Touching the Earth: An embodied connection to the Buddha’s awakening in Northern India.
With Dr Elizabeth Day. November 2019

Touching the Earth:
An embodied connection to the Buddha’s awakening in Northern India.
Led by Dr Elizabeth Day.
November 2019

When Gautama Siddhartha reached down to touch the earth on the night of his enlightenment, it was said to quake in response. The earth bore witness to his accumulated integrity. Through this gesture, enlightenment is understood not as other-worldly, but as an embodied experience.

That earth remembers the potency of that act, and reaches across ages to us now.

Come and touch that same earth. Water the living descendant of the Bodhi tree that sheltered the Buddha, fire up your practice under the same eastern sun, and breathe the air of a country steeped in spiritual history and cultural riches.

Come to your senses, on this timeless path where the possibility of enlightenment feels as real as this present moment.

We will savour time at the sacred Buddhist places, Bodhgaya, place of enlightenment and Sarnath, place of the first teaching that “set in motion the wheel of dhamma”.

From the ancient to the contemporary, we will visit the Dalai Lama’s temple, and attune to the cultivation at monasteries led by Buddhist nuns, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and Ani Sangmo, who each play their part in keeping the practice and teachings alive today.

Elizabeth will offer brief orienting talks about the Buddhist sites, along the way; and guided meditation sessions to integrate practice and context. There may also be opportunities for half day retreats.

Dr Elizabeth Day experienced India at the turn of this century and it blew her mind. She journeyed on a four-week contemplation through the Buddhist sacred sites in Northern India. Soon after that trip she ordained as a Buddhist monastic, to deepen her meditation practice. Several years later she returned in robes for a 6-month pilgrimage through India, visiting a wide range of adepts, ashrams and Buddhist sites.

Now, with her partner, Willa Thaniya, Elizabeth teaches yoga and meditation at their studio in New Zealand. She divides her time between dhamma teaching and consultations as a university lecturer and psychotherapist. She holds a doctorate in intersubjectivity, consciousness and identity.

Along with dhamma practice, teaching and leadership experience, Elizabeth brings on this trip with you her love and respect for many of the spiritual traditions of India, her enthusiasm for the cultivations of meditation and yoga, and her openness to adventure.

Touching the Earth:
An embodied connection to the Buddha’s awakening in Northern India.
With Dr Elizabeth Day.
November 2019

Kolkata – Bodhgaya – Varanasi / Sarnath – Delhi – Dharamsala

Itinerary:
DAY 1: SATURDAY 16TH NOVEMBER 2019. FLY TO KOLKATA

Fly to Kolkata. Any flight will do, but for those coming from New Zealand we recommend the following flight:

Thai Airways TG492 Auckland (14:50) to Bangkok (20:50), a 12 hour flight. 2 hour 45 minute layover in Bangkok. Thai Airways TG313 Bangkok (23:35) to Kolkata (00:40+), 2 hour 35 minute flight.

If you are flying into India from any other country, please speak to Soul of India for the best air connections.

DAY 2: SUNDAY 17TH NOVEMBER 2019. KOLKATA – ARRIVE AND REST.

Arrive at Kolkata at 00:40, and transfer to the Park Hotel. Rest at hotel after your long journey. Afternoon stroll in Kolkata with a visit to the Indian Museum.

Overnight in the Park Hotel, Kolkata

DAY 3: MONDAY 18TH NOVEMBER 2019. TRAIN FROM KOLKATA TO GAYA, DRIVE TO BODHGAYA

Afternoon transfer from hotel to Howrah Junction in Kolkata to board the “Kolkata Rajdhani”, train number 12301 from Howrah Junction (16:55) to Gaya Junction (22:34). A 5h 40m journey in 2-Tier AC class.

On arrival at Gaya transfer 20km to check into the Bodhgaya Hotel School.

Overnight in the Bodhgaya Hotel School, Bodhgaya

DAY 4: TUESDAY 19TH NOVEMBER 2019. BODHGAYA

Guided tour of Bodhgaya visiting the many monasteries and temples, and meditation by the Mahabodhi temple by the tree where the Buddha attained nirvana.

Overnight in the Bodhgaya Hotel School, Bodhgaya

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY 20TH NOVEMBER 2019. BODHGAYA

Meditation and free time to explore Bodhgaya at your own pace.

Overnight in the Bodhgaya Hotel School, Bodhgaya

DAY 6: THURSDAY 21ST NOVEMBER 2019. TRAIN FROM BODHGAYA TO VARANASI

Transfer 20km to Gaya Junction to board “Mahabodhi Express”, train number 12397, from Gaya Junction (14:20) to Mughal Sarai Junction (17:30). A 3h 10m journey in 2-Tier AC class.

