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The Dharmalaya Blog

While our News page reports on the biggest stories in Dharmalaya, our blog gives you a wider window into life and work at Dharmalaya, from a more personal perspective.

We hope you enjoy our blog, and we invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section of each story.

Entries in construction (6)


Indian Express Article on Didi Contractor

Journalist Shiny Varghese has written a lovely and insightful article for the Indian Express about celebrated earthen architect Didi Contractor, who is Professor Emeritus of Dharmalaya Institute’s Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture, having cofounded the internship programme with Mark Moore in 2013. The story follows Didi from her roots in the US through her move to India in 1951, her work restoring the Udaipur Lake Palace (which brought the limelight to her), and finally her move to Himachal Pradesh, where her interest in earthen architecture flourished.

Click to read more ...


Help Dharmalaya Open Its Doors

The Hall

BIR (HP) INDIA: The first building on the new eco-campus of the Dharmalaya Institute is just two steps away from being ready to welcome the public, and Dharmalaya needs your help to reach the finish line.

The neotraditional adobe-and-bamboo building survived its second heavy monsoon season in perfect shape, thanks to the dedicated team of Himachali craftsmen, local labourers, and many Indian and international volunteers who did great work to complete the roof and the most important windows from March through June. Thanks to all of you, the building is about 90% complete.

The two remaining steps are finishing and furnishing. First up are a few last windows and doors, and then a lot of interior work, including electrical, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, final plaster, and other finishing touches. Then, with all that done, we’ll need to furnish the building and equip the kitchen. We intend to build our own bamboo furniture and, as with everything else we do, we’re inspired to make a workshop out of it (details to be announced).

Most of this work must be completed by March, when we have two more retreats scheduled with our friends from SanghaSeva. And there’s where the request for help comes in.

To make the last two steps to opening day, we need your help, and there are three things you can do to support us:

  1. First, we need to raise at least Rs 3,20,000 (approximately US$6000) by the end of 2012 to complete the construction. We will be very grateful for any donation you can give, whatever the size (it will probably be many small donations that help us reach our goal).  To donate by credit card, visit our fundraising campaign page on (To donate by cheque, visit our donate page.)
  2. As always, we need volunteers to help us build and beautify the campus. For details, see our volunteer page.
  3. Please share the link to this page with your friends by email and on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networks you may use, and ask them to consider donating and/or volunteering.

And whether or not you donate or volunteer, please do share this with your friends who might be interested. Thank you!


UPDATE: Thanks to all of your support, our goal was reached early and surpassed. We’re very grateful to all of you!


Dharmalaya Inaugurates Green HQ with Service and Meditation


BIR (HP) INDIA: After a marathon rush of construction activity through the winter, Dharmalaya held its first programmes in the new (and still-unfinished) main building of the Dharmalaya Institute. Over thirty participants from ten countries made the journey to Bir for the occasion.

Read the whole story on the Dharmalaya News page 


Growing Skyward

Raising the Roof of the Dharmalaya Institute

When we left you with the season finale cliffhanger last June, we had just bundled up our baby building with prayers that she’d survive the monsoon rains without a roof. That was asking a lot from a big mud sandcastle, and we put her fate in the hands of a few well-fastened tarps, some slate shingles at the tops of the walls, and a whole lotta flax husk in the mud plaster in which we dressed her up for the occasion. Well, the monsoon was merciless: It was the longest and heaviest in recent memory at nearly four months of battering downpours. But it turns out flax is up to the task!

Read the full story at the Earthville Blog »


Monsoon Update

Zen and the Jazz of Green Building in India

The biggest news on the construction of the Dharmalaya Institute is in regard to our race against time to get the roof on our baby building before the onslaught of the monsoon rains this month… and the update is that, well, we couldn’t win, so we’ve done our best to change the game.

Read the full story on the Earthville Blog »