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HIMALAYAN PILGRIMAGE- MANI RIMDU TREK

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Trip Duration: 14 days

Trip Date:Nov. 05 - Nov. 18, 2024

Group Size: 6 to 12 paxs

Trip Cost: $3,900/person

TRIP DETAILS:

 

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 the sweetest trails in all the Himalaya.

 

ITINERARY:

 

Day 1– Tuesday, Nov. 5, 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 Boudha at Hotel Lotus Gem at 4:30 pm. Thomas will hold a meeting and orientation in the hotel regarding trek arrangements and stay in Kathmandu. Leave hotel to tour Bouddhanath Stupa.

Garden Village Kitchen (D)

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 Lotus Gem. You’ll need to cover all expenses.

 

Day 2– Wednesday, Nov. 6, 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 Lotus Gem.

(B> Hotel Lotus Gem, L>Traveler Inn, D> TBD)

 

Day 3– Thursday, Nov. 7, Kathmandu (4,593’, 1,399m) - Phaphlu (8,100’, 2,468m)


After breakfast, depart for the national airport, fly 35 minutes to Phaphlu. Phaplu is located in lower Solukhumbu region of Nepal. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your Sherpa guides and check into Phaphlu Guest House. After lunch, we’ll  explore traditional Sherpa houses, a local school and have time to learn about daily Sherpa life. Enjoy plenty of photo opportunities and tips from Thomas Kelly. For dinner, we’ll be sampling delicious Sherpa steamed momos at a traditional sherpa ancestral  home, organic salad and Kiwi distilled raksi. Phaphlu Guest House.

(B > Hotel Tibet, L>TBD, Sherpa Ancestral Home>D) 

Please note:

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- Friday,  Nov. 8, Taksindu (9610 ft., 2,929m)


After an early  morning tea or coffee, we’ll jeep thirty minute to  Ratnangi danda. Thirty minute drive ascending through lush forest and past ancient Buddhist mani walls.  If weather is clear, view of Everest, and surrounding Himalayas. After being served breakfast at Ratnangi danda look out, we’ll start a trek  to Changebee dhara. One and a half hours then down to Taksindu-2.5 hours. Pack lunch along the way. Overnight at Taksindu Hill Top Guest House.

(B> Ratnangi Dhanda L>Pack lunch, D>Taksindu) 

Walking terrain moderate to challenging. Approximately 8 miles, 12.87 kms - 6 to 7 hours walk.

 

Day 5- Saturday, Nov. 9, Sakari Pati (11,489 ft., 3,501m)


Acclimatization day. If we’re lucky, wake up to views of Everest and the Himalayan range. After breakfast, 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 = 6.44 kms

 

Day 6- Sunday, Nov. 10, 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 = 8.85kms

 

Day 7- Monday, Nov. 11, 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 = 7.24kms

Day 8- Tuesday, Nov. 12, 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 kms

 

Day 9- Wednesday, Nov. 13, 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 285 nuns!

(B>Thupten Choling, L>Thupten Choling, D> Thupten Choling)

 

Day 10- Thursday, Nov. 14, Junbesi (8,856 ft., 2,699m)

 

Early morning meditation with nuns in main monastery. After breakfast 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- Friday, Nov. 15, Chiwong Monastery (8,999 ft., 2,743m)


After  breakfast, jeep 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 and His Holiness Kyabje Jigme Thinle Kunkhyap Rimpoche.

Camp (B, L, D)

Jeep ride to Chiwong Monastery Approximately 4 miles = 7 kms

Day 12- Saturday, Nov. 16, Chiwong Monastery (8,999 ft., 2,743m)
 

Sacred Cham Festival dances and traditional Sherpa dancing for Mani Rimdu. Return to Phaphlu via beautiful forest walk. Overnite at Phaphlu Guest House. Farewell dinner.

(B > Camp, L> Camp, D>Phalphu Guest House)

Walk approximately 3 miles = 4.83kms

 

Day 13- Sunday, Nov. 17, Phaplu (8100 ft., 2,469 m)

11:00a.m: Flight departue back to Kathmandu. Check into Kantipur Temple House.

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 Whole Earth Nepal Pvt. Ltd, Sustain your Body/ Sustain the Earth, Bansbari, 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>Phalpu, L>on your own, D>TBD)

Please note:

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 14- Monday, Nov. 18, Kathmandu (4593’, 1,399m)

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 Tuesday, Nov. 19.  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.

INCLUDED:

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 400

EXCLUDED:

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.

 

PAYMENT AND DEPOSIT :

 

To secure your spot EMAIL: thomaslkellyphoto@gmail.com and lodge your deposit.  We'll then send you a detailed pre-departure trip planning packet.  It tells you all you'll need to know about preparing for your trip, and then some.  If we can't offer you a place, we'll return your deposit within 14 days.
We accept US$ bank checks, Pay Pal or Wire transfer. (contact us for bank details)

 The payment schedule is as follows:
50% of the total price per person upon booking (to secure your spot).
Final payment on the 1st of the month, in the 3rd month before your departure.
If we haven't received your payment and no special arrangements have been made, we will assume that you've canceled and filled your spot from our waitlist.  If someone else is paying for any portion of your trip, you (the traveler) are responsible for payments and cancellation fees.

300$ is the amount you pay to secure your spot as a deposit. After receiving your deposit, we will notify you with
pack list, departure information etc.


FINAL PAYMENT:


Once we receive your deposit, all our services included in the itinerary is to be proceeded. Final payment is payable, 3 weeks prior to arrival.


CANCELLATIONS AND REFUND POLICY:


All cancellations need to be done via email in written form.

If you cancel the trip:
30 - 60 days prior to departure date – 50% of the deposit is refundable.
0-30 days – deposit is nonrefundable.
Cancellation terms may differ on customized itineraries and pandemic period.

Your Hosts:

This trip is brought to you WILD EARTH JOURNEYS.

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Thomas L. Kelly​​

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Thomas L. Kelly is a native of Santa Fe, has lived in Nepal since 1978. Formerly a Peace Corps volunteer and Care Program officer, he has been a renowned professional photographer since 1985 and is now a documentary film maker. He has led cross-cultural trips throughout South Asia and Mongolia.

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Carroll Dunham

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Carroll Dunham is a Princeton University anthropologist, writer, documentary film maker, yoga instructor and director of Wild Earth Nepal. She has led cross-cultural trips throughout South Asia, Tibet and Mongolia.

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