WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE BUDDHA
with the Monastics of Plum Village & Dharmacharya Shantum Seth
22nd December 2019 – 3rd January 2020
Walk in the Footsteps of the Buddha: A Wake Up pilgrimage led by the monastics of Plum Village and Dharmacharya Shantum Seth
December 22, 2019–January 3, 2020 – US$ 2435 per person*
Walk in the Footsteps of the Buddha in the pleasant winter of India with Plum Village Monastics. This is a special pilgrimage for the Wake Up Community. Wake Up is a global community of young mindfulness practitioners, aged 18-35, inspired by the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Others are welcome to join too.
On this journey we plan to visit some of the important places associated with the Buddha, (Bodhgaya, Sarnath/Varanasi, Rajgir and Nalanda, besides Patna and Delhi) so we can spend more time at each place as also walk each day on the routes the Buddha walked, literally In the Footsteps of the Buddha.
*Sponsorship: This is a special pilgrimage for the Wake Up community. The price includes sponsorship of monastics – for every 10 people who sign for the pilgrimage, one monastic is sponsored to take the pilgrimage, including international airfare to and from India. You are also welcome to independently sponsor a monastic to come on the pilgrimage.
Teachings will be offered.
There is an option to visit the Taj Mahal at the conclusion of the trip.
Walk in the Footsteps of the Buddha: A Wake Up pilgrimage led by the monastics of Plum Village and Dharmacharya Shantum Seth
December 22, 2019–January 3, 2020: US$ 2435
Building Love – Agra, the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
January 3-4, 2020: US$ 295
Shakyamuni Buddha discovered the truth of overcoming suffering and bringing happiness to the individual, family and society. Before he died, the Buddha suggested that it would be of great benefit to those who are interested in his teachings to make a pilgrimage to the places associated with his life.
This 13-day journey will begin at noon in New Delhi on December 22, 2019 after which we shall travel to Patna, the next day. Thereafter, we travel by our own private coach to Rajgir/Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and Sarnath/Varanasi. From Varanasi we shall return to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi on the evening of January 3, 2020. You should book your departure flight late night (after 11 pm) on January 3, 2020 or early morning of January 4, 2020. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya
In Delhi, we will visit the place where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, lived and died. This is a wonderful place to begin the pilgrimage as Gandhi reminds us of the Buddha in our time. He personified a unique way of living, faith and politics where it became a practice of applied ethics.
The Buddha lived and traveled along the plains of the Ganges. Besides Delhi, we shall visit two states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We shall walk on the same paths the Buddha did. Shantum has been researching some of these paths, as part of a program he has been doing for the Government of India and the World Bank. Our journey will take us to the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first teachings. We shall walk on the Panchkosi pilgrim path to the spot where he met his first 5 disciples. In Bodh Gaya where the Buddha attained enlightenment, we shall sit under the Bodhi Tree and walk to the 7 sites he visited after his enlightenment. We shall walk across the countryside to the caves where the Buddha practiced austerities, to the village of Sujata, the young girl who offered him rice and milk when he was starving to death; to the hill where the Buddha offered the Fire Sermon. We will visit Jethian, where the Buddha met with King Bimbisara, walk to the Bamboo Grove and climb to his favorite meditation place, Vulture Peak in Rajgir. We shall visit the Saptaparni Caves, where the first Buddhist council was held and Nalanda the site of the famous university from the 5th to 12th centuries where a lot to Mahayana teachings were developed, including being the source of the Manifestation school lineage of the Order of Inter-being.
Apart from visiting the places where the Buddha lived, we shall visit monasteries, temples and shrines of different faiths, take a boat ride at sunrise along the Ganges at Varanasi and walk in the alleyways, have discussions with locals, visit the homes of the poor and the privileged and get a deep understanding of historical and contemporary India. We would discuss this within the context of the Buddha’s teachings, so we can examine what we are witnessing and experiencing both from an external and internal perspective.
India’s cities stand in contrast to her villages and have their own interesting (if seemingly chaotic) lifestyle. Varanasi and Bodh Gaya are both significant pilgrimage sites, having their own distinct character and personality. In these places we get a closer view of how modern and traditional India co-exist. Rajgir and Nalanda are smaller towns and relatively quiet, giving the pilgrims the opportunity to absorb the nuances of the local culture and society. We shall take many opportunities to take extended walks so as to be more grounded and touch the earth and life unfolding around us more deeply.
After a teaching at Nalanda
Join us on this journey through a fascinating and mysterious India – as we walk ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha’. The pilgrimage is an unforgettable opportunity to explore areas that few tourists visit and to see and experience aspects of Indian life that, in many ways, that have not changed since the time of the Buddha. We invite you to journey with other practitioners on a transformative journey that will allow you to touch an ancient culture and civilization, and experience the life of the Buddha through the places he lived and taught.
