Join us for this epoch-changing event, and be a force for change.

Celebrated for thousands of years, the Kumbha Mela embodies the spirit of an unbroken tradition. We all know the mystique the Kumbha Mela carries. It happens at the right place—the bank of the holy river Ganga, and at the right time—when planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies are perfectly aligned, creating a powerful vortex of spiritual energy. But it is up to us—the adepts, seekers, and pilgrims—how we fill the vessels (kumbha) of our minds and hearts with the force of change, so readily available at this auspicious time and at this auspicious place. One of the most proven ways to capture and embody this force is the Rudra Yaga.

Join us for this epoch-changing event, and be a force for change. This program offers a rare opportunity to partake in the 11-day group practice of Rudra Yaga and experience the power of collective consciousness in action. Learn the hidden mysteries of this rare tantric practice of Rudra Yaga from a living master, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, in an 8-part study intensive accompanying the group practice. Take your personal practice to the next level with daily yoga and meditation on the bank of the Ganga, and bask in the spiritual vibrancy of the nearby shrines we’ll visit on day trips to Vindhyachal and Allahabad.

“With Rudra Yaga at the Kumbha Mela, bring the Kali Yuga to a close and clear the way to a new epoch—Satya Yuga.”
—Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD

Program Highlights

Participate in Rare Tantric Practice of Rudra Yaga

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Participate in the rare tantric practice of Rudra Yaga on the occasion of Kumbha Mela and experience the power of collective consciousness in action. Join in daily havan practice (tantric ritual of sacred fire) and mantra recitation. Learn More

Intensify Your Knowledge

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Intensify your knowledge with a living master, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, in an 8-part study intensive: Rudra Yaga—Gateway to Living Without Fear. Learn More

Experience Spiritual Vibrancy

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Experience the spiritual vibrancy of living on the bank of the river Ganga, and bask in the beauty and serenity of the Himalayan Institute’s lush 30-acre campus. Learn More

Deepen Your Personal Practice

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Deepen your personal practice with daily yoga classes and group prayers and meditation with senior teachers of the Himalayan Institute. Learn More

Expand Your Capacity

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Expand your capacity by intensifying your practice and taking the opportunity to do specialized practices at this most auspicious time and place. Learn More

Witness the Kumbha Mela

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Witness the Kumbha Mela and be a part of this several-thousand year old tradition. Learn More

Explore Local Culture

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Explore the local culture and points of interest with daily walks. Learn More

Visit Famous Shakti Shrines

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Visit the famous Shakti shrines of Vindhyachal and Allahabad during day-trip pilgrimages. Learn More

Rudra Yaga Group Practice

Whenever destructive forces—fear, anger, violence, grief, and hopelessness—shake our conviction in ourselves, in truth, in justice, and in humanity, the sages resort to high-caliber group practices, such as Rudra Yaga. Each time, those practices enable us to navigate turbulent times. Clearly, to some extent, all of us are caught in inner and outer turmoil. All of us are in need of restoring the vitality of our body, youthfulness of our mind, and love and compassion in our family and society. It is for this reason we are organizing a Rudra Yaga.
The core practice of Rudra Yaga is centered on the sacred fire, both within and without. Essential components of Rudra Yaga are group practice of havan (tantric ritual of sacred fire), mantra recitation, and meditation. Our Rudra Yaga practice will be led and officiated by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, and all program participants will have the opportunity to join the practice and partake in the havan fire ceremony.
Rudra Yaga invokes and awakens Rudra Shakti, the life force, also known as prana shakti. We exist only because there is life force in us. We remain healthy, happy, clear, vibrant, and radiant when Rudra Shakti is in its prime. At a personal level, this shakti awakens as kundalini. With the practice of Rudra Yaga, we awaken this shakti on a much larger scale, infusing collective consciousness with unconditional love, kindness, wisdom, enthusiasm, courage, and trust in ourselves and in Divine Providence. This, in turn, frees us from fear, doubt, anger, violence, and self-defeating tendencies.

Our Rudra Yaga at the Kumbha Mela will be accompanied by the study intensive, Rudra Yaga—Gateway to Living Without Fear, designed to help you immerse yourself into the deeper meaning of the practice. During these sessions, Pandit Tigunait will take you to the original sources of Rudra Yaga—such scriptures as Netra Tantra, Svacchanda Tantra, Sri Vidyarnava Tantra, and Yajur Veda.

