September 1 (Tuesday)
September 2 (Wednesday)
Arrive in Delhi. Overnight at 4-star hotel (Holiday Inn Aero City District, New Delhi).
September 3 (Thursday)
Breakfast at 4-star hotel. Extra luggage sent to Rishikesh ashram by car. Depart to Leh (10,685 ft) after breakfast. Lunch upon arrival in Leh. Afternoon and evening to rest at the hotel with no physical exertion for acclimatization. Group dinner in the evening and rest.
September 4 (Friday)
Morning rest on this day to help acclimate yourselves to the higher elevations of the mountains. Visitation to Leh monasteries, including the awe-inspiring 12-story, hilltop Thiksey Monastery, revered as the highest order monastery in Ladakh. Here, the devotional energies are palpable. At dawn the monks' trumpets call in devotees for prayers in the main halls where drums and chants lead everyone into a trance-like state. Next we will visit the spectacular Shanti Stupa (known as "Peace Pagoda"), one of the magnificent Buddhist monuments built by Japanese monks to promote world peace. The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself, and its hilltop position provides a sweeping view of the Leh town and surrounding mountain peaks. Dinner and overnight in Leh.
September 5 (Saturday)
Drive to Hunder (Nubra Valley) (5-6 hours), where camels can often be seen grazing on the dune-like landscape between the foot of the mountains and the braided Shyok River. Traverse the Khardung La pass (17,590 feet), the second highest motorable pass in the world. Evening open for a small hike or relaxation and rest. Dinner and overnight in Hunder (Nubra Valley).
September 6 (Sunday)
Visit to Diskit monastery, perched high above the town, with its elongated mounds of stones engraved with Buddhist mantras and prayers. An enormous 105-foot high Maitreya Buddha statue sits atop this monastery, which was inaugurated by HH Dalai Lama. From the base of the statue, one can view the gorgeous panoramic scenes of the Nubra Valley. A small network of pathways weaves among the monks' quarters to a cluster of ancient prayer halls where monks chant daily at dawn amidst horns and crashing cymbals. We will pack a change of clothes for a welcome dip in Panamik hot springs. Visit to sand dunes. Dinner and overnight in Hunder (Nubra Valley).
September 7 (Monday)
After breakfast, return to Leh (4-5 hours). Visit the 9-story 17th-century Leh Palace and Sankar Monastery, the ancient center of royalty in Leh. An unusual palace, the palace construction is quite modest, standing apart from other palaces with its simplicity. Explore the ancient corridors and inside rooms at your own pace or enjoy a moment in meditation or contemplation upon the ancient times. Enjoy the beautiful views of Leh from the palace windows. Dinner in Leh and quiet evening to rest.
September 8 (Tuesday)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Alchi (70 km) to visit several sacred sites.
Nestled amidst the evergreen vistas, the Alchi monastery is an architectural masterpiece sandwiched between the snowy peaks and nestled alongside the cold jade waters of the Indus River. Next, the beautiful sacred Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, constructed in memory of Guru Nanak, holds the legendary stone body and foot imprints from Guru Nanak's encounter with a wicked demon. We will stop at the stunning Sangam (confluence) of Zanskar & Indus rivers at Nimoo, where these two opulent rivers converge. On to Basgo Palace, with mystic charm and gorgeous views. Dinner and overnight in Uley.
September 9 (Wednesday)
Morning meditation. Visit to Dha Hanu village, one of the few villages home to the ethnic Drogpa tribe of Leh, who are renowned for their hospitality. (The Drogpa tribes are known for their distinct ornaments and head gears and a favorite among photographers too.) Picnic lunch. Afternoon visit to Lamayuru monastery, affectionately called the "Place of Freedom", one of the most admired monasteries in Ladakh. Home to 150 monks, this monastery belongs to the Red-Hat Buddhists and is a place of profound energy where Buddhism is practiced as a way of life for both spirituality and freedom. Legends say that the Bodhisattva Madhyantak predicted the location of this monastery. Upon its completion, it was declared as a "no-arrest zone" (and thus the name "Place of Freedom"). Return to Leh for dinner and overnight.
