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Schedule for the 2017 Sessions of the Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture

This page is for the reference of the interns participating in the Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture at the Dharmalaya Institute in 2017. Some of the events and activities listed here are reserved only for interns who have been accepted formally in the Internship programme or people who have registered for special training programmes at Dharmalaya, while others are open to the general public as well.

IMPORTANT: All the details here (including dates, locations, activities, costs, etc.) are subject to change depending on circumstances, but this page should give you a general idea of what to expect and how to plan. Before finalising your plans, check this page again to see if anything has changed. NOTE: All 2017 interns should bookmark this page to make it easy to check for updates.

In particular, it is important to remember that the first priority of the interns is attending to the needs of the hour of the Dharmalaya Institute and its project partners, so keep in mind that the schedule could be changed at any point if something arises for which assistance is required, and interns are expected to be flexible and adapt to the changes.

A note on costs: Where there are special tuition fees or other expenses for a specific programme or event, we will post those here (to the best of our knowledge) so that you can budget accordingly.

 

1 January - 11 March: Continuing Work for Existing Interns

Existing interns (who began in 2016 or earlier) may remain during the winter to gain experience and improve their skills by participating in the ongoing construction and finishing work going on at Dharmalaya Institute.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.


12 March: Free Day

Interns will have the 12th of March off to spend however you may choose (either relaxing at Dharmalaya or going elsewhere).


13-19 March: Earthen Building Training Workshop (and Continuing Work for Existing Interns)

All interns will report to the Dharmalaya Institute at 9:00am on 13 March 2017. Please organise your travel so that you arrive in Bir no later than 12 March. New arrivals will spend the night of the 12th at a hotel/guest house in Bir, freshen up and have your breakfast in Bir the next day, and then we will arrange taxis to pick up all the interns at 9:00am on 13 March so that you’ll reach Dharmalaya around 9:30am. We’ll have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion.

The group will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the whole week for an intensive orientation and training programme in Earthen Building (see this page for details). During this time, we will provide a general overview of the programme, and then we will get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including primarily work on a new earthen structure under construction.

Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual (and, likewise, those interns who join with this new batch will be expected to help train the future interns).

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for this intensive training: Rs 7000 including tuition, food and lodging (with a 50% discount for existing interns who have already completed one training workshop at Dharmalaya, while senior interns who have already completed at least two workshops can join this workshop tuition-free in exchange for helping to supervise and train the junior interns).


20 March to 12 April: Optional Retreat Programme or Holiday (Your Choice)

During this period, the interns will have the option of either participating in a 20-day meditation and service retreat (advance registration required) or taking a holiday of your choice. The value of the retreat is to provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the contemplative and spiritual traditions of the Himalayas through meditation practice. The spiritual dimension of life is an integral part of the traditions of sustainable and compassionate living in the Himalayas and across India and beyond, and it is important also in developing a deeper personal relationship with nature. Meditation is also a valuable tool in the creative process.

Anyone choosing to participate in the retreat will be expected to participate fully (which includes silence for about 6 days, no texting, etc.).

If you prefer not to participate in the retreat, you are free to take a holiday during this time. Note that only those participating in the retreat will be able to stay at Dharmalaya during this period, and others will have to stay elsewhere. Popular options for holiday activities in the area include seeing the local villages and their architecture, paragliding in Bir-Billing, visiting Dharamshala and McLeodGanj, and other activities.

Costs: For this period, costs will depend on whether you choose to participate in the retreat or take a holiday. The costs for the retreat are posted on the retreat page linked above. If you choose to take a holiday instead, then it is at your own expense and we are unable to predict these costs since they are outside our control, but you should budget about the same as you would when travelling elsewhere in India.


12-15 April: Break

Interns will have four free days, to spend as you choose (either relaxing at Dharmalaya or going elsewhere).

