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About Dharmalaya

Dharmalaya is an Indian charitable organisation devoted to education and empowerment for compassionate living, with a practical focus on sustainable village development, contemplative service-learning, immersive ecotourism, and the preservation and adaptation of traditional wisdom.


Dharmalaya’s mission is to unite the best of traditional wisdom with creative innovation to produce compelling possibilities for sustainable and compassionate living in the Himalayas and beyond.


We envision local and global communities that apply humanity’s gifts of intelligence, creativity, and caring to synthesize the very best of both tradition and modernity, particularly as manifest in ecological sustainability, applied compassion, and shared prosperity.


In service of its mission, Dharmalaya conducts an array of complementary educational and charitable programmes spanning the fields of economic self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship, experiential education, community service, health, and personal development. Most of our programmes are offered either free of charge or for a modest fee or voluntary donation, for local, national and international participants alike. All these diverse activities serve a common prime objective: to develop and promote innovative, integrated approaches to sustainable development, meaningful real-world education, and altruistic service.  › More

Legalities & Formalities

Dharmalaya is a Charitable Society registered under the Himachal Pradesh Societies Registration Act of 2006 (registration number 4305) and approved by the Government of India as a tax-exempt charitable organisation under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It is also a member project of the Earthville Network, an international non-governmental organisation (INGO) recognised by the US government as a 501(c)(3) public charity.  › More


Dharmalaya is founded and managed by a multi-disciplinary, international team of people committed to creating a more compassionate and sustainable world.  › More

Principles & Practices

Dharmalaya is a neo-traditional NGO, meaning that we endeavor to learn from the past and experiment in the present to forge a more harmonious future.

Dharmalaya is a nonsectarian educational and charitable organisation that respects all the great wisdom traditions of the world but is not affiliated with any religious group. It is rooted in the traditional Indian ethical principles of karuna (compassion), ahimsa (non-harming), maitri/metta (loving kindness to all) and seva (service). A complete understanding of these values as applied in the modern world includes not only caring for all living beings, but also ecological responsibility expressed in a commitment to sustainable living.  › More

The Meaning of the Name ‘Dharmalaya’

The name Dharmalaya could be translated in several ways, due to the richness of meaning of the two Sanskrit words from which it is formed: dharma and alaya.

Dharma is a word with many levels of meaning. One literal rendering is ‘that which is held’, and traditionally it is used to refer to both philosophical understandings and meditative practice. Dharma also means duty or responsibility, so a modern, secular definition of ‘practicing dharma’ could be ‘living responsibly and cultivating awareness’, or acting in accord with what the Dalai Lama calls ‘universal responsibility’ and ‘secular ethics’.

Alaya also has different layers of meaning. The literal meaning is ‘abode’ or ‘repository’. The deeper meaning is something that could be described as a reservoir of energy, knowledge, experience, memory, or potential.

Thus, taking all these meanings together, we translate ‘Dharmalaya’ as ‘a place to live responsibly, learn deeply, and work with joyful diligence to activate our great potential for the benefit of all’.