Himalayan Adventure & Babaji’s Cave Pilgrimage
This is an extraordinary pilgrimage to India’s holiest sites, with visits to saints and sadhus who live in these remote places: Babaji’s cave at Almora, Naukchiatal, Kausani, Badrinath (sacred to Lord Badrinarayan) and concluding in Rishikesh, the gateway to the Himalayas. It requires physical conditioning which allows one to walk easily at altitudes of 2,000-3,400 meters, and a keen sense of adventure and devotion. Ananda is offering this inspiring, well-organized, and lovingly guided pilgrimage to India since many years and you are cordially invited! This year is very special, as Kirtani and Anand Stickney and Jayadev Jaerschky will be your guides.
New: Visit of Ananda Pune Community option 9-13 September
Just before the inspiring Himalaya pilgrimage we offer you a unique opportunity: visiting the new Ananda community in India in Pune together with Kirtani and Anand Stickney (spiritual directors of Ananda Assisi). We'll enjoy several days together to get to know the different aspects of the thriving and growing community in the country side near Pune where Swami Kriyananda lived for several years and will participate in the special discipleship anniversary celebration on September 12th. The next day we'll fly up to Delhi to begin the pilgrimage into the sacred mountains of the Himalaya. Extra cost is ca. E250 (double room). Please contact us for additional information.
You spread out a wonderful tapestry for us, woven with devotion, common sense and experience. We had only to walk on it to discover India, its spirituality and ourselves. I had precious inner experiences and I thank you with all my heart. ~Hella
I had some of the most fulfilling, thrilling, profound experiences I have ever had, and came back certain and confident of at least a few things. ~Rani
Planet India – how wonderful! How great! … I lived moments of deep joy, I experienced the presence of the Divine, I felt tears of nostalgia remembering something deep inside which I recognized. Thank you, Ananda for giving me this experience. With friendship and professionalism, you gave me the opportunity to live an unforgettable spiritual adventure. ~Lucilla
Click here for a short video with beautiful photos by Lisa and Matteo from the Himalaya pilgrimage 2012
Naukchiatal is a picturesque emerald lake at an altitude of 1,800 meters (about 4,500 feet), and is one of the nine famous lakes of the Kumaon region of India. It is a peaceful setting with a charming town.
There are numerous saints and ashrams in this area, including:
- Saint Francis Baba, who for the past thirty years has lived in a small ashram on a mountain top near Bhimtal. He lives in perfect harmony with nature and the animals, and tigers come to visit him.
- Mauni Ma, a direct disciple of Neem Karoli Baba, who has been in silence for 30 years. Her ashram is dedicated to her guru and also to Hanuman. We will meditate here, with the hope of having darshan with Ma if she is there.
- 118-year-old Swami Paramananda, a dynamic sadhu, was formerly a doctor in Calcutta who renounced his worldly duties to dedicate his life to the spiritual search. He met Lahiri Mahasaya when he was a child. We hope to have darshan with him, chanting and meditation, with the chance to ask him questions. Previous trips to this wonderful saint has left everyone uplifted. This Swami also recounts to us his personal contact with Babaji.
On the way from Naukchiatal to the Almora district we will stop to meditate at another Neem Karoli Baba ashram and at various temples.
Kausani and Babaji’s Cave
From Almora we proceed to Kausani, where we will stay in the ideally-located Suman Royal Resort, with a panoramic view of the Himalayas from all rooms and terraces. One day is dedicated to Babaji’s cave, an experience which includes a beautiful walk of about one hour. This is where Babaji gave the first Kriya initiation in modern times to Lahiri Mahasaya, who then went on to teach it to thousands in Benares.
The next day is dedicated to visiting Sadhana Giri, a young, dynamic sadhu who lives in an ancient meditation site visited by saints and sages for thousands of years, where he leads a solitary life of yoga and meditation practice. This valley ashram is located next to a beautiful waterfall, where Lahiri Mahasaya also meditated.
Badrinath (3,100 meters)
Badrinath is the holiest shrine and pilgrimage place in all of India. Located at 3100 meters on the banks of the Alaknanda River, it was established by Swami Shankaracharya in the seventh century. The shrine is dedicated to Badrinarayan, a form of Vishnu, whom many devotees consider to be Babaji. The statue in the temple was found in the river by Shankaracharya.
We will hike to the spectacular falls of Vasudev, hike into the Neelkanth Valley, visit the sacred temple of Badrinath, meditate at the caves of Veda Vyasa and Ganesha, who brought the epic Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita to the world.
We will also have time to visit the Tibetan colony of Mana and enjoy the holy city of Badrinath, including visits to the swamis and babas who live in this holy valley.
We will be at an altitude of about 3000-3400 m (9500-11000 ft) and have spectacular views of the snow covered mountains and green valleys of the Himalayas. One can experience a profound silence in this beautiful valley.
Located at the foot of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges river, Rishikesh is blessed with the holy atmosphere of many ashrams, saints and sadhus.
We will meditate along the Ganges and in various ashrams and holy places.
One of the highlights will be a visit to Vanamali Devi, a devotional woman sage, living in her picturesque ashram above the Ganges.
There will be an opportunity to meditate in Swami Sivananda’s kutir and on the ghat where spent many hours each morning in meditation, and visit his tomb at the Divine Life Society.
There will be free time for walking, shopping and meditating on your own.
Guides and Transportation
This year we have the great fortune that (very likely) Kirtani and Anand Stickney, the spiritual directors of Ananda Assisi, will be your guides, together with Jayadev Jaerschky. All three have a lot of experience in guiding Himalaya pilgrimages. They will be joined by our long-time Indian guides (for example Mahavir). In addition, local mountain experts will accompany the group in some areas. Languages spoken will be English and Italian. Transportation will be by private bus and train.
This pilgrimages requires physical endurance for walking distances at high altitudes, from 2000-3400 meters. Each person should check with their physician to make sure that their physical conditioning is adequate to meet these challenges. There are no emergency medical facilities in any of these areas. Each person is able to walk at his own enjoyable pace during the hikes, and there are also mules for some of the higher walks available; however, physical conditioning is required and proper shoes and clothing are a necessity.
Double occupancy, without flight: approx. €1,495.00 per person
Single-room supplement (limited number available): approx. €475.00
First payment by 15.7., rest by 25.8.2013.
These fees are a close approximation, based on the information we have on hand. Due to possible fluctuations in the exchange rate of the euro and the cost of oil, which affect costs of flights and other transportation as well as hotel accommodations, some of these fees might change slightly.
If you choose a double room, but do not have a roommate, it might be possible to find one within the group. If that is not possible, or if you decide during the trip to have a single room, you will be responsible for the single room supplement.
Please contact us for further information, reservations and downpayments.