Building Love – Agra, the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort January 3-4, 2020 –US$ 295
Agra was the capital of the great Mughals. Emperor Akbar, was the main architect of the Agra Fort. His grandson Shah Jahan built the beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal, as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both these monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Monastics of Plum Village
The monastics coming on this pilgrimage are still to be decided. However, we know at least one who will be joining. As we get more names, we shall add them.
Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, a teacher who has been Transmitted the Lamp by Thich Nhat Hanh, is the foremost expert on sites associated with the Buddha and has been leading pilgrimages since 1988. He worked with the United Nations on volunteering, peace, and social development for more than 15 years, and is currently Senior Advisor to the World Bank and the Government of India on pilgrimage tourism. He has co-authored books such as Walking with the Buddha, Volunteers against Conflict and been a consultant for films like BBC-Discovery’s Life of the Buddha and BBC-PBS’s The Story of India.
At each pilgrimage site along the way, Shantum will tell stories of the Buddha’s life and offer teachings to help us understand the Buddha as a human being, the drama of his life and the significance of what he taught. We will schedule time for daily sitting and walking meditation, regular discussions, and contemplative time for ourselves. The creation of a traveling sangha will be an important aspect of this trip, giving the journey a greater cohesiveness and building a sense of support for those seeking to deepen their practice.
No. Date Day of the week Travel Night’s stay
1 22-Dec-19 Sunday Pilgrimage begins in Delhi Delhi
2 23-Dec-19 Monday Delhi- Varanasi by air Varanasi
3 24-Dec-19 Tuesday Varanasi Varanasi
4 25-Dec-19 Wednesday Varanasi Varanasi
5 26-Dec-19 Thursday Varanasi – Bodhgaya by road Bodh Gaya
6 27-Dec-19 Friday Bodhgaya Bodh Gaya
7 28-Dec-19 Saturday Bodhgaya Bodh Gaya
8 29-Dec-19 Sunday Bodhgaya Bodh Gaya
9 30-Dec-19 Monday Bodhgaya – Rajgir by road Rajgir
10 31-Dec-19 Tuesday Rajgir-Nalanda-Rajgir Rajgir
11 01-Jan-20 Wednesday Rajgir Rajgir
12 02-Jan-20 Thursday Rajgir Rajgir
13 03-Jan-20 Friday Rajgir – Patna by road. To Delhi by air. Departure Delhi for the Agra Extension
14 04-Jan-20 Saturday Delhi – Agra – Delhi. Departure
*There could be minor changes in the itinerary based on a number of variable factors
DAILY SCHEDULE & SPECIAL EXCURSIONS
Our retreat schedule will include daily sitting and walking meditation, often starting with a morning meditation at one of the Buddhist sites. This will be followed by breakfast at the hotel, after which we’ll visit one of the Buddhist sites listed below in the itinerary. Shantum will offer a detailed talk on that site in the context of the Buddha’s life and teachings, and what was happening in the area many centuries ago. Pilgrims will have some time at the site itself, after which we will have lunch. We’ll rest after lunch, after which we may visit another site associated with the Buddha or go to a village, school, home and meet with interesting people etc. We return to the hotel by evening in time for dinner. The monastics will lead us in many of the practices.
On the days we travel, the itinerary will vary slightly, and there will be some flexibility depending on the size, needs, and interest of the group.
PILGRIMAGE REGISTRATION INFORMATION & TRAVEL FACTS
The cost for the Walk with the Buddha Wake Up pilgrimage (December 22, 2019 –January 3, 2020) is US$ 2435 based on double/triple occupancy. The single room supplement is an additional US$ 1200.
The cost of the Agra option (January 3-4, 2020) is US$ 295 based on double/triple occupancy. The single room supplement is an additional US$ 120. The tour price includes guide services, transportation, meals, monument entrance fees, bottled water and lodging arrangements for the duration of the Agra option.
The pilgrimage price includes: airport transfers and escort services in New Delhi, teaching and guide services, transportation inside India/Nepal, monument entrance fees, all meals, bottled water and lodging arrangements for the duration of the pilgrimage. All registration fees are payable in U.S. dollars or the equivalent in another currency.
Please note that the cost does not cover: International airfare to and from New Delhi, visas and other international arrangements, any extra days spent in India beyond the dates of the pilgrimage, excess baggage fees on the flights, phone calls, internet, laundry and medical and other insurance coverage such as travel insurance. It is advisable that participants purchase travel insurance.
*As the good hotels are limited at the Buddhist sites, and sometimes a few groups arrive on the same day, it may be difficult for hotels to provide a single room, and in some places we may even have triple-sharing for rooms. We ask for your understanding if this circumstance should arise.
A non-refundable deposit of US$ 500 per person is required at the time of booking. The remainder of the cost of the pilgrimage is due by October 15, 2019.
