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Join us on this life-changing pilgrimage to the legendary Himalayan shrine of Tungnath and other sacred shrines in the lush and beautiful Mandakini Valley.

This pilgrimage is a unique combination of purpose-driven adventure, trekking, and pilgrimage to living sacred shrines of the Himalayan Tradition. Our journey will be enriched by practice, satsang, and the company of like-minded fellow spiritual seekers. It will be led by Ishan Tigunait, whose many years of practice and pilgrimage under the guidance of Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait have given him valuable insight into the roots of the Himalayan Tradition.

Retrace the footsteps of the sages, such as Swami Rama, Bengali Baba, and many other masters, as we travel to renowned Himalayan shrines, such as Tungnath, Triyuginarayan, Ukhimath, Kalimath, and Anasuya Devi.

Deepen your connection to the Himalayan Tradition and enrich your spiritual practice by experiencing the hidden essence of these living shrines. Unlike many modern pilgrimages, we’ll spend significant time in this sacred space as we trek daily from shrine to shrine, giving you the opportunity to absorb the living energy that pervades this entire region.

Highlights

Tungnath

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  • Chopta base camp—The chopta bugyals (alpine meadows) are world famous for their beauty, particularly in the spring when the mountain rhododendrons are in bloom.
  • Tungnath—Tungnath is known as “Lord of the Peaks,” and is renowned for being one of the five prominent shrines of Shiva (panch kedar) in the Himalayas, and the place of sadhana for many sages of the Himalayan Tradition, including Swami Rama and his master. Situated at about 12,000 feet elevation, you’ll have extraordinary views of the Kedar and Chaukhambha ranges from here.
  • Chandrashila—Situated about 1,000 feet above Tungnath, Chandrashila is the mountain peak where Lord Rama did his sadhana. The highest peak in the area, on a clear day you’ll have 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayas for hundreds of miles around.
Deoria Tal

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Situated at 8,000 feet elevation, Deoria Tal is a beautiful mountain lake surrounded by the magnificent Kedar and Chaukhamba ranges. It is known as a place of sadhana for ancient masters, such as Sheshanag, as well as modern masters, such as Devraha Baba (mentioned in Living with the Himalayan Masters).

Anasuya Devi

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Situated at 6,725 feet elevation, Anasuya Devi is a shrine dedicated to the sage Anasuya, who is mother to the legendary sages Durvasa and Dattatreya.

Triyuginarayan

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This shrine holds a special place in Vedic mythology as being the place where Shiva and Parvati were married in the presence of Vishnu. It is also renowned for having an akhanda duni (a havan kund with an eternal flame).

Kalimath

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Located on the Saraswati River, this famous Shakti-peeth is unique in that the Divine Mother is worshipped simultaneously as the goddess Kali as well as in the form of Lakshmi and Saraswati.

Ukhimath

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The winter seat of Kedarnath, this beautiful shrine has a rich spiritual history associated with Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna, and many other masters.

Makkumath

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The winter seat of Tungnath, this shrine is a hidden gem rarely visited by modern pilgrims. It is surrounded by beautiful forests and pristine mountain terrace farmland.

Guptakashi

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Literally “Hidden Kashi,” this ancient shrine is the Himalayan counterpart to Varanasi (Kashi) and is dedicated to the Ardhanareshwara form of Shiva.

Rudraprayag

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Located at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, this shrine is known for its association with the sage Narada, as well as for its temple dedicated to the Divine Mother Chamunda.

Surkanda Devi

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A famous Shakti-peeth associated with Shiva and Sati, this shrine is surrounded by dense forests and is located at about 10,000 feet elevation, offering a beautiful view of the Himalayas.

44+ Years of Pilgrimage

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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 Tungnath to experience the excitement of India and the unparalleled majesty of the Himalayan Mountains.

Learn more

Our Accommodations

Itinerary

March 13–25, 2017

Day 1, March 13 Dehra Dun to Sursinghdhar: Arrive at Dehra Dun Airport and transfer to Sursinghdhar by motor coach.
Day 2, March 14 Sursinghdhar: Sightseeing, hiking, and free time for acclimatizing and practice.
Day 3, March 15 Sursinghdhar: Trek to Surkanda Devi shrine, and free time for acclimatizing and practice.
Day 4, March 16 Sursinghdhar to Kund: Transfer to Kund by motor coach; free time in afternoon.
Day 5, March 17 Kund: Hike to Triyuginarayan shrine; visit Guptakashi temple on return to camp.
Day 6, March 18 Kund: Hike to Makkumath shrine (winter seat of Tungnath shrine); return to camp; evening satsang.
Day 7, March 19 Kund: Drive to Narayankoti; hike from Narayankoti to Kalimath shrine; afternoon, time on the bank of the Mandakini Ganga; evening visit to Ukhimath temple (winter seat of Kedarnath shrine).
Day 8, March 20 Kund to Deoria Tal to Chopta: Drive to Sari village and hike to Deoria Tal; drive to Chopta and camp overnight just beyond Chopta.
Day 9, March 21 Chopta Camp/Tungnath/Chandrashila: Hike from Chopta camp to Tungnath/Chandrashila; return to Chopta camp for overnight stay.
Day 10, March 22 Chopta to Kund: Leave Chopta camp and drive to Mandal; hike to Anasuya Devi; return to Kund for overnight stay.
Day 11, March 23 Kund: Free time at Kund; optional afternoon activity; evening satsang and bonfire.
Day 12, March 24 Kund to Jayalgarh: Drive from Kund to Jayalgarh; early morning optional river rafting (additional charge); brief stop at Rudraprayag; afternoon swimming and beach time on the bank of the Alaknanda Ganga; closing session and farewell dinner.
Day 13, March 25 Jayalgarh to Dehra Dun: Drive from Jayalgarh to Dehra Dun, packed lunch along the way; pilgrimage concludes with drop-off at Dehra Dun Airport.

