Medical Electives


Medical Electives in Manali, India

Lady Willingdon Hospital is a Christian, charitable institution, serving the people of Kullu valley and the surrounding regions. The hospital provides primary and secondary level medical and surgical care. There are about 95 staff members, including 8 doctors.There are about 55 beds, roughly separated according to the patient’s problems and distributed over 3 small buildings. The work at the hospital is seasonal, with months from April to December being the busiest. The winter months are relatively less busy, though warmer winters and patent roads allow more patients to come than in the years gone by.

LWH is in many ways a unique hospital. We attempt to get a lot of work done with a minimum of fuss, cost, paper work and paraphernalia. Working at or visiting the hospital has been quite an experience for those who’ve come for a short time as well as for those of us who have been here for longer periods. There are few specialists here and no doctor practices just one particular branch of medicine. All are doctors of medicine, in the widest sense of the term. The main specialities covered at present are surgery, medicine, orthopaedics, paediatrics and obstetrics-gynaecology.

We have three rural clinics which are part of our work. Jibhi which is about 100 kilometres south of  Manali where we have clinics fortnightly on Saturday. Our primary health workers are based here for 9 months of the year. The second is at Kaza, Spitti which is across the Rohtang and Kunzum passes about 200 km north east of Manali. The doctors take turns to run village clinics in Spitti in summer. The third is Mudgaon, Lahaul about 150 km. north west of Manali across the Rohtang pass. We have two primary health workers staying here for the whole year and the doctors again take turns to run this clinic in summer. You are welcome to visit these clinics if you are here after the passes open.

You will be here as an observer. You will not be given any responsibilities. As an observer, however, you may be requested to help the staff at their work. The learning structure is informal and bidirectional. You will be expected to ask lots of questions. You will be expected to attend all activities of the hospital and follow the hospital schedule and rules. This means no smoking and drinking on campus. Please do dress appropriate to the culture, which means no tank tops and short skirts or shorts please.

There will be a token observership fee of Rs 5000 per week. This will be in addition to a charge of Rs 200 per day for accommodation. (An additional charge of Rs. 100 per day may be levied if you use a heater or blower in the room). This money may be paid within the first three days of arrival along with an advance of Rs 2,000. A final refund will be done at the time of handing over of the key after final settlement when leaving. The money may be paid to Ms. Kalpana Sharma or Mr. Ken Gengmei in the accounts office.You are also expected to pay for your food if you use the hospital mess. We expect you to therefore, use your time at LWH productively, asking questions and spending as much time as possible with patients and staff. As you will be visiting us and not working here, you should apply for a ‘TOURIST VISA’ when you give in your application. Any other kind will entail time and effort that may not be compatible with what you are coming for.

It is very likely that LWH and Manali will be very different from what you expect. Usually, those who come here are in for a pleasant surprise. However, there may be certain difficulties and cultural issues that you might want to be ready for. If you haven’t already done so, it would be to your advantage to contact others who have been here in the recent past to get a ‘preview’ of the place.  Further information will be provided after confirming your posting. This will also include information and advice with regard to your travel up to Manali.

Medical Electives Registration Process

  • Reserve your dates
  • Apply. Use the application form given below for Medical Electives.We will process your application as soon as we get this in our mail. By sending this form you are also stating that you will come to LWH, if accepted.
  • Please also send us a document (by post) written by an authorized official of your training institution, stating that you are a ___ year medical (or other as the case may be) student of the institution. This should carry the official’s signature, designation and seal. Please do not send this as an email attachment.
  •  We request that all students who are coming to Manali for their electives, ensure that their University letters reach in time, with a mention of their commitment to come here. This is purely to ensure that there is a low rate of ‘no’ shows and all deserving students get a chance.

Medical Electives Info & Tips


Manali is a small, but busy tourist  town in the northern end of the Kullu valley at an altitude of about 6500 feet. The Kullu valley is in the Western Himalayan ranges, and is within the state of Himachal Pradesh. Manali used to be considered the end of the habitable world but of late with more tourists arriving it is becoming a stop halt en route to Leh. The local people here are Kulluis, but for 9 months of the year you are likely to see people from all over India and also the world.