On arrival at Mughal Sarai Junction transfer 20km to hotel Palace on Ganges.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi

DAY 7: FRIDAY 22ND NOVEMBER 2019. VARANASI

Wake up early for a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, and a walking tour of the ancient city. Today we will also visit the International Music Centre Ashram and see the aarti prayer rituals on the banks of the Ganges.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi

DAY 8: SATURDAY 23RD NOVEMBER 2019. VARANASI

Today we will drive to Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha gave his first sermon, for meditation and a visit to the museum.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi

DAY 9: SUNDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2019. VARANASI TO DELHI

Meditation and morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to Varanasi airport to board Jet Airways flight 9W-715 from Varanasi (16:35) to Delhi (18:25), 1h 50m flight. At Delhi transfer to the nearby Ibis hotel close to the airport.

Overnight in Ibis New Delhi Aerocity

DAY 10: MONDAY 25TH NOVEMBER 2019. DELHI TO DHARAMSALA

Morning transfer to Delhi airport to board SpiceJet flight SG-2468 from Delhi (10:55) to Dharamsala (12:10), a 1h 15m flight. At Dharamsala transfer 17km to Serkong House in McLeod Ganj. This afternoon we will visit the Main Temple and also do the kora pilgrimage walk around the Dalai Lama’s residence.

Overnight in Serkong House, McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala)

DAY 11: TUESDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2019. DHARAMSALA

Today we will drive a few miles out of town to visit Thosamling Nunnery and the Norbulingka Institute, dedicated to preserving traditional Tibetan arts and crafts.

Overnight in Serkong House, McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala)

DAY 12: WEDNESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2019. DHARAMSALA

Day at leisure to explore Dharamsala at your own pace.

Overnight in Serkong House, McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala)

DAY 13: THURSDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 2019. DHARAMSALA

Today we will drive out 50km (each way) to Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery where there will be time for meditation and to talk to the nuns.

Overnight in Serkong House, McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala)

DAY 14: FRIDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2019. DHARAMSALA TO DELHI TO KOLKATA

Transfer 17km to Dharamsala airport to board Air India flight AI-9814 from Dharamsala (08:40) to Delhi (10:15), a flight of 1h 35m. At Delhi board connecting Air India flight AI-20 from Delhi (14:25) to Kolkata (16:40), a flight of 2h 15m.

At Kolkata transfer to Viceroy Hotel, a hotel near the airport and convenient for international departures.

Overnight in Viceroy Hotel, Kolkata

DAY 15: SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2019. INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE FROM KOLKATA

Transfer to Kolkata airport for international departures.

For those traveling to New Zealand, we recommend the following flight: Thai Airways flight TG314, from Kolkata (01:55) to Bangkok (05:50), a flight of 2h25m. 12h55m layover in Bangkok – it should be possible to visit the city, please get in touch with us for more details.

At Bangkok board connecting Thai Airways flight TG491 from Bangkok (18:45) to Auckland (12:05) – a flight of 12h 20m.

BODHGAYA, BIHAR/INDIA - FEBRUARY 24, 2013: Detail of the Great Buddha Statue in Bodhgaya, India. ** Note: Slight graininess, best at smaller sizes

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£1,790
Single room supplement:
£500
The cost includes:
  • 3 x internal flights from Varanasi to Delhi, Dharamsala to Delhi, and Delhi to Kolkata as per itinerary in economy class.
  • Meals on Half Board basis (breakfast and dinner)
  • 13 nights’ accommodation as per itinerary in a sharing twin or double room or single room with en-suite facilities (Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability).
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned car or coach.
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports and railway station.
  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
  • Train tickets & reservations from Howrah (Kolkata) to Gaya (Bodhgaya), and Gaya to Mughal Sarai (Varanasi) as per itinerary in 2-Tier AC Class.
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary.
  • Mineral water while traveling
The cost does not include:
  • Meditation & teaching will be given by Dr Elizabeth Day on a dana (generosity) basis, which you may pay to her directly on completion of the tour
  • International flights
  • India visa fee. You can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc.
  • Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
  • Travel Insurance: It is essential to have adequate travel insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
Please ensure:
  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover
  • It provides cover for your whole trip
  • It covers you for all activities
  • It covers all your pre-existing medical conditions
  • Keep your Policy Number and Insurer’s 24-hour Emergency Number handy with you

If you wish to book this tour, please contact us for a booking form. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit or credit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Our Bank details are on the booking form.

CONTACT US

To enquire or make a booking on this tour, please call: +44 (0)20 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm (UK time)

TESTIMONIALS:
“I cannot recommend this company enough. Safe to say India has got under our skin and into our hearts, and when we visit again we will definitely be booking with this company - if you are thinking of going I urge you to do the same.”- Gillian and Ashley Iredale
``The whole experience was great, the most relaxing day of the holiday was the cruise up the backwaters when the whole group experienced it together``- Margaret Fortune
``A whole variety of experiences- worship, culture, scenery, friendliness of the people & their hospitality``- Daphne Brindle
``Being in India and witnessing the faith that the people of India have, Hindus, Muslim or Christians, seeing with my own eyes the devotion the people have`` - Steve Breward