Prepare for your trip
India is everything, and more, all at once.
It's a sensory potpourri; a visual explosion of bright saris, lumbering cows, marigolds, incense, spices and bursts of sunlight - where you're guaranteed to craft your very own Darjeeling Limited experience.
As for the language, Hindi isn't spoken by everyone in India - in fact there are more than 20 languages spoken throughout the country and English tends to serve as a common one.
A few Hindi phrases will definitely help along the way: "Namaskar" (hello), "shukriya" (thank you), "aap kaise hai" (how are you), "kitna hai" (how much) and "naam kya hai" (what's your name), may come in handy on your trip.
As for money, you'll be dealing in Indian rupees - there are about 55 rupees to each Aussie dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but make sure you know all your pin codes as signing has been phased out around the country.
TIBET IN EXILE
The Tibetan settlement of Dharamshala began in 1959, when the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and the Prime Minister of India allowed him and his followers to settle in McLeodGanj (in Upper Dharmshala), a former colonial British summer picnic spot.
In 1970, The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives which houses over 80,000 manuscripts and other important resources related to Tibetan history, politics and culture. It is considered one of the most important institutions for Tibetology in the world, the new director is Geshe Lahkdor, the old translator of the Dalai Lama.
Several thousand Tibetan exiles have now settled in the area, where they have built monasteries, temples and schools.