There is no other event in the world like the Kumbha Mela. The fact that millions of pilgrims, aspirants, and adepts have been gathering here for thousands of years is a testament to the extraordinary significance of this event and this place. Preparatory practices for the Rudra Yaga normally take days or even months. But here we complete them in a matter of just a few hours, for at the auspicious occasion of the Kumbha Mela, the sages—the great masters of the past—have already done it for us. We’ll be using the pitham, the invisible altar of sacred space, which has already been consecrated and enlivened by the sages. The inherent shakti of the place is free of obstacles, and collective consciousness of the Kumbha Mela confers upon us the blessings of success in Rudra Yaga.
The Himalayan Institute Allahabad campus is within range of the inner circuit of the pitham, the invisible altar that serves as a locus for the benevolent forces presiding over the collective consciousness of the Kumbha Mela. Therefore, our campus is the ideal place for Rudra Yaga. We have a mile-long waterfront, and with its beautiful groves and gardens, our campus is a paradise. It is removed from the throng and is still within walking distance of the main Mela site. Equipped with amenities unavailable anywhere else at the Kumbha Mela, we can enjoy the comfort, convenience, and peace of mind required to undertake our practice successfully. The experience of Rudra Yaga in our “Sacred Grove,” at the bank of the river Ganga, will be your lifelong treasure.

Download Dynamics of Rudra Yaga PDF to learn more.

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Study Intensive with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

Rudra Yaga—Gateway to Living Without Fear

In this study intensive taught exclusively by Pandit Tigunait, learn about the dynamics of Rudra Yaga and how this practice awakens the forces of benevolence, ensuring that we live without fear and uncertainty. This intensive comprises eight sessions, and is meant to explain step-by-step how the Rudra Yantra is invoked in a sacred fire, and how that sacred fire relates to the clusters of shaktis presiding over the different chakras in our body. This study will enable you to understand why, whenever humanity stood at a crossroads, the great masters undertook Rudra Yaga, and how Rudra Yaga created a collective consciousness that afforded humanity the chance to live in harmony.

During these sessions, Pandit Tigunait will take you to the original sources of Rudra Yaga—such scriptures as Netra Tantra, Svacchanda Tantra, Sri Vidyarnava Tantra, and Yajur Veda.

Session Topics

Session 1: Dynamics of Rudra Yaga
Session 2: Tapping into the Pool of Mantra Shakti and the Lineage
Session 3: Invoking the Forces of Benevolence for a Vibrant Diversity
Session 4: Invoking 64 Yoginis, the Goddesses of Harmony and Inner Union
Session 5: The Circuits of Rudra Yantra Embodying the Powers of Protection, Guidance, and Stability
Session 6: The Circuits of Rudra Yantra Embodying Intuitive Wisdom and Creativity
Session 7: The Circuits of Rudra Yantra That Instill the Web of Life with Beauty and Unimpeded Growth
Session 8: Rudra Yaga for a Successful Practice of Sri Vidya

Kumbha Mela

Celebrated every 12 years for millennia, the Kumbha Mela is the largest spiritual gathering on the planet. The Ardha Kumbha Mela is celebrated at the halfway point between every Kumbha Mela, and is imbued with the same spiritual qualities as the Kumbha Mela. Pilgrims, saints, sages, sadhus, and yogis belonging to many different paths and traditions come to the Kumbha Mela to share their knowledge and wisdom, to intensify their own practice, and to walk together on their spiritual journey. Tens of millions gather at the bank of the river Ganga at a time when the planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies are perfectly aligned, creating a powerful vortex of spiritual energy. This energy is further intensified by the collective consciousness of the saints, sages, and pilgrims who gather here with a single shared intention: inner healing and lasting change.

The word kumbha means “vessel or container.” It refers to the vessel that holds the elixir of life, the sap of immortality. The time and place that holds this liquid life force is called the Kumbha Mela. One of India’s many ancient legends tells us that this elixir of life pours down from heaven every 12 years at the confluence of three rivers—the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Sarasvati—near the modern-day city of Allahabad, in north-central India. For thousands of years, the great sages have undertaken intense group practices at this spiritual locus to channel wisdom into human hearts and to establish harmony in the physical world.

The Himalayan Institute Allahabad Campus

Our Campus

To the thousands of seekers who have visited Himalayan Institute Allahabad, this campus embodies the spirit of the legendary ancient ashrams of the Tradition. Established specifically to host the grand celebration of the once-every-144-years Maha Kumbha Mela, in January 2001, our 30-acre campus is a lush paradise nestled one mile along the bank of the Ganga. The majority of the campus is landscaped with beautiful gardens, lawns, and well-groomed woodlands, with thousands of trees planted on the campus since 1999, and offers seekers extraordinary sunset views over the Ganga.

Removed from the hustle and bustle of the main Mela site, our campus is a safe, peaceful, and self-contained community, with a host of western-style amenities to help ensure that many of the normal discomforts of life in India don’t distract from your pilgrimage. These include 24-hour security for the campus, 24-hour electricity backup facility, UV-purified water available at all meals, and an emphasis on western-standard hygiene and sanitation to help you stay healthy throughout your trip.

