Spiritual India with the Dalai Lama, witness the Hemis Festival and explore the wonders of Leh, Nubra, Alchi, Kargil and Srinagar in Kashmir

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1 An incredible once in a lifetime experience India: His Holiness The Dalai Lama Presents - The Kalachakra Teachings Hemis Festival, Ladakh and Kashmir July 4 19, 2014 Spiritual India with the Dalai Lama, witness the Hemis Festival and explore the wonders of Leh, Nubra, Alchi, Kargil and Srinagar in Kashmir This summer, nestled in the Indian Himalayas, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, is going to give the Kalachakra Teachings and Initiation and, during the teachings, there is also the opportunity to witness the Hemis Festival. You and your group will arrive in India on July 4 and travel to Ladakh. There, you can participate in the Kalachakra Teachings, the Hemis Festival and see a bit of Leh and the surrounding area. On July 9, after the initial teachings, you leave Leh to explore Nubra and then head out via Alchi and Kargil to Srinagar in Kashmir. There you can explore the valley, stay on a houseboat, and wander the markets and old town, returning home on July 19. The Kālachakra tradition revolves around the concept of time (kala) and cycles (chakra) from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of human breathing, it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to enlightenment. The Kālachakra deity represents a Buddah and thus omniscience. Since Kālachakra is time and everything is under the influence of time, Kālachakra knows all. Whereas Kālachakri or Kālichakra, his spiritual consort and complement, is aware of everything that is timeless, untimebound or out of the realm of time. In Yab-yum, generally understood to represent the primordial (or mystical) union of wisdom and compassion they are temporality and atemporality conjoined. Similarly, the wheel is without beginning or end. The Kālachakra deity resides in the center of the Mandala in his palace consisting of four Mandalas, one within the other: the Mandalas of body, speech, and mind, and in the very center, wisdom and great bliss. The Kālachakra sand Mandala is dedicated to both individual and world peace and physical balance. The Dalai Lama explains: It is a way of planting a seed, and the seed will have karmic effect. Hemis Festival: Staged in the courtyard of the largest monastery in Ladakh, the Hemis festival celebrates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of tantric buddhism in Tibet. Locals dress up

2 in their finest every June or July to witness masked dances and sacred plays. Spectacularly colorful masks depict different figures in each legend portrayed whilst cymbals and instruments accompany each performance. An experience not to be missed. DAY DESCRIPTION TENTATIVE INCLUDED July 04 Arrive Delhi Oberoi Grand None July 05 Fly Ladakh. PM visit to Shanti Stupa and Market Grand Dragon B,L,D July 06 AM Preliminary Kalachakra Teachings. PM visit to Stok Grand Dragon B,L,D July 07 Morning prayers at Thiksey and picnic breakfast. Full day at Grand Dragon B,L,D preliminary Kalachakra Teachings or visit Hemis for the Hemis Festival. PM visit to Leh Bazaar July 08 Visit Hemis for 2 nd and final day of festival Grand Dragon B,L,D July 09 Drive Nubra Valley. Visit sand dunes and camel ride Desert Himalaya B,L,D Tents July 10 Visit Diskit and Samstangling Monasteries Desert Himalaya B,L,D Tents July 11 Return to Leh via Kardung La Grand Dragon B,L,D July 12 Drive to Alchi, via Likir and Basgo Ulley Ethnic B,L,D Camp/Alchi Resort July 13 Drive to Kargil via Lamayuru and Mulbek New De Zojila B,L,D July 14 Kargil to Srinagar, via Drass. Vivanta by Taj B July 15 Explore Srinagar Vivanta by Taj B July 16 Visit Gulmarg with a special lunch Vivanta by Taj B,L July 17 July 18 July 19 Walking tour through old town. Visit Nishat Gardens and then boat ride through Dal Lake. AM cruise on the Jelum. PM visit to Andraab factory and time to explore shops. Evening Kashmiri Feast - Wasawan Transfer to airport and fly Delhi. Day room at the Oberoi Grand. Transfer to airport for late night flight home. DAILY ITINERARY Sheraton Houseboat Sheraton Houseboat Oberoi Grand July 04: ARRIVE DELHI Arriving in Delhi you will clear customs and immigration. Leaving the airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to the Oberoi Grand. OBEROI GRAND NONE July 05: FLY LEH. PM SHANTI STUPA AND MARKET Rising early, you will fly from Delhi to Leh, over the entire Himalayan range - a champagne flight with snow-capped peaks like foam on the top of a narrow glass. Suddenly, the green hills of India and the white peaks are behind as we come down over the barren desert land of Ladakh into the airport near Leh. Since the altitude in Leh is a modest 11,500', you can expect to find yourself moving somewhat slowly. Looking around, you will see a city caught in a time warp a mélange of medieval and modern, with a somewhat schizophrenic history. Back in the 3rd century BC, many years before the great saint, Padmasambhava, had converted Tibet to Buddhism, Leh was already an important Buddhist center. Later, in the 15th and 16th centuries, as trade mushroomed B,L,D B,L,D B

