15 days / 14 nights | Date : 2nd July to 16th July 2014
This tour offers the rare opportunity to attend the Dalai Lama’s sacred Kalalchakra 2014 initiation, a rite of passage which opens the hearts of pilgrims to the Shambala realm in the beautiful, sacred land of Ladakh.
Under the guidance of tour leader Khanpo Konchok Phanday and a local guide, you will undergo a personal spiritual pilgrimage to receive the Kalachakra initiation, teaching, and empowerment, whilst also gaining an intimate insight into the spirituality and culture of Ladakh.
A truly spiritual man, Khanpo Khonchok radiates a sense of peacefulness and compassion. As your guide to the Kalachakra 2014 ladakh, he will share his dedication to Tibetan Buddhism and his commitment to Ladakhi culture.
Arrive late evening and transfer to hotel.
Delhi tour and meeting with fellow pilgrims.
Early departure and spectacular flight over the Himalayas to Leh, Ladakh. Take the rest of the day to acclimatize to the altitude (3,500m), rest and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan landscape.Optional afternoon private consultation with an Amchi. The evening will include a short walk around the city and discussion of your programme.
Early-morning trip to Shewai Stal at Choglamasar to visit the Kalachkara ground where, as thousands of pilgrims begin to gather, the Dalai lama will lead rituals with monks from Namgyal monastery to prepare and consecrate the holy site.
Drive to Thiksey Monastery. Built on top of a rocky hill, the monastery resembles the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s former residence in Tibetan capital Lhasa. In the room dedicated to the deity Tara, Geshe will present an introduction to the feminine energies in Tibetan learning. You will also behold one of the most beautiful statues of the Maitreya Buddha, which symbolises the Buddha’s hopes for the future of the world.
Join the Ladakhi and Tibetan communities in celebrations (Trungkar) of the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
For the next three days, the Dalai Lama will give preliminary teachings on Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend (Shetring).
The great Indian Buddhist master Nagarjuna (1st to 2nd century AD) wrote his celebrated poem as a gift of advice to his friend King Gautamiputra/Satavahana, and it has since become a cornerstone of the Indian Shastra tradition.
The Shetring gives a concise and comprehensive introduction to the entire practice of Buddhism, guiding both laypersons and the ordained on the path to liberation and enlightenment. Its teachings convey the meaning of the Dharma in easily accessible language and style, and are of special interest to those who wish to take up spiritual activity whilst continuing to live and work in mainstream society.
The Dalai Lama considers this preliminary teaching to be more important than the actual Kalachakra initiation. Despite its relatively short length (123 verses), the Shetring covers the whole Mahayana path with unusual clarity and memorable imagery, and is thus widely quoted by Tibet's great masters and scholars.
Evening review of the day’s teachings of Kalachakra 2014 ladakh initiation with Khanpo Konchok.
Continuation of the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the Shetring. Evening meeting with a Lhamo (shaman) – a renowned man or woman who is consulted as an oracle and healer by Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Lhamos commune with both good and bad spirits by entering into a state of trance, and are experts in communication beyond the human realm. The Lhamo will perform a blessing, divination and healing session. Evening review of the day’s teachings of Kalachakra 2014 initiation with Khanpo Konchok.
Continuation of the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the Shetring. Afternoon drive along the Indus river to catch a glimpse of the Sangam – the confluence of the differently coloured Indus and Zanskar rivers. On to Alchi Temple, with its splendid frescoes and sculptures, created in the twelfth century by artists from Kashmir. Alchi is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Alchi village, visit the temples oo Puri Tsa Tsa and behold a rare mandala wall painting – one of the most important yogic tantric images.
Evening meeting with Yogi Dawa, who has led a life-long retreat dedicated to spiritual practice and meditation. Yogi Dawa will perform a protection ritual and sing the songs of Yogi Milarepa
Evening review of the day’s teachings of Kalachakra 2014 initiation with Khanpo Konchok.
The sacred Kalalchakra initiation is a rite of passage which opens the hearts of thousands of monks, nuns and pilgrims to the Shambala realm. The Dalai Lama has not performed the Kalachakra initiation in Ladakh since 1976.Part I: Birth of the Child Within
Experience ‘rebirth’ amongst thousands of Buddhist devotees. Monks from Namgyal Monastery will perform sacred dances, wearing tantric tiaras, brocades and bone jewellery, as they connect with the energy of Kalachakara's deities of meditation . The Dalai Lama will introduce those gathered to the way of the Buddha.
Pledge to free all beings from the cycle of dualism. Monks will distribute red headbands to the devotees, who will place them across their foreheads
The removal of the headbands represents the purification of our negativities and our entry into Mandala.Being endowed with clear compassionate motivation, we would be ready to receive the Kalachakra initiation
The Dalai Lama will conduct symbolic initiations , providing a full commentary on each of his movements and gesture
The ritual will conclude with a meditation on the theme of void nature, as represented by a mirror - the symbol of purified consciousness.
Each day will conclude with an evening review of the teachings with Khanpo Konchok.
Tsewang long-life empowerment and prayer ceremony for the Dalai Lama.
A long-life ceremony will be dedicated to the Dalai Lama. Devotees believe that, when a spiritual master dies, it is because many beings from another realm have prayed that he may come to teach them. To postpone this moment, an effigy representing the Dalai Lama will be offered as substitute master and teacher. The Dalai Lama will then be presented with offerings, prayers and dances by the Tibetan and Ladakhi communities .
To conclude the Kalachakra 2014 initiation, the Dalai Lama will dissolve a sand mandala, before pouring it into the Indus river.