 

17-30 April: Orientation & Training for New Interns (and Continuing Training for Existing Interns)

From 17-30 April, there will be a special workshop on ‘Compassiate Living’. All interns (old and new) will report to the Dharmalaya Institute by 9:30am on 17 April. New interns must arrive in Bir on the 16th of April, spend that night at a hotel/guest house in Bir (of your choosing and at your expense), freshen up and have your breakfast in Bir the next day. On 17 April, new arrivals would need to arrange a taxi at 9:00am so that you’ll reach Dharmalaya by 9:30am. Starting promptly at 10:00am, we will have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion. After lunch, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work.

All interns will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the entire duration of the intensive training workshop. For details about the workshop, see this page.

Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual (and, likewise, those interns who join with this new batch will be expected to help train the future interns).

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for this intensive training: Rs 14,000 including tuition, food and lodging (with a discount for existing interns who have already completed one training workshop at Dharmalaya, in exchange for helping to supervise and train the new arrivals).


30 April: Break

Interns will have a day off to spend however you may choose (either relaxing at Dharmalaya or going elsewhere).


2 May - 17 June: Extended Work Period 

Our focus in May and the first half of June will begin with a lot of masonry to finish the walls of our newest building, and then gradually shift toward roofing and weatherproofing this building so it will be protected by the time the monsoon rains come in late June or July. The work will probably include adobe masonry, bamboo and slate work, and possibly mud plaster and other skills.

During this work period, interns will work on site seven hours per day, six days per week, and will have personal quiet time during evenings and Sundays.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.

 

20 June - 1 July: Orientation & Training for New Interns (& Continuing Training for Existing Interns) 

A special training workshop will be held in from 20 June through 1 July.

After the introductions, orientation, and general overview of the programme, we will get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on several earthen structures that are in various stages of construction. The main focus during this programme will be on roofing and weatherproofing our newest buildings so they will be protected from the rains, so this is the best time of the year to learn about roofing methods and materials (along with the extended work period that follows the workshop). The work will probably include bamboo and slate, as well as mud plaster and possibly other techniques. We will also have theory discussions and other presentations and discussions. We may do some water flow management as well, in preparation for the coming rainy season. 

All interns will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute throughout the orientation and training programme (see this page for programme details), except for a one-day break in the middle (when interns will be free either to relax at Dharmalaya or take a day off elsewhere in the area, as you choose).

Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual (and, likewise, those interns who join with this new batch will be expected to help train the future interns).

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for this intensive training: Rs 12,000 including tuition, food and lodging (with a discount for existing interns who have already completed one training workshop at Dharmalaya, in exchange for helping to supervise and train the new arrivals).


1-3 July: Break 

Interns will have two free days (frp, lunchtime on the 1st until lunchtime on the 3rd) to spend however you choose (either relaxing at Dharmalaya or going elsewhere).

 

July through mid-October: Monsoon Season

During July, August, and September, it is usually extremeley wet in this region (not 100% of the time, but a lot). Accordingly, most of the work in the monsoon season happens indoors. For example, the monsoon is the time for interior renders (earthen plasters), floor soling, slate tile work, wood finishing, bamboo finishing, making furniture, painting, and other techniques that add beauty and functionality to the interiors. Occasionally, whenever there is a long enough break in the rain, we might continue with outdoor work, including stone masonry and landscaping.

Please note that we do not accept new interns during the monsoon season due to the weather and the reduced availability of skilled artisans to provide training and supervision for the interns. If your academic schedule requires you to do internship work during this time period, then your best solution would be to attend one of our intensive trainings earlier in the year (i.e. March, May, or June) so that you could begin your internship training in the summer and then continue gaining practical experience during the monsoon.

During this work period, interns will work on site seven hours per day, six days per week, and will have Sundays off to spend however you may choose (either relaxing at Dharmalaya or going elsewhere). Additionally, once each month we might arrange an optional short trip to see one of the interesting sites in the area.