3 between the West and the Far East, Leh became a major commercial hub on the fabulous Central Asian Silk Route. Today, driven by the practicalities of politics and economics, Leh has become both a strategic military base for the Indians on the Chinese border, as well as a major tourist foreign exchange earner. Since Leh is so high, it is important not to over exert yourself and to take things easy. Therefore, the morning and early afternoon of this first day in Leh is free. Towards the evening, you will be taken to visit the Shanti Stupa a magnificent white-domed structure, which offers spectacular views of the surroundings. Shanti Stupa was constructed by a Japanese Buddhist organization, known as 'The Japanese for World Peace'. The aim behind the construction of the stupa was to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote World Peace. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama inaugurated the Shanti Stupa in the year After visiting the stupa you may continue to the local market place and explore it on your own. This evening you will be given a lecture on Buddhism by a senior monk (Khempo) July 06: PRELIMINARY KALACHAKRA TEACHINGS. STOK AND SHEY This morning you will be driven (20 minutes) to the temple grounds, where you will spend the morning listening to the preliminary Kalachakra teachings given by His Holiness. Of all the Tibetan teachings, the Kalachakra Teaching is one of the most powerful, and is aimed at achieving individual and world peace, as well as physical balance. In the afternoon, you can do a bit of touring. The first stop is Shey, the former palace of the kings of Ladakh, built about 550 years ago by Lhachen Palgyigon, the first king of Ladakh. The foundation of the monastery dates back to the earliest history of Ladakh, and there is an inscription on the rocks below the palace dating from the time Buddhism first arrived in the Himalayas. The monastery contains the largest golden Buddha statue in the district, standing 12 meters high with blue hair. King Dalden Namgyal had the statue constructed in the 17th century. In July, the monastery has a one-day prayer festival for the welfare of all sentient beings in the world. When the royal family was exiled to Stok in 1834, many of the buildings fell into disrepair. Today, however, much is being restored. Then you head to Stok Village, with its approximately 200-year-old palace, the only Ladakhi palace that is still inhabited. Although the last king, Raja Kunsang Namgyal, died in 1974, his wife, the Rani of Stok (Gyalmo Diskit Wangmo), and youngest son still use 12 of the 80 rooms in the palace as their residence. The museum occupies three more rooms and there is a small gompa that is open to the public. Inside are the jewels, ceremonial dress of the Ladakhi kings, an extraordinary collection of 400-year-old thankas, and some musical instruments. July 07: THIKSEY AND KALACHAKRA TEACHINGS OR HEMIS FESTIVAL Early this morning you will be collected from your hotel and driven (30 minutes) to Thiksey monastery to witness morning prayers (if happening). After the prayers, explore the monastery a bit more. Thikse is a 500- year old monastery perched on a hill overlooking the Indus, and belonging to the Gelugpa sect (that of the Dalai Lama). Along with a spectacular view and the largest contingent of monks in Ladakh, the monastery also has the most beautiful library and an active block printing operation. Additionally, the Thikse Oracle, a villager with supernatural powers, who is a miraculous healer and predictor of the future, is considered to be the most powerful oracle in Ladakh.

