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2023 Pilgrimage of India and Nepal: In the Footsteps of the Buddha w/ Khentrul Rinpoche

2023 Pilgrimage of India and Nepal: In the Footsteps of the Buddha w/ Khentrul Rinpoche

This retreat starts directly after the 1000 Buddha Empowerment retreat. For those who wish to do both, there is a discount on the retreat in Bodh Gaya. Find more information here.

Register for the 2023 India Nepal Tour on RimeBuddhism.com

Follow in the footsteps of Shakyamuni Life through Nepal and India with Khentrul Rinpoché. During this 16-day pilgrimage participants will study and practice the pinnacle of the Buddha Dharma while on an immersive journey to the country’s most sacred sites and the 4 key sites of the Buddha’s life.

Lumbini – the birth place of the Tathagata to Queen Maha Maya
Bodh Gaya – the vajra seat where the Tathagata became fully enlightened
Sarnath – where the Buddha turned the Wheel of the Dharma.
Kushinagar – where the Buddha passed into Parinirvana

This journey is open to those new to Buddhism or long-term practitioners who want to connect with the life of Shakyamuni to help with their inner transformation. We will start at the seat of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Bodh Gaya India. Rinpoche will give teachings on Buddha Nature and enlightenment to inspire us forward. Khentrul Rinpoche says the most important thing to know when we set off on a journey is the destination and in this case the final destination is Buddhahood. Once we are clear on our destination, then we can follow our guide to get there.

Along our journey, we will visit many sacred sites including the great university of the panditas at Nalanda, the Vulture Peak Mountain where the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma by teaching the Heart Sutra, the ancient city of Varanasi where we will visit Sarnath, and Deer Park where the Buddha gave his first teaching on the 4 Noble truth and through Kathmandu Valley to see the wish-fulfilling stupa.

Every step along the way, Khentrul Rinpoche will give teachings to help connect us with the sacred meaning of each location in order to help us unveil our own sacred truth. In addition to the spiritual aspect of the tour, you will be able to enjoy authentic Indian and Nepalese nature, culture, and cuisine.

Cost: $4000 AUD (Includes shared accommodation, all teachings, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Airfare is not included.)

The tour includes:

  • 15-night stay in India and Nepal
  • Daily guided teachings, meditations, and or reflections by Shar Khentrul Rinpoche Jamphel Lodrö and Senior students
  • Authentic traditional accommodations, all meals included
  • All transportation within India and Nepa
  • Entry fees to all sites

Who can come?

This pilgrimage is open to everyone. It is a great opportunity for those who want to learn about Buddhism for the first time or who would like a chance to spend more time and connect with Khentrul Rinpoche.

Tour Details

Tentative Schedule
This tour is the tentative schedule. The tour is subject to change but the general destinations will not. The arrival and departure dates and locations are fixed. We are still finalizing the exact route of the tour so please be aware.

Day 1 (27th October) – Arrival in Bodh Gaya India
Check in to your room. Enjoy a welcome dinner and teaching with Khentrul Rinpoche under the Bodhi Tree near the Mahaodhi Stupa where the Buddha Realized Enlightenment. Rinpoche will give a teaching on Buddha Nature and what it means to be enlightened. When setting out on any journey, the most important thing to understand is to be clear on the destination. 

Day 2 (28th October) – Explore Bodh Gaya – The Place the Buddha’s Enlightenment
We will spend the day exploring Bodh Gaya together visiting nearby temples, and the large Buddha, and spending more time at the stupa.

Day 3 (29th October) – Rajgir & Vulture Peak Mountain
We will travel to the area to take a hike up Vulture Peak Mountain to have a teaching where Buddha taught the Heart Sutra. Khentrul Rinpoche will give a teaching on the Heart Sutra from the Zhentong Perspective. We will continue on to visit the Saptpani caves in the area and enjoy the nearby Bamboo Forest.

Day 4 (30th October) – Nalanda University
The great Panditas of the past taught at the famed Nalanda University which is considered to be the first university in the world. We will spend time studying the Dharma, saying prayers, and connecting to the wisdom of the masters who spent time in the historic place.

Day 5 (31st October) – Travel to Varanasi

Day 6 (1st November) – Varanasi: Explore Saranatha and Deer Park
Enjoy an early morning boat ride on the river Ganges while visiting important temples and palaces around the holy city. Then we will visit Sarnath and Deer Park.