Manali is a relatively small place and this campus is in the middle of the town. As this is a minority community, what we do impacts the community. You cannot be anonymous in such a small community so anything you do will reflect on this institution. We discourage smoking, especially in public, or the consumption of spirits, either on the campus or without. We would appreciate you dressing in a fashion that is appropriate in this society. Full length or dresses that come till the knees for ladies and cover the arms, and not too casual attire for men is expected in the hospital. In general, we expect visitors to maintain the same standard of behaviour as they would be expected to in their own country and also respect the sensibilities of the people they are among.

Manali is considered a safe place for visitors and this campus particularly so. Do be assured about this.

The weather here varies drastically with the seasons, from being bitterly cold between November and April, to warm and sunny in June. There are 5 seasons here with the famous Indian monsoons adding to the traditional four. It may rain at any other time of the year. To make life more interesting, we do not have central heating or hot water on demand. We do supply electric heaters/heat convectors, which work when there is electricity. Wood burning tandoors are  available which are useful for burning bread, toasting your fingers as well as for heating your kitchen/common room.

PLEASE BE ON YOUR GUARD NOT TO BE DUPED BY INTERMEDIATE AGENTS WHO WILL PROMISE MUCH BUT TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE. If you have a problem, please contact us on telephone. Our details are on the “Contact us” page.

Buses: From Delhi/ Chandigarh to Manali

There are many tourist buses from Delhi to Manali. You can book buses online through Redbus

Himachal State Tourism (from Chandralok building in Janpath) Telephone: 91-11-2335320. They have an airconditioned bus (Volvo) that runs every day in summer and every alternate day in winter. the bus leaves in the evening. The AC. bus costs Rs 1300/- and the non a.c. bus Rs. 750/-. Tickets can be booked by telephone. Telephone number in Delhi is 91-11-23325320. Tickets can also be booked online at
Himachal Roadways Transport corporation (from ISBT or the Interstate Bus Terminal at Kashmiri Gate, Delhi)
Cost: Rs.750

Taxi: From Delhi to Manali (Rs.10000 or US $ 220 only) Please do NOT pay more.

By air: Air India,  flies into Bhuntar (kullu) airport everyday from Delhi. This flight is weather dependent. Details are on the websites of the airline. Bhuntar airport is an hour and a half from Manali and you can take a taxi from the airport.

Summer (March to July) is warm, and you will only need a light cover in the nights. Bedding and furniture are provided. Bring good trekking boots if you intend to take some of the beautiful walks in the area. Please also bring your own eye protection.

Monsoon (August to October)
Intermittent light rain, interspersed with sunshine. You might need a light rain jacket.

Winter (November to February)
Temperatures range between -4 °C to 10°C. Rooms are not centrally heated but provision is made for warming. Please bring good wool socks, caps, gloves, and boots that will withstand snow.

  • A rain jacket
  • Running shoes (if you are a runner)
  • An AC converter from 240 volts if your equipment works on alternative voltage, or a battery charger which works on 240 volts.
  • Real coffee ( we get instant coffee here).
  • A plastic mug.
  • Your own music and a portable player would provide entertainment in your room.
  • A pocket size reference book, like the Oxford Handbook, or if you have a pda version, so much the better.

There is no need to bring sterile gloves, though if you have latex allergy you could bring latex free gloves.

Useful things you could bring for the hospital

If you have space in your bags, and if you would like to bring something for the hospital, these items would be useful:

  • Ambou bags,
  • Nasal cannulae,
  • Christmas tree converters,
  • Cervical collars.
  • Oxygen masks and tubings, adult and pediatric,
  • Non rebreather masks.
  • Stethoscopes,
  • Pocket flashlights
  • Otoscopes.

Listen to Testimonials

I came to India for the snowboarding kayaking /trekking potential and for some developing world medicine experience. Before I arrived at LWH it would be fair to say I was more than a little disillusioned with my career choice. I am please to say that I once again realise the reasons I chose to study medicine. My confidence, knowledge and practical skills have improved more than they have had in the preceding two years. Never before in my medical career have I felt that my opinion has mattered to my tutors. It has been the best elective even with no snow on the hills or water in the river.
Luke Summers
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