Lha depends on the goodwill of volunteers and monetary and material donations for it to provide essential rehabilitation resources to the exiled Tibetan community. Lha is a non-profit organization dependent on monetary contributions from philanthropic corporations and generous individuals. In India, even a little goes a long way, and a lot goes very far!

Account Name: Lha Charitable Trust
Account Number: 2517000101008335
Bank Name: The Punjab National Bank
Branch: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, H.P

Payable to: Lha Charitable Trust
Lha Office Temple Road, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, 176219
Distt Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

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Cultural Exchange
General Activities
A Travel Guide for Volunteers


We've compiled some helpful information to give you some tips if you're coming from abroad.

What to Expect as a Volunteer:

One of the best ways to get a feeling what it's like volunteering with Lha is to read our website - familiarize yourself with the projects and community services offered at Lha, watch the slideshow on our homepage or read the Lha blog describing what previous volunteers have done to support the Tibetan community in exile.

Coming from Abroad:

If you haven't visited India before, it's best to get a guide book such as the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to get a better idea of what the culture, climate, customs, and cost of living is like. You can also find some pretty good information online at Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.

These guides also include information on visas, immunization shots, what to bring, health tips and more.


You MUST get a visa before arriving in India, and these are easily accessible from your country's Indian Embassy or mission.

Most people travel on the standard tourist visa. A tourist visa is non-extendable and non-convertible. Six-month multiple-entry tourist visas (valid from the date of issue) are granted to nationals of most countries regardless of how long you intend to stay. Longer term tourist visas are available under certain conditions.

For more information, go to the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs: Government of India.

There are additional restrictions on travelers from Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as certain Eastern European, African and Central Asian countries. Check any special conditions for your nationality with the Indian embassy in your country.

PLEASE NOTE: Lha cannot assist with your visa application. However, you can use the following address for your contact information: Ahimsa House, Temple Road, McLeod Ganj – 176219, Dharamsala, District Kangra, H.P, India.

Getting Here:

There is a major international airport in Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport - approximately 12 hours by bus from Dharamsala.

The Tibetan colony, Manju Ka Tilla, which is located one hour from Delhi international airport (taxi 800-1200Rs), has affordable accommodation.

Mcleod Ganj and Dharamsala:
Travel by Bus:

From Delhi, the easiest way to get directly to McLeod Ganj is by overnight bus. Many travel agencies in Delhi provide bus tickets for approximately 800-1200 Indian rupees, depending on whether you choose a normal bus or a Volvo coach.

Lha recommends using a bus service that operates from the Tibetan colony Manju Ka Tilla in Delhi so you will be delivered directly to McLeod Ganj. Other government-owned buses usually stop in Lower Dharamsala, and an additional local bus must be taken to McLeod Ganj (about a half hour ride). Ask about our Reception and Orientation service to take all the hassle out of your travel!

Travel by Plane:

There is an airport in Kangra, about 25 kilometers from McLeod Ganj which receives flights from Delhi twice a day.

Travel by Train:

From Delhi, you can take a 10-hour train to Pathankot and then a four-hour bus or three-hour taxi ride to Dharamsala. From there buses and taxis regularly shuttle people to McLeod Ganj. If you would like help planning your travel, you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What to Bring:

Climate can vary substantially in this part of the world, so be prepared for all types of weather. Bring cotton wet-weather gear including raincoats and umbrellas during monsoon (July-Sept), thermals or warm clothes during the winter months (Nov-Feb) and cottons for summer (April-June). Be sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots or walking shoes to enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature of the Himalayan foothills. Many of these items can be bought here, but high quality footwear and rain jackets are hard to find.

Don't forget extra amounts of prescription medication, as you might not find it readily available in the area. Many staple items are easily and cheaply bought for longer-term stays, such as pots and pans, dishware, and other household items. Many organizations request that if you have a portable computer, to please bring it with you as their resources are limited.


Due to the elevation and climate, Malaria is a very low risk while in McLeod Ganj. However, should you be staying in other low-lying areas of India, we suggest bringing malaria prophylactics with you. There are mosquitoes in McLeod Ganj, so mosquito protection is advised.

Living Costs:

You'll be happy to hear that the cost of living in this part of the world is dramatically cheaper than in western countries. In Dharamsala, you can live comfortably on as little as $400 US a month for lodging and meals (with more typical budgets running from $500-700) though it is possible to live for less.


There are a number of hotels and guest houses that offer board and lodging for different budgets. All the high and medium budget hotels have bathrooms attached to rooms with running hot and cold water. Some even include a small ‘kitchen’ area. Low budget hotels have communal bathrooms with running cold water. In these hotels one can order for hot water in buckets. Many of the hotels offer a wide range of rooms with different rents. If you would like help in planning your accommodation, you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dorm rooms start at 650 rupees (US$10) per night. For longer-term lodging, rooms can be found with cooking facilities and range from 12000-25000 rupees (US$260-$470) per month. Villages near Jogiwara Road, below McLeod Ganj, and around Bhagsu Road offer quieter accommodation out of town.

