We understand that traveling in India and coming up to Dharamshala on your own can be a bit intimidating if you have not been here before. Yet we believe strongly that your dream is worth living and want to support you to achieve it.
We plan our retreats meticulously to ensure that you feel at ease and safe and that your time will be spent to your maximum benefit. At the same time, we allow for flexibility – taking your personal interests into consideration and letting the beauty of the present unfold.
We passionately believe in engaged travel and will encourage you to partake in the surrounding culture – taking an afternoon macramé class, making and eating ‘momos’ together (traditional Tibetan dumpling), visiting an animal shelter, dissolving barriers and bringing the people, culture and country close to your heart.
And we are wholeheartedly committed to ethical travel – ensuring your comfort, while supporting sustainable and ethical initiatives in the local community.
…has no definite beginning and is a merging of personal interests and values. We share a deep connection to nature and a lust for adventure, so we made ethical travel a substantial part of our life.
Exploring new places and meeting its people is our passion and nurtures both body and mind.
Dharamshala is situated within a spectacular natural setting, is the home of the Dalai Lama in exile and a large Tibetan community, as well as a hotspot of cultural and spiritual diversity – it seemed the perfect place for us to settle.
Karma is a passionate explorer, activist and deeply committed professional artist with students from across the globe. He loves to do his own work and yet is equally happy to pass on his knowledge and skills.
Mona is a dreamer, designer and social entrepreneur. She has been ‘forever’ on a spiritual quest and has explored various meditation and yoga techniques. A ‘so called’ incurable disease led her to the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre and for the past 2 years she has practiced passionately the Sharat Arora Yoga method.
Karma has been raised as a refugee orphan in the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) in Dharamsala and thus knows the surrounding area from inside out. He never knew his blood family, like thousands of other Tibetan children of the time. Hence, TCV with more than 2000 children became the only home he can remember. From early on Karma was intensely interested in the visual arts, so he joined a traditional Tibetan Thangka painting school after his formal school years, completing a 6-year curriculum in just 3 years. At the same time he was and is very passionate about doing all he can to ensure that his people can one day return to their own rightful country: an independent and free Tibet. He always says, ‘art is my passion and activism my duty.’ He is appreciated and respected by many in the local Indian and Tibetan community for his commitment and sincerity towards the Tibetan cause and his outstanding artistic skills.
Nomadic by blood he has always drawn peace and solace from the surrounding natural beauty of his exile home, roaming the wild forests and mountains to his heart’s desire, sleeping under the stars and cooking by the open fire – a passion he continues to this day.
Over the years Karma utilized his great practical and logistic skills by initiating and participating in several powerful awareness campaigns for the Tibetan cause, scouting and organizing food, water, accommodation and dealing with all emergency matters for various peace marches, leading up to 400 people from Dharamshala travelling by foot to Delhi and on to the Tibetan border.
As part of his traditional thangka painting degree he has acquired extensive historical and religious knowledge regarding all Tibetan matters which he is always happy to share. No temple tour will go without his interesting explanation of wall paintings, icons and exotic rituals to be witnessed. He is also giving regular painting classes to students with a shared passion from across the globe.
Karma has a natural tendency to listen and be of support to anyone in need and he is forever patient, positive and kind – qualities you will experience in many Tibetans on this journey – a true gift of this gentle nation to the world and firsthand to you.
As your host Karma is looking forward to welcoming you He will ensure your comfort and safety and keenly opens doors to intimate encounters within our local community. He is fluent in English, Tibetan and Hindi.
Mona was raised behind the ‘iron curtain’ in a tiny village in East Germany and with her longing to travel the world swam from early on against the common tide. Luckily the reunification of Germany came to her aid and finally she could spread her wings.
She has always been a creative and intuitive person with a close connection to nature and a keen interest to serve humanity.
She studied social work in Germany and then design in Scotland, changing between these fields intermittently, while still searching for a deeper purpose in life.
Meeting the Dalai Lama ‘by chance’ and opening the right book at the right time lead her to pack her bags, buy an open ticket to India and start volunteering in a small Tibetan settlement. As she stayed for 6 months in a Tibetan monastery, she naturally got introduced to Tibetan Buddhism and was totally excited to find her own vague philosophical ideas clearly lived and formulated.
Then travelling extensively in China, Mongolia, Tibet and Nepal, she was drawn repeatedly to the small hill town of Dharamshala in north west India, where she settled some 18 years ago amongst the Tibetan exile community and pursued her passion for Tibetan Buddhism and meditation.
She and Karma have two beautiful children. They set up a small-scale, socially aware handicraft workshop for Tibetan, Nepali and Indian women, where Mona finally merged her creative and social ambitions.
Being surrounded by so much ‘spiritual activity’ she explored various types of Yoga.
And then being blessed with a disease which caused substantial nerve damage, Mona encountered Sharat’s method of the Iyengar Yoga style and fell totally in love with it. Not only did she find a way to heal her so called ‘incurable’ physical condition, she also experienced the spiritual value of Yoga. For the past two years she has been practicing this method intensely and by now Mona has become an inspiring teacher at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre herself. She is naturally drawn to helping people and has found a great channel for this in her Yoga practice. She loves sharing her passion with anyone who cares, especially people having some physical limitations and she wholeheartedly believes in the ‘magic’ of Sharat’s method, if you give it a sincere try.
Mona welcomes you with open arms and heart and is excited to accompany you on your inner and outer journey beyond.