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- Pilgrimages to Tibet & Nepal

Meaning of Pilgrimage

Remembering that this pilgrimage has certainly the potential to be the most decisive event of our life, we have collected precious Words from HH Gyalwang Drukpa. These words are a part of the blessing that His Holiness granted during the last pilgrimage in Ladakh, in 1998. We hope that you will enjoy discovering them or refreshing your memory. At that time, the reference was mainly Guru Rinpoche,but we added here the mention of Lord Buddha as well, regarding the content of the forthcomming pilgrimage in India and Nepal.

The meaning of pilgrimage

"Pilgrimage is supposed to be giving some impression that will last for ever, not only in this life but lives to come. That impression is meant to be inspiring you, in terms of spiritual practice. And then, through spiritual practice, it will benefit your day-to-day life. That is the exact meaning or idea of doing pilgrimage." "The benefit of the pilgrimage is meaningful only if you dedicate it towards all beings. The motivation that one should have all along the pilgrimage is compassion, to benefit others and help all beings. That is very important."

Turning it into the utmost meaningful practice

" Pilgrimage is an external practice. We are going to visit holy places, where Buddha Shakyamouni and Guru Padmasambhava have left their blessing for us, for those who follow them, the disciples who follow the teachings. Praying, meditating and practicing in such places is much more beneficial and much more effective than practicing in your home or in an ordinary temple. But this is true if you are aware of it. That means that this is true if you have devotion. Then, the blessing is everywhere, in the ground, in the trees, in the water... everywhere."

Give you a chance

"It is easy to waste time with meaningless activities. We are very used to that. Most of us tend to spend eight hours per day sleeping, some of us even 10 or 12 hours sleeping, which means that half of our life is spent sleeping. And by daytime, we waste a lot of time talking and chattering with each other, spending energy to keep social friendships and the like, and then eating. Especially French people, they can spend hours and hours around a meal. Anyway, we have then only a very little percentage of our time that we can use meaningfully. Maybe 3%, maybe 5% only are left, a very little time really worthwhile.. When we are on pilgrimage, it should not be that way. You should give you a chance. You should try your best not to waste your time." "One should focus on practice, on praying and making wishes. That's the only reason why Lord Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava have left their blessing in these places. What we can see, like imprints left in the rock, should encourage us, it is a kind of indirect teaching of what ultimate realisation means. These marks are meant to boost our confidence."


"Do respect the advices that are given by the organizers, do respect the collective rules so that the whole group will not suffer from your selfish behaviour. If you don't respect the kind advices that are given to you, you may encounter hardship and then you will suffer. If you suffer, the rest of the group will suffer because of you. Because we are like one family. And myself, I will worry, and I will suffer as well."


"The experience that you can have during the pilgrimage fully depends on yourself. A person who is at a lower level of understanding has a very completely different experience from those who have a higher level of understanding. Those who don't have any understanding, for instance common beings, will have a sort of very flat experience - or maybe almost no experience. Advanced practioners are supposed to be doing pilgrimage with the understanding that things that they can see are the reflection of their own nature. They will physically do the pilgrimage, but mentally, they will rest in themselves, in their nature. So, they won't be mentally wandering around. Whereas in our case, people like us, common beings, we will be wandering mentally and physically, both. That will be different."

Places to go:

Places in Tibet / Nepal to Visit

* Exotic Katmandu, capital of Nepal

* The Yarlung Valley, home of the ancient Kings of Tibet

* Yumbhulakhang and the Temple of the Ten Thousand Pearled Tangkha

* Samye Monastery, one of the most important sites in Tibet, since Tibetans believe that the soul of the recently deceased travels first to Samye Monastery

* The Jokhang Temple and the Norbulingka, meaning "jewel park", the summer palace of the Dalai Lama

* The Hospital of Traditional Tibetan Medicine where we will hear talks from Tibetan physicians who practice here. Our tour also includes a visit to the herbal medicine dispensary.

* Sera Monastery, one of the two great monasteries near Lhasa

* The Potala Palace, home to the Dalai Lama before he fled the Chinese occupation in 1959

* Drepung monastery, the largest monastery in Tibet which once had over 10,000 monks, and housed the State Oracle nearby as well

* Ganden Monastery, once considered the most powerful monastery in Tibet

*The Barkhor, the street that encircles the Jokhang that is both a sacred pilgrim path and a lively market place * Gyantse, the site of Palkhor Monastery and the Kumbum Chorten

*The Shalu monastery - Although it is small, for centuries Shalu was renowned as a center of scholarly learning and psychic training

* Shigatse - the second largest town in Tibet and site of Tashilhunpo Monastery, one of the four great monasteries of central Tibet and the only one of the four not in or near Lhasa

* Sakya Monastery, once the capital of all Tibet. Few travelers see this magnificent monastery, with its medieval Mongolian style architecture




Monastaries & Nunneries

Retreat Centers:

Lerab Ling - RIGPA's secluded retreat centre lies 70 km northwest of Montpellier in the south of France. Rich in natural beauty, it offers a unique environment for seminars, workshops, and group or personal retreats.
Dzogchen Beara - Experience the beauty and timeless magic of Dzogchen Beara Dzogchen Beara is RIGPA's retreat centre on the southwest coast of Ireland. Situated on cliffs high above the Atlantic Ocean, views unfold across the shimmering surface of Bantry Bay, and along one of Europe's last unspoiled stretches of coastline.

Tours & Pilgrimages


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Some highlights of our journey to India

Spend three days at Prasanthi Nilayam, Sai Baba's ashram in Puttaparthi • visit the city of Mysore and Mysore Palace during one of India's largest festivals, Dusshera, celebrating the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana • take an early morning boat ride on the river Ganges to view the bathing ghats at Varanasi • see Sankat Mochan, the most popular shrine of the monkey god, Hanuman • behold the Taj Mahal at sunset, followed by its world-renowned sound and light show • visit one of Sai Baba's orphanages • pay homage to Lord Krishna's birthplace, Mathura • experience Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath, believed to be the actual spot where Buddha preached His first sermon after attaining enlightenment • spend four nights at Parmarth Niketan, an ashram in Rishikesh, known as the "City of the Divine" • explore some of the many cultural sites in Delhi • ride an elephant in Mysore • enjoy a special farewell dinner celebration at one of Delhi's finest restaurants. Optional: white water rafting down the Ganges • purchase custom-tailored Indian clothing. Please note: Accommodation will be a combination of ashrams (Puttaparthi and Rishikesh) and 5-star hotels. Our modes of transportation throughout India shall be airplanes and buses.