Spiritual journey India
Mountains & meditation
a journey into the Himalayan foothills
incl 5-day silent retreat
21 October – 7 November 2017
- A spiritual in India
- Incl 5-day silent meditation retreat
- Delhi, Rishikesh, Dharamsala, Bir
- 18 days 21 October – 7 November 2017
- Small group circa 7 participants
- 1800,- euro
- Till 20 August 300,- early bird discount!
Meeting the real India
Travelling by train
We dive into the India-experience immediately by taking the train from Delhi to Rishikesh. Waiting at the platform, finding the right coach, the chai whallas, the curiosity of the people, the view… travelling by train is a wonderful experience!
Rishikesh is a mystical town in the foothills of the Himalaya on the banks of the holy river Ganga. To Hindus Rishikesh has a deep spiritual significance, prayers and offers are made on the banks of the river and in the many temples. Since the Beatles stayed at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram in the sixties, Rishikesh has been a magnet to backpackers and spiritual seekers. Nowadays it is also called yoga capital of the world due to the many yoga schools and ashrams.
We will stay at the peaceful yoga ashram Parmarth Niketan, make a silent pilgrimage to the Shiva temple higher up in the mountains and have enough free time to explore. Rishikesh has a lot to offer; you can visit temples, attend a yoga class, enjoy an Ayurvedic massage, visit a waterfall or even raft on the Ganga.
Mc Leod Ganj – Dharamsala
Mc Leod Ganj is a hillstation situated at 2000 meters and is the home in exile of the Dalai Lama and many Tibetans. The mixture of Tibetan and Indian culture, the surrounding nature and the views of snowmountains make this a unique place. For many years it has been a favourite destination of people interested in Buddhism and Tibetan culture. We will visit the temple of the Dalai Lama, meet friendly Tibetan monks, and go to the Nobulinka institute which aims to preserve Tibetan art, handicraft and culture.
Furthermore we will make a silent pilgrimage to the Triund hill higher up in the mountains. Triund offers spectacular views of the Dhauladhar range and the Kangra valley, which is definitely worth a day of hiking.
After the overload of impressions it is time to contemplate, we will travel to the quiet village of Bir for the 5-day silent meditation retreat. Dharmalaya, a community for sustainable living, will be our home. It is a very special place situated on a hill above Bir, offering great views of the Kangra valley. Here we take time to be still and give room to our inner-journey. During meditation we are aware of our experience here and now. We practice in observing the experiences without judging them. We observe how sensations, thoughts, feelings, mind states are passing by, changing all the time. This process can lead to great insight. It offers emotional and psychological insights, a depth of awareness, inner peace and a profound and liberating sense of the Here and Now.
The retreat is the heart of the spiritual journey, motivation to participate is essential.
The days will be started with yoga followed by guided and silent meditations. We meditate in the four postures sitting (on chair or cushion), standing, walking and reclining. There will also be time to rest, journal or walk. On the third day of the retreat we will make a pilgrimage in the beautiful surroundings. We will pass rice fields, small villages, Hindu temples and Tibetan monasteries.
The retreat is open to experienced as well as beginning meditators.
The journey starts and ends in Delhi. We will stay in the vibrant area of Paharganj, visit a Durga temple, the Lodhi Garden and the Lotus temple. Of course there will also be time to relax and buy souvenirs.
Silent walks and meditation
The program includes three days of silent walking to some special places. In Rishikesh we walk to the holy Neelkanth temple dedicated to the god Shiva. One of the most revered temples in Hinduism with gorgeous views of the Himalayas. In Mc Leod Ganj we start our mountain hike to Triund through beautiful mountain nature. During the retreat we enjoy the peacefulness of the Kangra valley with its rice patties, villages and Tibetan monasteries.
All walks will be in silence, which gives us the opportunity to really open to the outer landscape as well as our inner landscape. The rithm of walking calms the mind and deeply connects us to ourselves and the world around.
The pace will be moderate and walks will take about 6 hours with regular breaks and time for meditation.
Since we ascent and decent quite a bit it is essential to be in good physical condition to be able to take part in this journey.
Days before and after the retreat will be started with (guided) meditation. Sometimes we will close the day with a sharing circle in which we can reflect on our experiences.
We will travel in a small group of about 7 participants. The program gives much room to free time, that can be spend meeting your individual interest, This is not a trip in which seeing and doing as much as possible plays a central role, it is a journey that invites you to be. To be with all there is, all the beauty and all the challenges that India has to offer.
The journey and retreat is organized and guided by mindfulness trainer Ellen van Iersel. She has travelled and lived in India for almost 2 years. “My connection to Buddhism and mindfulness and my love for India inspired me to organize this trip with a lot of love and enthusiasm. I hope to give people who are interested in meditation and Buddhism, but who don’t want to travel in India on their own, the opportunity to meet this beautiful and inspiring country.”
Part of the profits of the journey will be donated to the NGO People First. Eventhough India is developing there are still many people and children living in poverty and insecurity. Since 1992 People First has been doing tremendous work in the villages surrounding Bodhgaya, (which is visited in the journey Roots of Mindfulness) giving support to the poorest of the poorest. They run various projects in education, health, women’s rights, child safety and welfare.
Do you want to join?
If you are interested in joining this wonderful spiritual journey in India, please send me an email. We will arrange to get into contact live or online so we can see if your motivation to join and your expectations about the journey are in line with what I want to share. If so we will then continue the booking process. After booking you will receive more information about preparations and packing etc.
Journey Roots of Mindfulness
I also organise a journey to the roots of mindfulness.
Read more about the journey Roots of Mindfulness