Wild Earth Journeys
Welcome to Solu Khumbu
Mount Everest Seen from Ratna Giri
Morning meditation infront of Ratna Giri
Sacred Buddhist chorten and mani wall enroute to Junbesi
Thupten Choling Monastery
Mani Rimdu at Chiwang Monastery
Mani Rimdu festival swings Chiwang monks into ecstasy
Cham Dance, Mani Rimdu
Cham Dance, Mani Rimdu
Fire Puja, Mani Rimdu
Destruction of sand mandala, Mani Rimdu
Sangsang Rimpoche blessing Mani Rimdu pilgrims
"I am of the mountains and my mind is there. Thus do I sing my song."
Life is busy, fast-paced. We try to maintain peace, acceptance and work with whatever arises. But few realize the toll of modern life on our spirits or the riches of cleaning our internal mirrors, caring for our mind, sharpening our perceptions, discovering our face before we were born in wilderness and in retreat. Come join Thomas L. Kelly and Carroll Dunham on a deeply personal and intimate journey to the heartland of the Himalayas to witness the swirling colors of the Mani Rimdu festival and meet one of the greatest living masters: Sang Sang Rinpoche, the incarnation of Lama Tenzin Chodar, Trulshig Rimpoche’s father.
Learn more about Buddhism and wilderness, as we retreat even deeper, before retuning to engage more deeply in the world renewed. Meditation and yoga, and the deep joy of walking one's mind clear; these are some of the sweetest trails in all the Himalaya. Exploring the largest traditional hermitage in all the Himalaya, we walk incredible trails to reach Sengye Phuk, a Glacial Lake where Trulshig Rinpoche was in retreat over 40 years ago and where he sent monks and nuns for chod-wilderness practice. Long life sacred waters curl in this blessed wilderness, a place to rest more deeply in ourselves.
Day 1. 4th Nov. Monday
Arrive in Kathmandu! Shuttle bus to Hotel Vajra. The Vajra is situated on the foothills of the Swayambhunath Stupa with its age old pilgrim road and also near the Bijeswori Temple complex; two of the power places of the Kathmandu Valley. The Vajra is surrounded by trees and flower trail gardens, creating a place of serenity and beauty, overlooking the entire Kathmandu Valley up to the snow peaks of the Himalayas. On any early morning you may join the pilgrims – Nepali, Tibetan, Bhutanese, in-fact, you may see a Buddhist from any part of the world on their ascent to the great 2000 years old Swayambhunath Stupa. After a rest, Orientation with Thomas and Carroll.
Day 2. 5th Nov. Tuesday
Early morning visit to Boudhanath Stuppa, to join the hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims circumambulating the stupa. Hang prayer flags followed by a visit to Serchen Monastery- morning meditation alongside praying monks followed by a talk by Rimpoche and a visit to Lama Wang du, a living treasure of compassion. Afternoon visit to the Kingdom of Patan, home to some of the most beautiful Hindu Pagoda temples in the world and world-class bronze casters and Thanghka painters.
Day 3. 6th Nov. Wednesday
Early morning guided tour of Pashupatinath, a Shiva temple complex filled with Himalayan yogis and where the last death rites are performed by Brahman Priests alongside the funeral ghats. Meet renowned yogis to discuss sacred tilaka body painting of chakra points. Visit Bhaktapur, the medieval Kingdom to 150,000 traditional farmer followed by a lunch with Goetz Hagmauller, world renown Architect, 30 years living in Nepal.
Day 4. 7th Nov. Thursday
Early departure to Kathmandu airport. Fly to Phalpu at 7:00 am. Stay at Dr. Mingma's house. Tour by Dr. Mingma through his hospital; visit traditional Sherpa friends to learn about the traditional Sherpa culture.
Day 5. 8th Nov. Friday
Early morning Darjeeling tea wake -up call and walk three hours through Rhododendron forests to Ratna Giri 12,000’ in hopes of viewing Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Nupste and the extending Himalayan range. Morning meditation at top of mountain followed by full breakfast. Return to Phalpu. Relax, journal writing, poetry reading, followed by a visit to Christopher Giercke's Hotel Sherpa for a delicious diner and viewing of the film, Lord of the Dance, to understand the Mani Rimdu festival.
Day 6. 9th Nov. Saturday
Depart Phalpu for a five hour walk to Jumbese (2600 mt.), home to the heart of traditional Sherpa culture. Lunch along the way. Jumbese is also the seat of traditional Sherpa architecture. For interested minds, pick up the book Rhythms of a Himalayan Village by Hugh R. Downs, the best book about this region, including what you will witness at Mani Rimdu. Overnight at traditional Sherpa Inn.
Day 7. 10th Nov. Sunday
Visit meditation retreat of Lama Tenzing overlooking the Jumbesi valley.
Day 8. 11th Nov. Monday
Meditation and Pranayama in the morning. After breakfast, we will walk three – four hours to Thupten Choling Monastery 2800mt. Explore the monastery and meditate with nuns. Thupten Choling Monastery Guest House.
Day 9. 12th Nov. Tuesday
Depart Thupten Choling Monastery - walk 4 hours to Sengye Phuk "Lion's Cave" where Trulshig Rinpoche went into retreat after his harrowing escape from Tibet in 1959. Overnite at Sengye Phuk.
Day 10. 13th Nov. Wednesday
Morning mediation at Sengye Puk, Fire puja. Rest day at Sengye Puk.
Day 11. 14th Nov. Thursday
Trek towards Dhud Khund.
