Saints, Sages and Shrines of the scenic Himalayas
‘A journey of into the Himalayan heart of spirituality.’
Our pigrimage begins in Delhi, and then takes us onward to the lower Himalayas which include beautiful lakes and forests. Access to these areas is by bus, and in some cases by foot with walks of between 1⁄2 hour and 1 1⁄2 hours. All walks are taken at the pace and rhythm which is comfortable for each individual.
The itinerary includes visits to the ashrams and shrines of past and present saints including the cave where the immortal guru, Babaji, gave Kriya Yoga initiation for the first time in the modern age to his disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. It’s necessary to have a level of health and physicality which allows one to walk easily at altitudes of 2,000-3,400 metres; equally necessary is a keen sense of adventure and devotion.
Ananda has been offering this inspiring, well-organised and lovingly guided pilgrimage to India for many years and you are cordially invited!
Naukchiatal is a picturesque emerald lake at an altitude of 1,800 metres (approximately 4,500 feet) and is one of the nine famous lakes of the Kumaon region of India. It is a peaceful setting with a charming town. There are numerous saints and ashrams in this area, including:
Vankhandi Maharaj (also called Saint Francis Baba) who has lived for the past thirty years in a small ashram on a mountain top near Bhimtal. He lives in perfect harmony with nature and the animals, and the tigers come to visit him.
130-year-old Swami Paramananda, a dynamic sadhu, was formerly a doctor in Calcutta who renounced his worldly duties to dedicate his life to the spiritual search. He met Lahiri Mahasaya when he was a child. We hope to have darshan with him, chanting and meditation, with the chance to ask him questions. Previous trips to this wonderful saint have left everyone uplifted. This Swami also recounts to us his personal contact with Babaji.
On the way from Naukchiatal to Nainital (in the Almora area) we will stop to meditate at another Neem Karoli Baba ashram and at various temples.
Dwarahat and Babaji’s Cave
From Almora we proceed to Dwarahat/Ranikhet where we will stay at the Dronagiri Retreat, close to Babaji’s cave. We will visit the powerful temple of Dronagiri, known for millennia as one of the Shakti Pita, dedicated to the divine mother. A whole day will be dedicated to the cave of Babaji, an experience that will include a beautiful walk of approximately an hour to reach the cave where Babaji gave the first Kriya initiation in modern times to Lahiri Mahasaya, who then went on to teach it to thousands in Benares. From the Dronagiri retreat we can enjoy the splendid panoramic view of the Himalayan range.
Along the road to Badrinath we will stop at Pipalkoti along the way visiting local tea plantations, temples and other characteristic and splendid places of this natural area.
Badrinath (3,100 metres)
Badrinath is the holiest shrine and pilgrimage place in all of India. Located at 3100 metres on the banks of the Alaknanda River, it was established by Swami Shankaracharya in the seventh century. The shrine is dedicated to Badrinarayan, a form of Vishnu, whom many devotees consider to be Babaji. The statue in the temple was found in the river by Shankaracharya. We will hike to the spectacular falls of Vasudev, hike into the Neelkanth Valley, visit the sacred temple of Badrinath, meditate at the caves of Veda Vyasa and Ganesha, who brought the epic Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita to the world. We will also have time to visit the Tibetan colony of Mana and enjoy the holy city of Badrinath, including visits to the swamis and babas who live in this holy valley. We will be at an altitude of about 3000-3400 m (9500-11000 ft) and have spectacular views of the snow covered mountains and green valleys of the Himalayas. One can experience a profound silence in this beautiful valley.
Located at the foot of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges river, Rishikesh is blessed with the holy atmosphere of many ashrams, saints and sadhus. We will meditate along the Ganges and in various ashrams and holy places. One of the highlights will be a visit to Vanamali Devi, a devotional woman sage, living in her picturesque ashram above the Ganges. There will be an opportunity to meditate in Swami Sivananda’s kutir and on the ghat where spent many hours each morning in meditation, and visit his tomb at the Divine Life Society. We also go to Haridwar (place known for the famous Kumbha Mela) and visit the ashram of Ananda Mayi Ma where the saint left her body and another ashram. There will be free time to walk, shop and meditate in peace.
After Rishikesh the group returns to Delhi.
These fees are a close approximation, based on the information we have on hand (€1 = Rs 80). Due to possible fluctuations in the exchange rate and the cost of oil, which affect costs of flights and other transportation as well as hotel accommodations, some of these fees might change slightly.
For travel contract conditions and bank transfers, please contact us.
Included in the Programme Fee:
- food and lodging, two meals per day (breakfast and dinner),
- guided spiritual practices
- all ground transportation
- medical insurance (limited) valid only during the pilgrimage
- bottled water
- tips for porters
- Ananda and Indian guides
Not Included in the Programme Fee:
- Flight to Delhi (unless booked with us; see details above)
- Indian visa costs
- Extra meals and beverages
- Donations to ashrams, sadhus, charitable organisations
- Tips for special service from Indian guides, drivers, etc.
- Personal trips with taxis, rickshaws, etc.
- Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, internet, etc.
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Himalayan Adventure and pilgrimage to Babaji’s cave
Unforgettabe pilgrimage: slideshow of this splendid journey to the sacred places of the Himalayas which Ananda has been doing for many years.
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