Key Amenities

Sacred Grove—The heart of the campus is the Sacred Grove overlooking the river Ganga. The Sacred Grove is a panchavati, a garden consisting of five special types of banyan trees—burgad, pippala, gular, pakad, and bilva—each of which is auspicious for a particular spiritual practice. Many years ago, the trees were planted by Bhole Baba, who later became Swami Rama, the founder of the Himalayan Institute. The local villagers still remember stories told by their parents about the tall, handsome, young yogi who did his sadhana here for almost three years. The Sacred Grove will be at the center of the Rudra Yaga practice, as it houses the havan kund (sacred fire pit), where we will do our daily fire ceremony and group practice. The Sacred Grove will be open throughout the day for personal meditation practice and self-reflection.

Riverfront View—With nearly one mile of waterfront, our campus is blessed with the most vibrant place to experience the transformative power and beauty of the river Ganga. Darshan of the sunset over the Ganga is an experience that will be with you for a lifetime.

Gardens & Groves—Beautified with numerous flower gardens and groves throughout the campus, you’ll feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise. Many of these spots are equipped with contemplation benches and chairs, so you can find your favorite getaway to read, relax, and reflect.

Guest Services & Marketplace—At a central lawn between the Mela Village, Lecture Hall, and Dining Hall lies the Guest Services & Marketplace tent. Here you’ll be able to avail yourself of a range of services, including laundry service, limited Wifi Internet, payphone, lending library and bookstore of Himalayan Institute publications, and a boutique marketplace of unique gifts and daily essentials.

Walking Trails—Enjoy daily walks on our nature trails through the forest and along the Ganga, or on the hand-laid brick roads, lined with arjuna trees, which connect all parts of our 30-acre campus.

Lecture Hall & Yoga Hall—Attend all study intensive sessions in the Lecture Hall, and enjoy yoga classes, practicums, and group meditation in the Yoga Hall; this space will also be available for personal yoga practice when class is not in session.

Campus Tour

Meals

Prepare to be nourished on all levels by our vegetarian meals, freshly prepared with locally grown ingredients. Gluten-free and vegan options will be available at all meals. We’ll begin each day with morning chai and hot water at 5:30 a.m., followed by breakfast from 8:00–9:30 a.m., lunch from 12:30–1:30 p.m., afternoon chai at 4:00 p.m., and dinner from 6:15–7:15 p.m. A private, deep-bore water source provides all the water on campus, including UV-purified drinking water, which will be available in the Dining Hall at all times for guests to replenish their drinking bottles.

Accommodations

Our Mela Village offers you the best room in town, and an intimate, premium experience of pilgrimage “glamping” on the bank of the river Ganga. For your two-week Rudra Yaga practice pilgrimage, you’ll be living with your fellow pilgrims in the Mela Village of nearly 100 shared swiss cottages and twin deluxe tents. Shared swiss cottages will accommodate four guests, while twin deluxe tents will accommodate two guests (see dimensions and cross section below). Specially designed for the Kumbha Mela, our swiss cottages and deluxe tents feature the following amenities:

  • High-quality, waterproof canvas over a steel frame
  • Fully-enclosed space to keep you protected from the elements
  • Lighting and power sockets for charging low-wattage electronics
  • Felt carpeting for flooring
  • Cots with cotton mattress and bedding including sheets, pillow, wool blanket, and Indian cotton towel
  • Large main living area with attached private changing area (in swiss cottages)

The Mela Village also features shared bathroom facilities near each cluster of cottages or tents, with western-style toilets, wash basins with running water, and separate bathing stalls with hot water for bucket bathing.

Shared Swiss Cottage Accommodations:

Our spacious 392 square foot swiss cottage comfortably accommodates four participants. Featuring vaulted ceilings, you’ll be able to enjoy full standing headroom throughout the entire cottage, as well as a private, attached changing and storage area.

Twin Deluxe Tent Accommodations:

Perfect for couples seeking additional privacy, these 168 square foot twin deluxe tents feature inverted-V ceilings with full headroom at center, and plenty of space on the sides for sitting or storing your luggage.

Featured Day Trips

Vindhyachal

Vindhyachal is to the seekers of the Divine Mother what Varanasi is to the seekers of Shiva. One of the most prominent shrines in India, Vindhyachal is home to all the main manifestations of tantric goddesses, but is particularly renowned as the seat of the Divine Mother Durga. Shrines such as Kali Khoh, Ashtabhuja, Tarapitha, Gerua Talab, Motia Talab, and the ashram of the illustrious modern sage, Anandamayi Ma, embody the experiences of the adepts who did their practice at these sacred spots.

Kumbha Mela Site

Having the sangam, the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, at its epicenter, the Kumbha Mela site accommodates the largest gathering of humanity in the world. The sheer size of the tent city, with its streets lined by thousands of ashrams and spiritual centers, makes us realize that the experiences we gain on our spiritual quest are priceless. Here you will see faith’s conquest over logic and reason, and you’ll not need any convincing that happiness is a state of mind. And all of us have access to this state! A day trip to this sea of humanity will make you aware that experiencing unity in diversity is inherent in all of us, and the joy emerging from this experience knows no parallel.