Day 12. 15th Nov. Friday
Arrive Dhud Khud. (Yogini power place. Camp)
Day 13. 16th Nov. Saturday
Descend towards Chiwong Monastery Establish camp and hang prayer flags. Afternoon meditation at Chiwong Monastery. Chiwong Camp.
Day 14. 17th Nov. Sunday
1st day of Mani Rimdu. Group invited to sit with monks in a Wang (a teaching from the Rimpoche). Followed by audience with Sang Sang Rinpoche, reincarnation of Trulshig Rimpoche’s father. We then take a mountain walk to hang prayer flags. Meditation followed by group feedback session. Chiwong Camp.
Day 15. 18th Nov. Monday
Cham Festival dances and traditional Sherpa dancing for Mani Rimdu. Optional hikes for those who prefer. Chiwong Camp.
Day 16. 19th Nov. Tuesday
Fire Puja at Chiwong Monastery. Destruction of sand mandala. Optional walk to surrounding Sherpa villages. Chiwong Camp.
Day 17. 20th Nov. Wednesday
Early morning walk with monks to the sacred spring to disperse the sand mandala. Breakfast followed by a forest walk to Phalpu. Visit traditional Sherpa homes along the way. Dinner celebration at Everest Hotel. Everest Hotel.
Day 18. 21st Nov. Thursday
Morning flight to Kathmandu. Afternoon free for shopping. Farewell dinner and end of trip. Hotel Vajra.
Day 19. 22nd Nov. Friday
Shopping in Kathmandu.
Day 20. 23rd Nov. Saturday
Although we have an itinerary, we will need to be flexible so we can respond to what arises on the trip. We ask that you be aware that changes to the program may be necessary due to unforeseen circumstances.
You must be in good physical condition for this trip. Participants should be able to walk up to five hours a day, for two days in a row. Elevation will be between 6000 to 12,000’. During the trip you will be exposed to circumstances and living conditions that are likely different from those at home. This program involves a variety of activities and may include physical exertion. It is possible that you may suffer an emotional or physical injury or disability. Risks must be assumed by each participant. Please take out your own medical/travel insurance and consult your own travel doctor about immunizations.
Included in Price
Hotels (double occupancy); in-country transportation; entrance fees to museums; meals (B,L,D); in-country guide; leaders; porters; airport transfers; internal flights; all camping supplies except sleeping bags.
Airfare; airport departure taxes; visa fees; insurance; items of a personal nature; over weight baggage to Phalpu (limited to 33 pounds per person for check in baggage and 6.6 pounds for carry on); tips, alcohol; sleeping bag; and emergency evacuation. Alcohol, and tips to Sherpas.
If you should get sick and need a change of accommodation or travel plans while in Nepal, you will need to cover any additional costs outside of the regular trip plan. Those who would like to stay after trip dates will do so at their own expense.
Final payment is due Sept 1st. In the event of cancellation within 31-70 days prior to departure date, there will be a refund of 75% of the land portion of the trip fee. In the event of cancellation within 40 days prior to the departure date, there will be a refund of 50% of the land portion of the trip fee.
****PLEASE NOTE: We require that you purchase travel insurance. This is just a smart thing to do for overseas travel, and if there is a medical emergency, particularly an evacuation needed, you will need to have this coverage.
Trip is limited to 15 Pax.
FOR A VERY PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL AGENT, WEJ RECOMMENDS:
Peace Land's Travel & Tour Inc.
Robin Bhandari (President)
Toll Free: 1888 461 4722
Phone: 214 634 9911, 4532025
3455 N Belt Line Rd. Suite 210C
Irving TX 75062 USA
Our Guides in Nepal
THOMAS KELLY is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has led cross-cultural trips throughout South Asia and Mongolia. An x-Peace Corps Volunteer of Nepal, ethnographic photographer for The Body Shop International, a recipient of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant, Thomas Kelly has been documenting vanishing and resilient indigenous communities across the planet for over twenty-five years. Thomas has worked on the PBS TV series Millennium: Tribal Wisdom in the Modern World and National Geographic’ TV series Light At the Edge of the World. Having published over 10 photographic books on Nepal, Tibet, India and Mongolia he more recently has spent the last 8 summers in Mongolia with his two sons and wife Carroll exploring the Tsaatan reindeer nomads, the Kazakh eagle hunters, and Khalkh horse people. His photos have been published worldwide including the New York Times, Time and Newsweek, Outside, Men’s Journal and National Geographic Adventure. A classical reportage photographer, Kelly has the ability to have a quiet, yet trusted presence among the peoples he photographs to capture the elusive essence of these enduring cultures. He currently represents Hinduism Today, USA and loves to practice Yoga.
CARROLL DUNHAM is a Princeton University anthropologist, yoga instructor, documentary filmmaker and director of Wild Earth Pvt. Ltd-a cooperative producing luxury Himalayan herbal products in Kathmandu. She has lived in the Himalayas for twenty-five years exploring Asia’s rich spiritual healing traditions, maps of the body and consciousness, sacred geography, plant pharmacopeias and life cycle rituals. As Company Anthropologist for The Body Shop, she explored and documented rites and rituals of body care around the world (and wrote the book Mamatoto: A Celebration of Birth (Viking: 1991) celebrating birthing rite practices of every continent. She continues to work with traditional healers throughout Asia from India to Mongolia. Author of four books, Sacred Landscape and Pilgrimage in Tibet-In Search of the Lost Kingdom of Bon, Tibet: Reflections from the Wheel of Life, The Hidden Himalayas, Abbeville Press, N.Y., N.Y. she has worked on National Geographic, CBC, BBC, and PBS documentaries on polyandry, pilgrimage, sexuality, mind sciences and sacred geography.