Pilgrimage Journey to Nepal & Bhutan

8th – 22nd November 2018

With this pilgrimage journey to Nepal & Bhutan we start our first 6 days in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, where we explore the sacred areas of Swayambhu, Pharping, Namo Buddha and Boudha Stupa – listed to be some of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage spots in the world. After becoming acquainted with the Nepali Buddhist cultures of the Himalayan region, we travel to the other sacred Buddhist land of Bhutan. Here we spend 8 days, embarking on a journey where we get to both observe and learn about the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, as much as taking time to practice ourselves and take in the many blessings of this place.

Introducing the Facilitators

This pilgrimage journey will be jointly facilitated by the Himalayan Hermitage team in Nepal, Alex d’Artois or Sisse Budolfsen – depending on the size of the group, as well as our wonderful Bhutanese guide, Tshering Penjore while we are in Bhutan. The groups will hold the maximum amount of 15 people.

For more information on Alex & Sisse please go here.

The Buddhist culture of the Himalayas, with the countless blessings of the many yogis and yoginis who have practiced the path of awakening here for centuries, seep out of every temple and shrine in the Kathmandu Valley. In the daily meditation sessions, we will explore the inner capacity for the mind to fully rest, and familiarise ourselves with the experience of being free from the constant, and very subtle dichotomy of hope and fear.

We start the day by exploring the inner experience of awakening in ourselves, as well as grounding our awareness into the body through yoga, and in the afternoon sessions we enhance the experience by becoming pilgrims and yogis. We explore the outer element of sacredness and the culture of awakening by visiting, and paying homage to the many sacred temples and shrines in the Kathmandu Valley. In the evenings after returning home, we salute the day through unwinding evening yoga.

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Sample Daily Schedule (note. schedule will vary day-to-day during travel into the mountains)
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Meditation
  • 9:15 – 10:00 Breakfast
  • 10:00 – 12:00 Morning session
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 – 4:30 Visiting sacred places
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Dinner

INFO ON MEDITATION

There is no prerequisite for joining the pilgrimage, or to have in-depth knowledge or experience with the practice of meditation.  Simply, to have the wish to go deeper with one’s mind, and to have curiosity regarding its functions is enough. There is nothing religious about the practice of meditation, or to visit sacred places and shrines. In fact, there is nothing even Buddhist about it. The practice of meditation is simply a tool to bring your mind back to a place of naked awareness, to a place of basic space with yourself. In fact, it is simply put a technique with which to uncover all the layers of hope and fear, grasping and expectations that are all such strong habits of the mind.  With the practice of meditation we can learn to come back to ourselves, and to become familiar with the groundless and raw quality of reality.

Itinerary

Vajra Hotel, an oasis in Swayambhu

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU

Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to Hotel Vajra in Swayambhu, West Kathmandu. There may be time to rest from the journey, go for a walk or enjoy the sunset on the rooftop in the evening. In the afternoon there will be an introduction to the pilgrimage by instructors Sisse Budolfsen & Alex d’Artois

The majestic Swayambhu stupa

DAY 2 - SWAYAMBHU

Morning meditation and breakfast. We walk to Swayambhu Stupa after breakfast. Free time after lunch. Afternoon talk about Buddhist philosophy. Meditation session after dinner.

 

At the Pharping Guru Rinpoche cave

DAY 3 - PHARPING

Morning meditation and breakfast. Hike through fields to visit the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. Hike back for lunch at Neydo Monastery. Free afternoon. Dinner and Meditation session. We spend the night at Neydo Monastery.

View of the Kathmandu Valley

DAY 4 - NAMO BUDDHA RESORT

Before or after our morning mediation session we can again use the spa facilities before we ride out to Namo Buddha Resort, where we spend the next night. Lunch at Namo Buddha Resort followed by a free afternoon. After dinner we will have a meditation session.

 

View of Thrangu Rinpoche's monastery

DAY 6 - NAMO BUDDHA PILGRIMAGE

Morning meditation/yoga session and breakfast at Namo Buddha Resort. After lunch we hike to pilgrimage in Namo Buddha where it is said that the previous incarnation of Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to feed a starving Tigress and her cubs. We visit the stunning monastery of Thrangu Rinpoche and the sacred Namo Buddha Stupa. After lunch we return to Kathmandu and visit the sacred Boudhanath Stupa on our way back to Vajra Hotel. We spend the night at Vajra Hotel.

Paro Valley in Bhutan

DAY 7 - WE FLY TO PARO / BHUTAN

After breakfast we depart for the international airport and fly to Paro, Bhutan. We visit Dhuntse and Kyichu Lakhang – the house of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist masters of this century. We spend the night at Gantey Palace.