4 You will then be taken to a nearby orchard for a picnic breakfast. Afterwards you will be taken to spend the day at the Kalachakra Teachings given by His Holiness OR. You may prefer to visit Hemis Monastery for the first day of their annual festival. Stagtshang Richen, who was invited to Ladakh by King Singe Namgyal, founded the 350-year-old Hemis Gompa, Ladakh s wealthiest, belonging to the Kagyupa Brugpa sect of Buddhism. The Rimpoche, or spiritual overlord of the monastery, is considered to be a reincarnation of the monastery s founder, and is heir to the 5- year-old Tibetan child, who was undergoing training in Tibet when the Chinese invaded, and has since not been heard from. The present Rimpoche is in his 30s, and studied in Darjeeling. Hemis also boasts the largest silk thanka in all of Ladakh. The annual festival is held in the summer in honor of Guru Padma Sambhava s birth anniversary. This evening, you can walk around town. July 08: HEMIS FESTIVAL Today everyone can attend the second day of the Hemis Festival. July 09: DRIVE NUBRA VALLEY Heading out of Leh, you will drive north to the Nubra Valley, crossing the Kardong La (La means pass). This pass, at 18,373 feet, is the highest motorable pass in the world, running along the old Silk Route through the lush, green Nubra Valley. It is also the same altitude as Everest Base Camp! The relatively gentler climate of the area allows crops, such as fruit and nuts, to grow. As such, the area is considered an ldumra or orchard. In the afternoon, you can do two things first, explore the Chamba Monastery in Hunder and Diskit Village, the main town of Nubra. Diskit boasts a small market bustling with activity. Very important is time to drive to the sand dunes and ride a doublehumped Bactrian camel, as well as visit the camel-breeding farm. Once, in days gone by, camel caravans transported Chinese goods to exchange for Indian produce along the Yarkhand-Turkmenistan route. Camels are rare now, and considered prized possessions. You can occasionally see them on the sand dunes near Nubra. The ride wanders along the soft, white sandy desert with rolling sand dunes. DESERT HIMALAYA TENTS July 10: IN NUBRA VALLEY. Today, after breakfast, drive first to Yarab Tso, a beautiful lake tucked between two small hills, and then on to Panamic Village, famous for its thermal hot water springs. Along the way, you will visit some pashmina goat breeding farms. On the return, you visit Samnsthaling Monastery, founded by Lama Tsultims Nima in 1842.

5 This is a small monastery with only about 50 monks. Unlike some of the other gompas, there are some strict rules and regulations no smoking, no women in the monastery before sunrise and after sunset. DESERT HIMALAYA TENTS July 11: RETURN TO LEH VIA ORACLE AND CHOKLAMSAR. After an early breakfast, you will head back to Leh. Just before you get to town, you can stop, assuming she is available, to pay a visit to the local oracle. If you have any ailments or problems, she can conduct a healing. Should you have questions to ask, she can also help. Nearby is Choklamsar, a village that has become a haven for Tibetan refugees, and now boasts the lovely, twostory, golden-roofed summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Here, at the Tibetan Refugee Center you can visit the school, clinic, and gift shop. JULY 12: DRIVE ALCHI VIA BASGO AND LIKIR Your destination today is Uley Tokpo, stopping at Basgo, and Likir en route. As you drive, you pass the confluence of the Indus and the Zanskar rivers. Likir Monastery was built during the reign of Lachen Gyalpo more than 500 years ago and housed more than 600 monks. One of the most important Gelugpa monasteries in Ladakh, Likir used to house a set of images and thankas that surpassed those at Alchi. In fact, the monks of Likir were the caretakers of Alchi. The head Lama today is the younger brother of the HH the Dalai Lama, although he is not in residence. Many of the old treasures and much of the old structure was destroyed in a fire, and the present buildings date mainly from the 18 th century. A small, but interesting, museum is opened on request. Basgo is known for its castle ruin and the adjoining royal temples spectacularly located on the rocks. The complex of buildings includes a ruined fortress dating from the 15 th century, as well as two large temples and a small shrine. The best-preserved temple is situated at the very top, with the shrine dedicated to Champa or Maitreya. Built in the mid-16 th century by the Tshewang Namgyal dynasty, with the exception of Alchi, this temple has the oldest original wall murals in Ladakh. You end your day at Alchi Choskor, to use the full name, the oldest and largest monastery in Ladakh. Unlike most Ladakhi temples, Rinchen Zangpo (the man who also built Tabo in Spiti), one of the greatest monastery builders in Ladakh and western Tibet, built Alchi on the lowlands, rather than high on a hill. Three 3-story high statues of the Bodhisatvas dominate the monastery, but the Kashmiri-Hindu influence in the wooden carvings on the doors, ceiling designs and murals is apparent. There is a legend about Alchi that Rinchen Zangpo left his walking stick embedded in the ground with a promise that if the stick took root, he would return and build a gompa on the site. The stick did take root, and the gompa was built. Just before the four chortens in the courtyard on the right hand side, there is a large remnant of the tree, believed to have grown from the walking stick of Rinchen Zangpo. ULLEY ETHNIC CAMP OR ALCHI RESORT

