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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Temples, monasteries and mountains: a Buddhist cultural tour

You’ll get to visit the Dalai Lama’s monastery complex, ancient temples and nunneries on this tour of Dharamshala…

By Passang Sherpa
Tour guide for Himalayan Saga, Alfred&'s partner in India

Experience Buddhist culture in Dharamshala on this full-day tour, with visits to Tibetan temples, nunneries and the Dalai Lama’s monastery complex. We start with a Kora around the residence of his holiness: this is a Tibetan Buddhist ritual of walking in a clockwise direction around a sacred site. You’ll see prayer flags and old ladies spinning prayer wheels and chanting – the views of the mountains are also spectacular and, if the weather is clear, you can see the Kangra Valley below.

You get to visit the main temple where the Dalai Lama conducts his teachings as well as the Kalachakra temple with its murals of tantric deities. If you’re lucky, you might even get to watch a debate taking place. From there we drive to the Gyuto Tantric Monastery where around 700 monks live. It was founded by Tibetans who fled to India. A highlight is watching the monks in yellow hats chanting in the so-called Tantric Choir – it transports you to a remote village in the mountains.

The Buddhist circuit continues at the famous Norbulingka Institute, where you’ll learn about their work preserving Tibetan art and culture. They hold workshops in painting, appliqué and wood carving. We have lunch here at the Humming Bird Café, which serves Tibetan cuisine like momos, mutton dishes and vegetable noodle soup. The tour ends with a trip to the Dolma Ling Nunnery, which is the first institute for the higher education of Tibetan Buddhist nuns.

Categories

  • Culture
  • History
  • Scenery
  • Trips to take

Available in these itineraries…

Alfred & Passang Sherpa

Passang Sherpa was born and brought up in India, although his parents hail from neighbouring Nepal. A trained mountaineering instructor, Passang has built a career working in the mountains and joined Himalayan Saga in 2005 as a tour guide. Passang loves sharing Dharamshala’s unique landscapes, culture and communities with his guests.
Passang Sherpa, Dharamshala tour guide