HIMALAYAN PILGRIMAGE- MANI RIMDU TREK
Trip Duration: 16 days
Trip Date: Oct. 18-Nov. 02, 2023
Group Size: 12 paxs
Trip Cost: $4,000/person
Life is busy and fast-paced. We try to maintain peace, acceptance and work with whatever arises. But few realize the toll of modern life on our spirits or the riches of cleaning our internal mirrors, caring for our mind, sharpening our perceptions, discovering our face before we were born in wilderness and in retreat. This pilgrimage offers an intimate journey to the heartland of the Himalayas; trekking to remote Dhud Kunda, (milk lake) a power spot dedicated to Seti Devi, (divine goddess), pristine ridge walks trails in view of Everest and surrounding Himalayas. We will witness the swirling colors of the Mani Rimdu festival and meet one of the greatest living Buddhist masters: Sang Sang Rinpoche, the incarnation of Lama Tenzin Chodar, Trulshig Rimpoche’s father. You will learn more about high Himalayan culture, photography, Buddhism, meditation and wilderness, and the deep joy of walking one’s mind clear; as we traverse some of sweetest trails in all the Himalaya.
Day 1– Wed. Oct. 18, Kathmandu (4593’, 1,399m)
For those folks who have arrived the day before, Thomas will conduct a tour to Pashupatinath, a sacred Hindu power spot dedicated to lord Shiva. Meet up with Himalayan Yogis, known as Sadhus. Observe sacred cremations along the banks of the Bagmati river, followed by a visit to Kriya Putri Bhawan where families spend 13 days in solitude performing Hindu rituals for their deceased family member.
Rendezvous in Kathmandu at Hotel Tibet at 4:30 pm. Thomas will hold a meeting and orientation in the hotel regarding trek arrangements and stay in Kathmandu. Leave hotel to James Giambrone’s house to hear his lecture on “Lost wax process and Thanghka painting”. James is the owner of the Indigo Gallery and has worked with master craftsman of the Kathmandu valley for over 30 years. He has opened his treasure house for us.
Hotel Tibet (D> TBD)
Please note: If you wish to fly into Kathmandu a day early and recover from jet lag, kindly let me know. I can book you an extra night at Hotel Tibet. You’ll need to cover all expenses.
Day 2– Thu. Oct, 19, Kathmandu (4,593’, 1,399m)
Early morning visit to Boudhnath, join Buddhist pilgrims circumambulating the stupa. Meet renowned Buddhist Rimpoche for short talk about Buddhism followed by a blessing. Afternoon visit to the Kingdom of Patan, home to some of the most beautiful Hindu Pagoda temples in the world. Guided tour by Raju Roka, Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust. Visit Patan Museum. Return to Hotel Tibet. B, Hotel Tibet L>Traveler Inn, D> On your own
Day 3– Fri. Oct 20, Kathmandu (4,593’, 1,399m)- Phaplu (8,100’, 2,468m)
After breakfast, depart for the national airport, fly 35 minutes to Phaplu. Phaplu is located in lower Solukhumbu region of Nepal. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your Sherpa guides and check into Hotel Everest. After tea, tour maternity hospital, services the entire Solo region. Afternoon walk above Phalpu to traditional Sherpa houses, or, walk to Salleri, district center. Enjoy plenty of photo opportunities.
Everest Lodge (B, Hotel Tibet L>TBD >D) Everest Lodge
If we are delayed due to weather, and cannot fly Kathmandu to Phalpu, we’ll travel overland by Scorpio jeeps. The journey in takes you across amazing landscapes. 8-10 hrs
Day 4- Sat. Oct 21, Taksindu (9610 ft., 2,929m)
After breakfast, walk to Ratnangi danda, 2.5 hours, ascending through lush forest. If weather is clear, view of Everest, and surrounding Himalayas. Trek to Changebee dhara. 1.5 hours then down to Taksindu-2.5 hours. Pack lunch along the way. Overnight at Taksindu Hill Top Guest House. (B> Hotel Everst L>Pack lunch, D>Taksindu)
*Walking terrain moderate to challenging. Approximately 8 miles, 12.87 klms-6 to 7 hours walk.
