Join us on this unforgettable pilgrimage through the majestic Himalayas in India.

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This Himalayan pilgrimage is a unique combination of purpose-driven adventure, trekking, and exploration of sacred sites enriched by practice and satsanga. Led by Ishan Tigunait, whose many years of practice and study under the guidance of Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait have given him valuable insight into the roots of the Tradition.

Retracing the footsteps of the sages, such as Swami Rama, while traveling through Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, and Gangotri, culminating at the glacier in Gomukh from where the sacred river Ganga emerges, are highlights of this pilgrimage. Learn the deeper significance of each location and strengthen your spiritual practice as we move from shrine to shrine, absorbing the living energy that pervades this unique region.

Himalayan Institute Spiritual Excursion: 44+ Years of Pilgrimage

With over 44 years of experience leading pilgrimages, diverse individuals from across the globe have traveled with us to sacred places, major pilgrimage centers, and bustling cities throughout India. We hope you join us on this upcoming pilgrimage to Gangotri to experience the excitement of India and the unparalleled majesty of the Himalayan Mountains. Learn more

Highlights

Gangotri

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Located deep in the Himalayas, Gangotri is the seat of the goddess Ganga and origin of the sacred river Ganga. For thousands of years, yogis have aspired to absorb the sacred energy of the Ganga at its source, and receive the blessings of the immortal masters whose vibrations pervade the entire region.

Gomukh

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A scenic trek beyond Gangotri leads to the Gomukh Glacier, the Ganga’s source. Along the way, the trail passes through blue pine forests in Chirbasa, alpine meadows, and boulder fields, all the while being embraced by the towering peaks of Mounts Shivling and Meru and the flowing Bhagirathi River.

Uttarkashi

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Uttarkashi literally means “North Kashi (Varanasi),” and is a shrine considered as sacred as Varanasi. Situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, it is the gateway to the shrines hidden deeper in the Himalayas, and renowned as the home of the sage Renuka, mother of the legendary sage Parashurama.

Yamunotri

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Perched in the verdant mountains to the west of Gangotri, Yamunotri attracts pilgrims seeking the source of the sacred Yamuna River. Traditionally, aspirants seek the blessing of goddess Yamuna, a spiritual counterpart of the Ganga, before continuing their pilgrimage to Gangotri.

Mussoorie

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This hill station, overlooking the Doon Valley, sits in the foothills of the Himalayas with the snowy peaks visible in the distance. Mussoorie is a historic town from the days of the British Raj, with many points of interest, such as waterfalls, lakes, temples, parks, old colonial estates, and resorts.

Itinerary

October 2–14, 2016

Day 1, October 2 Dehra Dun to Sursingdhar. Arrive at Dehra Dun Airport and transfer to Sursingdhar by motor coach.
Day 2, October 3 Sursingdhar. Village walk and free time to explore Sursingdhar.
Day 3, October 4 Sursingdhar to Janki Chatti. Check in at guest house and explore Janki Chatti; evening satsanga.
Day 4, October 5 Janki Chatti to Yamunotri. Trek to Yamunotri.
Day 5, October 6 Janki Chatti to Uttarkashi. Arrive in Uttarkashi and visit main temples in the afternoon.
Day 6, October 7 Uttarkashi. Morning and afternoon hikes to Nachiketa Tal and Renuka Temple; evening satsanga.
Day 7, October 8 Uttarkashi to Gangotri. Arrive in Gangotri; visit temple and explore surrounding area.
Day 8, October 9 Gangotri to Chirbasa. Begin trek in the morning; reach forest camp; afternoon free time.
Day 9, October 10 Chirbasa to Bhojwasa. Trek to Bhojwasa, evening satsanga.
Day 10, October 11 Bhojwasa to Gomukh to Chirbasa. Trek to Gomukh Glacier; after lunch, return to Chirbasa camp.
Day 11, October 12 Chirbasa to Gangotri to Uttarkashi. Trek to Gangotri for return to Uttarkashi by motor coach.
Day 12, October 13 Uttarkashi to Mussoorie. Arrive in Mussoorie; explore local area and enjoy free time.
Day 13, October 14 Mussoorie to Dehra Dun. Pilgrimage concludes with drop-off at Dehra Dun Airport after lunch.

*Itinerary, schedule, and dates are subject to change.

