Walter Isaacson’ book Steve Jobs has been released and what is interesting is the mention that Jobs’ years of wandering in India in search of spiritual enlightenment were “not a waste of time”. In fact the time he spent here he learnt “intuition” and his sense of design was greatly influenced by the “simplicities of Zen Buddhism”, says Jobs’ biographer. When Isaacson was asked how Jobs, a hippie college dropout goes to India and comes back deciding he wants to be a businessman, he replied, “Jobs has within him sort of this conflict, but he doesn’t quite see it as a conflict between being hippie-ish and anti-materialistic but wanting to sell things like Wozniak’s board. Wanting to create a business. And I think that’s exactly what Silicon Valley was all about in those days. Let’s do a startup in our parents’ garage and try to create a business.”

Take time to step into old Tibet

Each collection of dolls in the Museum has a story to tell, spanning eras and from remote parts of Tibet, depicting how life was in the olden days.

Ever wondered what it would have been like in a day of a person staying in old Tibet? Offering a glimpse into the lives of the people from the area popularly called the “roof of the world” is this unique doll museum. The Losel Dolls Museum is nestled in the sylvan setting of the Norbulingka Research Institute which can be reached after a short and picturesque drive from Dharmsala in Himachal Pradesh.

Cobbled pathways, lush canopy with sunlight filtering through, bubbling fountains and a garden with the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas as a backdrop makes for a perfect setting to house the museum. Norbulingka Institute in the picturesque Kangra Valley is an initiative in preserving Tibetan culture and handing down Tibetan tradition. The dolls museum is housed in one of the buildings of the institute and is spread over a few rooms.

Slice of life

These puppets crafted by monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery are hand painted, featuring striking eyebrows and “blushing” cheekbones typical at high altitudes and draped in the fineries, replicas of chuba or the long sheepskin coats preferred in high lands and other traditional hand woven costumes worn by people in old Tibet.

Dolls clad in thick woollen traditional attire complete with a stylish and colourful head gear, dolls of women sporting colourful jewellery in semi precious stones and men sporting tall hats looking lifelike are also found here.

Monks dressed in saffron and maroon robes blowing the horn and playing the cymbals, takes one back to the monastic festivals in the high altitude. Musicians and marketplace, a traditional meal of momos and many more everyday moments, each collection of dolls has a warm story to tell, spanning eras and from remote parts of Tibet. A scene from the farm, a celebration of harvest and more, all the collections in different frames makes one stop and admire the dolls.

The best part is that the space around the museum is not cramped so one can move around at ease looking up the exhibits.