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The latest news stories and photos from Dharmalaya.


Didi Contractor Receives Nari Shakti Puraskar

NEW DELHI: On International Women’s Day of 2019, Didi Contractor, co-founding Professor Emeritus of the Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture at Dharmalaya Institute, was presented with the Nari Shakti Puraskar, India’s highest civilian honour recognising women who have made great contributions to India. The award was presented by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

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New Film on Didi Contractor Debuts at DIFF

After years in the making, a new feature-length documentary film entitled ‘Didi Contractor: Marrying the Earth to the Building’ premiered at the 2016 Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF). Directed by Steffi Giaracuni of Switzerland, the film explores the life and work of acclaimed earthen architect (and artist and designer) Didi Contractor, whom many of our readers will know as the architect of Dharmalaya Institute’s main building and as co-founder and Professor Emeritus of our Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture.

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A Renaissance of Vernacular Eco-Architecture

BAIJNATH, HP (INDIA) — India is playing host to the birth of a renaissance of vernacular eco-architecture. Hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds are awakening to both the urgent socio-ecological crises of our time and the potential for us to find solutions in India’s own rural traditions.

Case in point: To preserve and advance the distinctive and beautiful forms of traditional earthen architecture of the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, the Dharmalaya Institute, in partnership with esteemed vernacular architect Didi Contractor, established a formal, academically-supervised Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture in May 2013.  

Not quite two years later, the Dharmalaya Institute has grown to become one of the most popular vernacular architecture training centres in India and South Asia…

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2015: A Big Year for Programmes at Dharmalaya Institute

Baijnath (HP), India — The new year is here, and 2015 is shaping up to be the busiest year yet for the Dharmalaya Institute. The institute’s 2015 programme schedule is the fullest ever, with an expanding variety of courses, workshops, retreats, and other events for volunteers, students, interns, learners, and seekers. All of these programs are open to the public and most are offered on a donation basis or for a modest tuition fee.

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Retreats for Sustainable Living with SanghaSeva

BIR, HP (INDIA) — The Dharmalaya Institute has just completed its fourth annual retreat programmes with SanghaSeva: a seven-day silent meditation retreat, followed by a ten-day work retreat on the theme of sustainable and compassionate living.

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New Season of Service-Learning Programmes

After an unprecedented four-and-a-half-month monsoon, the Dharmalaya Institute is reopening its brand-new (and still-to-be-varnished) doors to volunteers, students, and interns, with a series of volunteer, service-learning, and retreat programmes spanning the next eight months.

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Dharmalaya Launches Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture

BIR, HP (INDIA) — The Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, is home to a distinctive and beautiful form of traditional earthen architecture. Over the past decade, however, this eco-friendly tradition has become an endangered species, as increasing numbers of Kangra residents are swept into the ill-advised trend of building their homes and businesses with the toxic combination of baked bricks and cement. Very few people living today in Himachal Pradesh (and, indeed, all of India) posess knowledge of either the skillsets of the local vernacular architectural tradition or the facts and philosophies that underly it.

To address this crisis and preserve these precious sustainable living traditions of the Kangra District, the Dharmalaya Institute in Bir, in partnership with esteemed eco-architect Didi Contractor, is launching the Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture.

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