Pilgrimage Journey to Nepal

6th – 19th March 2019

With Alex d’Artois & Sisse Budolfsen

The first week we settle in beautiful locations surrounding the Kathmandu Valley and visit some of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. The second week we hike in the foothills of the Himalayas, walking in the footsteps of fully realised yogis and yoginis, as we visit monasteries and nunneries that are nestled inside a ‘pure-land’.

The meditation and philosophy theme will be weaved into our days, both in the Kathmandu Valley and in the Himalayan foothills, as we embark on an inner and outer journey through Nepal.

There is no prerequisite for joining a pilgrimage, nor is it required to have any 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 in visiting sacred places. In fact, there is nothing even Buddhist about it! The idea of pilgrimage here means that while we are exploring sacred sites, we are also investigating ourselves with a ‘tried & true’ internal/contemplative process called meditation. 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 and environment. It is simply a technique with which to uncover all the layers of hope, fear, grasping, and judgement that are all such strong habits which cloud the mind. With the practice of meditation we can learn to come back to ourselves, to become familiar with the groundless, unfabricated, and raw quality of reality.

Alex d’Artois, Co-Director & Facilitator

Originally from Canada, Alex has been based in Nepal for the last number of years and has in-depth knowlege on the many sacred sites of Nepal and the Himalayas.

Alex has studied Buddhist philosophy at a University based out of a Tibetan monastery in Kathmandu and is therefore familiar with a classical Tibetan learning environment. At the same time, Alex’s studies in Tibetan Buddhism have stemmed from a psychological/’mind-training’ interest, which comes out in his approach to meditation, philosophy, and various cultivation practices from the rich Tibetan Buddhist wisdom tradition.

Sisse Budolfsen, Co-Director & Facilitator

Thanks to a wealth of experience in Nepal and in the Himalayan region, Sisse is a knowledge gateway between Asia and the West. For the last twelve years, Sisse has been traveling to Nepal and Tibet. Sisse is originally from Denmark.

Ten years of experience with meditation practice and for the last years, guiding meditation at the Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center (HBMC) in Kathmandu, combined with local experience as a freelance consultant for various international organisations, her studies of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language, as well as working as a travel guide in the Himalayan region are the basis of her expertise to found Himalayan Hermitage. Sisse is the founder, as well as photographer and facilitator of Himalayan Hermitage.

Daily Schedule

8:00 – 8:30 Meditation
9:00 – 10:00 Breakfast
10:30 – 12:00 Morning session on Tibetan Buddhism & Meditation Practice
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:30 Free time
3:30 – 5:30 Visiting sacred places
7:00 – 8:00 Dinner
8:15 – 8:45 Evening meditation


A Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL & STAY AT A TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONESTARY IN PHARPING, KATHMANDU VALLEY

 

Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping, the South Western corner of the Kathmandu Valley. There may be time to rest from the journey, go for a walk or enjoy the spectacular views over Kathmandu Valley. In the afternoon there will be an introduction to the pilgrimage by the instructors.

 

At the Pharping Guru Rinpoche cave

DAY 2 – PHARPING

 

Morning meditation session followed by breakfast. We have our introduction session to Buddhist philosophy before lunch. After lunch and a rest, we hike through rice fields to visit the Asura cave and the self-arisen Tara in Pharping. Dinner and Meditation session. We spend the night at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery guesthouse.

 

The majestic Swayambhu Stupa

DAY 3 – SWAYAMBHU

 

Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping, the South Western corner of the Kathmandu Valley. There may be time to rest from the journey, go for a walk or enjoy the spectacular views over Kathmandu Valley. In the afternoon there will be an introduction to the pilgrimage by the instructors.

 

View of the Kathmandu Valley from Namo Buddha

 

DAY 4 – NAMO BUDDHA

 

After breakfast we continue our journey to the lovely area of Namo Buddha, where we spend the next two nights. We will have lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the resort we will stay in, followed by a free afternoon. After dinner we will have a meditation session.

 

View of Thrangu Rinpoche’s monastery

 

DAY 5 – NAMO BUDDHA PILGRIMAGE

Morning meditation session and breakfast at our resort in Namo Buddha. 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. We overnight again at the beautiful resort in Namo Buddha.

