November 6rd – 15th 2020

We spend the first days of the journey in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, exploring the Pharping Valley and its many sacred sites. We spend the first days at beautifully located Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Pharping and receive daily guided meditation sessions and introduction to Buddhist philosophy. From here we journey southward to the birthplace of the Buddha in Lumbini, near the border between India and Nepal. We pilgrimage in Lumbini for a few days, visiting the Buddha’s birthplace and the sacred sites of the area. We then journey 2-3 hours by road to a beautiful lodge near the Chitwan jungle. Here we can rest, swim in the pool, enjoy the amazing wildlife in the vicinity and the jungle surrounding us and go for walks with the elephants into the jungle. If we are lucky we will be able to spot rhinos, wild deer, birds and other wildlife. Upon our return to Kathmandu on day 8 & 9 we will stay at a nice guesthouse in the Tibetan area of Boudha in the eastern part of Kathmandu and pay homage to two of the most important and sacred Stupas in the region, Boudhanath and Swayambhunath.

Message us to discuss all the details: hello@himalayanhermitage.com

There is no prerequisite for joining a pilgrimage journey, 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 qualities and 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, tested, and true’ introspective 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. The daily schedule in this itinerary comprises of meditating together every morning and evening – this can be for 30-60 minutes (several sessions of sitting and walking meditation) depending on what the group wants and where we are in our itinerary. Note, on days of extensive travel sessions will not always be possible.

Buddhist philosophy sessions are roughly 1-hour per day, combining a short presentation with group discussion.

Throughout the 18 days we slowly walk through all 3 yanas (vehicles) of the Tibetan Buddhist path. We explore how & why shamatha/mindfulness (one-pointed ‘calm abiding’ meditation) + vipassana (insight) are used as tools from the beginning through to the end of the path. The foundational path of the Shravakayana is comprised of: ‘The 4 Turnings of the Mind’, ‘Refuge’, ‘The 3 Marks of Existence’, and ‘The Four Noble Truths’. There is an emphasis on exploring the middle yana – the Mahayana (the ‘great vehicle’ of the Bodhisattvas) which entails: ‘Bodhicitta’, ‘The 6 Paramitas (perfect actions)’, ‘Shunyayta (emptiness)’, ‘Relative and Ultimate Truth’, and ‘Lojong (mind-training)’.

We contemplate Lojong slogans as brought forth in an accessible way by great Tibetan/Western hybrid teachers Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Pema Chodron. We touch upon the final yana of the Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism) by exploring its many expressions and intricate symbolism. At face value Tibetan Buddhism may look esoteric, but with investigation we may see first-hand how it is simply a system for training one’s mind by utilizing various methods which combine mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom cultivation practices.

Please refer to the ‘Price’ tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.

• DEPOSIT: The deposit is due at the time of registration
• BALANCE PAYMENT: The full balance of the payment is due no later than 90 days before the starting date of the journey (unless booking last minute, which is generally not a problem – please inquire with Himalayan Hermitage about this). After filling out the REGISTRATION FORM and paying the deposit you will be sent an email with the ‘Payment Procedure’ which outlines how to transfer the balance of your payment into Himalayan Hermitage’s bank account.

‘Early Bird Special’: 3399 USD (expires 6 months prior to the starting date of the journey)

Normal price: 3599 USD

Single Supplement: 410 USD

INCLUSIONS

  • All accommodation, meals & transport in Nepal
  • Experienced guides & instructors
  • Flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur (Lumbini) and jeep ride from Chitwan to Kathmandu
  • Jungle Safari & elephant walks while in the jungle
  • 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

If you arrive a few days early in Kathmandu or stay on in Kathmandu after the end of the Pilgrimage Journey to Tibet, here are a few options you might like to consider:

UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour

In this 1-day tour we have selected the 4 most important & interesting ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ in the Kathmandu Valley. Please note that we do not visit these sites during the itineraries of our Journeys. These World Heritage Sites were chosen by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as being judged as important in having the ‘collective interests of humanity’. If this may be your only visit to Nepal, these sites are not to be missed!