September 10 (Thursday)
Morning meditation. Leh local sightseeing to Stok village and Stok monastery, enjoy local cuisine in local house in Stok and interact with local villagers. A long-standing (and little known to the outside world) tradition in Ladakh is the Oracle, “Lha-mo” (female) or “Lha-pa” (male), a type of a spiritual healer. Experience a local and unique Oracle-led healing as practiced by 2-3 families in Choglamsar. Our group will enjoy an exclusive 2-3 hour session, so bring your deeper questions and inquiries to receive replies from this ancient local tradition. We will have a language translator present to help translate the Oracle's words. Evening dinner together and overnight in Leh.
September 11 (Friday)
Leh - Pangong Tso - Leh (full day drip)
Early breakfast. Drive to the idyllic Pangong Tso (4-5 hours each way), one of the high-altitude brackish water lakes in Ladakh. Take in the incredible views and sights at Chan La Pass, known as the third highest motorable road in the world, perched at a height of 17,590 ft above sea level. Return to Leh for evening meal and rest. Dinner and overnight in Leh.
September 12 (Saturday)
Breakfast at hotel. Half day visit to Saboo Meditation Centre-- perfect for meditation and quiet contemplation. Interaction with Lama and learning more about the unique culture of Ladakh
Relax in evening or take a stroll through the Leh market. Dinner and overnight in Leh.
September 13 (Sunday)
Depart for Rishikesh (flight). Arrive at ashram hermitage on the Ganga by late afternoon. Ashram orientation, unpack. Dinner at ashram. Evening rest or walk along the beautiful Ganga, across from the wild jungles of India.
September 14 (Monday)
Morning meditation and guided yoga. Breakfast at ashram. Visit to the remarkable historic Beatles Maharishi ashram. Lunch at local Indian restaurant. Afternoon off to enjoy a little rest or a rejuvenating stroll along beautiful Ganges River, with a sip of tea from a local cafe.
September 15 (Tuesday)
Morning meditation and guided yoga. Breakfast at ashram. Trip to Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula with walk across their legendary rope bridges. Lunch at organic restaurant in beautiful Ramana's orphanage in Lakshman Jhula. We'll participate in the powerful legendary twilight aarti (prayer) and kirtan while sitting on the banks of the Ganga in Ram Jhula. Dinner at ashram.
September 16 (Wednesday)
Morning meditation and yoga. Breakfast at Ganga Kinare Hotel. Free morning in Rishikesh. Afternoon trip to Haridwar for another beautiful legendary evening aarti on the banks of the Ganga. Packed dinner.
September 17 (Thursday)
Free Day in Rishikesh. Pack for Agra/Delhi. Afternoon chai and evening dinner at ashram. Special evening Kirtan with Ragani and Kaita for our final night in Sadhana Mandir Ashram on the banks of the Ganges. Early rest.
September 18 (Friday)
Depart for Delhi (flight) after breakfast. Drive to Agra, lunch en route. Check into 4-star luxury hotel and enjoy an evening meal together.
September 19 (Saturday)
Taj Mahal! Experience one of the exquisite renowned Seven Wonders of the World in its full glory! Lunch in Agra. Evening to relax and enjoy dinner together.
September 20 (Sunday)
Early breakfast. Depart for Delhi after breakfast, with lunch en route. Check into 4-star hotel in Delhi. Evening to relax and enjoy dinner together.
September 21 (Monday)
Free day for lots of great India shopping! We'll provide transportation from hotel to the government cottage emporium shops, where you can find incredible Indian items, and all for great prices (at this giant museum-like location, you won't need to haggle for prices either). Support local artisans with your purchases and get gifts and any last-minute items you'd like to bring home. Return to hotel late-afternoon to shower and rest. We'll have our final bon voyage with an early evening meal together. Head to airport after dinner. Departure for US.
September 22 (Tuesday)
Arrive in US early in the morning (due to time zone differences).