McLeod Ganj is where India meets Tibet, this is where the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and home to a large Tibetan population, including many maroon-robed monks and nuns. The Tibetan government-in-exile is based in between at Gangchen Kyishong. McLeod attracts thousands of international visitors, many of them volunteering with the Tibetan community, taking courses in Buddhism, meditation or yoga, trekking in the Dhauladhar mountains, shopping for Tibetan crafts, or just hanging out enjoying the low-budget spiritual/alternative vibe and the plethora of good cafes where you’re never far from an interesting conversation.
Early registration recommended.
This retreat is available for a maximum of 16 participants.
Duration: 10 Nights, 11 Days
Location: McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, India
Dates: 21 – 31 October 2020
Explore McLeod Ganj, a hill station in Himachal Pradesh, famed for its large Tibetan community centered around the activities of the Dalai Lama.
Dharamsala is an ideal choice to retreat for nature lovers. Trek in the pristine environment of the Himalayan foothills covered with dense green Pine trees with the mountains as the backdrop providing a visual treat. Enjoy plenty of discovery time in nature, for quiet reflection and contemplation.
Immerse yourself in the daily life of the thriving Tibetan community at McLeod Ganj where you can go shopping for beautiful Tibetan crafts, or just hang out and enjoy the spiritual vibe in the plethora of good cafes where you’re never far from an interesting conversation.
Visit the delightful Norbulingka Institute, soothingly set amid bamboo, trees and flowing water, southeast of Dharamsala, established in 1988 to teach and preserve traditional Tibetan art forms. It's a beautiful and fascinating place to visit, where you can watch artisans at work, woodcarving, embroidery, metal statue–making, and thangka painting.
Experience a 4 Day Retreat at DGL Nunnery founded by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and stay here and take part in the daily rituals and pujas with her community of approx. 100 women and young girls.
Have a reading with a Tibetan Astrologer and visit the Men-Tsee-Khang an organisation established to preserve the traditional arts of Tibetan medicine and astrology institute.
Experience the transformational effects of daily Meditation and Yoga sessions with slow yogic sequencing & conscious movement followed by meditation to balance and heal your mind, body and soul.
Deepen your understanding of your true nature with the art of Ayurveda, individual consultations with Dr. Shivani and an opportunity to have an a luxurious ayurvedic Shirodhara massage at Shivani Ayurveda.
Day 1 – Weds 21st October
Arrival Delhi International Airport ideally by 4 pm - You will be met at the airport by one of our representatives and transferred to your Hotel at Aerocity, Delhi. Check -in and take some quiet time to rest and recover from your journey to India. At 7 pm join the group for a meet and greet reception followed by group dinner at 8:00 pm
Day 2 – Thurs 22nd October
Check out and transfer to domestic terminal for internal flight to Dharamsala approx. 9:00 am TBC. Fly to Dharamsala arrival approx. 12:40 pm – Transfer from airport to your Hotel at McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. This hotel is outside the center of McLeod Ganj in a quiet natural area and it has a swimming pool, Yoga Shala and Spa facilities onsite.
Day 3 – Fri 23rd October
Starting the day with 7:30 am Sunrise meditation followed by Yoga at 8:00 am with Pauline Rohdich, our guest teacher on this tour, see her detailed bio. on her website here. Breakfast 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Group will travel together into McLeod Ganj to visit the Temple and Monastery of H.H.Dalai Lama. You are then free to explore the shops and markets and get lunch at one of the bustling cafes. Meeting at the Hotel at 6:30 pm for group meditation followed by Dinner.
Day 4 - Sat 24th October
Sunrise meditation followed by Yoga with Pauline. After Breakfast Group Session with Dr Shivani to discover Ayurveda and book consultations and massages at Shivani Ayurveda. Finish noon. Afternoon free, for shopping, massages, Tibetan astrologer, and exploring on your own. Meet back at the Hotel for group meditation and short session on higher states of consciousness with Suzi followed by Dinner.
Day 5 - Sun 25th October
Sunrise group meditation with Yoga. After breakfast we will depart for a walk/trek in the mountain’s (details TBC) Lunch will be included and we will meditate in the mountains weather permitting.The group will return late in afternoon to McLeod Ganj with afternoon and evening free for massages, shopping, ayurveda consultations. Dinner on your own.
Day 6 – Mon 26th October
Sunrise meditation followed by Yoga with Pauline. After Breakfast we will travel to Norbulingka which is in Sidhpur, a suburb of Dharamsala, about 30 minutes from McLeod Ganj. Their mission is to preserve Tibetan arts and culture. Explore the workshops and grounds and witness first-hand the practice of traditional Tibetan arts. From the moment you step inside the gates of Norbulingka, it is as if you are transported to a different world. Gurgling streams run through immaculately maintained Japanese styled gardens, while birds of all different species can be seen flittering among the treetops. The architecture built in traditional Tibetan style gives a feeling of returning to old Tibet. We will stay there 3-4 hours and return to McLeod to our Hotel for group meditation and a group dinner, taking the evening off to relax and pack.
