

    6pm our first group meditation in the stunning Temple with its giant Golden Buddha statue.

    7pm Dinner and local dance performance

    Accommodation – Norling House (housed within Norbulingka Institutes grounds this is a very special and spiritual and artistic place I feel so blessed to be able to take you here.)

    Day 2Norling House

    7am morning yoga on the grass followed by a 30 min meditation in the temple or 8am (for those not doing yoga, just join for meditation in the temple)

    9am Breakfast in the restaurant

    10am – 11am Introduction to Meditation with Tammie

    11.30pm We explore (with our local guide) McLeod Ganj home of the Dalai Lama in Exile. This afternoon you can also visit a local temple and have time to wander the shops for Tibet wares. Purchase your beautiful singing bowls and tingshas, lovely shawls and other handmade products from the Tibetan market. Have lunch at a local cafe *self-pay

    4:00 – 5.30pm Meet Lozang Drolma (Emma Billsberry) for our first workshop in Buddhism. We have a dedicated space at Norling house set up for workshops etc.

    7pm Dinner

    Accommodation – Norling House

    Day 3Norling House

    This morning sees us leaving early for a half day hiking tour, (only for the moderately fit) of the local mountain ranges with our trusty guide Vikas who knows this area like the back of his hand as it is his local Village. After our hike we will stop at St. John’s Church in the Wilderness an eminent landmark in the hill town of McLeod Ganj. This church is an ancient church in Himachal Pradesh that was erected in the year 1852. The most interesting aspect of this church is that it stands amid the lush green surroundings of a forested area. Such surroundings enhance its charm to a great extent. This church is built in the Neo-Gothic style of architecture and is one of the key attractions located in McleodGanj.

    On the way back to Norling House we can check out the new cinema complex (Maximums Mall) to see if a Bollywood movie is showing with English subtitles, if not perhaps just some retail therapy or pick up any items you may be missing, such as snacks or forgotten toiletries.

    * if you are not keen on hiking today you can have a relaxed day at Norling House, wandering the local area, just enjoy the grounds of the Norbulingka institute, maybe do an art class then meet us at the cinema complex in the late afternoon.

    Dinner – to be decided perhaps at the mall, what a contrast!

    Accommodation – Norling House

    Day 4Norling House

    7am morning yoga on the grass followed by a 30 min meditation in the temple at 8am (for those not doing in yoga, just join for meditation in the temple)

    9am Breakfast in the restaurant

    10am – 12pm Workshop – Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism with Lozang Drolma

    12pm Lunch

    1pm – 3pm Workshop continued

    3pm We visit a local NGO to see the work they’re doing in relation to gender equality and women’s rights in the local region, this also includes working with whole families and Men. This is the charity earmarked for this trip and a donation will be made on behalf of all participants $25 per person. Late afternoon takes us to Dolmaling Nunnery, just a 10-minute walk from Norling House. Here we can hear about what the day in a life of a Nun is like and have the Nuns lights a butter lamp for us, to make our dreams and wishes come true, or to show gratitude for something, or for a loved one, this is a beautiful practice and each Buddhist complex has one of these beautiful Light Houses throughout the Himalayas. The lamps traditionally burn clarified yak butter, but now often use vegetable oil or ghee. Hopefully the head Nun will also have time to discuss with us the current situation for Tibetans in exile and how their struggle continues and how they have made lives for themselves here in Dharamshala.

    7pm Dinner

    Accommodation – Norling House

    Day 5The Mirage

    8am Breakfast – After Breakfast we drive to The Mirage stopping on the way at a picturesque Village of Palampur for lunch and a wander before making our way to Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery which was founded by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo at the request of her teacher His Eminence H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche.

    Here we hope to meet Tenzin Palmo in person and have a bit of a chat, coffee and buy some Audios and DVDs in the shop, (these are great priced teachings of Tenzin Palmo and produced to support the Nunnery). The scenery in this part of the world is spectacular.

