Health and Travel Issues

As we get many visitors, everyone’s health is of great concern to us and we will help you with all the information and assistance we can. We keep a first aid kit and an array of medical supplies on the premises for minor things such as headaches, colds, diarrhea, dehydration, and minor cuts and burns.

But we must stress that we cannot offer specific medical advice and we cannot nurse you when you are sick. We can provide general care, but if the sickness is severe or lingering you will have to seek help from medical professionals. We are not doctors or medical experts. We can, however, direct you to the closest and most appropriate hospital or medical facility, depending on your condition.

Medical care is available nearby and is extremely inexpensive by Western standards. Hospitals we recommend in the area include Shree Balaji Hospital in Kangra (http://www.themodernhospitals.co.in/general_hospital/Shree_Balaji_Hospital_Kangra.html), which is excellent for general care, and for surgeries, in nearby Pathankot there is Raavi Speciality Hospital http://raavihospital.com/raswan.html. For broken bones the Orthopedic Hospital in Nagrota is quite good. There is also a Government Medical College in Kangra. For top-class surgical facilities people go mostly to Delhi or Chandigarh. There are also many local doctors and pharmacies offering Tibetan, Auyurvedic, and Homeopathic medicine.

You must take care of your own health and welfare as much as possible. Before you come to India and while you are here, take sensible precautions. Medicines mentioned on Western websites are not always effective in India as bacteria or other germs can be resistant to those medicines. Even with seemingly simple stomach problems and/or diarrhea it is best to do a stool test and get accurate diagnosis. Seeing a local doctor or good pharmacist can help you to get the right medications.

Other helpful health information:

• For those of you who like to be really prepared, consider carrying a small travel health guidebook with you (Lonely Planet publishes a very handy and inexpensive one) and a small medical kit (see your guidebook for tips on what to include).
• One must take precautions with drinking water in India. While bottled water is available here, it is not recommended as the non-recyclable plastic waste causes tremendous trash problems. It is best to bring your own water bottle for filling with filtered water. At Thosamling our drinking water is filtered four times and is perfectly safe to drink.
• Basic first aid supplies and medications such as band-aids, paracetamol (similar to aspirin), oral rehydration solutions, and antibiotics are readily available at local pharmacies.
• If you take prescription medicines, you should bring more than enough to last through your trip and a copy of your prescription.
• If you wear glasses, you may want to bring an extra pair or at least carry your prescription with you as replacements can be made very cheaply in India.
• Sanitary pads and tampons are available here, but they are quite expensive and sometimes of inferior quality to Western versions so you may want to bring supplies of these items with you. We can highly recommend re-usable menstrual care options such the Mooncup. Our eco-friendly female volunteers say "an invaluable addition to any female traveler's backpack! It took a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn't use anything else now". The problem of pollution caused by sanitary protection is so much more evident here, where toilet paper and pads are dumped down hillsides or burnt in the open.
• To date, there have never been any instances of Malaria in this area.

Personal Safety in India

Personal safety is a common concern for travelers. India is an amazing country and most Indian people are very hospitable and helpful. Crime and violence in Sidhpur, McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala are relatively rare. The vast majority of travelers have no safety problems while travelling in this area. However there have been occasional robberies and isolated instances of violence against women.

Therefore we recommend you apply the same common sense in India that you would use at home; watch your bags and secure your room when going out. Always carry your passport and valuables in a money belt on your body and inside your clothing. Be especially watchful in airports, train stations and on public transport. Be vigilant and do not walk alone in isolated areas at night. At Thosamling we ask all residents to be in the Nunnery before dark or 6 pm, whichever comes first.

It is advisable to keep a copy of your visa and passport and other specific documents with you at all times, and send a scan of these documents via email to yourself.

 

Thosamling Nunnery, Institute and Retreat Center.