6 July 13: DRIVE TO LAMAYURU AND MULBEK. CONTINUE TO KARGIL Today is another extraordinary drive among many on this trip a trip to Kargil, via Lamayuru and Mulbek. Along the way, you cross two passes - Namika La (12,198 feet) and Fotu La (13,479 feet). Lamayuru is one of the most spectacularly located monasteries in Ladakh, just below the road below the pass to Kalsi. Legend has it that the monastery was built where once serpents or nagas swam in a crystal clear lake and where the sage Naropa meditated in the 10th century. The central building dates back to the 10th century also constructed by Rinchen Zangpo at the bequest of the King of Ladakh. Yet Lamayuru has a pre-buddhist, Bon Po history, and is one of the oldest religious sites in Ladakh. Its real name is Yungdrung, signifying swastika. Once the home of more than 400 monks, today the monastery barely supports 20 to 30 monks of the Gelugpa sect. Known as Tharpa Ling or "Place of Freedom," the monastery is a sanctuary even for criminals and is guarded by an 11-headed, 1000-eyed image of Chenrezi, the Buddha of Compassion. Mulbek is 25 miles before Kargil and is famous for the statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. It is believed that the 27-foot high statue is carved out of solid rock and was built in the 7th or 8th century. The image commemorates the victory of Buddhism over the earlier animistic religion, called Bon, and marks an end of the sacrifice of both human and animal lives. Sadly, you cannot take photos of the statue. Kargil is the district headquarters of Zanskar and Ladakh, and is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh. The town serves as an important base for adventure tours in the heart of the Himalayas. It is the take off station for visitors to the exotic Zanskar Valley. Tourists traveling between Leh and Srinagar have to make a night halt here before starting the second leg of their journey. D ZOJILA/SIACHEN July 14: DRIVE SRINAGAR (205 MILES, 5-6 HOURS) Early in the morning after breakfast you will depart for Srinagar via Zojia-la (11,500-ft.), the Himalayan pass between Kashmir and Ladakh. On the way, you will stop at Drass to see the war memorial built in the memory of fallen soldiers in the 1999 Kargil war. Drass and the surrounding area are famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Note: The traffic to Zojila pass is controlled by Indian army. Visitors are required to register in order to proceed further. These are also the toughest few miles of the entire Srinagar - Leh highway. As soon as you cross over Zojia-la, the landscape starts changing dramatically from dry and barren mountains of Ladakh to lush green valley of Kashmir. You will arrive in Srinagar by afternoon and check into the hotel Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, literally means "the city of wealth and abundance" in Sanskrit. Srinagar s magical beauty, breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear waters, the village of shepherds, the world famous Dal Lake etc. are the assets that attract people from around the world. The place offers a wonderful vacation far away from the noise and pollution of urban areas. VIVANTA BY TAJ BREAKFAST