Allahabad City and Nearby Shrines

In addition to the Kumbha Mela and the sangam, Allahabad is known for its ashrams, akhadas, colleges, traditional Sanskrit schools, and shrines. On our day trip to the city, you will have an opportunity to visit a few hidden shrines and temples that have been sheltered from modern commercialism, and that are conducive to our pilgrimage and the practice of Rudra Yaga. Our trip will also include visiting the city’s main commercial district, where you’ll enjoy walking, shopping, and acquainting yourself with the local culture.

Boat Ride on the Ganga to the Sangam

Pilgrims from traditions across India yearn for the opportunity to experience the sangam at least once in their life. The confluence of the sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the mystical Sarasvati, the sangam is the epicenter of the spiritual city known as Prayag Raj, Lord of the Confluences, around which modern Allahabad was built. We will travel in traditional hand-rowed boats directly from our campus to the sangam, which is about two miles upriver, while enjoying the serene yet vibrant beauty of the Ganga.

Itinerary and Sample Daily Schedule

General Itinerary

February 1 Participants arrive on their own to Varanasi airport (time window for arrival to be specified). Travel to Allahabad by coach. Chai and welcome on arrival. Dinner and rest.
February 2 Morning orientation to the program and campus; free time in afternoon; evening opening session.
February 3–13 Rudra Yaga 11-day group practice, with 8-session study intensive and day trips to Vindhyachal, Kumbha Mela, and Allahabad. See sample daily schedule.
February 14 Closing Session
February 15 Post-breakfast departure to Varanasi airport by coach.

*Dates, itinerary, and schedule are subject to change.

Sample Daily Schedule

5:30 a.m. Chai
6:00 a.m. Group prayers and meditation
6:30 a.m. Havan practice
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Day trip or free time for reading, journaling, personal practice, walks
10:00 a.m. Optional guided local walks
12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Day trip or free time after lunch for study, personal practice, and rest
4:00 p.m. Chai
4:30 p.m. Yoga class or on-campus walk
6:00 p.m. Group prayers
6:15 p.m. –7:30 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Lecture or evening event

About Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD

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Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, is a modern-day master and living link to the unbroken Himalayan Tradition. Spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute, Pandit Tigunait is the successor of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. His teachings offer practical guidance on applying yogic and tantric wisdom to modern life. Lecturing and teaching worldwide for more than a quarter of a century, he is the author of fourteen books, including his recently-released The Practice of the Yoga Sutra, and his autobiography Touched by Fire: The Ongoing Journey of a Spiritual Seeker.

Pandit Tigunait holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and another in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Family tradition gave Pandit Tigunait access to a vast range of spiritual wisdom preserved in both the written and oral traditions. Before meeting his master, Pandit Tigunait studied Sanskrit, the language of the ancient scriptures of India, as well as the languages of the Buddhist, Jaina, and Zorastrian traditions. In 1976, Swami Rama ordained Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD into the 5,000-year-old lineage of the Himalayan Masters. Over the past 35 years, he has touched innumerable lives around the world as a teacher, humanitarian, and visionary spiritual leader.

Registration Information

Rates

Early Registration: closes July 31, 2017—$2,500
Regular Registration: closes July 31, 2018—$2,700
Late Registration: August 1–December 15, 2018—$2,950

$850 deposit holds your space

If mailing an application, send to:
Himalayan Institute Spiritual Excursions
Attn: Alat Shanti Tigunait
952 Bethany Turnpike
Honesdale, PA 18431 USA

Two ways to register

Online: Register online for Rudra Yaga: Ardha Kumbha Mela 2019. Complete the registration form below and make your payment (deposit or full) in order to save your space.

Register Online

Mail: Download the Tour Participant Agreement (“TPA”). Print, read, complete, sign. Mail your signed TPA with deposit or full payment.

Download TPA

For more information or to make a balance payment:
Call: (800) 822-4547 x6
Email: excursions@himalayaninstitute.org

Add-On Pilgrimage Registration

Pre-Excursion Agra & Jaipur Add-On
January 25–February 1, 2019

Pre-Register Now

Post-Excursion Varanasi Add-On
February 15–18, 2019

Pre-Register Now

Peace & Power: A Shiva-Shakti Sadhana Retreat with Yogarupa Rod Stryker
February 15–23 2019 (in Khajuraho)

Register Online Download Addendum B

Add-on Pilgrimages

Agra & Jaipur (Pre-Pilgrimage Add-on)

January 25–31, 2019

Join this pre-pilgrimage add-on and experience quintessential destinations that all first-time visitors (and many returning visitors) to India yearn to see. Home to the Taj Mahal and many other cultural monuments of Mughal India, Agra is a must-visit destination. Jaipur is the cultural heart of North India, renowned for its exquisite palaces and forts and some of the best shopping in India.