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

Registration Information

Rates

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED
Early Registration: closes June 30, 2016—$2,700
Regular Registration: closes October 15, 2016—$2,950
Late Registration—closes February 1, 2017—$3,200

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

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 your Tungnath Pilgrimage. 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

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 7.5 miles (12 km). Average treks will be 2.5 miles to 4 miles. Treks range from easy to moderate difficulty.

Q: How can I prepare for this pilgrimage?

A: Physical fitness and overall good health are important elements for a spiritual excursion like this. If you haven’t already, we suggest that you begin a regular practice for conditioning your 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, 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.com provides instructional articles and videos on some of these techniques, including contraindications, as do the books Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1, by Swami Rama, and Science of Breath, by Swami Rama, Rudolph Ballentine, MD, and Alan Hymes, MD. These can be ordered through Himalayan Institute Press at 800-822-4547, press 4, or online.

Q: What will the weather be like during mid-March?

A: Weather and temperatures can change suddenly in the mountains. We will primarily be in the mid elevations, which are less extreme in terms of weather conditions. Generally, in March, the days are sunny with daytime temperatures around 60°F–90°F (15°C–32°C), and evenings ranging from 20°F–60°F (-7°C–16°C). Be prepared for a full range of temperatures and conditions, particularly when trekking to higher elevations and when camping.

Q: What are the altitudes for the key pilgrimage sites and main treks we will be doing?

A: See the detailed itinerary below:

Day 1—March 13: Dehra Dun to Sursinghdhar [6,233 ft/1,900 m]: Arrive at Dehra Dun Airport and transfer to Sursinghdhar by motor coach.

Day 2—March 14: Sursinghdhar: Sightseeing, hiking, and free time for acclimatizing and practice.

Day 3—March 15: Sursinghdhar: Trek to Surkanda Devi shrine (10,000 ft/ 3,048 m), and free time for acclimatizing and practice.

Day 4—March 16: Sursinghdhar to Kund [6,200 ft/1,890 m]: Transfer to Kund by motor coach; free time in afternoon.

Day 5—March 17: Kund: Hike to Triyuginarayan shrine (6,500 ft/1980 m); visit Guptakashi temple (4,327 ft/ 1,319 m) on return to camp.

Day 6—March 18: Kund: Hike to Makkumath shrine, winter seat of Tungnath shrine (5,420 ft/ 1,652 m); return to camp; evening satsang.

Day 7—March 19: Kund: Drive to Narayankoti; hike from Narayankoti to Kalimath shrine (4,048 ft/ 1,233 m); afternoon, time on the bank of the Mandakini Ganga; evening visit to Ukhimath temple, winter seat of Kedarnath shrine (4,592 ft/ 1,399 m).

Day 8—March 20: Kund to Deoria Tal [ 7,813 ft/ 2,381m] to Chopta [8,790 ft/2,680 m]: Drive to Sari village and hike to Deoria Tal; drive to Chopta and camp overnight just beyond Chopta.

Day 9—March 21: Chopta Camp/Tungnath/Chandrashila [13,000 ft/4,000 m]: Hike from Chopta camp to Tungnath/Chandrashila; return to Chopta camp for overnight stay.

Day 10—March 22: Chopta to Kund: Leave Chopta camp and drive to Mandal; hike to Anasuya Devi (6,725 ft/2,050 m); return to Kund for overnight stay.

Day 11—March 23: Kund: Free time at Kund; optional afternoon activity; evening satsang and bonfire.

Day 12—March 24: Kund to Jayalgarh [1,968 ft/600 m]: Drive from Kund to Jayalgarh; early morning optional river rafting (additional charge); brief stop at Rudraprayag (2,273 ft/ 692 m); afternoon swimming and beach time on the bank of the Alaknanda Ganga; closing session and farewell dinner.

Day 13—March 25: Jayalgarh to Dehra Dun [1,427 ft/425 m]: Drive from Jayalgarh to Dehra Dun, packed lunch along the way; pilgrimage concludes with drop-off at Dehra Dun Airport.

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

*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 may be 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.

Q: How do I register for this trip?

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.

Pilgrimage Map

Pilgrimage Photo Journey

For more information or to make a balance payment:

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