Frequently Asked Questions

Sarika delivering a workshop lectureIs the program open to non-US participants?
Yes, the programs are available for individuals form any country who wishes to learn the detailed art of thangka painting.

I'm no longer attending school; may I participate in your program?
We strongly encourage anyone who is over the age of 18 and interested in the art to apply.

Do you accept late applications?
We have no application deadline but due to a high level of interest and small number of openings, spots may fill years in advance. Please check our web site for current availability before submitting your application.

How much spending money do I need to bring?
The amount of spending money you need is largely determined by your spending habits. If you are going to buy lots of gifts for your family and go out with friends on the weekends, we recommend $10-15/day. If you plan on spending more time with your host family and new local friends, it is recommended that you bring $5-10/day. In addition to the daily spending money, bring $100-$200 to as a back up and to cover things like airport taxes and weekend excursions.

What kind of project and program support will I have?
You will be staying in the home our Thangde Gatsal's Directors who will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Area around Thangde Gatsal Art Studio and SchoolCan you tell me about my host family? Will I have roommates?
You will have your own room in the home of Sarika (Director), Master Locho (Founder and Master Painter) and their two young children.

Are Visa or Passports necessary?
Visas are necessary for India and can be purchased from your embassy. The cost is $60 for a 6 month visa plus any fees your embassy charges. If coming from the US, please visit for more information and application.

Should I acquire a travel or student visa?
For shorter courses/workshops a travel visa will be sufficient. If you are applying for a few weeks course or longer in duration, you will need to apply for a student visa. Please contact Thangde Gatsal for a letter of acceptance and other documents required for a student visa.

Is their access to the internet and phones?
There are many places in Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj where international calls can be made. The internet access at the studio is reserved for staff and all the students taking the courses.

Should I bring my computer?
All students enrolled in the 6 week, 12 week, 6 month and 1 year courses are required to bring their own laptop computer.

What kind of vaccines or inoculations do I need to get prior to my program?
No inoculations are required to travel to India. However we recommend that participant's tetanus – diphtheria and measles booster are current, as well as, vaccinations for typhoid, Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, and Hepatitis A and B. You may also consider getting shots for meningitis and rabies. We recommend that you consult a travel physician and your family physician prior to the trip.

What is the food like on the programs?
Participants can expect lots of substantial and traditionally prepared meals. Tibet is known for its excellent soups, protein rich grains used in porridge and breads, and momos. Indian meals will also be served and typically include rice, traditional bread, and a flavorful curry. You will be provided sanitary food while getting exposure to the traditional meals of both Indians and Tibetans.

What are the amenities like in the town I will be living?
The towns themselves are relatively developed with running water, electricity, and paved roads. While Thandge Gatsal's studio meets Western standards in cleanliness and amenities, however the drinking of tap water should be avoided throughout India.

Do I have to speak Tibetan to participate in the Thangde Gatsal program?
No, although learning Tibetan and/or Hindi could be a very rewarding experience, you will be able to communicate and get around Dharamsala speaking only English.