Registration Information

Rates (Land Only)

Early Registration (closes September 1, 2015): $2,700
Regular Registration (September 2, 2015 – May 1, 2016): $2,950

Two ways to register:

OnlineBy Mail

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much walking will be required? What is the difficulty level?

A: Treks can range from 2.5 miles (4 km) to 6 miles (9.5 km). Treks range from easy to moderate difficulty. Elevations range from 4,400 ft / 1,300 m to 12,800 ft / 3,900 m.

Q: How can I prepare for this pilgrimage?

A: Physical fitness and overall good health are important elements for a spiritual excursion such as this. If you haven’t already, we suggest that you begin a regular practice for conditioning the body. Aerobic exercise is especially helpful to prepare for trekking and high altitudes. One method is fast walking, building up to a steady pace on inclines, hilly terrain, and/or stairs, and increasing distance*.

The yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) of kapalabhati, bhastrika, and nadi shodhanam (alternate nostril breathing) are also good preparation, as is the practice of agni sara to energize the solar plexus and help sustain vitality. These practices are best done regularly, starting with a few repetitions and progressing gradually, according to your capacity. If you don’t know these techniques, we recommend that you take a pranayama or hatha yoga class with a qualified instructor. Yoga International provides instructional articles and videos on some of these techniques including contraindications, as do Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1, and Science of Breath by Swami Rama. These can be ordered through Himalayan Institute Press at (800) 822-4547 x4, or online.

Q: What will the weather be like during early October?

A: Weather and temperatures can change suddenly in the mountains. Generally, in October at the higher elevations, the days are sunny with daytime temperatures around 50 – 65 °F (10 – 18 °C) and cold evenings ranging from 28 – 46 °F (-2 – 8 °C). Be prepared for a full range of temperatures and conditions.

Q: What is the highest altitude on the trek?

A: The Gangotri trek leads to the source of the Ganga at Gomukh, the highest point on our journey. The altitude at Gomukh is 3,898 m / 12,789 ft.

* Consult with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program. If you experience any unusual discomfort, discontinue exercise and consult with your physician.

Q: How do I get to India?

A: From the United States: Many U.S. and international airlines offer flights to New Delhi, India. On the East Coast, a good number of flights depart from or connect at New York (JFK or EWR in Newark, NJ). Other major airports throughout the U.S. also offer flights to India. A number of flights stop in Europe, where passengers change planes. From other countries: Numerous flight options to/from Delhi from other countries around the globe are available. Depending on the departure city, many flights from Europe are non-stop to Delhi.

Q: Where can I stay for my overnight in Delhi?

A: There are a range of accommodations available in Delhi, including airport lounges and hotels, and hotels in the city. Registered participants will receive a list of hotel options.

Q: How do I get from Delhi to Dehra Dun?

A: Several Indian airlines offer non-stop flights from Delhi to Dehra Dun. The flight is approximately one hour.

Q: Do I need a passport or visa?

A: A Passport valid at least 6 months after your return date and India visa are required. It is recommended that there be at least 3 blank pages in the back of your passport. Each individual is responsible for obtaining their passport and visa. Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Limited (CKGS) is the only authorized Service Provider for the Embassy of India and its Consulates across the USA for Visa support services. Note: According to the Consulate of India website, the Embassy of India and its Consulates in the USA do not recognize any other agency to provide Visa services. If you would like to look into the process for obtaining an India visa in the United States, information can be found at Cox & Kings website (www.in.ckgs.us). Those residing outside of the continental U.S., check with your local Indian consulate for visa requirements in your country of residence.

Q: Where do I apply for my visa?

A: Your India visa processing site depends on where in the United States you currently reside, also known as jurisdiction. You can find a listing of the states in each jurisdiction (“application centers”), in addition to the hours, addresses and contact information for each site by using the following links within the Cox & Kings website: Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta. Those residing outside of the continental U.S., check with your local Indian consulate for details and visa requirements in your country of residence/citizenship.

Q: What immunizations do I need?

A: No immunizations are required for the areas we’re traveling to in India. You’re welcome to check the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization websites for their list of recommended vaccines. These vaccines are optional and the decision to get them is strictly a personal choice. We encourage you to discuss immunization with your health professional in order to make an informed decision based on your own personal preferences and health history.

Q: Are there natural ways to enhance my health before going to India?

