I had the pleasure of experiencing the 5-day Creative Retreat at the quaint abode that is the Dharamkot Studio, Dharamkot, Himachal Pradesh. The Retreat is designed for a limited number of participants ensuring an intimate and immersive experience. Your registration fees include pottery sessions, lodging, three meals a day, and sightseeing. To register for the Retreat, one can visit their website or contact them via email or phone.To reach the Studio location you can take a plane ride from Delhi to Dharamshala, a train up to Pathankot, or a bus up to Dharamshala and thereafter enjoy the most scenic and comfortable mountain ride through the lesser Himalayas from a bus stand, airport, or train station to the Dharamkot Studio.
On reaching the location, Sahil, the caretaker is going to be your go-to guy for everything from laundry to room cleaning, to hot water and more for the next five nights and six days. All the rooms are minimal, spacious, clean, and overlook the valley. The cafe in the main building has a professional chef who serves delicious continental breakfasts with North Indian and Chinese meals for lunch and dinner, with special mention for his Oreo shake and honey-lemon-ginger. The 5 Days of Pottery classes were designed to experience Pottery as a means to unwind more mindfully. While the day 1 is all about Introduction to pottery as art, clay as a medium, and the tools utilized. Day two is slightly challenging as some of you might work the potter’s wheel for the first time. I have never experienced so many emotions in a single hour as I did in my first wheel session. We learned centering, opening, lifting, and detaching. On Day three onwards you learn to carve and decorate your pieces. I ended up making a super functional set of mugs and bowls, everyone used to call it my “kitchen set” and I took pride in calling it my first ceramic collection- “Hope”. On Day four you try to get better on the wheel and give the finishing touches to your products. And lastly, on Day, you learn about glazing, and under glazing (painting on bone-hard pieces).
Other than learning pottery, the retreat has multiple extra-curricular activities like yoga, meditation, hiking in the monk village, and Mcleodganj sightseeing. All of which is not only scenic but wholesome and off-beat. Overall, the logistics of the Creative Retreat are meticulously planned to provide a hassle-free experience, leaving you to focus solely on your creative pursuits.