On several occasions we have taken groups to Tibetan monasteries in India. We continue to be in contact with these monks, working with their immense mission of Peace and interlacing our culture with theirs. The most important lesson that we have learnt from them is the simplest, but at the same time the hardest for westerners to learn – humility, good humor, their mental relaxation, and their quick adaptation to problems, in addition to a deep respect for each being and their simplicity and compassion in everything they do. This is not learned in books or long meditations, nor lighting incense or shaving their heads and reciting mantras nonstop. This is learnt minute by minute in every action, in every small detail, watching them, co-existing, living and sharing with them. In these lessons, there are no diplomas, titles or awards. It’s inside of each of us.
We are preparing this trip to northern India, to key tourist places and major locations for Buddhism, together with Tenzin Osel Hita; recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Lama Thubten Yeshe, founder of the FPMT and Kopan Monastery. Tenzin Ösel will travel with you and share his experiences and enable you to learn firsthand Tibetan Buddhist culture, customs, habitat, teachings etc. And on the other hand to raise funds for the maintenance of monasteries, Buddhist centers, associations, and the financing of different educational, cultural and health projects. The ceremonies, lectures and teachings are important because we approach our inner being that somehow we all seek, not to get medals or to enlarge the collection of spiritual courses that we have taken, but to get closer to that Oneness with the All which ultimately is Enlightenment. People often think that Enlightenment is so distant and difficult, only suitable for those privileged who can afford to spend much of their life meditating, checking, and clarifying the mind. So much so that it’s not worth approaching it, and that’s a big mistake, because every little step we take towards it, we approach the better world that we all dream of. Each step makes us more cheerful, more generous, more kind, more aware that everyone, including the Earth and all the creatures that inhabit it, are interconnected, and that is the gateway to compassion, humility, true love, and wellbeing.
This trip is a unique opportunity, because for the first time we will have the privilege of listening to, sharing and living with, Tenzin Osel Hita, we will be able to attend several talks given by him in various important places like Vultures Peak, Triund Mountain, Sarnath, or Kopan Monastery.
An extraordinary pilgrimage to the heart of Buddhism, in which the entire trip in itself will be the experience, teachings and practice of the core subjects like compassion, love, empathy, tolerance, coexistence, respect, and impermanence; the base of our evolution.
Our journey will begin on April 12th, with the arrival at the airport in Delhi, from there we will go to the hotel to wait for the whole group to arrive. We do not include the flight to Delhi, as each person comes from a different location, but we can help you buy the flights through the travel agency we work with (with no additional cost).
12 APRIL – ARRIVE DELHI
Arrival at Delhi airport and transfer to the 5* Hotel Holiday Inn New Delhi Int’l Airport, where we will spend one night awaiting the arrival of the whole group.
13 APRIL – DELHI – DHARAMSALA
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport where we will take a plane to Dharamsala. On arriving we will go to Tushita Meditation Centre. We will look around and enjoy a free afternoon to know the surroundings.
14 APRIL – DHARAMSALA
During this day we will visit the most important places in the area. We will visit the Norbulingka Institute, where we will see amongst other things the art of thangkas, and then we’ll go to Namgyal monastery. We will circumambulate the monastery making a Khora at sunset amidst a beautiful forest of fir trees that surrounds it. Dinner and return to sleep at Tushita Meditation Center.
15 APRIL – DHARAMSALA
We will take a good walk along the foot of the Himalayas through the old town of Bagsu, road trekking through the mountains of Triund. Lunch at the legendary Shiva Cafe, a meeting place for travelers around the world, and then we can have a chat with Osel Hita in a spectacular natural setting. Return at sunset to Tushita Center for dinner and overnight.
16 APRIL – DHARAMSALA – DELHI
Departure to the airport and flight to Delhi. We will go to The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi and visit two emblematic locations of Delhi, the Tibetan Manjukatilla neighborhood and the neighborhood of Paharganj. Dinner at the hotel.
17 APRIL – DELHI – GAYA
Breakfast at the hotel and then we will move to the airport for the flight to Gaya. Transfer to Bodhgaya. We will go directly to Root institute where we will be staying. Food and visit Mahabodhi Temple in the afternoon, place of enlightenment of Buddha. Dinner and overnight at the Root Institute.
18 APRIL – BODHGAYA
We will spend this whole day on a trip to a couple very important places of Buddhism, Rajgir and Nalanda. We will have a talk* with Tenzin Osel Hita in a outdoor environment. After sunset return to Root institute where we will spend the night.
