As we journey, Shantum shares stories and teachings of the Buddha and the practices of daily meditation and mindfulness. In this way the Buddha comes alive not only as a historical person, but in the here and now, someone who is relevant to our lives today. Together we visit the actual sites where the historical Buddha was born, spent his childhood, attained enlightenment, taught, meditated and where he passed away. We travel along the fertile plains of the Ganges, beautiful with its mustard and lentil fields, to the lush 'terai' that leads to the foothills of the Himalayas.
We visit the remains of ancient monasteries and stupas, museums with exquisite art, living temples and villages that have changed little since the time of the Buddha 2,500 years ago. We take a boat ride, stop at mango groves, visit Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, visit schools and meet/mingle with pilgrims from all over the world. The pilgrimage has all the ingredients of a truly memorable journey, widening our perceptions and consciousness. It is an opportunity not only to deepen our knowledge and practice of the Buddha and his teachings but also to get an insight into an India that few penetrate.
On this journey we touch a culture and civilization that are both ancient and contemporary. We take an inner and an outer journey through a fascinating and mysterious India. India herself is a great teacher. Shantum, who has been an advisor to the United Nations Development Programme on a number of social development and environmental programmes in India, shares the underlying structures and subtleties of Indian society so that the travelers get a real sense of our living and ancient cultures.
We visit homes of both villagers and city dwellers, and have an opportunity to share ideas and stories with local people. This journey is not only intellectually stimulating, exposing the mind to challenging ideas and diverse lifestyles, but also spiritually transformative. Normally there are 8-20 people on each journey, which allows for greater individual attention in the context of a supportive sangha and also makes it possible to cater to personal needs and interests.
Peepal Pilgrimage: 9th February to 25th February (16 days).
Day 1, February 9th: Begin at 12 Noon. Delhi - Patna by air.
Day 2, February 10th: Patna - Rajgir.
Day 3, February 11th: Rajgir.
Day 4, February 12th: Rajgir - Nalanda - Bodhgaya.
Day 5, February 13th: Bodhgaya.
Day 6, February 14th: Bodhgaya.
Day 7, February 15th: Bodhgaya - Varanasi.
Day 8, February 16th: Varanasi.
Day 9, February 17th: Varanasi - Kushinagar.
Day 10, February 18th: Kushinagar.
Day 11, February 19th: Kushinagar - Lumbini.
Day 12, February 20th: Lumbini - Kapilavastu.
Day 13, February 21st: Kapilavastu - Sravasti.
Day 14, February 22nd: Sravasti.
Day 15, February 23rd: Sravasti - Lucknow.
Day 16, February 24th: Lucknow - Delhi by air.
Extensions that may be added before and after the Peepal Pilgrimage:
- Journey to the East Touching the Earth: 2nd Februay to 9th February
- The Taj Mahal at Agra: 24th February to 25th February
- The Exquisite Caves: 25th February to 28th February
- Living Faiths of India: 28th February to 9th March.
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Asia India Spiritual Odyssey Pilgrimage/Spirituality
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