7 July 15: EXPLORE SRINAGAR This morning you will be taken to explore Srinagar in a half-day tour visiting Cheshmashahi and Shalimar Mughal gardens, Hazratbal and Shankaracharya Temple. Kashmir was a favorite of Mughal Emperors who visited it as often as they could. Cheshmashahi is the first Mughal garden. Built at a height above the city, its views are as stupendous as its layout. Shalimar was planted by Mughal ruler, Jehangir, whose love for Kashmir was legendary. Shaded by magnificent chinar trees, the Shalimar is a series of stone pavilions and flowing water. The mosque of Hazratbal is the only one of its kind, architecturally in Kashmir. Made of white marble with a dome and a minaret, Hazratbal is the repository of a single hair of the Prophet Mohammed, exhibited to the public on certain days of the year. Within Srinagar, on its highest hill is the Shankaracharya Temple, nearly one thousand feet above the city. It is devoted to Lord Shiva. The afternoon is free to explore on your own. VIVANTA BY TAJ BREAKFAST, LUNCH July 16 16: VISIT GULMARG This morning after breakfast, you have a day excursion to Gulmarg, situated at an altitude of 8,956 feet and located 35 miles from Srinagar in Baramula District. The town is surrounded by dense forests of tall conifers and nestled beneath the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. The place is known for its unparalleled beauty. Earlier called Gaurimarg by local shepherds, the town was renamed Gulmarg by a 16 th century Sultan called Yusuf Shah, who was captivated by its wild flowers and grassy slopes. Today Gulmarg is famous not only for its scenic surroundings, but also as the world's highest golf course and a premier ski resort in the country. Lunch will be an elaborate affair served to you at a scenic spot. You will return to your hotel in the evening for rest and leisure. VIVANTA BY TAJ BREAKFAST, LUN July 17: VISIT OLD TOWN, NISHAT GARDENS AND BOAT RIDE Today you will go on an exclusive special heritage tour of the town. The main focus will be ample interaction with locals, walking through the back lanes of old city with its wonderful old houses, wandering the bazaars, where the locals are buying their spices, fabrics and copper ware. You can also stop at the Sufi shrine, should you wish. After lunch, you can visit the Nishat Gardens, the second largest Mughal garden in Kashmir, built on the side of Dal Lake. Leaving the gardens, you will board your private shikaras and cruise through Dal Lake to your houseboat. Tonight we have arranged for some interaction with a local knowledgeable person on Kashmiri culture, called Kashmiriyat. SHERATON HOUSEBOAT July 18: AM CRUISE ON THE JELUM. PM VISIT TO ANDRAAB FACTORY AND SHOPS. EVENING KASHMIRI FEAST In the morning, you will take a cruise on the Jelum River, to get a sense of the local life there. The afternoon will be spent visiting shops and the factory of Muzaffar Andrabi,

8 where you can share the special, rarely visited, centuries old tradition of weaving shawls. Enjoy a first hand experience at the looms observing the amount of work and craftsmanship that goes into making each piece. Note: Some quality things that can be explored in Kashmir during sightseeing: - Extremely high-end valuable shawls weaved up to 1600 knots per square inch pure silk. - Kani jamawar shawls which are one world s most intricately weaved and unique shawls - Some 100 yr. + antique carpets. - Visit to original home based carpet looms in the interiors of down town Srinagar. - Inspection of some other precious textiles and shawls. Tonight we have arranged for a Kashmiri feast, called Wazawan, for you. The feast is like no other and includes a large number of local dishes in an elaborate dining affair. SHERATON HOUSEBOAT Day 17: AFTERNOON FLIGHT TO DELHI. DAY ROOM IN. FARWELL DINNER AND FLIGHT OUT. Today you can sleep in. Then, late morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival, you will be transferred to the Oberoi Grand in a day room, available until 6 pm. After 6 pm, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight to your home city. OBEROI GRAND - DAY ROOM BREAKFAST PER PERSON LAND COST FOR KALACHAKRA TEACHINGS, HEMIS FESTIVAL, LADAKH AND KASHMIR: $6, (7-10 people including national guide), $7, (4-6 people including national guide), $7, (2-3 people no national guide), $11,895 (one person) SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1770 INTERNAL AIR: $340 To Register for this Incredible Trip to India Contact: Journeys of Discovery Gayle Lawrence COST INCLUDES: English speaking guides in Delhi and Ladakh All hotels listed in the itinerary All meals listed in the itinerary All touring and teachings listed in the itinerary Ground transportation Monument entrance and still camera fees Soft drinks and mineral water during long drives Porterage at airports and train stations. DOES NOT INCLUDE: Comprehensive insurance coverage, including medical, evacuation, baggage loss/delay, cancellation ins., etc.

9 Any hotels transiting between your destination and the United States International airfare Domestic Air Fare in India - economy class - $ Airport taxes Visa fees Meals, except where indicated Liquor Laundry or other items of a personal nature Tipping is normal, but entirely at your discretion

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