19 APRIL – BODHGAYA
** Free day to explore the area. We can visit the Grand Bazaar in Tibetan antiques and all the temples and stupas. Possible to walk from the Root Institute as it is very close to the temples. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the Root Institute.
20 APRIL – BODHGAYA – VARANASI
Day at leisure. Overnight stay at Root institute.
You will have a guide if you want to go with the group.
21 APRIL – BODHGAYA – VARANASI
In the morning after breakfast we will travel by private bus to Varanasi, eat and visit in the afternoon at the mythical Ghats, and places of incineration (Manikarnika Ghat) on the banks of the Ganges. Dinner and stay overnight in the Hotel 5 * Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi.
22 APRIL – VARANASI
After breakfast at the hotel, we will take a boat trip on the Ganges and a tour of the most important and sacred places of Varanasi. In the afternoon we will visit Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first teaching.
We will then return to the hotel in the evening to have dinner.
23 APRIL – VARANASI – KATHMANDU
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to airport for the flight to Kathmandu. Pick everyone up to go to Kopan Monastery, after making contact with the monastery and a walk through the gardens we will have dinner and spend the night there.
24 APRIL – KATHMANDU
In the morning, after breakfast, we will go to Boudhanat Stupa, one of the most important and impressive stupas in the world. After lunch we will walk through the neighborhood of Thamel and Durbar Square. We will see the sunset from Swayambhunath Stupa, on top of a hill; a unique and mythological place.
Dinner and overnight at Kopan Monastery.
25 APRIL – KATHMANDU
Free day in Kathmandu. We will do meditation and practice yoga at sunset on the hill top with Tenzin Osel.
26 APRIL – KATHMANDU – DELHI
After breakfast and a good walk we will go to the airport for the flight back to Delhi where we will spend the night in the 5* Hotel Holiday Inn New Delhi Int’l Airport.
27 APRIL – DELHI
Transfer to Delhi airport, particularly as each persons schedule will be according to their flight back home. End of Trip …
* The talks are every day, but we put some examples.
** On free days there will always be a guide to go in groups for whoever wants to join.
The Metropolitan Hotel and Spa New Delhi (16th)
DHARAMSALA: Tushita Meditation Center (days 13th, 14th & 15th)
BHODGAYA: Root Institute (days 17th, 18th, 19th & 20th)
VARANASI: Hotel 5* Ramada Plaza JHV Varanasi (days 21th & 22st)
KATHMANDU: Kopan Monastery (days 23nd, 24rd & 25th)During the stay in Kopan monastery, Tushita Center and Root Institute we will sleep in rooms with a full board. There we will have breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will taste the delicious food they prepare themselves.In the 5 * hotels there will be half board or Bed & Breakfast (as shown in the itinerary).The overnights will be in a double room with an additional cost for the individual rooms.
During the stay at the 5 * hotels it will be half board. We can also go to different restaurants individually and pay separately, depending on each person’s needs. We will always offer a place to eat with the guide for whoever wants to join with the group. The food in India is varied and for all tastes. There will always be different dining options, and we will help as much as possible in the mealtimes.
We are aware that first timers to India often are afraid to get sick from the food. We will go to tourist restaurants, which are used to serve meals to westerners, and where health controls are maintained. Indeed, fear, although very useful for survival at times, sometimes leaves our defenses on the ground, so relax and enjoy the rich cuisine of India.
-Visits and talks as in the itinerary
-Full board at the centers and monastery, half board at the 5 *
-Lodging at 5 * Hotels: Delhi and Varanasi
-Transport in India (airplanes, taxis and buses )
-Donations for monasteries, centers and associations
-Visa for India and Nepal
-Meals at the 5* Hotels (There will always be a guide to accompany the group as needed)
-Voluntary tips for guides … if they deserve it, thanks!
Arrival at Delhi on the 12th where will gradually reaching the entire group from different parts of the world.
We can help you buy airline tickets at no extra charge.
The remaining flights:
13 Apr DELHI – AMRITSAR 9W 390 – 09:00-10:10
16 Apr AMRITSAR – DELHI 9W 373 – 14:00-15:30 Hrs
17 Apr DELHI – GAYA Al 433, 13:20-14:50
23 Apr VARANASI – KATHMANDU Al 251, 12:30 – 13:40
26 Apr KATHMANDU – DELHI 6E 32-14:00-15:30
Travel Insurance and Visas
-To travel to India we need to have an insurance that is included in the trip.