Day 5- Sun. Oct 22, SakariPati (11,489 ft., 3,501m)
Acclimatization day. If we’re lucky, wake up to views of Everest and the Himalayan range. After b’fast trek 3 hours to Sakari Pati. We’ll be gaining elevation today! Pristine environment. Camp at Sakari Pati. Optional explorations. And in the evening enjoy Sherpa crew traditional songs. Camping in tents at Sakari Pati
B> Taksindu L> Sakari Pati D>Sakari Pati
*Walking terrain challenging. Approximately 4 miles, 6.44klms
Day 6- Mon. Oct 23, Sarsare Beni (12,578 ft, 3,834m)
Trek 5 hours today through gorgeous pristine alpine terrain. Enjoy afternoon to rest and reflect. Visit local nomads milking Chauris, (female yak and male cow breed. Camp at Sarsare Beni. B> Sakari Pati L> in -route D> Sarsare Beni
*Walking terrain uphill & challenging. Approximately 5.5 miles, 8.85klms
Day 7- Tue. Oct. 24, Dudh Kund (14,960ft, 4,559m)
Depending on group, wake up early, morning tea and bean coffee and trek to Dudh Kund. Sherpas will carry pack breakfast and lunch. If weather is crystal clear, b’fast at Sarsare Beni then trek 2 hrs to Dudh Kund. Enjoy this amazing scared power spot dedicated to Divine Dakini. Optional circumambulation of Dudhkunda lake.
Return to Sarsare Beni camp.
B> Sarsare Beni, L>Dudh Kund, D> Sarsare Beni
*Walking terrain uphill & challenging. Approximately 4.5 Miles *3klms
Day 8- Wed. Oct. 25, Thupten Choling Monastery (9,580’, 2,919 m)
Challenging trek day! Early morning departure! From Sarsare Beni, ascend 2 to 3 hours then downhill for approximately 4 hours to Thupten Choling Monastery Guest House. Thupten Choling is a monastic center, 80% of the nuns are Tibetan refugees. This is one of the first-contact points for the many Tibetans who find their way into Nepal each year. Although most refugees continue on to India, about 40 % of the nuns stay on and join the monastery. B>Sarsare Beni L> Pack lunch D> Thupten Choling Monastery
*Walking terrain downhill, long day. Approximately 15 miles *24 klms
Day 9- Thu. Oct. 26, Thupten Choling Monastery (9,580 ft., 2,919 m)
Get up early and meditate with nuns in main monastery. Visit traditional Tibetan medical clinic and get your pulse read by Tibetan Doctor, known as an Amchi. Learn about traditional Tibetan medicine and his experiences treating the Buddhist nuns at Thupten Choling. Explore the monastery, Sherpa Furba Gyalsen and I will introduce you to some of the Buddhist nuns living in simple retreat houses. Suggest visiting the main monastery kitchen to witness food and tea preparations for 400 nuns!
B>Thupten Choling, L>Thupten Choling, D> Thupten Choling
Day 10- Fri. Oct. 27, Junbesi (8,856 ft., 2,699m)
Trek to Junbesi village, heart of traditional Sherpa culture, 2 hours. Enjoy hot shower. Explore Junbesi. Optional walk to Phorksha, Himalayan Retreat Center, or Selo Monastery above Junbesi, active Buddhist center for Buddhist Lamas. Overnight at Apple Garden Guest House. B> Thupten Choling. L> Junbesi D> Junbesi
* Easy walking. Approximate 2.5 miles
Day 11- Sat. Oct. 28, Chiwong Monastery (8,999 ft., 2,743m)
Early breakfast, trek 1 hour downhill to Beni then ascend 2 hrs to Chiwong Monastery. Settle into camp. First day of Mani Rimdu festival. Sit with monks in a Wang (a teaching from the Rimpoche). Followed by audience with Sang Sang Rinpoche, reincarnation of Trulshig Rimpoche’s father. Camp (B, L, D)
*Walking to Beni downhill, easy, then ascend to Chiwong, uphill. *Approximately 5 miles *8 klms
Day 12- Mon. Oct. 29, Chiwong Monastery (8,999 ft., 2,743m)
Sacred Cham Festival dances and traditional Sherpa dancing for Mani Rimdu.
