Building Green with Dharmalaya | Institute for compassionate living

Have you ever wondered about inciting spiritual metamorphosis of self, committing to human service, and living closer to nature, while practicing sustainable architecture? We have and we care to share with you about a place where it is possible, a place that teaches sustainable and compassionate living in parallel to physically building one, a place called Dharmalaya. Since its conception in 2008 by three of Earthville’s directors – Mark Moore, Mai-Linh Leminhbach, and Dara Ackerman, the institute has welcomed numerous workshop participants, volunteers, architects and nature lovers.

Nestled in the Indian Himalayan foothills of Bir, this charitable organisation transpires educative empowerment to traditional wisdom and integrates innovative modernity in its various participatory programs. They have focused on sustainable village development, contemplative service-learning, immersive ecotourism and preservative adaptation of vernacular intelligence.

“The Institute provides ‘green’ job skills for rural labourers and serves as a model showcasing sustainable living practises such as eco-friendly earthen construction, high-yield organic agriculture, and more.”

-Dharmalaya via

Deliya Narayan – Didi Contractor, a German-American architect known for her work on vernacular green building techniques in India, has been an active collaborator at Dhamalaya. As an eco-architect, Ms. Contractor had pioneered an Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture, where hands on experience intermingled with theoretical advocacy leads to a deeper understanding of vernacular sustainable practices for building construction.

Although their many program covers aspects beyond architecture, here we will be covering only those that integrate building wisdom with sustainable living. These programs are unavailable at the moment, but will recommence after the COVID-19 situation is fully resolved. We encourage our interested readers to keep a tab on whenever that happens.

Sacred Architecture | One Year Course

“When we speak of ‘sacred architecture’, we use the word ‘sacred’ in a broad and open sense, referring to a reverent feeling of connection with nature — both our inner nature and the whole of nature.”

The course believes in taking a sensitive approach to design that recognizes the power of space and form to transform our sense of ourselves and the world around us. It provides an opportunity to conduct a deep and transformative exploration of natural design, the power of space and form, the creative process, and our relationship with these through meaningful participation in site study, design and construction.

Earthen Masonry Training | Certificate Course
img src TFOD

With minimum 6 months of commitment, the programme is a formal, hands-on training course covering the masonry aspects of earthen building – including adobe brickmaking and bricklaying, cob, mud renders, stonework, and much more. Open to everyone, it encourages village women as well to enroll in this skilled training for a better work sustenance in future. For architects and students, the course brings a wholesome understanding to take these learnings beyond Himalayas.

Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture

The Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture at the Dharmalaya Institute was established originally by venerated eco-architect Didi Contractor in partnership with the Dharmalaya Institute. Through the Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture, interns have the opportunity to gain practical experience working with trained earthen builders and artisans. Interns will also get to explore the cultural context and philosophical foundations of vernacular eco-architecture, and of sustainable and compassionate living more generally.

Disclaimer : Course information has been taken from Dharmalaya’s website and DesignTerrains is not responsible for any future disservice or misinformation.


Featured image source – RoutesofYoga

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