    *Meeting Tenzin Palmo is dependent on her schedule and although we have put in a request if a more pressing matter comes up, (what than meeting us!) then she will need to attend to this instead.

    Late afternoon we will arrive at The Mirage our quirky and rustic home for the next 3 days.

    5pm a restorative yoga class will be offered, or you might like to take a dip in the newly built retreat centre swimming pool. We are expecting temperatures around 30 degrees, even though you may still see snow-capped mountains.

    7pm we will take dinner on the Terrace before having a restful night sleep. The Mirage is a retreat and heritage homestay in the foothills of the Dhauladhar range. Please note it is very rustic and bathrooms may be shared. As always beds can be firm and hot water not always plentiful so please adjust your expectations accordingly.

    Accommodation – The Mirage

    Day 6The Mirage

    7am Wake up morning yoga and meditation class before eating breakfast on the patio overlooking the gardens. This morning will be a workshop with Tammie on how to use the principles of Buddhism everyday life too busy modern westerners.

    This afternoon we visit the local Artists Colony of Andretta starting with Norah Richard’s House – started some 75 years ago by an Irish woman named Norah Richards, who acquired the land from the District Commissioner of Kangra in 1935. Norah Richards, a dramatist and environmentalist lived in Andretta from the mid 30’s, through the time of partition until her death in 1971. She was a formidable and resourceful Irish woman, passionate about Shakespeare, who built an adobe house here in the English style. She taught Punjabi students how to perform plays in a small outdoor theatre outside her home. Her adobe house has recently been renovated by the Punjabi University Patiala, with the skills of local artisans. The little theatre is still in use by the Punjabi university students. They perform plays every year on Norah’s birthday, October 29th. Anyone can come and watch the well-acted dramas, sitting under the stars among the local village folk. — Google “Andretta Artists Village” for more on the fascinating story of Norah Richards & Andretta’s direct links to some of the founding legends of Bollywood. Norah Richards was brought to Andretta at the insistence of Jaya Dayal of Lahore University, the man who built the Mirage in 1948. According to the late cine actor Shammi Kapoor, “he was in love with her & she with Shakespeare”.

    Andretta Pottery and Craft Society – This is a working art pottery making attractive earthenware with rangoli style slip designs. The pottery offers 3 month classes for students. Also attached to the pottery is a Terracotta Museum. While the main collection in this museum is the work of local village potters from the neighbouring parts, the museum also has a house collection of pottery from around the globe including several works from Mexico, England and Holland. — For more about Andretta Pottery go towww.andrettapottery.com Sobha Singh Art Gallery – The Art Gallery is a display of work by the famous painter of Sikh gurus, SobhaSingh, created over his three decades in Andretta. He was another of Norah’s artist friends that she brought together to share her dream.

    B.C. Sanyal the artist – B.C. Sanyal, who died recently at the ripe old age of 101, had a beautiful mudbrick holiday cottage in Andretta where he used to come and paint. His daughter Amba is today a director of the Norah Centre for the Arts. Return to The Mirage for some quiet reflection time.

    7pm Dinner – After dinner Inspirational Buddhist Movie

    Accommodation – The Mirage

    Day 7The Mirage

    7am morning yoga and meditation class before eating breakfast on the patio overlooking the gardens. This morning will be a workshop on how to use the principles of Buddhism everyday life too busy modern westerners (continued from yesterday with Tammie).

    Lunch 2pm we head out to the Wah Tea Estate for a guided tour, lunch and a tea tasting. Head back to our charming accommodation for a farewell meal and final night together.

    Accommodation – The Mirage

    Day 8Delhi

    Morning meditation followed by breakfast and closing ceremony.

    Head back to the airport to make our way home, refreshed, reenergised and hopefully live a more content life.

    May you be peaceful, May you be happy, May you be safe from harm and free from suffering, May you be awakened to the light of your true nature, May you be free.

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