Bir Tibetan Colony is a Tibetan refugee settlement in the Himalayan village of Chowgan on the outskirts of the town of Bir, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. Bir Tibetan Colony was established in the early 1960s by Chokling Rinpoche following the exile of the Dalai Lama and other refugees from Tibet. The Tibetan Colony houses several Tibetan monasteries (representing the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya traditions), a Tibetan handicraft center, a Tibetan Children's Village school (Suja), a branch of the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (Men-Tsee-Khang), a medical clinic, and the Deer Park Institute. It is also home to a number of shops, cafés, and guest houses.
There are several institutions in Bir that attract tourists, students, volunteers and other visitors from around India and from abroad:
The Deer Park Institute is a 'centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions' established by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in March 2006 under the patronage of the Dalai Lama. Chokling Gompa is the monastery of Neten Chokling Rinpoche, a reincarnate lama in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and the director of the film Milarepa (2006). Chokling Gompa is a point of architectural interest, with a grand prayer hall and a picturesque stupa.
There are also several other monasteries and temples in the Tibetan Colony, and the Tibetan herbal clinic (Men-Tsee-Khang) and handicraft centre also serve as tourist attractions. The major monastery of Sherab Ling is just a few minutes away in nearby Bhattu village. The Dzongsar Institute (a Tibetan Buddhist monastic college) is in nearby Chauntara. Dharmalaya is an Indian charitable society (NGO) based in Bir, which is 'devoted to education, service, and compassionate living, with a practical focus on sustainable village development, contemplative service-learning, and immersive ecotourism.