Day 7 (2nd November) – Varanasi to Sravasti
We will travel to the place where Buddha spent 25 years in Retreat.

Day 8 (3rd November) – KUSHINAGAR – Place of Passing into Parinirvana of Lord Buddha
We will travel to the place where the Buddha passed into Parinirvana.

Day 9 (4th November) – Travel toward Lumbini
Here you can find several peaceful modern temples and stupas including three main historical sights: Ramabhar Stupa, Mahaparinirvana Temple, and Mathakuar Temple. The half-ruined, Ramabhar Stupa is where Buddha’s body is said to have been cremated and monks and pilgrims can often be seen meditating. Set among monastery ruins, Mathaukar Temple marks the spot where Buddha made his final sermon and now houses a 3m-tall blue-stone Buddha statue.

Day 10 (5th November) – Lumbini Day of Pilgrimage
On this day we will visit Shakya Tank, a pool where Queen Maya is believed to have bathed before giving birth, the Maya Devi Temple & Ashokan pillar.

Day 11 (6th November) – Lumbini: Birthplace of Buddha
We will stay and practice prayers in Lumbini while Rinpoche teaches the illusory nature of reality.

Day 12 (7th November) – Pokhara Valley
We will enjoy a boat ride on the beautiful lake, and visit Matepani Gompa, the most famous monastery in all of Pokhara. We will take a leisurely hike with Rinpoche to enjoy the scenic splendors of the valley.

Day 13 (8th November) – Pokhara
We will explore the peace stupa (Shanti Stupa) and spend the day enjoying the Bazaars and outdoor lake area. Rinpoche will give teachings while we connect with the beauty and nature of the Himalayas.

Day 14 (9th November) Patan and Kathmandu Valley
We will visit the ancient city of Patan. This is the place that has many statue artisans and Thangka painting schools. We can also explore nearby Bhadgaon known for its medieval art and architecture.

Day 15 (10th November) – Exploration of Kathmandu Valley
We will spend a day visiting Swayambhunath – one of the world’s most famous Buddhist stupas, the Wishfulfilling Stupa at Boudhanath, one of the largest and most important Buddhist stupas in the world and nearby monasteries. The Kathmandu Valley is considered to be the valley of the Dakini, Vajrayogini. We will visit her temple. If possible we will arrange an introduction to the dance as a spiritual practice. The rest of the day will be free for you to walk about in the colorful and exotic bazaars.

Day 16 (11th November) – Departure from Kathmandu
We will check out of the hotel and make our way home.

Food & Accomodations
Indian and Nepali diet is typically vegetarian and spicy. We have arranged for a vegetarian trip. The food will range from simple to more extravagant based on where we are staying. Some Pictures provided:

Accommodations

As we travel around India and Nepal, we will be staying in a mix of modern hotels and guest houses. In the cities, we may have rooms with western toilets and hot water. Rooms are either a twin share or a dorm-style.

If you are traveling with a friend and would like to stay with them, please write in and request. We will do what we can to keep you together.

Price

The price for this journey is $4000 AUD per person (shared occupancy). A non-refundable $1500 deposit holds your space. We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) at least a week before each due date. The tour is non-refundable. If you have special circumstances then we can discuss and refund it based on unexpected circumstances. We can not refund you for a change of mind.

Payment Schedule
Description Amount Due Date
Payment #1 (20% – non-refundable) AUD$1000 Paid at registration
Payment #2 (40% – non-refundable) AUD$1500 1st of July
Payment #3 (40% – non-refundable) AUD$1500 15th of September

Methods of Payment

You can make payments for this tour via any of the following methods:

  • Credit Card or Paypal: Check out on the form below
  • Direct Debit: Tibetan Buddhist rime Institute Inc. Bank: ANZ. BSB: 013-479 Account: 4944-47223 (Please include your surname as a reference)
  • Wire Transfer: Acc: Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute. Bank: ANZ. Branch: Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria Australia. Swift Code: ANZBAU3M. BSB:013 457. Account No: 4944 47223

Registration Process:

  1. Book a ticket on this website, for the non-refundable AUD$1000 using one of the methods described above.
  2. Once we have confirmed the payment, we will contact you via email to confirm your registration.