Fly to Delhi. Visit to the Lotus Temple. Built by devotees of the Bahai religion in the shape of a lotus flower, this marble temple was completed in the 1980s and is open to all, regardless of religion or race.
Discover the golden-domed Bangla Sahib Gurdwara – a renowned Sikh temple. Shopping visit to Janpath in central Delhi and free afternoon.
Transfer to Delhi airport and fly home.
Note: Meetings with the yogi, shaman and Amchi, and visits to Thiksay and Alchi will depend on the final Kalachakra 2014 initiation Ladakh timetable.
Foreign nationals need to obtain a six-month tourist visa to enter India. The registration form can be found here. Once you have filled it out, you will need to submit it to your home country’s Indian mission. You will also be directed to the website of the agency that issues Indian visas in your country. There you can book an appointment at your nearest issuing office, and also pay for the application process and visa.Permits and ID:
Permits are not required to enter Ladakh but are required for visits to restricted regions such as Pangong lake, the Tso-moriri lake area, Nubra Valley and the Dha-Hanu region. We will arrange any necessary permits for you in advance. Foreign tourists must carry a valid passport and Indian visa. The passport expiry date must be no less than six months after your departure from India. Indian tourists must carry proof of identity, such as an ID card, driving license or passport.Weather:
During the warm, dry summers – April to October – temperatures in Ladakh range from 5 to 35 C.What to Bring:
Light woolens, jackets and cotton garments are fine for the summer, and a shawl can be useful in the evenings. Winter wear should include thermals, heavier woolens or fleeces, and down-filled jackets.
Other recommended items are: A small day bag; a document and money pouch to wear under your clothes; wet wipes; tissues; antibacterial hand gel, a sleeping bag (for winter visits); and a torch.
Upon your arrival in Leh, you are likely to find it difficult to breathe normally or exert yourself physically, especially if you arrive by air. We plan our tours to include plenty of rest during the first couple of days, whilst you acclimatize to the altitude (3,500m). We also advise you to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills, and to eat a lot of carbohydrates.Health:
Information about which vaccinations are necessary for Ladakh varies from source to source. We recommend that you visit either your personal doctor or a travel health clinic four to eight weeks before your visit. Up-to-date information can also be found at mdtravelhealth.com.
Ladakh lies above the World Health Organisation’s designated altitude - 2,000m - at which malaria poses no significant risk.
As a precaution, it is best to bring some medical supplies, in case of minor ailments or injuries. We suggest you pack sticking plasters, antiseptic cream, painkillers, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, diarrhoea medication, a laxative, vitamin C tablets, anti-mosquito cream or spray, and an eye wash.
In case of health problems during your stay, Leh has a well-equipped government hospital, as well as a number of private clinics. Elsewhere, in Ladakh’s larger towns and villages, there are a number of sub-district hospitals and pharmacies.
Personal travel insurance is essential. In the event of any serious injury or illness, you will be flown back to Delhi, which offers world-class facilities and specialists.
There are six ATMs in Leh - two Jammu and Kashmir Bank, two State Bank of India and one each of Punjab National Bank and HDFC. If you are travelling from abroad, make sure you inform your bank about your trip to India, otherwise ATM transactions may be refused.
Foreign exchange facilities are provided by Jammu and Kashmir Bank, State Bank of India, Western Union and private Forex shops.
Some of the shops, hotels in Leh accepts credit cards.
Mobile phone connectivity is available in Leh but, due to security restrictions, foreign and prepaid Indian mobiles from out of state do not work. The most practical way to call abroad is at one of the STD booths in Leh, or to use Skype at an internet cafe.
The Kalachakra initiation will be held nearby the Dalai Lama’s summer residence in Choglamasar - a small town 7km from the Ladakhi capital, Leh, at the northenmost tip of India.Registration and Schedule:
In general, the Dalai Lama’s teachings in India are free and open to the public. At present, there is no requirement to register to attend the Kalachakra initiation. If this situation changes, we will assist you in obtaining a pass, for which you will need to present two passport-sized photos along with your passport. Teaching hours are decided one or two days in advance.Seating:
Our team will arrange seating for you in the English translation area during the teachings and Kalachakra initiation. During teachings in India, seating is usually on the ground. The convention amongst Tibetans is to mark a spot on the first day with a cushion or piece of cloth, and keep to it for the duration.Translation:
The Dalai Lama primarily teaches in Tibetan. During most of his teachings in India, official translation into English and a few other languages is provided via FM radio, depending on the availability of approved translators. Due to new security measures, the translation may only be listened to on officially provided radios.Tea and Offerings to the Monastic Community:
It is customary for tea to be served at the teachings, so it is worthwhile carrying your own cup. Offerings are also made to the Sangha (monastic community). Both are paid for by donations from patrons and the general public. If you would like to contribute, you can do so at an office near the teaching area.What to Bring:
You are advised to bring a cushion and a cup. A sun hat is also recommended, as the sunlight is very strong at high altitude. A small umbrella may also be useful. As little else as possible should be brought to the venue, given the security checks you will have to pass through.Footwear:
Tibetans tend to keep their shoes on at the venue, at least until they sit down. Carrying footwear in front of people’s faces is generally regarded as inappropriate
You will be accomodated in a Trip Advisor Traveller Choice winner hotel in Leh.
Lharisa resort is a perfect blend of traditional allure and contemporary conceptualization! You can’t help being smitten by its intimate setting coupled with the exceptional service. The resort reminds you of the simplicity and warmth that is epitomized by Leh as well as its people. It is sure to take your Leh experience a notch higher.