A: Himalayan Institute Chyawanprash is highly recommended in preparation for your journey to India, and anytime. Described in ancient Ayurvedic texts, Chyawanprash is a synergy of specifically selected herbs and fruits in a nutritive tonic. The principle herb Amla (Amalaki) is one of the world’s most concentrated naturally occurring sources of antioxidant Vitamin C. A spoonful a day of this 2,000 year old formula is a tasty way for people of all ages and constitutions to nourish mind and body, while supporting healthy immune function.

*Take it regularly for several months before your departure to strengthen and build your immune system.

Chyawanprash

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Safe Travels

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*The statements made here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If taking any medication, consult with a healthcare practitioner before using this product. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation unless recommended by a healthcare practitioner. As with any herbal preparation, consider size, age, weight, constitution, and lifestyle as guidelines for use.

Q: Is the water safe to drink in India?

A: Bottled (mineral) water is recommended when staying in hotels in India and it can be purchased directly from the hotel or other local sources. On mountain trek days, bottled or boiled and filtered water will be provided.

Q: What medicines should I bring with me?

A: If you are taking prescription medication, bring an adequate amount with you. Although some medicines are available in India, their supply and quality are not reliable. Bring homeopathic or herbal remedies of your choice. Consult in advance with your health practitioner regarding other medications and recommendations for known allergies, possible altitude sickness, diarrhea, or general stomach upsets.

Q: Where will we be staying?

A: Shared accommodations range from hotel rooms to tents.

Q: What type of meals can I expect?

A: Freshly prepared vegetarian meals will be served at hotels and throughout the trek.

Q: Will I be able to do laundry?

A: It may be possible to do hand laundry on portions of the pilgrimage when there are stays of more than one night and weather conditions are favorable for drying. Laundry service is also available at hotels for additional charge.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: For this trekking pilgrimage it is very important to be properly equipped with appropriate mountain gear.

The following items are essential:

  • Comfortable, waterproof hiking shoes
  • 2–3 activewear T-shirts
  • 1–2 long sleeve shirts
  • Thermal base layers (tops and bottoms)
  • 1 medium or heavyweight fleece jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Wind and waterproof layer with a hood
  • 2–3 trekking pants
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Thick wool hiking socks (4–5 pairs)
  • Lightweight travel or pack towel
  • Two 1-liter or one 2-liter water bottles or hydration pack
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Walking stick / trekking poles
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Personal toiletries, including soap and shampoo
  • Wet Wipes or a similar product
  • Prescription medicine, if required
  • Day pack with rainproof cover
  • Sleeping bag (rated to approximately 20° F); and compression sack for packing it

Other things to consider:

  • Waterproof liner for inside your duffel (or a large garbage bag)
  • Camp shoes (shoes you can slip in/out of at camp)
  • Rubber sandals
  • Rain poncho
  • Extra Zip Lock or plastic bags
  • Camera and accessories
  • International converter kit for rechargeable items, or bring extra batteries
  • Plug adaptor
  • TSA luggage locks (locks keep zippers closed during handling, and help prevent accidental opening)
  • Pocket knife (packed in checked baggage, not in carry-on)
  • Toilet paper and/or pocket tissues
  • Laundry soap (for hand laundry)
  • Earplugs
  • Energy drinks/electrolytes
  • Snack bars, trail snacks

*Duffle bag weight is limited to no more than 22 lbs/10kgs. This is especially important for trekking days when luggage will be carried by porter or mule. In order to avoid having to leave items behind, be sure to pack within the weight limit.

Q: What is the culture like and how should I dress?

A: Due to cultural customs in India, the tour organizer asks women to refrain from wearing shorts above knee length, tops with spaghetti straps, halter tops, tank tops, plunging necklines or backs, sleeveless tops, form-fitting clothing, and short skirts or miniskirts. Men are asked to refrain from wearing muscle shirts. On mountain trek days and when visiting temples, long pants are appropriate for women and men. For women, long loose skirts are an adaptive piece of western clothing. Leggings are recommended for underneath long skirts, particularly if temperatures are cooler.

Q: Where can I change money?

A: Change currency into Indian rupees before exiting the Customs area at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted; therefore, plan to bring cash for exchange. The State Bank of India, near the baggage claim area (across from carousel 14) and before the Customs exit, is recommended for currency exchange. Count your rupees before leaving the window and be sure you are given an encashment certificate for your transaction. Retain this encashment certificate to use for exchanging any excess rupees at the end of your travel.