 

Crossing a bridge over a creek

DAY 6 – JEEP RIDE TO PHABLU

 

After breakfast we depart for Phablu and venture into the foothills of Lower Everest region of Nepal.  We go on a beautiful jeep ride up through Central West Nepal where we drive along the Trisuli river and lush landscapes of Central Nepal. The roads are a lot better now compared to in past years but we can prepare ourselves for an adventurous journey. Dinner and overnight in Phablu.

 

Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Solo Khumbu

 

DAY 7 – HIKE TO A NEARBY TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONESTARY

 

After breakfast, we hike up for 3-4 hours up to a nearby Buddhist monastery for a day’s visit. We can sit in on practice of the monks and pay homage to the monastery shrine room. Afternoon meditation.

We spend the night in Phablu.

 

The Buddhist nunnery in Solo Khumbu

DAY 8 – HIKE TO THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS

 

After breakfast, we begin our 5-6 hour hike up to the Tibetan Buddhist nunnery located up in the lower Everest region. We stop for lunch in Junbesi and climb the last bit after lunch. Afternoon tea and dinner.

 

Nuns at the nunnery

 

DAY 9 – STAY A TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS

 

Morning practice with the nuns. At the nunnery we experience the living tradition of a sacred heritage, passed down from the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, to the present day, in an unbroken lineage of masters whose teachings have been passed on to their students, seeking the qualities and realisation of awakening. We join the nuns in their daily practices in the main <em>gompa</em> (place of meditation), and otherwise there is the chance to go for short hikes in the astounding surroundings of hillsides, dotted with prayer flags and retreat caves.

 

Interactions with the nuns

DAY 10 – A TIBETAN BUDDHIST NUNNERY IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS

 

We take a few days off hiking and spend the day at nunnery, where we are able to sit in at the nunnery <em>gompa</em> with the nuns practicing. It is possible to go for short hikes in the area around the nunnery. The day is partly guided, partly free for own adventures. According to Tibetan terminology, this Tibetan Buddhist nunnery is seen as a pure realm; a Buddha field. This signifies a place where many prayers and mantras have been whispered throughout the years, of the many nuns living there; mantras and prayers of compassion and loving kindness for the wellbeing of all sentient beings, and very naturally one senses the result of this accumulation of merit.

Hiking through pine tree forests

DAY 11 – PHABLU

 

After breakfast we make our descend to Phablu. Lunch in dinner. We spend the night in Phablu.

 

House in Phablu

DAY 12 – RETURN TO KATHMANDU

After breakfast, due to the unpredictability of the weather in the mountains, if weather permitting, we fly back to Kathmandu. If weather does not permit we will take the jeep back to Kathmandu. We overnight in Boudha.

The ‘wish-fulfilling’ Boudha Stupa

DAY 13 – BOUDHA FREE DAY

 

Last day of the programme is free to do shopping, visit sights in Ktm etc. We meet for a farewell dinner at the pizza joint Fire an Ice. We overnight in Boudha.

DAY 14 – DEPARTURE

 

Day of departure. We provide transportation to the airport.

 

 

‘Early Bird Special’: 2900 USD (see individual journey for deadline date)

Normal price: 3160 USD

Single Supplement: 350 USD

INCLUSIONS

  • All accommodation, meals & transport in Nepal
  • Experienced guides & instructors
  • Jeep ride from Kathmandu to Phablu and flight from Phablu to Kathmandu
  • Healthy, vegetarian meals
  • Daily Dharma talks & introduction to meditation
  • Notebook for journaling during the pilgrimage

EXCLUSIONS

  • International flight ticket to Nepal
  • Personal insurance during the pilgrimage
  • Personal visa to Nepal (25 USD for 15 days / 30 USD for 30 days to be purchased upon arrival)
  • Any alcoholic beverage during the pilgrimage
  • Tip to local guide and porters

$3,160.00 $2,900.00 Early Bird Price Untill 6 Jan 2019

When: 6th - 19th March 2019

Instructor: Alex d'Artois & Sisse Budolfsen

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item