Rates & Registration

Fill out the form below to be notified when registration is open for the pre-excursion add-on to Agra & Jaipur:

Pre-Register Now

Itinerary
January 25 Meet by evening in New Delhi; overnight in Delhi hotel
January 26 Travel from New Delhi to Agra by coach; afternoon sightseeing in Agra
January 17 Visit Taj Mahal; sightseeing in Agra
January 28 Depart from Agra to Jaipur by coach; afternoon sightseeing in Jaipur
January 29–30 Sightseeing in Jaipur, including the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Amber Fort, and the Jaipur markets famous for gems, jewelry, textiles, pottery, and stone handicrafts
January 31 Depart from Jaipur to New Delhi by coach; free time upon afternoon arrival, and overnight in New Delhi
February 1 Post-breakfast departure to New Delhi airport to catch flight to Varanasi and onward journey by coach to HI Allahabad campus

*Dates, itinerary, and schedule are subject to change.

Photo Gallery
  • Agra

Varanasi (Post-Pilgrimage Add-on)

February 15–18, 2019

Varanasi is legendary as the city of eternal light and one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Varanasi as we visit prominent shrines; experience the rare practice of Sri Chakra Puja guided Pandit Rajmani Tigunait; experience aarti; explore the historical site of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first teachings upon enlightenment; and visit the local markets and handicrafts for which Varanasi is renowned.

Rates & Registration

Fill out the form below to be notified when registration is open for the post-excursion add-on to Varanasi:

Pre-Register Now

Itinerary
February 15 Post-breakfast departure from Allahabad campus; afternoon sightseeing in Varanasi; evening aarti.
February 16 Morning boat ride on the Ganga; visit prominent shrines and the ancient gully street markets of Varanasi; visit Sarnath.
February 17 Conclude your Varanasi pilgrimage with the rare Sri Chakra Puja guided Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, hosted by Sri Vidya Sadhana Peetha; explore local shopping and handicrafts.
February 18 Post breakfast departure to Varanasi airport.

*Dates, itinerary, and schedule are subject to change.

Photo Gallery

Peace & Power: A Shiva-Shakti Sadhana Retreat Intensive

with Yogarupa Rod Stryker at Himalayan Institute Khajuraho

February 15–23, 2019

The Sri Vidya shrine at Himalayan Institute Khajuraho, one of the seats of our tradition, offers one of the ideal places on earth to abide in a sacred atmosphere, where you can follow in the footsteps of self-realized masters and abide in the highest bounty of yogic and tantric practice.

The depths of silence you can experience here unveil a perception that is free from distortion, division, and fear. Its crystalline clarity is also the nexus for awakening sublime joy, ultimate beauty, and unbound capacity. Yoga and tantra train the body, mind, and senses to rest in both Shiva and Shakti, boundless peace and the awakened power of the soul.

Shiva (Rudra) is consciousness, singularity, pure, undiluted peace, and the locus for the systematic awakening of Shakti—the divine, creative spark of infinite expression and capacity. In this retreat, we will dive deep into both. Through practice, self-study, and ritual, we will establish shanta (the ultimate embodiment of peace, the guiding force of intelligence) and approach the source of creation, infinite beauty and joy, and the spark of being and becoming.

This intensive retreat is the perfect opportunity to assimilate and deepen the experience you will gain through the Rudra Yaga group practice in Allahabad. Throughout this week-long intensive, Yogarupa will lead daily practice and/or havan (tantric ritual of sacred fire). At least once a day, he will guide asana, mudra, pranayama, meditation, and contemplative techniques. In addition to these two daily group sessions, you will have plenty of time for study and personal practice in the shrine. There will also be opportunities to receive individualized guidance from Yogarupa for dedicated personal practice during the retreat and long after.

Itinerary
February 15 Post breakfast departure from Allahabad; Participants arrange their travel by flight from Varanasi or by alternative means; Arrival to Khajuraho by late-afternoon; Chai and welcome on arrival. Dinner and rest.
February 16–22 Peace and Power: Shiva-Shakti Sadhana Retreat Intensive including daily practice, guided asana, meditation, pranayama, meditation, contemplative techniques, and free-time for personal meditation practice at the Sri Vidya shrine.
February 23 Participants depart from campus per their onward travel plans.

*Dates, itinerary, and schedule are subject to change.

Registration—Two Ways

Online: Register online by completing the registration form below. Make your payment in full in order to save your space.

Register Online

Mail: Download Addendum B. Print, read, complete, sign. Mail your signed Addendum with full payment.

Download Addendum B

Photo Gallery
  • A View of the Main Building

More pictures of Himalayan Institute Khajuraho

NOTE: Participation in the Rudra Yaga: Ardha Kumbha Mela 2019 excursion (February 1–15, 2018) is required in order to register for the Peace and Power Sadhana Retreat Intensive in Khajuraho. Please direct all questions regarding this add-on to excursions@himalayaninstitute.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Rudra Yaga: Ardha Kumbha Mela 2019 pilgrimage with the Himalayan Institute?