-Visas for India can be arranged for residents in Spain, the rest of the countries will have to contact your own local embassy. Don´t forget to ask for Multiple Entry visa, as we need to go to Nepal and come back!
-For the Nepal visa we can do it at the border, but do not forget to bring two recent passport photos and some cash dollars at hand. The website of the Embassy in India is:
-We will have a few essential schedules, such as the arrival at the airports, taxi and arrival accommodations.
-Within the monastery and centers there will be meal time schedules and activities, although each person is free to use their time as you wish. (Please just warn the guides).
-There will be several guides available at all times.
-Medicine: Keep in mind that India makes Ayurvedic medicine, very cheap and natural, but everyone knows what you normally use at home …
– Comfortable clothes, light luggage.
-Flashlights. In India there are often blackouts.
-No need for any electric transformers if you are from Europe, there are the same voltage and plugs as in Europe.
Places to visit
Refounded in 1988 near Dharamshala is dedicated to preserving Tibetan tradition and culture through their literary and artistic forms. The original Institute was near Lhasa, and was the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas.
Norbulingka promotes training, education and employment of Tibetans in exile, and produces traditional handmade objects of high quality. Among the activities undertaken include the construction of statues, painting Thankas, tailoring, objects of hand-carved wooden and metal objects. Inside the «Seat of Happiness Temple» with 1173 Buddha murals, frescoes of the life of the Dalai Lama, and a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni of 4 m tall. All profits from shopping at Norbulingka are for Tibetan refugees.
Refounded in 1959, replaced in Dharamshala which remains active to this day. There are about 200 monks representing the four Tibetan monastic lineages. It is the Monastery assisting in rituals in which the Dalai Lama participates and is located in front of his residence. The original Namgyal monastery founded in 1564 by the third Dalai Lama was taken to the red Potala building at the end of its construction.
MC LEOD GANJ (Dharamshala)
Residence in exile of the Dalai Lama. The colony where the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is together with the Tibetan government in exile, and hundreds of Tibetan families. It is located a few kilometers from Dharamshala on a hill at the foot of the Himalayas. A unique place surrounded by mountains and nature in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
TUSHITA MEDITATION CENTRE
Tushita is a retreat center of study and practice for Mahayana Buddhism found in the wooded hills above the town of McLeod Ganj. Tushita provides a friendly and authentic atmosphere for people of all nationalities and helps to learn and practice the teachings of Buddha.
ROOT INSTITUTE (BODHGAYA)
A Buddhist meditation center offering ideal courses for the study and practice of meditation and Buddhist philosophy. Founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe. This center operates under the protection and spiritual guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. A beautiful place surrounded by gardens and stupas.
Tibetan Buddhist monastery found near Boudhanath on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It is the origin of the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). The monastery was established by the founders of FPMT, Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Kopan is especially famous for the teachings of Buddhism to Western visitors. A beautiful place situated on a hill with beautiful gardens, stupas and temples.
Bodhgaya is one of the holiest places of Buddhism and is where Prince Siddhartha attained Enlightenment. Tradition has it that Siddhartha came to Bodhgaya as an ascetic monk and after three days and three nights of continuous meditation, attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. The largest and most impressive Buddhist temple was built by Asoka, a devotee 250 years after Buddha’s Enlightenment. It was rebuilt in the nineteenth century. Today Bodhgaya is surrounded by many Buddhist temples established by monasteries and traditions from around the world. Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage place in India.
Sarnath is another of the most important holy places of Buddhism. It is where Buddha first gave his teachings, giving birth to Dharma and the first Sangha.
The city flourished for centuries as a meeting place of art, philosophy, and Buddhist religion. Devastated by the Turks centuries ago, one can now see impressive ancient ruins and still one of the most important places of pilgrimage.
Rajgir was the first capital in the kingdom of Magadha, whose origins date back more than three thousand years. This place is known as one of Gautama Buddha’s favourite places in which he spent months meditating and gave one of the most important teachings «Atanatiya» at Vulture’s Peak. In one of the nearby hills the first Buddhist Council was held. There are several caves that one can visit where Buddha meditated.
This place is where one of the most famous religious universities of India stood. A key part of Tibetan Buddhism comes from the teachings and traditions of the great scholars of Nalanda. Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism originated in this great center of learning. Buddha and Nagarjuna visited and studied here. It was destroyed by the Turks centuries ago, but today there still remain 150,000 square meters of impressive ruins, ancient temples and stupas that have survived.
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