What to Bring
Tushita is located on a forested mountain slope at an altitude of 2100m (7000ft) in the foot-hills of the Himalayas. The altitude means that it is considerably colder and wetter here than in the plains, so be prepared!
Here is a check-list for things that you will need, or may find useful, while staying at Tushita:
- You will need to bring A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PASSPORT and INDIAN VISA when you check-in. Regulations changed recently and local authorities have become VERY strict about registration information. To help the busy check-in process go smoothly, PLEASE have this copy with you when you arrive for check-in (Indian citizens are not required to provide this information).
- A good sleeping bag. It is quite cold here in the mountains (especially at night), even if it's very hot in the plains of India. If you plan to travel anywhere else in this region it is advisable to have one anyway. However, we currently have some duvets available for rental at 200 rupees for the duration of a course as an alternative.
- Warm clothing which can be worn in layers and a shawl/blanket for using in the meditation hall are advisable throughout the year (shawls are cheap and plentiful in McLeod Ganj).
- Because we have monks and nuns living at Tushita, please dress respectfully in loose, comfortable clothing (no shorts above the knee, sleeveless shirts or tight and revealing clothes). There are no guidelines as to the colour of clothing, it's as you like! It's handy to have shoes that are easy to put on/take off, since you have to remove them each time you enter the Gompa.
- An umbrella or rainwear is advisable all year and absolutely necessary during the monsoon months (June to September). As well as plastic bags to protect clothes and belongings from mould which is common during this time of year.
- A torch (flashlight) and batteries are useful during power cuts.
- If you feel the need for a watch/clock, it's helpful to bring one which is digital, i.e. one which does not tick! (please refrain from using your mobile phone as an alarm clock, but rather put it in our safe so you won't be tempted to use it). There will be gongs rung before sessions, so a clock isn't vital.
- We do encourage course participants to take notes during the course, so please bring a notebook, pen etc.
- It is handy to have your own water bottle. Filtered water is available in our dining hall and out of concern for the environment, we strongly discourage students from buying water in plastic bottles.
- A small face/wash-cloth is useful for freshening up with, given our frequent water shortages.
- Ear Plugs! Most of our accommodation is in dormitories, so if you're a light sleeper you'll appreciate these (not available easily in India).
- Please bring your own bath towel, toiletries (we do NOT provide toilet paper!) and any medicines you need.
Note on availability: toiletries such as shampoo (with and without conditioner), soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, razors and laundry detergent are inexpensive and readily available throughout India. Deodorants without a strong scent are harder to find. Sanitary pads and tampons are available in India, but they are usually of inferior quality to Western versions, so you may want to bring supplies of these items with you to India.
Please DO NOT bring:
Any musical instruments, cameras, MP3 players, laptops/tablets/kindles or mobile phones as you will be asked not to use them while you are here. If you do bring them, you will be requested to deposit them in our safe along with any valuables you would like us to keep secure for the duration of your stay. Please do not use your mobile phone as an alarm clock, there will always be a temptation to use it (even if you promise to remove the SIM card) and it can be distracting to other students.
Please do not put staff in an uncomfortable position by asking to retain your phone or audio/visual equipment.
We also ask that you only read books about Buddhism while you are here to help you stay focused on the ideas presented in the course, so you won't need any extra non-Dharma books.
And... we have made a list of things that would really make life easier for us, items which you may have lying around at home unused. We are dependent on donations, and often struggle to afford or locate these items in India, so we would of course be very grateful for donations of any good condition items on this list (some big, some small). Therefore, we welcome you to browse "Our Wish List" page. Entirely optional!
Above all, bring an open mind and a warm heart!