Also, select interns might have the opportunity to work on other sites during this period.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya, but in the case of interns traveling to other sites, all expenses (including travel, food, lodging, etc.) would be the intern’s responsibility.


30 October - 5 November: Optional Meditation Retreat Programme or Holiday (Your Choice) — TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE

During this period, the interns will have the option of either participating in a one-week meditation retreat (advance registration required) or taking a holiday of your choice. The value of the retreat is to provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of meditation practice. The spiritual dimension of life is an integral part of the traditions of sustainable and compassionate living in the Himalayas and across India and beyond, and it is important also in developing a deeper personal relationship with nature. Meditation is also a valuable tool in the creative process.

Anyone choosing to participate in the retreat will be expected to participate fully (which includes silence for about five days, which includes no texting, etc.). 

If you prefer not to participate in the retreat, you are free to take a holiday during this time. Note that only those participating in the retreat will be able to stay at Dharmalaya during this period, and others will have to stay elsewhere. Popular options for holiday activities in the area include seeing the local villages and their architecture, paragliding in Bir-Billing, visiting Dharamshala and McLeodGanj, and other activities.

Costs: For this period, costs will depend on whether you choose to participate in the retreat or take a holiday. The costs for the retreat are posted on the retreat page linked above. If you choose to take a holiday instead, then it is at your own expense and we are unable to predict these costs since they are outside our control, but you should budget about the same as you would when travelling elsewhere in India.


7-18 November: Karma Yoga Retreat, which doubles as an orientation & training for new interns (and continuing training for existing interns) — DATES TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE

From 7-18 November (subject to change), there will be a special ‘Karma Yoga Retreat for Compassionate Living’. All interns (old and new, except senior interns who may be on assignment elsewhere) will report to the Dharmalaya Institute by 9:30am on 7 November. New interns must arrive in Bir on the 6th of November, spend that night at a hotel/guest house in Bir (of your choosing and at your expense), freshen up and have your breakfast in Bir the next day. On 7 November, new arrivals would need to arrange a taxi at 9:00am so that you’ll reach Dharmalaya by 9:30am. Starting promptly at 10:00am, we will have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion. After lunch, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work.

All interns will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the entire duration of the intensive training workshop. For details about the workshop, see this page.

Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual (and, likewise, those interns who join with this new batch will be expected to help train the future interns).

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for this intensive training: Rs 12,000 including tuition, food and lodging (with a discount for existing interns who have already completed one training workshop at Dharmalaya, in exchange for helping to supervise and train the new arrivals).


21 November - 2 December: Orientation & Training for New Interns (and Continuing Training for Existing Interns) — DATES TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE

From 21 November (subject to change), there will be a special workshop on ‘Sustainable Living’. All interns (old and new) will report to the Dharmalaya Institute by 9:30am on 21 November. New interns must arrive in Bir on the 20th of November, spend that night at a hotel/guest house in Bir (of your choosing and at your expense), freshen up and have your breakfast in Bir the next day. On 21 November, new arrivals would need to arrange a taxi at 9:00am so that you’ll reach Dharmalaya by 9:30am. Starting promptly at 10:00am, we will have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion. After lunch, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work.

All interns will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the entire duration of the intensive training workshop. For details about the workshop, see [details TBA].

Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual (and, likewise, those interns who join with this new batch will be expected to help train the future interns).


4 December 2017 - 3 March 2018: Extended Work Period — DATES TENTATIVE AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Our focus during this extended work period is expected to be primarily on finishing two existing structures. The work might include mud plaster, flooring, slate tile work, carpentry, finishing (painting, varnishing, etc.), plumbing, electrical work, and other skills.

During this work period, interns will work on site seven hours per day, six days per week, and will have personal quiet time during evenings and Sundays.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.


2018 Schedule

Details for 2018 will be announced in late 2017. Meanwhile, to get a general idea what we might be doing during this time, you can review the 2017 schedule above, as we are likely to repeat similar programmes and activities in 2018 in a similar (though somewhat different) timeline.