Price Includes:

  • 3 Meals per day
  • Transportation to sites within India and Nepal
  • All accommodations
  • All site entrance fees
  • All tips at hotels and restaurants
  • Cultural performance

Price does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Mongolian visa fee if needed
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Photography fees at sites
  • Tip to local guide and driver
  • Dana to Rinpoche
  • Beverages in addition to water
 
Advice for Travel

International Flights

You are responsible to book your own international flights. Please arrange your own transportation to and from the start and finish location. If you need to have extra accommodation before or after your trip please reach out to us and we will help you if we are able to.

Passport/Visa

First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). Most countries require a visa for India and Nepal. Please check with your local embassy for details. Please do not rely on visas that can be gotten at border crossings.

Medical

You can read the American CDC’s recommendations here. We advise you to check with your local doctor to decide what is best for you. It is useful to bring a small first aid pack which includes: Nausea and diarrhea medicine, travel sickness tablets, glucose powder, paracetamol tablets, saline eyewash, cold and flu tablets, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and any other supplies you feel you may need or have been advised to bring. We will not be at high altitudes but we will be traveling up and down through various altitudes that can generate sickness in some people.

Travel Insurance

We suggest medical insurance which includes evacuation and trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly. We will be in remote areas that may not have modern medical facilities. Please plan accordingly.

Miscellaneous items

When attending the teachings, you will require something to sit on, so bring a meditation cushion with you and a plastic sheet in case it rains. You will most definitely need insect repellent. Other items which will come in handy are an umbrella, sunscreen, towel, hat, sunglasses, toilet paper/tissues, batteries, headlamp, camera, SD card for extra storage, torch, chargers, adaptors, pen, paper/writing book, favorite snack food, access to $500 for extra food and miscellaneous expenses.

Drinking-Water

We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. Bottled and boiled water will be available throughout the trip.

Money

You can either exchange cash in Mongolia or use local ATMs. It’s best to bring some with you as we won’t have time to exchange money in many places. All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just need personal spending money.

WIFI

For most of the trip, there will not be wifi available.

Suggested Reading
Suggested Reading

There is no required preparation. If you want to familiarize your mind with any of the material related to the trip we have selected a few of the texts. Unveiling Your Sacred Truth 1, 3 or 3 by Khentrul Rinpoche The Kalachakra Path offers a profound method for actualizing your greatest potential and contributing to greater peace and harmony within this world. For the first time ever, this extraordinary path is revealed in a step-by-step manner, allowing students to gradually approach this uniquely comprehensive system in a structured and methodical way.

Rules and Conditions

General rules

  • The rooms are for at least 2 people.
  • All meals are included in the tour costs and are pre-ordered. If you have any special requests please contact your tour guide representative the day before.
  • Please be punctual and attend all sessions where possible. It is your responsibility to be at the bus when it leaves.
  • It is recommended that any personal items be kept in a locked bag. The Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute cannot be held responsible for any items left around the property that is stolen or damaged.

Food Or Medical Issues

If you have a serious food allergy or medical condition we should know about please inform us by email to discuss it as soon as possible. This is not a strenuous trip. We will be driving for several multi-hour stretches times on this trip, so guests should be able to sit in a vehicle for up to 5 hours at a time (although we can stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching along the way). At times, during the practice or teaching sessions, we will be sitting on the ground for hours at a time. Please bring a cushion or folding chair if you need one.

Offerings

Traditionally, an offering is made to the teacher at the conclusion of the Tour (please note that this is entirely optional) as a gesture of appreciation. You can offer whatever you think is appropriate. However, here are a few suggestions – a card, flowers, money, food, or other items. A Tibetan offering scarf (khata) is given to the teacher as a blessing as part of the ceremony and can be borrowed or purchased from retreat volunteers or you may like to bring your own.

2023 Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage: 1000 Buddhas Empowerment with Khentrul Rinpoche

2023 Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage: 1000 Buddhas Empowerment with Khentrul Rinpoche

To register for the Nepal/ India trip following this click here.
To register for this tour, please use the Rime Buddhism Website. 

Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime journey with Khentrul Rinpoché to the seat of the Buddha’s enlightenment in India. During this week-long retreat participants will connect to the Shakyamuni Buddha through the study and practice of the 1000 Buddha empowerment, puja, and sadhana at the most sacred site at and near the Mahabodi Stupa. This is the first time that Khentrul Rinpoche has offered this empowerment and has chosen the most auspicious location for the blessings of the Buddha. .