Optional hikes for those who prefer.
Camp (B, L, D)
Day 13- Tues. Nov. 30, Chiwong Monastery (8,999 ft., 2,743m)
Fire Puja at Chiwong Monastery. Destruction of sand mandala. After Fire Puja, forest walk back to Phalpu, Everest Lodge.
Camp (B> Chiwong L> Chiwong D> Everest Lodge)
*Approximately 3 miles, 4.83klms
Day 14- Wed. Nov. 31, Phaplu (8100 ft., 2,469 m)
Rest day in Phaplu. Optional-Explore District center of Salleri. Optional vehicle supports for those that wish to return to Chiwong to join procession with monks to disburse scared mandala sand into spring below Chiwong then return to Phalpu.
Everest Lodge (B>, L, D)
3.11 miles, *5klms
Day 15- Thu. Nov. 01, Kathmandu
10:30a.m. Departure on Summit Air back to Kathmandu. Check into Hotel Tibet.
Visit Kathmandu on your own. By western standards, the city is intimate. You can visit the many interesting sights, shrines and markets, or stroll in Kathmandu’s fascinating Asan Tole bazaar. Don’t miss the Durbar Square then there’s Thamel: backpacker’s area, many deals to be had. Located just east of Thamel is the magnificent Garden of Dreams, restored to its previous splendor, show cases the Rana period, 1850-1950. Lunch in the Garden or, choose Fire and Ice Pizzeria across the street. For the early bird, visit Swayambhunath (the “Monkey Temple,” overlooking the entire Valley; go at sunrise if you want to take in ritual time with the many Buddhist pilgrims. For shoppers, Millennium: whole sale jewelry/ Thamel, visit Wild Earth Nepal Pvt. Ltd, Sustain your Body/ Sustain the Earth, Bansbari, tele# 977-1-4374178/4650240 www.WildEarthNepal.com handcrafted soap, massage oil, essential oils, aromatic amulets and pillows, incense, balm and cream, herbal sachets. A perfect gift might be a signed picture book by Thomas and Carroll: The Hidden Himalayas, Tibet: Reflections from the Wheel of Life, Sacred Landscape, Himalayan Pilgrimage to Tibet In Search of the Lost Kingdom of Bon, Himalayan Style. We gather for a final farewell dinner, with a new respect for the extraordinary geography we have traversed and a greater understanding of the Himalayan Kingdom.
6:30 pm- Farewell dinner
B>Hotel Tibet, L>on your own, D>TBD
If we are delayed due to weather, and cannot fly Phaplu to Kathmandu participants will need to cover additional costs as this is out of the control of trip guides. This means, airport transfers, room and board at hotel. Or, travel back overland by Scorpio Jeep. 10 hrs.
Day 16- Fri. Nov. 02, Kathmandu
International departures. For the wise traveler, in case the Phaplu to Kathmandu flight is cancelled, consider staying one more day in Kathmandu and depart for USA on Fri, Nov. 3. If you do this, you’re on your own. Kindly let me know and I can book the extra night at Hotel. If you stay on this day, suggest touring Bhaktapur.
Hotels (double occupancy); in-country transportation; entrance fees to museums; meals (B, L, D); in-country guide; leaders; porters; airport transfers; internal flights; all camping supplies except sleeping bags.
* Single supplement =USD 500
International Airfare; visa fees; insurance; items of a personal nature; over weight baggage to Phalpu (limited to 33 pounds 15 kgs per person, includes carry on) alcohol; sleeping bag, emergency evacuation, gratuities to Sherpas.
Please note: In the case of illness, resulting in a need to change accommodation or travel plans while in Nepal, it’s your responsibility to cover any additional costs outside of the regular trip plan. Those who would like to stay after trip dates will do so at their own expense.
We require that you purchase travel insurance. This is just a smart thing to do for overseas travel, and if there is a medical emergency, particularly an evacuation needed, you will need to have this coverage.