Just know that as India is India – nothing is really very sure… We will try to stick to the program as closely as possible, but minor and sometimes major adjustments are to be expected. This is an adventure tour where anything can happen! 🙂 On average half the day there is program and half the day is free.
The tour starts in New Delhi on the 10th of December.
Delhi is the capital of India and is its third largest city. The city actually consists of two parts. Delhi or Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India between the 12th and 19th centuries. In Old Delhi there are many mosques, monuments and forts testifying to India’s Muslim History. Then there is New Delhi, the imperial city created by the British to be the capital of India. It is a spacious, open city where the government buildings and many embassies are located.
On our arrival we will only spend one day in Delhi as it is also intense and polluted… just long enough to meet up, but those who are rested can go sightseeing.
Meeting on the roof of the hotel
The first day (10th) of the tour everyone will meet at a hotel in Pahar Ganj. As the group members will all be arriving at different times there is no collective program. It is a day to relax, adjust to this new country and to look around. Anyone needing guidance about how to get there can contact me before hand. If necessary I can arrange for you to be picked up at the airport.
For the last several years we have included a 6-7 day visit to Rishikesh where we have had a very enjoyable and peaceful time, staying at the Parmath Niketan ashram across the Ganges far from the city center. The sandy banks of the river are a beautiful place for sadhana, and the water is clean but cold… so the brave can take their ‘holy’ bath! This usually happens during rafting.
Rishikesh is located in the foot hills of the Himalayas and one day we go for a trek. Rafting is also on the program for those who don’t mind getting a bit wet… There is collective kiirtan and meditation in the morning and evening. In the morning we’ll have some activities to get to know each other and share where we all are on our spiritual journey. Most afternoons are free. This time is basically like a relaxed retreat. We will be available for classes if there is interest. Also we have a few excellent teachers of yoga.
In Jaipur we visit the children’s home of Didi Ananda Gaotami. The sisters in the group stay there the night, while the brothers stay with a family nearby.
One day we go to the Amber Ford where those who want to go inside can pay to enter and visit the several beauty spots. A ticket giving entry to many of the sites in Jaipur cost around $15. A student pass will give you a big discount.
A nice little town around a ‘holy’ lake with lots of temples, monkeys, chanting and ceremonies. Situated in the desert of Rajasthan, it is a unique place to explore. We also do a camel safari and spend the night in the desert.
This is where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. The focal point is the Mahabodhi Temple. The Bo tree growing here is said to be a direct descendant of the original tree, under which the Buddha sat, meditated and achieved enlightenment. During the winter (Nov-Feb) Tibetan pilgrims come down to Bodhgaya from Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama often spends December here and if we are furtunate, we can have his darshan.
Ananda Nagar (lit. “City of Bliss”) is a unique developmental complex on the border of West Bengal and Jarkanth. Located in one of the poorest and, most backward areas of the West Bengal (Purulia District), Ananda Nagar covers over 600 square kilometers and encompasses 90 villages. Ananda Marga has many service projects working with village woman, orphanages, running schools, hospital, farms and helping the village people in different projects to develop the area further. In Ananda Nagar there are almost one hundred Tantra pit’has, so lots of good places for meditation. We will visit a few.
We will also try to visit the different projects in Ananda Nagar, do Meditation at tantra pit’has and meet some senior Dada’s and Didi’s. And if there are enough people we can welcome the new year with whole night Kiirtan. Often during the program there is everyday 3 hour Akhandha kiirtan followed by meditation and stories by different senior Didi’s, Dada’s and margiis. Also this depends on how many overseas margiis there are.
Workers meeting at Ananda Nagar[/caption]
During the DMS there will be no additional program from our side. Enough is happening already! We (your guides) also like to catch up with other Dadas and Didis whom we can only see during this time. We can have breakfast and dinner together and naturally we’ll make arrangements so you can take lunch! Above all, we enjoy the vibration of Ananda Nagar.
Jamalpur is a small town with a railway workshop in Bihar State. It is here that Ananda Marga was founded in 1955. It is also here that P.R. Sarkar (also known as Shrii Shrii Anandamurti), the founder of Ananda Marga, grew up and worked before dedicating his life fully to the development of Ananda Marga. One dada wrote the following:
“Jamalpur is a railway township, rich in natural bounties and encircled by forestland. The unbearable noise of the mechanical civilization of modern urban life is not heard here. There is no overflowing population. The calm sky and the sweet air are its constant companions.
On one side of the railway there are the dwellings of the local people. On the other side, at a considerable distance, there are sprawling fields, a few hillocks and dense forest. This side of the town is actually rather frightening, even during the daytime people do not ordinarily go there……The lonely environment is not the only reason for this fear. Close by lies the grave of a tiger, which serves to remind all of the horrible tale. A time of cruel death, which earned this place the name of “Death Valley”
Once a hunter shot a tiger there, but the shot was not lethal and the animal was only wounded. A struggle between the two warriors, hunter and tiger ensued. The horrible drama came to a close with the death of both combatants. The local people buried the bodies where they lay and since then the area has become known as Death Valley. (From “Sambhavami”).
Unfortunately a lot has changed physically… But it is still beautiful and spiritually it is still vibrated
We will visit many of the places where Baba used to go for his field walks, sadhana and where he dictated most of the early publications.
For most participants this last part of the tour is really the icing on the cake.
We will spend a few days in Pokhara to prepare for the trek and recover from the 24 hour train/bus journey from Jamalpur. When we are ready we will set off on a 7-10 day trek that winds its way among hills dotted with ancient villages, where we will sleep at inns both primitive and fascinating. We will see the wonders of the Himalayan peaks, the sunrises and sunsets. In this pristine stillness meditation takes on a different dimension. We normally walk 3-5 hours so a day it is not too strenuous.
Read Ananda Mayii’s and others impressions here
Read a beautiful poem by Jayagiita here
After we get back from the trek we will spend a few days in Pokhara to recover, and do some sightseeing. Finally we will take a bus to Katmandu where the tour will end. We will have at least one full day there for sight seeing or shopping. Most people fly back to Delhi on the 24th. If you like we’ll be happy help arrange the transport. It’s nice if those who fly all get on the same flight so we are in good company and can share taxis. Alternatively you could return to Delhi by bus and train. Or you could fly straight to your next destination if that that suits you more.
If there is interest we can unofficially extend the tour a further two weeks to take in Thailand, Singapore and Bali. Let me know if you would be interested in that. We have done this several times in the past and people really enjoyed it.
This is our rough itinerary. On the next page you will find the details.