2013 Pilgrimage to India – Full Itinerary
February 27 to March 17, 2013 | Optional extension to March 21
Pilgrimage begins and ends in Delhi. Cost of international flights is not included. We will soon make recommendations of flights for the convenience and coordination of everyone’s arrival and departures. More:
February 26: Tuesday, Most will depart from U.S.
February 27: Arrival in Delhi, Wednesday night, February 27, where the pilgrimage begins. Bus to Ananda in Gurgaon (south of airport).
Thurs. February 28: orientation, rest, shopping, and evening satsang with residents at the Ananda Ashram (gathering for fellowship). Gurgaon is the site of the Ananda Ashram and Temple near Delhi. We will tour the facilities and have a day of rest and orientation.
Friday, March 1: fly Delhi-Puri. Puri is the site of Swami Sri Yukteswar’s seaside hermitage and place of his burial. (Sri Yukteswar was the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda. His life is richly chronicled in Yogananda’s life story, Autobiography of a Yogi.)
Saturday & Sunday, March 2 & 3: We will have several opportunities to meditate at “Mahasamadhi Mandir” where Sri Yukteswar is buried. Recounting stories from Autobiography we will feel the blessings of these two great masters as present today as decades ago. We will visit the home of Sanyal Mahasaya, disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. A visit to the nearby beach for a stroll or a swim is a favorite with all visitors.
Monday, March 4: Morning train to Kolkata. Immeasurable blessings emanate from the places where Paramhansa Yogananda and Sri Yukteswar lived and meditated. That power is as alive today as always. Ananda has been leading pilgrimages to Kolkata, our most popular destination, for over 30 years, and we share a deep friendship with Yogananda’s family and other custodians of these shrines.
Arriving in the teeming city of Kolkata (Calcutta), we will bus to our hotel from the train station. In the afternoon we will go to Yogananda’s boyhood home at 4, Garpar Road. It is now the residence of his brother’s grandson, Somnath Ghosh. Somnath and his wife and children lovingly maintain the home and share it as a shrine. They will welcome us as one of the family, sharing stories, family relics, and photos. Many rare and original photos and paintings exist here that will inspire and delight you.
We’ll visit, chant, and meditate in several rooms of this sacred house: the living room, where Lahari Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswar would visit Yogananda’s father; the small attic meditation room where Yogananda said, “I found God,” and where he communed with Divine Mother; and Yogananda’s bedroom where Babaji came to give his blessing to Yogananda who was chosen to take the timeless teachings of yoga to the West. We will return to our hotel for dinner.
Tuesday, March 5: After breakfast we will bus to the home of Tulsi Bose, Yogananda’s boyhood friend. Here in this tiny out-of-the-way home filled with high vibrations have gathered spiritual giants who came for fellowship, chanting and God-communion. Yogananda stayed here during his return visit to India in 1935-36, cared for by Tulsi’s wife, Martan Ma. It’s now the residence of Tulsi’s daughter, Hassi. We’ll meditate in this home, a shrine in its own right, with many relics and treasures, including the beds of Sri Yukteswar and Yogananda. Hassi will greet us, be with us, and serve us lunch.
After lunch we’ll walk to the home of Bhaduri Mahasaya, the “levitating saint,” and meditate there.
Then we’ll drive to the Kali Temple in Dakshineswar, just outside Kolkata on the banks of the Ganges delta. Yogananda visited this temple with his sister Roma and her husband. Here he entered cosmic consciousness and the image of Kali came alive before him, granting his request that Roma’s husband be spiritually awakened. We’ll chant and meditate at this powerful spot.
Sri Ramakrishna, one of the best-known masters of modern India, lived at this temple many years along with Sarada Devi, his spiritual companion. We’ll be able to meditate in his room, where he and his disciples spent many hours a day. In the early evening we’ll drive back to the hotel.
Wednesday, March 6: We’ll travel by bus to Serampore, the small town where Sri Yukteswar had his hermitage, and where Yogananda spent 10 years in training with his guru. We’ll meditate in a shrine built on the site of the hermitage. We’ll then walk down Rai Ghat Lane to sing chants under the banyan tree where Babaji greeted Sri Yukteswar after he completed writing The Holy Science.
We’ll also visit and have lunch with other members of Yogananda’s family, and meditate at the ashram of Motilal Thakur, a close disciple of Sri Yukteswar. We’ll return to our hotel early evening.