Q: Will we have access to a phone or internet?

A: Phone connections and service in the mountainous areas is unreliable and generally poor. Phone connections in the city of Dehra Dun are stronger and generally more reliable. Several local telephone carriers are located in the international arrivals area of Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport. Inquire about options and cost at Airtel or Idea upon arrival in India. Outside of Delhi, these services will likely be unreliable and not work. If you plan to use a local SIM card in your GSM mobile phone, have your local service provider unlock the phone before your departure for India. CDMA phones may require additional attention to avoid roaming charges with a local SIM card. Check details with your service provider.

A: Register online or download and mail the Tour Participant Agreement (TPA) with your deposit or full payment.

Q: What if I need to cancel?

A: Requests for cancellation must be made in writing to the tour organizer. See the Tour Participant Agreement for complete terms and conditions and applicable cancellation charges.

Q: What does the optional add-on retreat in Khajuraho encompass?

A: An optional retreat in Khajuraho after your Himalayan pilgrimage includes time for rest, relaxation, reading, journaling, walks in nature, contemplation, and enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the Sri Vidya Shrine and the Khajuraho campus. In addition, there will be time for yoga, deepening your meditation practice, optional karma yoga (selfless service), an optional visit to the 22-temple complex in town, shopping, and internet café for checking email.

Q: What is the weather like in Khajuraho?

A: By the end of September, the monsoon is generally over. Gradually, in late October to November, the winter season begins with cooler temperatures. Winter: October through February / early to mid- or late March are the winter months in Khajuraho. Winters are cold with temperatures dropping to 40 °F (4 °C), or colder at times, and daytime highs ranging from 75 °F (24 °C) to 82 °F (28 °C) Daytime highs may last for only a few hours in early afternoon. Highs in October may reach 90 °F (32 °C) or more. Weather is unpredictable. Be prepared for a full range of temperatures and weather conditions. Buildings in India do not have heat, and air-conditioning (when available) can be unreliable.

Q: How can I register for the add-on retreat?

A: Download and complete Addendum K. If paying by check, your completed Addendum K may be mailed to us with your payment. If paying by credit card, it may be emailed or faxed to us along with credit card details.

Q: I want to visit HI Khajuraho but cannot extend my stay in India. Is it possible to go at a later date?

A: Yes, it is possible to request an individual Sadhana Retreat in Khajuraho at another time. Call us at (800) 822-4547 x6. Our Spiritual Excursion Director will provide information on how to apply for a Sadhana Retreat in Khajuraho.

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Khajuraho Optional Add-on Retreat

Extend your stay in India with an optional 5-night / 6-day retreat at our Himalayan Institute India campus in Khajuraho, home of the Sri Vidya Shrine. A Khajuraho retreat after your Gangotri pilgrimage gives you time to deepen your spiritual practice, relax, rejuvenate, and integrate the experience of the pilgrimage before returning home.

Rate: $850 (Land Only)

Dates: October 15–20, 2016 (5 nights / 6 days)

Final Day of Gangotri Pilgrimage Arrive in Delhi after the conclusion of the Gangotri pilgrimage. One night at Delhi hotel is included in the Khajuraho retreat rate.
Day 1, October 15 Delhi to Khajuraho. Afternoon arrival in Khajuraho by flight. Check-in and orientation. Afternoon and evening free for getting settled.
Day 2, October 16 Rest Day. Time for practice and enjoying the serenity and beauty of the Sri Vidya Shrine and Khajuraho campus. Satsanga with Ishan Tigunait.
Day 3, October 17 Guided Nature Walk. Time for practice, reading, journaling, contemplation, or optional karma yoga (selfless service).
Day 4, October 18 Group trip to town. Optional visit to Western Temple complex and Eastern Temple complex, time for shopping, exploring, and internet café.
Day 5, October 19 Guided nature walk or other local group activity.
Day 6, October 20 Depart Khajuraho for Delhi by afternoon flight.
“The hiking…was the most valuable part because it called on untapped inner resources.”
—Mary (Lafayette, NJ)

Pilgrimage Route

“…an extraordinary experience I will never forget.”
—Marianne (Vina del Mar, Chile)

Photos

Contact

For more information or to make a balance payment:

Call (800) 822-4547 x6 or email excursions@himalayaninstitute.org