Explore mountain cultures and mountain landscapes on the roof of the world. Stretching more than 1500 miles from Pakistan to China, the Himalayan Range boasts half the world’s highest peaks and is home to diverse mountain peoples. Examine the roots of Tibetan identity, join refugee communities for a learning service project, discuss climate change in the Himalayas, and trek into Ladakh’s sacred high peaks. Ladakh is a particularly unique region in this mountain expanse. Clinging to the far western flank of the Tibetan plateau, jagged peaks and windswept valleys have largely preserved local cultures, but the region is particularly susceptible to a warming climate and hasn’t experienced a similar economic and development boom as the Indian plains. This course is a window into diverse Himalayan cultures and landscapes, as the region adapts to both challenging environmental and political climates.
- Extensive discourse on both Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism and the role that religion plays in Indian culture, frequent meditation and yoga practice. Broad introduction in Sikhism and Islam.
- Look at resource management, creative responses to climate change, human rights, political economics, cultural preservation, democracy and communal conflict in India.
- A 6-8 day high-altitude village trek in the awe-inspiring Ladakhi Trans-Himalaya.
- A 6 day homestay with Tibetan refugee families in Dharamsala, a 5 day homestay in a remote Ladakhi village. Introduction to Hindi and Ladakhi languages and learn a few Tibetan phrases.
- Help Buddhist monks and nuns in Dharamsala practice their English conversations skills at LHA, a Tibetan right organization. Work with environmental educators in Ladakh with the option to visit local schools.