Our journey takes place at the Bodhi Tree, nearby temples, and Mahabodhi Stupa where we will retreat and receive 1000 Buddha teachings. Accompanied by many monks we will perform pujas and offerings to the Buddha. In this practice, we can connect to all aspects of our Buddha nature and learn how we can use tantra to transform our emotions and samsaric limitations into the stainless qualities of Buddha nature. Each of the Buddha families represents different aspects of our enlightened nature. As we learn to identify and work with these aspects we can learn to use our daily life as the conditions and opportunities we need for enlightenment. Doing this practice in such a holy place as a pilgrimage is karmically purifying.

India is an important place for fully understanding this opportunity to use the emotions and aspects of our daily life for transformation. While Tibet has for many years maintained the Sutra and Vajrayana teachings largely in the monastic communities, India has preserved the rich variations of tantra embedded directly in their daily life and culture. Khentrul Rinpoche sees this as an inspiration for Buddhist Vajrayana. He is passionate about students being able to transform in their daily lives because if we are to keep the precious teachings of Buddhist tantra flourishing we need to keep it alive in living lay practitioners’ culture.

Cost: AUD TBD announced on April 1 (Includes shared accommodation, all teachings, empowerments, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Daylong site-seeing in the Bodh Gaya area. Airfare is not included.)

The tour includes:

  • 7-night stay in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India
  • Daily sadhana practices, guided meditations, and reflections guided by Spiritual Director, Khentrul Rinpoche,, and Senior students
  • 1000 Buddha Empowerment (Initiation), Puja, and Sadhana Instructions
  • Authentic traditional accommodations, all meals included
  • 1 Day of Site seeing holy sites in the area
  • Optional opportunity to book a personal Tibetan astrology reading

Who can come?

Pilgrimage, 1000 Buddha Empowerment, and retreat are open to everyone.

Tour Details

Tentative Schedule
Day 1 (20th October) – Arrival in Bodh Gaya
After participants have arrived we will allocate accommodations. For those who wish to help set up the offerings, you can let us know and spend the day arranging them. Once everyone is settled in, we will have dinner together. At an evening teaching, Khentrul Rinpoche will open our event with a welcome speech and prayers.
Day 2 & 3 (21st- 22nd October) – 1000 Buddhas Empowerment Ceremony
Enjoy breakfast and prayers together. We will all take part in the 1000 Buddha Empowerment ceremony. Each evening we will have the chance to recite prayers together.
Day 4 & 5 (23rd – 24th October) – 1000 Buddhas Puja
Khentrul Rinpoche and monks will chant and perform the Puja offerings for us. If there is time we will also visit the Mahabodhi Stupa grounds to practice the Sadhana together. Day 6 (25th October) – Teachings and Practices in Bodha Gaya
We will take the day to explore the holy sites of Bodh Gaya and receive teachings and practice the 1000 Buddha Sadhana together. Indian cultural experience in the evening if planning permits.
Day 7 (26th October) – Day of Site Seeing to Holy Sites
We will take a tour via bus to some of the more distant nearby holy sites of Bodh Gaya such as the nearby holy caves that the Buddha meditated in before realizing enlightenment. Closing dinner ceremony.
Day 8 (27th October) – Departure Retreat Completed We will check out of the hotel and make our way home. Take home a blessed souvenir home from the event to connect with this holy space.

Food & Accomodations

Food
Indian diet is typically vegetarian and spicy. We may have the opportunity to have Tibetan cooking as well. We have arranged for a vegetarian trip as much as possible. We can not accommodate allergies.
Accommodation
Accommodations in Bodha Gaya are basic and not luxurious. The rooms will have bathrooms and western-style toilets. Rooms are either a twin share or a dorm-style. If you are traveling with a friend and would like to stay with them, please write in and request. We will do what we can to keep you together.

Registration
Price
The price for this journey is $ AUD per person (shared occupancy).
A non-refundable $1500 AUD deposit holds your space. We will email you an invoice (via PayPal or stripe) at least a week before each due date.

