The Garden Guide

DWLS Dragon Garden Druk White Lotus School

The Druk White Lotus School DWLS is in a part of Ladakh, India, known as 'Little Tibet'. It is built on a Buddhist mandala plan. 'Druk' means 'Dragon' and is the symbol of the Drukpa Lineage. The school was established in a cold desert environment outside the former capital of Ladakh, Shey. As in all the inhabited parts of Ladakh, lush, fruitful and colourful plants can be grown if, and only if, the ground is irrigated. Without irrigation a few 'maquis' type plants survive with difficulty. The school is managed by an NGO governing body. It depends on volunteers and on charitable contributions for design and construction - please see the website for information on how to donate.

The Dragon School attracts many visitors for seven reasons: (1) it was made famous by an incident in an Amir Khan movie, 3 Idiots, in which one of the cast pees against a wall in DWLS (2) the school has a brilliant design, by Arup Associates and Arup (3) the Dragon Garden is sustainable and draws on Ladakhi symbols and plants (4) the school is set in an outstandingly beautiful landscape with views of: Thikse Monastery, Shey Palace and Monastery, the Indus Valley, the sedimentary rocks of the Zanskar Range, the igneous rocks of the Ladakh Range, (5) the Druk school is beside the the largest and most beautiful stupa field in Ladakh (6) Naropa Palace, beside the school, has a good cafe with convenient parking (7) there are good homestays near the school.
In 2012 landscape architects from the University of Greenwich began work on a landscape master plan and garden design for a Dragon Garden for the Drukpa Trust and School.

Additional information about DWLS Druk Garden Design & Landscape Architecture

Additional videos: the history of Buddhism's influence on garden design

See also on Instagram and Twitter  #drukwhitelotusschool @DrukpaUSA #travel #leh


Looking south from the centre of the mandala to the Zanskar Range

The 'Point of Idiocy' was made famous in the Amir Khan movie 3 Idiots and attracts large numbers of tourists

DWLS School, with Thikse Monastery in the background

DWLS School, with Naropa Gompa in the background

The stupa field, and Shey Palace Monastery, seen from the DWLS Garden

Hollyhocks in front of a hostel building

Druk White Lotus School DWLS, Shey, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Free entry but donations are appreciated

Visit the DWLS Dragon Garden Druk White Lotus School website

Nearby gardens