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Arts and Crafts

We did much of our shopping at the handicrafts centers that help sponsor the Tibetan Children's Village, and were doubly pleased with both the goods and the opportunities we had to see them made.

We saw carpets being made out of yak wool in several locations, and it was amazing to watch the old ladies' fingers fly through the looms.

Watching them trim the pile reminded us of our visits to a Pakistani carpet center oh so many years ago, and we were so impressed by the colors, designs, and price that we actually bought 2 rugs (one of which is the exact pattern as the one in the picture directly above on the right).

Located in the valley beneath the looming mountains, the Institute was designed by a Japanese architect working for a US firm in India to reflect elements of Tibetan culture. What a fantastic mishmash of structural considerations to take into account!

Visiting the Norbulingka Institute gave us an eye-opening opportunity to see artisans at work on all sorts of traditional Tibetan items. We spent the better part of a morning wandering around the complex and enjoying ourselves.

As we took the guided tour through the various wings, we encountered items being made by hand, arts that are no longer practiced (or taught) in many places.

And of course, the smiling visage of the Dalai Lama was everywhere, including propped up in front of the temple Buddha. I wondered if the empty seat is his to use, should he ever show up...
In addition to woodworking, we saw metallurgists creating statues, artists working on intricate Thangka paintings and tiny Buddhas, and seamstresses creating woven art.

Susan was even a real trooper and tried Tibetan food...

Dharamsala - welcome - shopping - arts and crafts - buddhism - hiking - wrap up

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