Reception & Orientation
We realize that India can initially be quite a shock and the Tibetan culture may be challenging to become accustomed to, so we offer different services to help smooth your arrival and travel in India and orientate you to the Tibetan community in Dharamsala. We offer two primary options for volunteers and additional services to further enhance the experience of our volunteers.
Our reception service offers volunteers a smooth transfer from their arrival at Delhi International Airport to Dharamsala. This service is highly recommended for people who have never previously travelled in India or a developing country, especially if you are arriving late at night or early in the morning. Unfortunately, Delhi airport has a fair number of scam artists, and unsuspecting tourists regularly fall prey to their schemes. Many well-seasoned travellers have signed up for this service, knowing the value of having trusted transport waiting for them at the airport.
What Reception Includes:• Meeting on arrival in Delhi Airport.
• Taxi to Majnu Ka Tilla (the Tibetan colony in Delhi).
• One night guesthouse stay in Majnu Ka Tilla.
• Map of the area showing restaurants, money exchange, and internet availability.
• Bus transport to McLeod Ganj.
* Additional costs for these services are covered in the package, including airport parking and entrance fees.
For those who have visited India before or are already travelling here, this package includes all the important information you will need about volunteering and offers an introduction to Tibetan culture and the Dharamsala area. The Orientation service can be taken together with the Reception package or on its own depending on your preferences and travel plans.
McLeod Ganj is located about 10 km from Dharamsala, in the foothills of the Dhauladhar mountain range. It is home to one of the largest Tibetan refugee populations in the world, and hosts the Central Tibetan Administration and the permanent residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. McLeod Ganj is a small place, comprised of only four major streets radiating from the Main Square. It takes about 2-3 hours to see most of the town, and McLeod is brimming with activity and cultural sites that can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.
What Orientation Includes:
The Orientation service comprises a guided tour of McLeod Ganj, including local historical and cultural sites, restaurants, shops, exchange bureaus and ATMs, and local Tibetan organizations. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to visit important sites a bit outside of town with other newly-arrived volunteers. Among these sites are the Tibet government-in-exile, the Tibetan Library, the Norbulingka Institute – summer palace of HH the Dalai Lama, and home to a Tibetan arts and handicrafts institute – and the Men Tsee Khang Astrological Institute, which focuses on the unique Tibetan synthesis of medicine, astronomy and astrology. For those wishing to take longer Orientation tour options, we can also arrange to show you nearby Naddi Village, with its scenic vistas overlooking the Kangra Valley, or the local Tibetan Children’s Village School, which educates and houses around 3,000 Tibetan students.
When you get to McLeod Ganj, our volunteer coordinator will meet you at the bus stand or airport, depending on how you choose to arrive. He will help you find a guesthouse according to your budget and personal preferences and help you get situation on your first day in town. In the next few days he’ll meet with you to discuss cultural awareness and sensitivity, and inform you about specific subtleties of Tibetan communication and culture to help you be most effective and welcome in your volunteer position. We will also share previous volunteers' experiences to help you understand what to expect from Tibetan organizations and what they expect from you.
The Orientation package also includes:
• Volunteer placement
• Personal introduction to the Tibetan organization you will work for
• Background information and specifics about your organization
Events and Courses:
• Open invitation to attend Volunteer events, trips, and dinners.
• Accommodation assistance, such as special rooms with kitchen facilities and long-term stays offering discounted rates.
We highly recommend that those new to India and to the Dharamsala area take advantage of our Orientation services to help you get the most out of your experience here. The fees for both the Reception and Orientation services directly contribute to funding the daily-basis social services Lha provides to our community.
Our Reception and Orientation services can be combined to create a total package containing:
• Transfer from Delhi to Mcleod Ganj
• Orientation in McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala
• Accommodation Assistance
Our Reception and Orientation services are designed to provide all the necessary assistance needed for safely arriving here in McLeod Ganj and to prepare you with cultural awareness and sensitivity for interacting with this unique culture. If you have not already visited McLeod Ganj or had personal experience with a Tibetan community, we highly recommend signing up for at least the Orientation service to be properly prepared for volunteering here. If you do not wish to opt for either of these services, we will still try to assist you in locating a volunteer opportunity.
Thank you again for your interest in volunteering for the Tibetan community. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can assist you in your volunteer efforts.
Our Reception and Orientation services require a 50% non-refundable deposit to be paid in advance using our Paypal facilities online. These services will not be booked until the deposit is received.
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