A: The Rudra Yaga: Ardha Kumbha Mela 2019 pilgrimage is a large group spiritual excursion to the Himalayan Institute’s 30-acre campus in Allahabad, India from February 1-15, 2019. The focus of the excursion is an 11-day group practice of Rudra Yaga which consists of havan (ritual of sacred fire), mantra recitation, and meditation practice led by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.

Q: What will the Excursion encompass?

A: The Rudra Yaga: Ardha Kumbha Mela 2019 pilgrimage with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait includes the opportunity for continuing spiritual practice at the Himalayan Institute India at Allahabad including an 11-day Rudra Yaga group practice, mantra recitation, meditation practice, study intensive led by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, and day trips to nearby significant locations including the Ardha Kumbha Mela. The Excursion is focused on spiritual practice and the 11-day Rudra Yaga. In addition there will be time for study, yoga, reading, journaling, and walking.

Q: Why attend the Ardha Kumbha Mela with the Himalayan Institute?

A: The Himalayan Institute has unmatched experience in organizing this event. During both the Maha Kumbha Mela in 2001 and the Kumbha Mela in 2013, we hosted the largest group of Western seekers in Mela’s history—over 500 participants traveled with the Himalayan Institute each time. The serene environment we have created at our campus in Allahabad is conducive the starting, deepening, or concluding your personal practice and allows you to tap into the collective consciousness of saints, sages, and fellow pilgrims who have come to the Mela with one goal: inner healing and lasting change.

Q: What is Rudra Yaga?

A: The core practice of Rudra Yaga is centered on the sacred fire, both within and without. Essential components of Rudra Yaga are group practice of havan (tantric ritual of sacred fire), mantra recitation, and meditation. Our Rudra Yaga practice will be led and officiated by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, and all program participants will have the opportunity to join the practice and partake in the havan fire ceremony.

Q: What is the Ardha Kumbha Mela?

A: Celebrated every 12 years for millennia, the Kumbha Mela is the largest spiritual gathering on the planet. The Ardha Kumbha Mela is celebrated at the half-way point between every Kumbha Mela, and is imbued with the same spiritual qualities as the Kumbha Mela. Pilgrims, saints, sages, sadhus, and yogis belonging to many different paths and traditions come to the Kumbha Mela to share their knowledge and wisdom, to intensify their own practice, and to walk together on their spiritual journey. Tens of millions gather at the bank of the river Ganga (Ganges) at a time when the planets, constellations, and other celestial bodies are perfectly aligned, creating a powerful vortex of spiritual energy. This energy is further intensified by the collective consciousness of the saints, sages, and pilgrims who gather here with a single shared intention: inner healing and lasting change.

Q: How can I prepare in advance for this excursion?

A: To ensure that your pilgrimage to the Ardha Kumbha Mela and your participation in the Rudra Yaga bears maximum fruit, there are a number of preparatory practices you can do before you join us. These including learning the mantra for invoking Sri Dakshinamurti, a primordial sage and the rishi of all shakti mantras, particularly Sri Vidya mantra, and a practice consisting of 16 mantras of the Divine Mother Sri Vidya known as the Sri Sukta. If you are interested in committing more time and energy in preparing, let us know and we will share the very heart of Rudra Yaga which consists of six different sets of mantras. If you would like to undertake these practices, email us at excursions@himalayaninstitute.org for recitation guides for the practices mentioned above.

Q: Where will I stay?

A: Participants will stay at the Himalayan Institute Allahabad campus in comfortable swiss cottage tents (accommodating up to 4 people) or twin deluxe tents (accommodating 2 people). Key amenities are provided for your comfort: comfortable swiss cottage tents and twin deluxe tents, shared eco-bathrooms with running cold water and hot water available, Yoga Hall, Lecture Hall, Guest Services and Marketplace, Sacred Grove havan and meditation space, Mahua Grove, on-campus walking trails, UV purified and filtered drinking water, and vegetarian meals freshly prepared from locally grown produce.

Q: Where will I meditate?

A: The Sacred Grove, overlooking the bank of the Ganga, is an ideal setting for meditation. Participants can also find multiple quiet spaces on our 30-acre campus which are suitable for meditation.

Q: Where can I do yoga?

A: Regular yoga classes will be offered in the Yoga Hall. You are also welcome to use this space during open hours for your personal yoga practice. If you plan to do yoga during the excursion, please bring a yoga mat with you as a vinyl or rubber yoga mat will not be provided. However, traditional India woven cotton mats will be available for purchase.

Q: What activities will be offered during my excursion?

A: In addition to the 11-day Rudra Yaga, there will be an 8-part study intensive with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, yoga classes, free-time for meditation, journaling, contemplation as well as off-campus activities such as day trips to the Kumbha Mela grounds, Vindyachal, Allahabad city, local village walk, and a boat ride on the Ganga.