PLEASE NOTE: During the winter months it gets extremely cold and while heaters can be provided by guesthouses, this is at an extra cost of anything between 200-300 rupees per day. Please enquire at your guesthouse what the cost is before budgeting your stay.

ATMs & Banks:

ATMs have been installed in McLeod Ganj with the State Bank of India, PNB, ICICI and HDFC Bank. However, some international ATM cards have been reported to be rejected by the ATMs. It is advisable to bring alternate methods for procuring cash such as credit cards and traveler's cheques.

Travelers' Cheques and Cash:

These can be exchanged for Indian rupees at many places in Mcleod Ganj and Dharamshala.

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Additional information

25th Water filter system …

Lha has installed a new water filtration system at Kamrao Gapa Tibetan Settlement. It is the 25th system that Lha has installed under the Lha Clean Water Project and is expected to benefit the health ... Read more

World Environment Day

By Lobsang Tsering World Environment Day – which is observed on June 5 every year across the globe – is the largest annual event for positive environmental action.  On the day, Lha ... Read more

Lha’s Monthly Clean-up

By Kaur Praneet Lha’s monthly mass clean up was held this month on June 17. The clean up volunteers, who included Lha staff, local monks, nuns and laypeople as well as visitors from many diffe... Read more

Three Student Groups get …

Lha hosted three student groups this month as part of our Cultural Exchange Programme. Nine students from Tulane University in America stayed at Lha’sAhimsa House for ten days, visiting differe... Read more

Lha's Monthly Mass Cleanu…

Lha’s monthly mass clean up took place on May 20 with around 90 people taking part. Lha students and volunteers were joined by the people who eat at our community soup kitchen and cl... Read more











"Maybe a class organized by the students where they explain Tibetan history and culture, or philosophy or politics to the foreigners. Again this could be covered in conversation but the problem with conversation is everybody is talking about everything at the same time and it's a bit wild, I don't think the foreigners get as much from it than if it were organized that different people speak at different times. And maybe reciprocation from the foreigners point of view, such as their impressions of Tibet, their view on immolations and China's oppression etc. Also maybe culture differences etc".

Liam Berrington (Ireland) 29th October 2014

"I had such a great experience and wish I could come for longer. I was grateful to tutor 2 wonderful women in the mornings during my time there. They were so committed to learn and I could actually see progress just in our week together. I also learned much about the Tibetan experience and it has given me renewed interest in future volunteering".

Deborah McKeown (Canada) 18th October 2014

Lha has the most stable classes of all the educational facilities in Dharamsala. It is only closed for four days during the Tibetan new year, otherwise, we can attend even in the winter time when for some it is school holidays. Without these great people – the staff members, sponsors, volunteers and other any supporters, how would we Lha students gain these opportunities? I am highly appreciative, and, once again, I thank you for all of your work and your devotion to your goals. -Dolker Choedon, 2008

The service provided by the Lha community is very helpful and the staff members working here are so nice and cordial.- Ngawang Dolma.

For me, the way the teachers teach and administrators administrate is going so well. My hearty wish is that the Lha staff members can carry on their good performance continuously for the betterment of society .- Nyitri.

Ahimsa house was great, the hot water, wifi and filtered water was great to have access to. The meal were excellent, I love all the vegetarian options. Breakfast was also excellent and the fruit was always fresh.- Joanna Johnson

The accommodations were great, it was fun to see “American” food incorporated into breakfast and dinner. Volunteering was a great experience, I feel like I learned as much from my partner as she did from me. The sightseeing excursions were very valuable and definitely enhance the experience. - Maggie Hermann

The rooms of Ahimsa were magnificent and well-prepared. Towels, extra sheets, and bathroom were all clean. The library was a great touch. The meals were great.- Joe Signorelli


Lha Charitable Trust has initiated a new project to promote and broadcast the extensive and valuable teachings and writings of Professor Samdhong Rinpoche. This initiative is a part of our project on Preservation and Promotion of Tibetan Culture and Language. These teachings and writings can be found on www.samdhongrinpoche.com

Contact is a recognised and registered publication under the Registrar Office of the Newspaper, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India. The registration number is HPENG/2013/51798. Recognised by Lonely Planet and other international travel resources, Contact has been a popular source of news and information on Tibetan issues, and the Dharamsala community, for over 17 years. www.contactmagazine.net

Tibet Nature is a Tibetan language website which provides information on current environmental issues within Tibet to the Tibetan population across the globe. www.tibetnature.net

Lha’s blog is the place to go for recent news from Lha and its volunteers. At least once a month, a volunteer posts about his/her time with Lha and feedback for the organization. Reading these testimonials is a great way to gain insight into what volunteering with Lha is like if you’re unsure but interested in volunteering.  blog.lhasocialwork.org

Lha Tibet Fair Trade acts as a certified cooperative, offering a wide range of handmade Tibetan craftworks – from handloom textiles to jewelry, home décor and personal accessories to Tibetan art. In addition to being a retailer, LTFT is a licensed import, export, and wholesale company.www.tibetfairtrade.com