Payment Schedule

Description Amount Due Date
Payment #1 (20% – non-refundable) AUD$? Paid at registration
Payment #2 (40%) AUD$? 1st of July
Payment #3 (40%) AUD$? 15th of September

Methods of Payment You can make payments for this tour via any of the following methods:

  • Credit Card or Paypal: Check out on the form below
  • Direct Debit: Tibetan Buddhist rime Institute Inc. Bank: ANZ. BSB: 013-479 Account: 4944-47223 (Please include your surname as a reference)
  • Wire Transfer: Acc: Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute. Bank: ANZ. Branch: Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria Australia. Swift Code: ANZBAU3M. BSB:013 457. Account No: 4944 47223

Registration Process:

  1. Check out rimebuddhism.com website, with the non-refundable AUD$? using one of the methods described above.
  2. Once we have confirmed the payment, we will contact you via email to confirm your registration.

Price Includes:

  • 1000 Buddha Empowerment(s) from Khentrul Rinpoche
  • 3 Meals per day
  • Transportation to sites within India
  • All accommodations
  • All meals
  • All site entrance fees
  • All tips at hotels and restaurants
  • Indian cultural performance if possible

Price does not include:

  • International airfare
  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • India visa fee if needed
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Photography fees at sites
  • Tip to local guide and driver
  • Dana to Teachers or Rinpoche
  • Astrology or Massage bookings
  • Beverages in addition to water
1000 Buddha Empowerment
You will be guided in a clear step-by-step way through the empowerment ceremony so that you can understand what is happening and what you are receiving. Through lectures, discussion, silent meditation, mantra, and ritual offerings, form a deep connection to your own inner realm of peace and harmony.
Who Can Attend
There are no prerequisites and afterward no commitments other than the ones you choose to take. This path is flexible; it allows you to engage with it wherever you are at. Empowerment can be taken as a blessing or empowerment. The refuge, bodhisattva, tantric vows, and uncommon vows of Kalachakra will be given along with the initiation for those taking this as empowerment.

Advice for Travel
International Flights
You are responsible to book your own international flights. There is a local airport in Gaya as well as a train station. It is also possible to arrive from Patna.
Passport/Visa
First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). Most countries require a visa for India. Please check with your local Indian embassy for details. India now offers e-visas which can be applied for online and will meet most of the tourist needs.
Medical
You can read the American CDC’s recommendations here. We advise you to check with your local doctor to decide what is best for you. It is useful to bring a small first aid pack which includes: Nausea and diarrhea medicine, travel sickness tablets, glucose powder, paracetamol tablets, saline eyewash, cold and flu tablets, mosquito repellent, sunscreen and any other supplies you feel you may need or have been advised to bring.

If you have a serious food allergy or medical condition we should know about please inform us by email to discuss it as soon as possible. This is not a strenuous trip. We will be sitting a lot. Please bring a cushion or folding chair if you need it for the sitting. On the site-seeing day we will be driving for several multi-hour stretches times on this trip, so guests should be able to sit in a vehicle for up to 5 hours at a time (although we can stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching along the way).
Travel Insurance
We suggest medical insurance which includes evacuation and trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly. We will be in remote areas that may not have a modern medical facility. Please plan accordingly.
Clothing
Arriving in Bodha Gaya in October, the temperature is +32°C during the daytime and +21°C at night. The area is very dusty. In India clothes that can be hand washed are best. Also, dust can be difficult to remove from clothing so it is advised to keep that in mind when packing.
Miscellaneous items
When attending the teachings, you will require something to sit on, so bring a meditation cushion with you and a plastic sheet in case it rains. You will most definitely need insect repellent. Other items which will come in handy are umbrella, sunscreen, towel, hat, sunglasses, toilet paper/tissues, batteries, headlamp, camera, SD card for extra storage, torch, chargers, adaptors, pen, paper/writing book, favorite snack food, access to $500 for extra food and miscellaneous expenses.
Drinking-Water
We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. Bottled and boiled water will be available throughout the trip. You can use water purification tablets and UV light purifiers. 
Money
You can either exchange cash in India or use local ATMs. All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just need personal spending money.
WIFI
For most of the trip, there will not be wifi available.
Offerings
Traditionally, an offering is made to the teacher at the conclusion of the Tour (please note that this is entirely optional) as a gesture of appreciation. You can offer whatever you think is appropriate. However, here are a few suggestions – a card, flowers, money, food or other items. A Tibetan offering scarf (khata) is given to the teacher for a blessing as part of the ceremony and can be borrowed or purchased from retreat volunteers or you may like to bring your own.