1. Pashupatinath Temple:

The Pashupatinath Temple is one of the largest temple complexes in Nepal. It is located on both banks of the Bagmati river in the Kathmandu Valley. The temple belongs to the Hindu tradition and is one of the four most significant religious sites found in Asia for Hindus who worship the God Shiva. This Sacred Hindu temple is a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’. The existence of temples on this sacred site date back to 400 BC. The two-storied temple that one can see today was built around the 15th Century by a Lichchhavi King. The main Temple is built in the Nepalese pagoda style and boasts a copper and gold roof which covers an inner sanctum home to the main idol: Mukhalinga, who’s faces look in the four directions (which represent various aspects of the God Shiva). The Main entrance to the temple courtyard (the western entrance) is limited to only certain people of Hindu practice – not all. There are many other temples in this complex including the Vaishnava Temple and the Gehyeshwari Temple. Also worth mentioning on the Pashupatinath grounds are the caves of the great Buddhist masters Tilopa and Naropa.

2. Kathmandu Durbar Square:

‘Durbar Square’ is roughly translated as ‘King’s Square’ or ‘Royal Palace’. There are 3 major Durbar Squares found in the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Basantapur Durbar Kshetra, is situated in front of the old royal palace of former Kathmandu. It is a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’.

3. Patan Durbar Square:
The Patan Durbar Square, another one of the 3 major ‘Durbar Squares’ (and another UNESCO World Heritage Site), is located at the centre of the city of Lalitpur. This ancient Royal Palace is where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. It is one of the marvels of Newari architecture (the Newari are famous for their expert craftsmanship of fine carpentry, pottery, metal-work, statue making, and architecture). There are many temples and idols in this area.

4. Bhaktapur Durbar Square:

Another ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, is the ancient royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom. This ‘S quare ’ is actually spread across 4 squares ( Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square), but the area as a whole is informally known as Bhaktapur Durbar Square. There is much to see at this site and it is definitely not to be missed if this may be your only visit to Nepal. Highlights include spectacular architecture and the fine wood carvings of the Newari. There are assortments of beautiful, intricate (and graphic) Tantric gods, goddesses, and deities carved into the wood-work of the many temples.

The time of the tour can be flexible upon request, but what is recommended is to
start at 9:00 AM and finish by 4:00 PM

The cost Includes:
– Private Car
– Tour Guide
– Pick-up at Hotel and drop-off at Hotel

The cost excludes:
– Tourist entry fees
– Meals and drinks

Cost:
$100 USD for a single person
$70 USD per person on a sharing basis (2 participants and above)

Shivapuri & Nagi Gompa Day Hike

Shivapuri is a National Park reserve situated at an altitude of 2563m. It is north of
Kathmandu and is the second highest foot-hill in the Kathmandu Valley after the
famous Phulchowk hill. On this hill is located Bagdwar, the source of the Holy River
Baghmati, and is the biggest water supply to the Kathmandu Valley’s increasing
population.
From downtown Kathmandu we drive for about 45 minutes (8km) to Budhanilkantha Temple – a Hindu temple with one of the biggest statues of Lord Vishnu sleeping on an ocean bed. This is where we start our hike. From Budhanilkantha we walk through the Shivapuri conservation area – this is a government protected forest where over 500 species of fauna are found.

Nagi Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery (2330m altitude) founded by the late great Tibetan master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Tulku Orgyen Rinpoche is one of the first Tibetan masters to come to Kathmandu and to also teach foreigners. He lived and taught at Nagi Gompa which is one of the first Tibetan Buddhist Nunneries built in the Kathmandu Valley. To reach Nagi Gompa we will hike for about half an hour up a steep and narrow trail followed by two hours at a gradual incline.
This whole tour should be 6-7 hours long.

Cost Includes:
● Pickup from Hotel + drive to Bhudanilakhantha
● Trekking Guide
● A packed lunch
● Entry fee to Shivapuri National Park
● Pick-up from Kopan and drop-off to Hotel

Cost:
$115 USD for single person
$80 USD per person on a sharing basis (2 or more participants)

Kathmandu to Nagarkot Hike & Overnight in Nagarkot (2 days / 1 night)

If you want to experience a different side to the Kathmandu Valley, outside of the busy city, then Nagarkot is famous for its beautiful views of the Himalayan mountain range. In the morning your guide + driver will pick you up from your Hotel and drive 1 hour to Shakhu Village. The hike starts in Shakhu and will take roughly 5 hours to reach Nagarkot. Overnight in beautiful Nagarkot with morning sunrise views of the
Himalayas. After breakfast you will be picked up from Nagarkot for a 2-hour drive back to Kathmandu.

