The north Indian town of Dharamshala (also spelled ‘Dharamsala’, ‘Dharmshala’ and occasionally ‘Dharmsala’) is a true ‘global village’. Perched on a spur of the Dhauladhar range in the foothills of the Himalayas, this bustling town of 35,000 people is a bridge between worlds.
Dhasa, as it is often called (as a compound of ‘Dharamshala’ and ‘Lhasa’), is the exile home of H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet and the Central Tibetan Administration (the ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’).
The heart of the Tibetan community of Dharamshala is the settlement of McLeodGanj, which runs along a ridge overlooking the town of Dharamshala proper.
McLeodGanj is a small but bustling international centre which blends flavours of Lhasa with elements of a modern Euro-American town in the setting of an Indian shepherds’ village.
Dharamshala attracts a diverse assortment of people from all corners of the earth who come to study and meditate and to make contributions to the Tibetan cause.
Some travellers come just for the scenery (or for the ‘scene’), but those who take the time to explore under the surface are usually transformed by their experiences.
Many return home to enjoy life more deeply and positively transform their own lives and communities. But others seem to get ‘stuck’ here for months or even years, finding the beauty of the natural surroundings, the warmth of the people, the wisdom of the Tibetan and Indian spiritual traditions and the urgency of the Tibetan crisis compels us to stay awhile to learn and to serve.