Day 7 - Tues 27th October
Sunrise meditation. Check out after breakfast and depart hotel for journey to Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery (DGL) which is for Himalayan women in the Drukpa Kagyu Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, who is the most senior Tibetan-tradition nun in the world at present, located in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. This area is rich in Tibetan Buddhist culture and DGL is around 60 km from McLeod Ganj (Upper Dharamsala).
***Tour and Retreat Highlight***
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo has graciously invited us to spend 4 days at the nunnery which she founded
Each day you will take part in the daily rituals and pujas with her community of approx. 100 women aged 6 years and upwards. This is a unique opportunity and is only available for women who visit with their own teachers and meditation practice, as no official instruction will be given here. However, Jetsunma who was born in London and moved to India aged 19 has agreed to spend time with our group provided she is in residence.
Day 8 - Weds 28th October
5:30 am Morning puja with the nuns followed by breakfast. Take this time to be quiet and spend time in nature and the beauty of the surroundings. We will have fun interacting with the nuns and maybe helping in the gardens, classrooms and kitchens. There is a cafe onsite and opportunities to practice yoga with the young nuns also.
Day 9 - Thurs 29th October
5:30 am Morning puja with the nuns followed by breakfast. Our intention is to weave our schedule with the nuns’ daily life which is varied and full, starting with Tara puja and meditation in the early morning. They can choose to do either silent sitting or walking meditation. In the evening is a Mahakala puja and Chöd ritual, during which the nuns play ritual instruments such as the damaru (a hand-drum). There are also four longer ceremonies performed each month, according to the Lunar calendar. During the day, the nuns schedule is filled with classes, debating and revision.
Day 10 – Fri 30th October
5:30 am Morning puja with the nuns followed by breakfast. We will have more details of special events and what will be happening at the nunnery closer to the time. During some of these special events, the nuns will perform Dakini Dancing. A dakini is a manifestation of female enlightenment. Dakini is a Sanskrit term, while the Tibetan translation is khandro meaning ‘sky-goer’ or ‘sky-dancer’, energetic beings in female form, evocative of the movement of energy in space. They are depicted as strong and independent, acting as a muse for spiritual practice. The dancing ritual has precise, choreographed steps which the nuns’ practice for a long time before the day itself. They wear richly decorated costumes, jewelry and headpieces, while other nuns play music on traditional instruments, horns, cymbals and drums. It’s a vibrant and compelling spectacle.
Day 11 – Sat 31st October
5:30 am Morning puja with the nuns followed by breakfast and early departure for the airport. The flights to Delhi leave quite early in the morning so we will have an early start for our journey home.
ETA Delhi for onward travel is approx. 10 am at the domestic terminal. We recommend that guests book international flights departing in the afternoon of the 31st October.
*Bir Billing, a village near Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, has emerged as one of the top paragliding destinations of the world. We can also arrange for any members of the group to try it out if they feel ready to jump off the edge into the Sky! Bir Billing,is in the Dauladhar mountain range which is the outer range of the Himalayas. Weather permitting this is an opportunity of a lifetime and a memorable way to see India from a bird’s eye view.
*We are happy to assist guests and can connect them with our agents if they wish to plan any further sightseeing in Delhi or should they wish to visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
* We will also request an audience with HH. Dalai Lama on behalf of this group, however we cannot guarantee it at this stage of our planning.
This is an outline of our proposed itinerary and is subject to change, however it gives you a brief overview of what to expect on this wonderful dharma tour and retreat in India.
All airport transfers and transportation as per the itinerary
All Internal Flights
Accommodation for 1o nights based on double occupancy
Breakfast plus either Lunch or Dinner every day
PSM personal mantras and instruction
Daily Group Meditation
Yoga and Ayurveda sessions
Scheduled sites and tours as per the itinerary
Bottled water throughout the trip
Experienced Chopra Certified Instructors in Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda as your guides
Group Leaders with over seven years’ experience taking groups to India and Bhutan
Extra Activities e.g. Massages, Astrology Readings, Spa Treatments, Paragliding
Room Service Extra’s e.g. snacks, drinks, laundry
Additional taxi’s to and from hotel in free time
Yoga mats, we request each guest brings their own
Tips for staff, guides & drivers
The first 10 people who sign up for this retreat will have the option to stay onsite at the nunnery guest house,
because space there is limited to accommodate 11, therefore the remainder will be accommodated in a nearby hotel. We will offer this option on the registration form for this retreat as you register, on a first come first served basis. We will have daily transportation to and from the hotel arranged so that everyone will be at the nunnery each day to take part in the proposed itinerary.
Please take some time before the trip to read the fascinating story of her life in the book titled;"Cave in the Snow" by Vicky MacKenzie. There is also a wonderful documentary on You Tube about Jetsunma and the DGL Nunnery https://youtu.be/-Y57hlgn85o
It is our intention to sponsor a nun on behalf of this group.
"There was no one near to confuse me, so I was forced to become an original"