To register, you may complete the form at the end of this document and email it and send your deposit.
For cancellations received up to eight weeks before the commencement of the journey, only the deposit amount will be forfeited. The cancellation fee within eight weeks of the beginning of the journey will be 100% of the total cost.
It is advisable for registrants to purchase travel insurance. The range of coverage can vary significantly from policy to policy, and travelers are encouraged to identify a policy that suits their needs. Things to consider are travel delays, trip cancellation or interruption, medical coverage, and baggage loss or delay. Before purchasing insurance, you may wish to check with your health insurance carrier to see if your policy includes medical care overseas. Please note that many insurance carriers require that insurance be purchased at the time a deposit or final payment is made. We can provide the names of recommended Travel Insurance providers.
Arrival and departure are to and from New Delhi (Delhi), India. Participants are responsible for making their own round-trip flight arrangements from their point of origin to New Delhi, India and back. For international flights, tickets could be booked as early as possible as prices keep increasing as you get closer to the date of departure.
Most international flights arrive at night or early morning. We can help you with bookings. You may check with us before you confirm your flight bookings.
The pilgrimage will begin at 12:00pm (noon) on September 22, 2018.
The pilgrimage will end in the evening of January 3, 2020 in New Delhi. You should book your departure flight after 11 pm on January 3 or early morning of January 4, 2020.
For those who take the Agra option, the tour will end late evening on January 4, 2020. You should book your departure flight after 11.00 pm on January 4 or early morning on January 5, 2020.
For those wishing an extra day or two to recover from air travel before the pilgrimage begins, or who wish to stay longer after the pilgrimage ends, we would be happy to book for you, or provide a list of hotels in Delhi. Please make your hotel bookings for New Delhi well in advance, as December and January is considered a high season for travel in India.
If you would like to make any additional excursions within India or Asia, we would be happy to help.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP
You will need a valid passport and visas for India.
The visa for India should be obtained before travel and can be either Single Entry, Double Entry or Mulbitple Entry. For the purposes of this journey, you only need a Single Entry visa. The visa should be obtained before travel. Please make sure that the visa covers the dates of your travel.
An Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) as e-Tourist Visa on Arrival (eTVA) is also available for travelers from 164 countries including France, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, UK, Singapore, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Norway, Finland… http://www.in.ckgs.us/index.shtml
You can apply for this Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) a minimum of 4 days before your date of travel. This visa is issued for 60 to 90 days only.
The Indian Embassy has outsourced its visa applications
You may need to submit the following information about the tour company:
Company Name: Seth Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (Government-Approved Tour Operators)
Registered Address: 50/8 First Floor, Tolstoy Lane, Janpath, New Delhi 110001, INDIA
Tel: +91-120-2511633, +91-120-4334284; +91-120-2512162
Important information to be submitted:
Each participant must provide the following details in order to reserve train, air and hotels: Name, gender, date of birth, passport number, date of issue of passport, date of expiry of passport, place of issue of passport, and emergency contact information. In addition, registrants must provide the visa number, date of issue, date of expiry and place of issue as soon as the visa for travel to India has been issued. It would be helpful if you could scan the page with your visa and the page in your passport with your photograph and send it to us.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE, ACCEPTANCE OF CREDIT CARDS & TIPPING
As stated above, hotels, food, transportation in India and guide service are all covered by the tour fees. It is suggested that travelers carry cash for expenses like gifts or souvenirs. Travelers will also need money if they are planning to extend their stay in India before or after the pilgrimage. Credit cards such as VISA or American Express are accepted in some of the hotels and large shops in Delhi or Varanasi, but not in some of the other places we visit. There are ATM machines in many places where one can access cash, but their presence is not universal as it is in USA and some of them may be out of order. As of May 1, 2019, one US$ approximates 70 Indian Rupees. We recommend that you convert some cash at the airport when you arrive in New Delhi. There is no need to exchange it in your country — it is best to do so in India. There are a couple of banks with a standard exchange rate at the airport both before and after you clear customs. ATM machines are also an easy method of exchanging currency into rupees. Please keep your bank receipts carefully in case you need to change the money into your currency when you return home.
Travelers often have questions about tipping. In the last few years, we have developed a system where a kitty is collected at the beginning, and the tips are distributed from it (contributing is optional). Thus far, this has worked well. We estimate tips come to about US$ 5 to $10 per person per day.
If you arrive before the start of the pilgrimage or stay after it concludes, the general rule is as follows: tipping someone who has carried your luggage is common and we would suggest Rs.100. In restaurants, one normally leaves a tip of 5% to 10% of the entire bill, unless a service charge has already been levied. If you have hired a car for the day and you are happy with the driver, a tip of Rs. 500 is fine.
