“Everything you can imagine is real”.-Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century had once said that.
Art has influenced human life since the cave days.Whether you are an artist or an art lover, to unlock the imaginative flows you have to come out of the four walls of the house.
Here,I am going to write about a wonderful place which is close at hand to most of us.Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre in Darjeeling, India is mainly a rehabilitation centre for the Tibetan refugees. It is both an artistic and historic place. It was started on October 2, 1959, by Dalai Lama. Thousands of Tibetans left heart and home, fled into neighbourhood countries for their freedom.Driven out of their homeland, in a totally different environment the tibetans themselves started this self-help refugee centre.
It’s located on a hill top that can be approached from Lebong cart road by car.This centre was started only with 4 workers and has now grown to accomodate more than 650 refugees. It’s always better to visit that place during day time. Whenever you reach you will see Tibetan men and women making exquisite hand crafted items like woolen shawls and carpets, carved wooden crafts, leather jackets, coats and lots of other items.
There is a basket ball court at the entrance where you can see small children playing and other old women and men watching them playing and basking in the sun.
Production of handicraft is the main activity and attraction of that place. They export the items to as many as 36 countries all over the world. If someone wants to buy, they can get them at the showroom, which is an outlet located at premises. As you step into the showroom, you can see beautiful handmade cards made by Tibetan people, carpets, shawls, coats, the statue of lord buddha, bags, curios, pouches, paintings and other handicraft items.
There are various handicraft sections around the periphery.These are all housed in single storied red coloured shacks. The first section is tailoring and leather works, followed by knitting and painting section, wood carving, apron section, carpentry and many more.
Opposite showroom there is a photographic exhibition hall. Here one can see the history of Tibet through black and white photographs, early pictures of their work.There is also picture of Rajiv Gandhi there.There are also pictures of different blocks used in their printing.
Adjacent to photographic centre there is a dark grey coloured building which is a creche. Next to that there is a hill top store selling candies, biscuits, etc.Upstairs there is a Tibetan Refugee Computer Centre which hold regular classes.
So, graced with the great history and art of brave souls, this place is a must visit for everyone.
This trip was originally published on Manuscripts from psychedelia