Siddhartha’s Intent Society set up Deer Park Institute: A Center for Study of Classical Indian Wisdom Traditions in the campus of Dzongsar Institute, an old Buddhist college, to promote classical Indian arts, sciences, and philosophy. Another primary aim is to revive education system of famous ancient Indian university of Nalanda that was a hub of Buddhism.
Deer Park comprises Buddha, Tara, and Manjushree halls designed for teaching and training. Yellow color building of the institute also has a multi-storied gompa, guest house, and dining area.
The pagoda-style roof over the gompa is decorated with the endless or glorious knots with silk scarves, victory banners, bells, and wheel and deer emblem. A 5-color flag features vertical and horizontal stripes of blue, yellow, red, white and orange colors. The basic motif of the railings of the balcony consists of eight-spoke wheels and flowers. The Tibetan astrological charts are painted on the exterior walls. The endless or glorious knots with silk scarves also adorn the pillars. The wall painting vocabulary consists of traditional Buddhist symbols such as kalachakra, Mount Meru, swastika, gems, and knots with scarves in bright colors.
The scripture hall on the second floor exhibits another set of the symbols. Mandala, vajra, and Buddha are painted on the ceiling; dragons near windows. The frieze features kirtimukha with lower jaw (which is contrary to the Tibetan tradition of painting kirtimukha without lower jaw). The painting motifs also include moon, conch shells, jewels, and wheels. The presiding deity of the gompa is Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha is shown in a standing pose. A horse, garuda, dragon, and snow lion, four mystic animals, and pairs of makaras and mermaids surround the statue. Thangkas adorn the ceiling, the walls and the pillars.
The statue of Bodhisattva Manjushree holding two lotuses depicts teaching gesture. The statue is adorned with a makara, dragon, wheel, golden fish, knotted scarf, and swastika.
The kitchen serves vegetarian meals featuring international menu. Both budget and full meal options are available. Advance booking for meals is required. In fact, you should personally visit for booking. Book the meals for individuals at least three hours in advance. A group of more than six guests should place an order in one day advance. The meals are served at a fixed time: breakfast at 7:30 am, lunch at 12:00 noon, and dinner at 6:00 pm. The dinner costs INR 50 per person.
The dogs in the institute are dangerous and they bite. Be careful.
Bir Tea Factory
Upper Bir has a cooperative tea factory established by the state government. The factory offers a tour to take tea enthusiasts through various stages of complete tea processing cycle. Tea gardens in Chowgan Village are good for strolling.
The market in Tibetan Colony, Lower Bir has a few shops selling authentic Tibetan carpets, dresses, rugs, thangkas, and other handicrafts. The prices are reasonable. Most shops close early in the evening and also take a long lunch break.