We choose accommodations in the vicinity of the sites based on shared, twin/triple-bedded rooms with a private bath or shower and toilet. The accommodations are clean and comfortable — in some cases monastic-style, and in some cases rather luxurious. If you prefer a single room (where available), there is a price supplement of US$ 1200 per person.
220 to 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. Plugs/sockets are usually an issue, so please make sure you travel with a universal plug adaptor. The plug sockets have round holes, so ensure your adaptor plug has round stems.
Given that there can be a high variation between the daytime and evening temperatures (the general range is from 5 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius, (40 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s important to be comfortable and modestly dressed. We recommend that you bring one jacket and a couple of light sweater for the day, and a shawl for morning meditation. There is no need to bring formal clothing. Generally, the weather is dry. It is handy to have an umbrella that can double as a sunshade if it gets too sunny or even be used as a walking stick. Please bring comfortable sneakers or sandals as we will be doing a lot of walking. We also visit a number of temples where you will need to remove your shoes, so it is helpful to bring a pair of socks (the airline slip-ons are very convenient). It is always useful to have a hat or cap to protect you from the sun. We are allowed 15 kilos (33 lbs) checked in baggage and 7 kilos (15 lbs) as cabin baggage on Indian airplanes, so we recommend that you travel light. However you can carry more baggage with extra payment (around US$ 7 per kg extra) to the airlines. Laundry facilities are available at nearly all the places we stay, and laundry is returned within 24 hours.
We stay in clean, safe places, and the food in the places we stay will be clean, fresh and prepared to suit a delicate digestive system. You will be provided bottled mineral water for drinking.
If you are coming from Africa or some parts of Latin America, a certificate of yellow fever inoculation is required by the Indian authorities. There is no other medical restriction upon your entry into India. We normally recommend a Hepatitis-A shot and a Tetanus shot. If you prefer to be more careful, then please speak to your physician.
We do carry a first-aid kit with us, but many people prefer to bring their own supply of medicines.
We would recommend you get a bug spray and a mosquito repellent cream.
Also stomach medicine for both diarrhea and constipation as one’s stomach has its own way of adjusting to different foods.
It is quite easy and inexpensive to get a local SIM card for your mobile phone at Delhi airport. You need one photograph and a copy of your India visa and passport. If you have an iphone, you may need to ‘unlock’ it before you come to India. Mobile telephony in India is inexpensive.
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL SERVICES (e.g. shuttle buses, taxis)
We provide airport transfers both ways and all the transport services during the pilgrimage, including having you met on arrival in New Delhi. There is no extra charge for meeting you at the airport. For those who want to make your own arrangements, the Delhi Airport has cabs lined up and you can register with them.
DISCLAIMER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY
Seth Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (Buddhapath) and Shantum Seth while undertaking tours, transportation, hotel accommodation and other services only act on the clear understanding that they shall not be in any way responsible or liable for any accident, damage, loss, delay or inconvenience caused in connection with travel and other facilities arranged by the company, their employees or agents. All bookings are accepted and executed with utmost care, yet no responsibility is taken for any change or deviation on account of factors beyond their control.
By making a deposit for the tour, participants acknowledge that they have read and understood this document in its entirety, and have consented to all conditions herein, including the Disclaimer and Release of Liability. For participants under 18 years of age, their parent or legal guardian shall sign on their behalf and the same Disclaimer and Release shall apply.
Each pilgrim must complete the form below in full, and send (email is fine) with a non-refundable deposit of US$ 500 (or equivalent) per person to:
Tel: +91-120-4334284; 2511633; 2512162; 2512162
In the Footsteps of the Buddha
Seth Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
309B Sector 15A, Noida 201301, Gautam Buddha Nagar, INDIA. Tel: +91-120-2511633, 4334284; +91-120-2512162
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I AM REGISTERING FOR COST PAY BY DATE
❑ 13-day Pilgrimage In the Footsteps of the Buddha
December 22, 2019 to January 3, 2020 US$ 2435* (US$ 1200 single room supplement) October 15, 2019
❑ Agra Building Love, the Taj Mahal
January 3, 2020 to January 4, 2020 US$ 295* (US$ 120 single room supplement) October 15, 2019
* includes Government Service Tax; can be paid in the equivalent currency of your country. US$ 500 has to be paid to register for the pilgrimage. The remaining amount and optional extras have to be paid before the “pay by date”
1. Credit card / debit card online payment via our website (please add 3% service charge) http://www.elevendirections.com/Contactus.html
2. Bank Wire Instructions:
Account Name (Beneficiary): SETH CONSULTANTS PVT. LTD.
Bank Name: ICICI BANK LTD.
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3. Cheque/banker’s draft payable to ‘SETH CONSULTANTS PVT. LTD.’ Send via registered post to ‘Seth, 309-B, Sector 15A, Noida 201301, India (please add US$ 35 bank fees)
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