Cost includes:
● All transportation by private car
● Trekking Guide
● All meals
● Hotel in Nagarkot
● Entrance Fees

Cost excludes:
● Bar bills & cold drinks
● Personal expenses & tips

Cost:
$210 USD for a single person
$165 USD per person on a sharing basis (2 participants and above)

All of the above prices include all taxes, VAT, and service charges

WELLNESS PACKAGES

Massage Packages

Treat yourself with a nice massage with Seeing Hands in Kathmandu.

Seeing Hands are located in Boudha, Thamel, and Patan and are easily accessed from anywhere in the city. Seeing Hands is a social enterprise providing training and employment opportunities in massage therapy for visually impaired people. Seeing Hands employ teams of professionally-trained blind therapists who provide massage to visiting guests. Part of the fees that they earn are used to fund the training and employment of more blind masseurs so the organization can grow and develop. Handicapped people in Nepal have terrible difficulty finding employment, so this is an organization worthy of support.

Seeing Hands offer:
Remedial Sports Therapy, Swedish Relaxation Massage, and Relaxation Foot Massage:

● 60-minute massage: $22 USD
● 90-minute massage: $32 USD
● 120-minute massage: $40 USD

You may wish to choose a combination of the above (Ex: 90 minutes total massage
time comprising of 60-minute Swedish Massage and 30 Minutes Foot Massage)

Spa Package

Enjoy the amazing facilities at the Hyatt Regency spa in Boudha where you can enjoy their outdoor jacuzzi + pool and their indoor steam + sauna + jacuzzi:

● Full day package: $28 USD

All of the above prices include all taxes, VAT, and service charges

KATHMANDU HOTELS

Himalayan Hermitage has selected a variety of quality Hotels in different locations in Kathmandu. Upon your request HH can make full arrangements to book your Hotel(s) before and/or after your Journey. These Hotels have been organized into their location, quality, and price per night’s stay. All prices include breakfast. The ‘High-end’ and ‘Luxury’ Hotel’s also have a swimming pool. Please see the table below.

Hotel locations:

– Thamel:
Thamel is the ‘tourist hub’ of Kathmandu. It is the most tourist friendly area of the city with many Hotels, restaurants, and shops.

– Boudhanath:
Boudha is the biggest Tibetan refugee settlement in Kathmandu. It is home to the great Boudhanath Stupa and also to many of Kathmandu’s Buddhist population – Tibetan, Nepali, and foreigners alike. There are many Monasteries and Nunneries built around the Boudha Stupa. This area is also a very friendly and convenient location for tourists with its many Hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Thamel

Quality
Price
Standard

Single: $46 USD
Double: $51 USD
Mid-range

Single: $78 USD
Double: $91 USD
High-end

Single: $102 USD
Double: $114 USD

Boudhanath

Quality
Price
Standard

Single: $30 USD
Double: $42 USD
Mid-range

Single: $128 USD
Double: $135 USD
Luxury

Single: $198 USD
Double: $222 USD

All of the above prices include all taxes, VAT, and service charges

To partake on a journey with Himalayan Hermitage you MUST be covered by a travel medical insurance. If you arrive without having this coverage, you will not be able to participate on the journey. This insurance needs to include trekking or travel over 4000 meters (10,000 feet) and it needs to include emergency medical expenses, helicopter evacuation, and emergency repatriation.

We highly recommend a travel cancellation insurance as you never know what might come up in life at the time of getting ready to leave for a big journey.

Please have a look here below for different options:

World Nomads provides medical travel insurance for travellers below 70, including also the journey cancellation. You can use the box below to get a quote for your journey.

Medical Travel Compared offers a good platform for comparing what different options of travel medical insurances that are out there.

If you are 70 + please have a look at TripAssure – partner of World Nomads – via their ‘Silver Nomads’ program here and get a price.

 

Photo Gallery

Photos from the journey. Please click to enlarge the photo