Dharamsala & The Dalai Lama
The Tibetans in exile are the world's second oldest refugee community after the Palestinians. Their struggle to keep their identity, culture and values alive when they are under threat of extinction in their homeland, cohere around their spiritual and temporal leader the Dalai Lama. Having left Tibet in 1959, he came to live in Dharamsala 50 years ago at the suggestion of a local Parsi shopkeeper, Mr Nowrojee, whose own forebears were refugees from Persia. Although the Dalai Lama has become a familiar figure on the world stage as a spiritual leader and inspirational peacemaker, here in Dharamsala there is an opportunity to glimpse relations between him and his people in several different contexts: a Buddhist teaching, a historic rally and the opera festival. The one time sleepy British hill-station of Dharamsala now boasts an array of Tibetan monasteries, temples besides the Tibetan Library, the Tibet Museum and the Norbulingka Institute.
Our guide to these unique events and institutions is Jeremy Russell who first reached Dharamsala on the overland trail in 1973. For the last 28 years he and his wife Philippa have made Dharamsala their home, combining Exodus tours and treks with working to support the Tibetan community in various ways. In the course of research, writing and editing at different times for the Tibetan Library’s Translation Bureau, the publication section of the Tibetan Exile Government’s Department of Religion & Culture, the Norbulingka Institute and the Dalai Lama’s office, Jeremy has acquired unique insight into the Tibetan situation, and the crucial role of the Dalai Lama. An enthusiastic champion of Tibetan efforts not only to preserve their rich and ancient culture, but also place it in the context of the modern world, he’ll be happy to share what he knows with you.
Jeremy Russell will be leading our Dharamsala & The Dalai Lama (AID), and the next departure is 22nd February 2010, from £1899.