Buddhist Pilgrimage to India, with Will James

Buddhist Pilgrimage to India
Led by Will James
October 2018

Meditation tour India
This Buddhist pilgrimage to India is open to all, and is a chance to visit the sacred sites pertaining to the remarkable life of the Buddha, as well as an opportunity to explore his teachings and practices and how they apply to our own lives.

This combination of travel, meditation and exploration invites us to deepen our understanding and open our hearts.

We have the opportunity on this pilgrimage to not only visit the most sacred and holy sites of Buddhism but to also combine this with teachings on meditation, Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness practices at the very locations where the Buddha introduced these radical teachings to the world. Teachings and practices that people have found relevant and liberating for over 2,500 years.

About the group leader:

Buddhist meditation tour in India
Will James has been studying the teachings and practices of the Buddha for over 30 years, and teaching since 2005 in what is known in the west as the Insight or Vipassana Tradition. He is the resident teacher at Tallowwood Sangha in Bellingen, Australia, and regularly leads retreats on the east coast of Australia, teaches annually in Bali, Indonesia, and has taught in India.

www.willjamesinsight.com

Dana

Will follows the ancient tradition of Dana, (generosity) whereby all the Buddha’s teachings are considered priceless therefore he is not paid for his services but relies on the generosity of the recipients of his teachings. At the completion of the tour there will be the opportunity to give anonymously to Will for his instructions and guidance.

Scroll down for the full itinerary.

Buddhist Pilgrimage to India
With Will James

Delhi – Patna – Nalanda & Rajgir – Bodhgaya – Varanasi – Sarnath – Dharamsala – Delhi

Itinerary:
DAY 1: SATURDAY 13TH OCTOBER – FLY TO DELHI

Departure from your home country to Delhi.

For guests joining from Australia we recommend Air India 301 from Sydney (09:45) to Delhi (17:50).

We will meet you on arrival at Delhi airport and transfer you to the hotel Ahuja Residency.

Overnight in Ahuja Residency, Delhi

DAY 2: SUNDAY 14TH OCTOBER – DELHI

Rest and relax in the morning or explore the local markets. In the afternoon we will visit Humayun’s Tomb and the Sufi shrine at Nizamuddin.

Humayun and Nizamuddin

Overnight in Ahuja Residency, New Delhi

DAY 3: MONDAY 15TH OCTOBER – FLY DELHI TO PATNA

This morning we will head for the airport to board Jet Airways flight 9W-727 from Delhi (09:45) to Patna (11:20). At Patna we will transfer to check into the Hotel Maurya Patna, and then head out to explore.

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The first stop will be at Kumhrar, ruins of Ashoka’s ancient capital Pataliputra, and time-allowing we will also visit the Patna Museum with its collection of Buddhist artefacts and relics. We will also have use of the hotel meeting room for meditation and discussions.

Overnight in Hotel Maurya Patna

DAY 4: TUESDAY 16TH OCTOBER – TO NALANDA AND RAJGIR

After breakfast we drive to the site of the ancient university of Nalanda, home to revered Buddhist scholars like Nagarjuna and Shantideva.

Then on to Rajgir to check into Hotel Indo Hokke and visit Griddhkuta, “The Hill of Vultures”, where the Buddha delivered some of his most famous sermons.

The total drive today is 90km in about 3 hours. Meditation will be in the hotel’s prayer hall.

Overnight in Hotel Indo Hokke, Rajgir

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY 17TH OCTOBER – TO BODHGAYA

Today we will continue our journey driving 70km (3-4 hours) to Bodhgaya and check in for our overnight stay at the Royal Residency, and in the evening visit the Mahabodhi Temple.

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Overnight in Royal Residency, Bodhgaya

DAY 6: THURSDAY 18TH OCTOBER – BODHGAYA

Bodhgaya is the holiest pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and the place where the Buddha attained nirvana under the Mahabodhi tree. The tree that stands there today is believed to have grown from the original tree under which the Buddha meditated. We will spend today exploring the area with time for meditation.

