Dharamsala lies in the Himalayan foothills, and is a unique example of how a peripheral area can be revived and developed. 

The area was largely uninhabited until the Indian government agreed to allow the settlement of refugees from Tibet, including the Dalai Lama himself. 

Now the region is a thriving hub for Tibetan Buddhism, and for tourism, and stands out as a really positive example of the impacts of migration. 

Study themes: Buddhist philosophy, Impacts of Migration, History of Tibet / China. Peripheral regions, Tourism as a development tool.


The Norbulingka Institute is a self-sustaining community located in Dharamsala, dedicated to ensuring that the integrity of Tibetan artistic traditions is maintained for generations to come.  Art is a large part of the culture, and by maintaining artistic lineages, the Institute helps to conserve the unique identity of Tibetans and the sacred traditions which took root in Tibet.

Norbulingka is a diverse community of over 300 people made up of masters and their apprentices, scholars and students, The goal of the Institute is to give a glimpse into the lives of some of Norbulingka's employees in hopes that people will gain a deeper understanding of Tibetan culture as a whole, and the values, dreams, and struggles of Tibetan people in exile.

Study themes; Tibetan Art, Buddhist philosophy


Tsug la Khang, The Dalai Lama’s temple, is the life-blood of the village. It houses the Namgyal Monastery and a number of shrine rooms.The largest shrine contains a huge gilded statue of the Buddha, along with two smaller statues of Chenresig and Guru Rinpoche. Parts of these statues were brought at great sacrifice from Tibet. The Dalai Lama’s residence and administrative offices are adjacent to the monastery.


The temple is always busy. Services are held daily and are attended by lamas, monks, nuns and lay people. In the shrine, you might come across a group of monks building an intricate sand mandala, and outside in the courtyard on Thursdays, monks debate Buddhist philosophy.

Study themes: Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism, tourism as a development tool. 


Shimla is located in the Himalayan foothills. Connected to the Punjab by road and the world famous Kalka Shimla Railway line, running the Shimla Toy Train. The journey is considered to be one of the most famous railway journeys in the world. 

Shimla found fame as a Hill station during the British Raj. During the hot summers the British government would decamp from Delhi and move completely to the cooler climate of Shimla. Hence its an Indian town but with a very colonial feel, and numerous examples of British architecture.

Today as well as foreign tourists, Shimla is also a popular destination for Indian tourists. Particularly honey mooning couples, looking to recreate scenes from favourite old Bollywood movies!

Study themes: Indian history, History of the Raj, Indian Independence, Partition of India


The Viceregal Lodge was built by the British to be the home of the Viceroy on India during the summer months. 

Its fame rests in it being the location for the discussions and declarations related to the 2 most significant events in recent Indian history - Indian Independence and the Partition of India in 1947.

Today the Lodge has been put to a new purpose, whilst still offering tours to see the artefacts of the building the main body of the building now houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

Study themes: Indian history, History of the Raj, Indian Independence, Partition of India


Kufri is a tiny hill station 20 km to the north of Shimla. The name comes from the local words for lake and developed as a tourist destination back in 1819. Here you can escape the hustle and bustle of Shimla, and relax in a more nature based environment.  As well as the panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and snow-capped peaks, there are also a number of picnic spots, hiking and trekking trails in and around Kufri. A popular hike is up to Mahasu Peak the highest point in Kufri, so great views are a given—on a clear day you can even see the Badrinath and Kedarnath ranges. if you prefer something less strenuous then you can also explore Kufri and its surrounding areas on horseback.

The other places to visit in Kufri are the Himalayan Nature Park, which has a collection of animals and birds found only in Himachal Pradesh, and the Indira Tourist Park, which is near the Himalayan Nature Park and provides panoramic view of the locations around Kufri. 


In and around Dharamsala there are a number of 1/2 day treks you can go on. 

The treks take you onto the mountain environment, and give you a real chance to appreciate the scale of the landscape around you. But as well as the landscape there are a number of Buddhist shrines to visit on the way as well as a couple of small coffee shops!