The Dharmalaya Institute for Compassionate Living
Our Himalayan Eco-Campus
The Dharmalaya Institute is an innovative educational and charitable institution currently under construction near the Himalayan town of Bir in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. In the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, which united social service with personal development, the Dharmalaya Institute offers an integrated programme of experiential learning, economic empowerment, traditional wisdom and volunteer service.
The Institute provides ‘green’ job skills for rural labourers and serves as a model showcasing sustainable living practises such as eco-friendly earthen construction, high-yield organic agriculture, and more. It has already begun to serve as a destination for altruistic ecotourism where students, volunteers, and other visitors from across India and around the world work side-by-side with local villagers to develop and implement solutions for sustainable village development while learning about Himalayan culture and its wisdom traditions.
An Holistic Approach
The Dharmalaya Institute, when completed and fully funded, will integrate three core components:
- Sustainable Living School: A service-learning campus providing experiential education and training for sustainable, compassionate, and healthy living, with an initial focus on service-learning and vocational training in the fields of natural building, organic agriculture, green cottage industries, and more.
- Sustainable Development & Social Welfare Programs: A hub for sustainable development initiatives and other charitable programmes to benefit the community and the environment, including the promotion of local green economies by incubating eco-friendly cottage industries, and other social welfare activities.
- Seva Ashram: A nonsectarian centre for the study and practise of Himalayan wisdom traditions such as meditation, yoga, philosophy, and holistic health while also providing meaningful karma yoga opportunities such as volunteer service work to benefit the community and the environment.
From the Foundations to the Next Steps
Construction of the Dharmalaya Institute began in 2010 on an ideal site in the forest just outside the village of Bir in the Himalayan foothills [see map]. The structures, designed principally by esteemed earthen architect Didi Contractor, are built as shining examples of the vernacular eco-architecture traditions of the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. We are still working to complete the construction of our eco-campus, and donations of any size are very much appreciated. For more information, or to request a formal proposal, please contact us.