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Overnight in Royal Residency, Bodhgaya

DAY 7: FRIDAY 19TH OCTOBER – BODHGAYA

Day at leisure in Bodhgaya for meditation and exploring, with an optional visit to the 7th century Mahakala Caves containing Buddhist shrines

Overnight in Royal Residency, Bodhgaya

DAY 8: SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER – TRAIN TO VARANASI

We will transfer to the train station to board the train to Varanasi – “Mahabodhi SF Express” (train number 12397) from Gaya Junction (14:20) to Mughalsarai Junction (17:30)

We will then transfer from Mughalsarai to our hotel Palace on Ganges, near the river in the old part of the oldest city in the world.

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Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

DAY 9: SUNDAY 21ST OCTOBER – VARANASI

Wake up early today for a magical sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, and see the faithful perform their morning devotions amongst hundreds of temples and shrines. The rest of the day we will explore the temples and winding alleyways of the old city, and experience the evening aarti prayer rituals on the banks of the Ganges.

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Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

DAY 10: MONDAY 22ND OCTOBER – VARANASI (SARNATH)

After breakfast we will drive 15km to spend some time at Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha gave his first sermon, with its huge brick stupa.

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Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

DAY 11: TUESDAY 23RD OCTOBER – FLY TO DELHI

Today we start on the first leg of the journey from the plains to the Himalayas. Morning at leisure to wander Varanasi, then transfer to Varanasi airport to board Air India flight AI-433, departing Varanasi at 15:30 and arriving at Delhi at 17:10.

On arrival at Delhi we will transfer to the Red Fox Hotel, nearby the airport and handy for the next day’s journey to Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Overnight in Red Fox Hotel, Delhi

DAY 12: WEDNESDAY 24TH OCTOBER – FLY TO DHARAMSALA.

In the morning we transfer to Delhi airport to board Air India flight AI-9713, departing Delhi 11:00 and arriving at Dharamsala at 12:50, where will transfer to check into Serkong House.

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Dharamsala is in the Himalayan foothills, home to HH Dalai Lama and centre of Tibetan culture in exile. Spend the afternoon exploring the town at your own leisure. At sunset we can do the pilgrimage walk around the Dalai Lama’s residence, with numerous prayer wheels and flags.

Overnight in Serkong House, Dharamsala.

DAY 13: THURSDAY 25TH OCTOBER – DHARAMSALA

Today we will visit the main temple at the Dalai Lama’s monastery, the Tibet Museum and have a talk on Buddhism from a monk at the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, and also go for meditation and teaching in a nearby forest monastery.

Overnight in Serkong House, Dharamsala.

DAY 14: FRIDAY 26TH OCTOBER – DHARAMSALA

In the morning we will have teaching and meditation in a nearby monastery in the forest, then spend your final day at leisure in Dharmsala, with possible visits to the Tibetan Medicine and Astrological Institute and Norbulingka Tibetan Art and Craft Institute.

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Overnight in Serkong House, Dharamsala.

DAY 15: SATURDAY 27TH OCTOBER – FLY TO DELHI

It’s the end of the journey and the start of the journey home.

Check out of the hotel in the morning and transfer to the airport to board Air India flight AI-9714, departing Dharamsala at 13:20 and arriving at Delhi at 15:00.

Here in Delhi again we will stay at the Red Fox Hotel, for convenient access to the airport for your international departure.

Overnight in Red Fox Hotel, Delhi

DAY 16: SUNDAY 28TH OCTOBER – FLY TO DELHI

For those departing for NSW, the recommended flight is AI 302 from Delhi (13:15) to Sydney (07:10 the next day)

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:
£2,050
Single room supplement:
£600
The cost includes:
  • 4 x internal flights from Delhi to Patna, Varanasi to Delhi, Delhi to Dharamsala and Dharamsala to Delhi as per itinerary in economy class.
  • Meals on Half Board basis (Breakfast and dinner). Lunch in Rajgir
  • 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 Gaya to Mughalsarai as per itinerary in 2-Tier AC Class.
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary.
  • Mineral water while traveling
  • Escort guide from Patna to Varanasi (days 3 to 11) with local assistance while in Delhi and Dharamsala.
The cost does not include:
  • Meditation & teaching will be given by Will James on a dana (generosity) basis, which you may pay to Will James 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
  • Lunches not mentioned above
  • 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 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: 020 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm

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