Thursday, March 7: On this special day of Yogananda’s Mahasamadhi anniversary, we will return to 4 Garpar Road, for more chanting and meditation in the sacred places of Yogananda’s childhood. After lunch at the hotel, we’ll explore optional activities such a visiting Mother Teresa’s tomb and orphanage, or visit Cossipore, the home where Ramakrishna left his body, or shopping in Kolkata.
Friday, March 8: Fly from Calcutta to Pune
Saturday/Sunday, March 9 & 10: We are truly blessed that Swami Kriyananda will lead (health permitting) the celebrations for Paramhansa Yogananda and Sri Yukteswar’s Mahasamadhis at the Ananda Community near Pune.
Monday, March 11: Travel from Pune to Delhi, rest & repack.
Tuesday, March 12: A short flight from Delhi takes us to the ancient and holy city of Varanasi (Benares, also known as the ancient city of Rashi).
Wednesday, Thursday March 13 & 14: Here lived the now famous but ever humble Lahiri Mahasaya who, with the blessing of Mahavatar Babaji, resurrected kriya yoga and began a quiet revolution that has spread and continues to grow around the world. We will meditate at Lahiri’s grandson’s home which has relics and Lahiri’s ashes. Visit Dasasamedh Ghat where Babaji and his sister, Mataji, appeared before Ram Gopal Muzumdar. A boat ride on the Ganges and immersion in its waters (optional!) will bring many blessings and even some fun. We will visit an ashram where once Ananda Moyi Ma lived. Another important stop will be the temple of Trailanga Swami, Lahiri Mahasaya’s 300-year-old friend, with whom he’d sometimes meditate. (He was featured in Autobiography of a Yogi). There will be much to do and see in Varanasi. Our hotel is just a short walk from the river.
We will visit nearby Sarnath, the place of Buddha’s first discourse after achieving enlightenment.
Friday, March 15: We depart Varanasi at noon and return to Delhi (Ananda-Gurgaon).
Saturday, March 16: we will travel to visit Vrindavan, birthplace of Krishna. There we will visit the ashram of Keshabananda, a direct disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, where Yogananda also visited on his trip to India in 1935-36. Then we will continue on to Agra to view the world famous Taj Mahal — renowned for its spectacular architecture and aesthetic beauty, the Taj Mahal is also a symbol of enduring love, built by Shah Jehan to house the grave of his beloved wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal. We will travel back to Gurgaon that evening.
Sunday, March 17: the main pilgrimage ends, so some pilgrims may be scheduled to depart for their journey home. Those who select the pilgrimage extension will leave Sunday night by train to Ranikhet en route to Babaji’s Himalayan cave. Here is a more detailed itinerary:
Optional Extension: Babaji’s Cave
Below is additional information:
Physical Fitness for this optional extension:
The central activity will be visiting Babaji’s Cave, at an elevation of about 6,560 feet (2,000 meters). This requires a walk of 45-60 minutes each way for a healthy person. For those who need assistance, a jeep can take one for the first part of this walk. However, everyone must walk the last part together, which might be 20-30 minutes uphill (mostly on steps). You can take this path as slowly as you wish. There are walking sticks available for you to borrow from a local villager if desired.)
The highlight of the “extension” is the beautiful hillside where Lahiri Mahasaya is said to have first met Mahavatar Babaji, and which contains the cave where Lahiri spent a previous incarnation. This quiet area of Kumaon has a strong spiritual vibration and also offers saints, ashrams, and stunning Himalayan views.
Monday, March 18: We visit the Kainchi ashram of Neem Karoli Baba, a renowned Kumaon Hills’ saint, and arrive at Ranikhet where spectacular views of the Himalayas await us (weather permitting, of course!).
Tuesday, March 19: We take a bus to Babaji’s cave and walk/hike up to meditate there at the cave and walk down later in the day, returning to Ranikhet.
Wednesday, March 20 will be a leisurely morning at the Ranikhet resort, a visit to a local handicraft shawl shop, then a drive through the hills to catch evening train to Delhi.
Thursday, March 21: We arrive in Delhi early, go to Gurgaon for final packing and later that evening, those leaving for U.S. go to the Delhi airport for an early Friday a.m. flight home.
In order to reserve your space, please submit a deposit of $1,000 with your reservation form. More…