Q: Where is the Himalayan Institute’s Allahabad campus located?

A: Himalayan Institute’s secluded 30-acre campus is located just outside the city of Allahabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Allahabad is accessible by train or plane. Daily flights are offered between Delhi and Varanasi, from which our campus is a scenic 3 hour drive. Allahabad is also well connected to Delhi by train. Our campus is ideally situated along the bank of the Ganga a short distance away from Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati rivers. More details about our campus can be seen on the campus map in the Accommodations section.

Q: What is the weather like in Allahabad?

A: The month of February is the transition time from winter to spring. The weather is generally pleasant in February but mornings and evenings can be cold. Expect daytime highs in the 70s or 80s and overnight lows in the 40s to 50s. Cool, foggy mornings are expected so be prepared with layers, thermal base layers, hat, scarf, etc. See the suggested packing list for complete list of recommendations. Sturdy walking shoes and a day pack are recommended for day trips.

Q: How do I register for the pre-excursion Add-on to Agra and Jaipur, the post-excursion Add-on to Varanasi, or Sadhana Retreat Intensive at the Himalayan Institute Khajuraho with Rod Stryker?

A: To register for the pre- or post- excursion Add-Ons you may submit your Addendum(s) online or download and complete the paper Addendum(s) and send it to us by email or mail along with your payment details. Full payment is due at time of registration.

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 Varanasi?

A: Multiple airlines such as Jet Airways and Air India offer daily flights between Delhi and Varanasi. It is also possible to take a train from Delhi to Varanasi or Allahabad; however, the group pick-up and drop-off will be from the Varanasi Airport. Additional changes will apply for transportation requests outside of the group arrival or departure.

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 are 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.

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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 campus, 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: There are two options for accommodation: swiss cottage style tents and twin deluxe tents*. Shared accommodations in swiss style cottage tents are based on 4 person occupancy while the twin deluxe tents are shared by two people. Roommates of the same gender are assigned when an individual registers as traveling alone. If you have friends registering and you agree to share accommodations, you may request a specific roommate or roommates. The Excursion Organizer will endeavor to honor requests for roommates and reserves the right to fill additional spaces in cottages and tents with roommates of the same gender. Couples will share with another couple.

For the comfort and safety of all during your stay, we ask that you avoid wearing perfumes, fragrances, or essential oils, or burning incense or candles in your tent or elsewhere on campus or in buildings.

It is not advisable to be off campus after sunset. For your safety when going off campus, participants are asked to return to campus no later than 6:30 pm. This curfew is in effect whether hiking locally or going to town by car.

*Please see the sketches of the swiss cottage tents and twin deluxe tents before requesting a twin deluxe tent. Swiss cottage tents are larger and have useable space from wall to wall whereas the twin deluxe tents are smaller and have angled sides reducing the amount of standing space. Twin deluxe tents are suited for couples or friends traveling together who would prefer more privacy instead of space.

Q: Is there electricity?

A: Each tent will be equipped with lights and an outlet for charging low wattage electronics such as phones, tablets, laptops, or camera batteries.

Q: What type of meals can I expect?

A: Freshly prepared vegetarian meals will be served three times per day. Lacto-ovo vegetarian breakfast, lunch, supper, and homemade chai in the morning and afternoon are included in the cost of your stay. Meals are prepared with fresh ingredients from local growers using wholesome vegetable oil and are gently spiced. Meals and chai are self-serve, buffet-style, at specified times.

Q: Do you serve gluten-free and dairy-free (vegan) meals?

A: Dairy-free and gluten-free options are generally available at meals. With advance notice other special dietary needs may be accommodated.

Q: Is laundry service available?

A: Laundry service will be available for a fee.

Q: What do I need to bring?

A: A preparations letter will be sent after registration with a list of recommended items. Here is an overview of recommended items: Sturdy walking shoes, a sleeping bag, clothing for layering including a coat or jacket for warmth on cold nights and mornings. If you plan to use yoga or meditation props, bring them with you, or bring a towel to use instead of a yoga mat to save space and weight in your luggage. Bring soap, shampoo, and personal toiletries for bathing when on our campus. Laundry service, for a fee, will be available, or you may choose to hand-wash laundry and air dry. 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. Toilet paper can be found in India but isn’t always available. Even if found, the quality is likely to be different than what you are used to. Toilet paper will be provided. The best thing, however, is to adjust to and practice “elimination management” Indian style—using water to rinse and a small towel to dry, rather than toilet paper, which often clogs septic systems and toilets.

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, plunging necklines or backs, sleeveless tops, form-fitting clothing, and short skirts or miniskirts. Men are asked to refrain from wearing muscle shirts. When visiting temples, long pants are appropriate for women and men. For women, long loose skirts are another option.

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?

A: 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. 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.
Additionally a “pay phone” is also available for use while on campus for emergency and occasional calls to home and business.

Q: Is Internet available on campus?

