There is also a Mani Stupa – a stupa made out of stones which have been beautifully painted with the words ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ -- here.
The following description is taken from the information booklet provided at Norbulingka (meaning Treasure Garden/Park in Tibetan) Institute:
The Norbulingka Institute is about keeping alive centuries-old Tibetan tradition in content, form and process by providing apprenticeship in traditional art forms and making the Tibetan experience accessible for a contemporary lifestyle. Norbulingka focuses on design, meaning and quality. Every product has a story to tell through its materials, processes and themes. From raw material to finished products, Norbulingka is about care and tradition. A community of artisans that fuels a sustainable business model with a strong social mission: keeping Tibetan culture alive by training people for the future. Currently, more than 300 people work at Norbulingka.
The architecture here is unique, in that it is arranged in tiers, with the Norling House (residence for guests) situated at the base. As you climb the steps leading to the temple, you are greeted by an entrancing use of the colour red, the distinctive placement of various training studios for apprentices (in wood carving, wood painting, tailoring, Thangka painting, metal sculpture and other crafts) and the little room where you can light prayer lamps.
The temple itself is large, flanked by prayer wheels, and overlooking the entire Norbulingka Institute in its beautiful, multi-tiered arrangement. As you enter, the sense of serenity that you experience is unprecedented. The Buddha statue is massive, breathtaking and expertly-crafted. It is framed by elaborated, intricate murals and large Thangkas. There exists an inviting silence in this room, and I sensed most people being left awestruck and rendered quiet as soon as they entered the temple hall.
I wish I could have sat there a little longer than I did but the taxi guy was waiting and the meter was ticking, so we made our way back.
On return, I got down at Dharamkot and made my way to the vegan organic café Bodhi Greens, where I ordered a lovely, late lunch of the Middle Eastern Platter, consisting of beetroot hummus, muhammara (made from walnuts and roasted bell peppers), crispy falafel, perfectly-made pita bread triangles and salad. I also ordered and relished two cups of vegan masala chai (my first since I turned vegan more than a year ago). The vegan milk at Bodhi Greens was more palatable than that I have had at home; I should have asked them the recipe.
Even as I indulged in my Middle Eastern platter, it rained heavily for close to an hour and I was glad that I was inside the cozy café, and not outside getting drenched in the showers or finding a place to shelter from it. As usual, since it was mostly downhill, I walked back to Mustard House and after completing my freelance work for the day, settled for light toast and tea for dinner.
We ended the day by watching the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. No one does ceremony and pomp like the British and the funeral, with its elaborate cortège and solemnity, reinforced that.
Day 10 -- Tuesday, September 20