Trail behind the Rimpung Dzong

DAY 8 - JALA DZONG

After breakfast, we drive to up the hill behind the dzong to begin our  walk to Jala Dzong. We have lunch at camp and then visit the Dzong and enjoy the day at this location. This is also a famous location for encountering the national flower of Bhutan – the blue poppy – but only during summer season. We spend the night camping at Jala Dzong.

Camp at Latakkha Monastery

DAY 9 - CAMP AT LATAYKHA MONASTERY

After breakfast, continue our walk to Lataykha monastery, which as retreat location for Buddhist practitioners of the region. From this location, we can enjoy Great views of Hemphug Monastery, Bemri and Phurdo Gompa.

 

 

Local stupa near the place of the 100,000 Dakinis

DAY 10 - HIKE TO BEMRI, THE SITE OF THE 100,000 DAKINIS

After breakfast, we walk to Bemri a sacred site which is known as the mountain of 100,000 dakinis who took flight from here. We continue hiking for visits at  Dhunkalha or Phurdo Gompa and return to hotel by vehicle. We spend the night at Tashi Namgyal Resort in Paro.

Picnic in nature

DAY 11 - CHELE LA & KILAY NUNNERY

We rise early for the drive to Chele la and visit Kilay gompa (nunnery) along the way. We have a picnic lunch at the top of the pass where we will get great Himalaya views if the weather is clear. After this continue down the back side of the pass to Haa valley. We spend the night at Soednam Zingha’s Farmhouse.

Dordenma Buddha, overlooking the Thimphu Valley

DAY 12 - VISIT TO SHEKHAR DRAK & THIMPHU

We visit Shekhar Drak (dedicated to Avalokitsvara) and continue on driving the back road of Haa. We will  stop for a picnic lunch at the scenic Dobsey Dzong. We continue onto Thimphu and check into the hotel. In the afternoon – free time for exploring the city. Prior to dinner, we pay a visit to the Dordenma Buddha which sits above the city and overlooks the entire Thimphu valley.

Tamchoe Monastery near Paro

DAY 13 - RETURN TO PARO

We spend the morning (half day) in Thimphu – select from visits to:  Zorig Chusu the School of 13 Traditional Arts, Textile Museum, the Traditional Medical Center or Memorial Chorten. Lunch in Thimphu and then return to Paro with a stop at Tamchoe monastery the famous location of Iron bridge builder Thang Thong Gyalpo and see his chain bridge and other relics located here. We spend the night back at Gantey Palace in Paro.

View of Taksang, Tiger's Nest

DAY 14 - TAKTSANG/TIGER'S NEST

We begin our early morning pilgrimage walk to Taktsang Monastery or the famous Tiger’s Nest. On the way back down, we have lunch at the Taktsang “cafeteria”. Return to the hotel where an optional Bhutanese hot stone bath can be organized (at an additional cost) and a farewell dinner for our last night in Bhutan.

Stupa in Solo Khumbu region, Nepal

DAY - 15 - RETURN TO KTM

We return to Kathmandu, Nepal by morning flight and spend our last night at Vajra Hotel in Swayambhu. Free day and farewell dinner at Kathmandu’s famous pizza joint, Fire and Ice.

WHERE – NEPAL & BHUTAN –  Kathmandu Valley, Nepal & Bhutan

WHEN – June 7th – June 21st 2018 / November 8th – 22nd 2018

PRICE – Low season price in June: EARLY BIRD OFFER UNTIL 15th MARCH 3650 USD / High season price in November: EARLY BIRD OFFER UNTIL 15th AUGUST 3990 USD 

Normal price of a twin room to share in low season: 3850 USD /

Normal price of a twin room to share in high season: 4190 USD

– Supplement for a private single room for both the ‘Early Bird Special’ and the normal price: an additional 575 USD

Please wait with transferring the full amount to us, as well as the booking of your flight ticket before we have confirmed that we have the minimum of pilgrims to run the Pilgrimage Journey.

BOOKING: – Please refer to our booking procedures via this link and our cancellation policy via this link.

INCLUSIONS

  • All accommodation, meals and transport in Nepal & Bhutan
  • Return flight ticket between Kathmandu – Paro
  • Experienced guide and instructor – Alex d’Artois or Sisse Budolfsen & Tshering Penjore

EXCLUSIONS

  • International flight ticket to Nepal
  • Personal insurance during the pilgrimage
  • Any alcoholic beverage during the pilgrimage
  • Tip to local guide and porters

For bookings and more information himalayanhermitage108@gmail.com