A: Limited Internet access will be offered on campus.

Q: Can friends visit me while I’m at HII Allahabad?

A: In order to maintain the meditative atmosphere of campus and to maintain continuity of your Excursion, we recommend that you not invite visitors during your short stay at HII Allahabad. Unexpected drop-ins and casual visitors will be turned away by the gatekeeper. Prior arrangements and approval of the Excursion Director are required for anyone wishing to have a tour of campus. Approved visitors must sign in with the gatekeeper, be announced upon arrival, and be accompanied by a staff member during their visit.

Q: How do I register?

A: Register online or download and mail the Tour Participant Agreement (TPA) with your deposit or full payment to the following address: Himalayan Institute, Attn: Spiritual Excursions, 952 Bethany Turnpike, Honesdale, PA 18431.

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: Do you offer any Add-ons before or after the excursion?

A: Yes, there is an optional pre-excursion Add-on to Agra and Jaipur and post-excursion add-ons to Varanasi or the Himalayan Institute Khajuraho for a Sadhana Retreat Intensive with Rod Stryker.

Q: How many days is each of the add-ons?

A: The pre-excursion Add-on to Agra and Jaipur is 8 days / 7 nights. The post-excursion Add-on to Varanasi is 4 days / 3 nights. The post-excursion Add-on to the Himalayan Institute Khajuraho for the Sadhana Retreat Intensive with Rod Stryker is 9 days / 8 nights.

Q: What is the nature of the Add-on to Agra and Jaipur? Where will we be going? What will the accommodations be like?

A: The pre-pilgrimage Add-on and allows you to experience quintessential destinations that all first-time visitors (and many returning visitors) to India yearn to see. Home to the Taj Mahal and many other cultural monuments of Moghul India, Agra is a must visit destination. Jaipur is the cultural heart of North India, renowned for its exquisite palaces and forts, and some of the best shopping in India. During this Add-on we will be staying at comfortable 4-star hotels-accommodations will be on a shared occupancy basis.

Q: What is nature of the Add-on to Varanasi? Where will we be going? What will the accommodations be like?

A: Varanasi is legendary as the city of eternal light and one of the oldest and holiest cities in the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Varanasi, as we visit prominent shrines, experience aarti, explore the historical site of Sarnath where Buddha delivered his first teachings upon enlightenment, and explore local markets and handicrafts for which Varanasi is renown. During our 4 days/3 nights in Varanasi we will stay at a comfortable 4-star hotel-accommodations will be on a shared occupancy basis.

Q: What is the nature of the add-on to the Himalayan Institute India Khajuraho (HII Khajuraho) for the Sadhana Retreat Intensive with Rod Stryker? What will it encompass? What will the accommodations be like?

A: During the week-long Sadhana Retreat Intensive, Rod Styker will lead daily practice and/or ritual and guide asana, mudra, pranayama, meditation and contemplative techniques at HII Khajuraho, which is home to the Sri Vidya Shrine. The HII Khajuraho campus offers all that drew yogis and aspirants to the Himalayas in ancient times—extraordinary beauty, serenity, and spiritual energy that spontaneously transports us to our pure and pristine inner core.

In addition to the practice intensive lead by Rod Stryker, participants will have plenty of time for personal practice in the Sri Vidya Shrine. After practice, there will be time for study, reading, journaling, walks in nature, contemplation, etc. There are several interesting walking routes in the area and on campus which you may take advantage of, including the Siddha Baba hike, the palace walk, and a nature loop through the surrounding forest preserve. Our campus is also the perfect place for walking, bird watching (more than 46 species of birds, including some endangered species, have been identified on our campus), drawing, photography, and watching for monkeys and nilgai in the nearby hills.

Accommodations are on a shared basis with 3-6 guests per room or dorm. Roommates of the same gender will be assigned if you are travelling alone or do not specify a roommate request. Each guest room is equipped with beds with mattresses and an en suite shared bath for shower or bucket bathing and a Western-style toilet. Two sheets, one pillow with cover, one thin wool blanket, and one Indian-style towel are provided, as well as a mosquito net for the bed (seasonally). Sleeping bags are essential during the months of November-February. There is no heat and electricity is unreliable in our area. Solar heated hot water is available on demand for bathing on our campus. Requests for singles or private accommodations cannot be confirmed in advance of your stay, are not guaranteed, and will incur additional charge, if they become available. For the comfort and safety of all during your stay, we ask that you avoid wearing perfumes, fragrances, or essential oils, or burning incense or candles in your room or elsewhere on campus or in buildings. Laundry services will be available for a fee during the retreat.

Q: How I register for an optional Add-on?

A: To register for the pre- or post-excursion Add-Ons you may submit your Addendum online or download and complete the paper Addendum and send it to us by email or mail along with your payment details. Full payment is due at time of registration.

Pilgrimage Photo Journey

Contact

For more information or to make a balance payment:

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