with Devprayag, Joshimath & Rishikesh
29 September -5 October 2012
- Badrinath Temple
A powerful place of pilgrimage since Vedic times, the Badrinath area is also said to be the present home of Mahavatar Babaji. Spiritual power can be felt just being in the rarefied air, pristine natural beauty, and soaring mountains.
Our first night will be spent in Devprayag, where We’ll dip in the Ganga, at the point where the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers join to become the Ganga. We will then spend three nights and two full days in Badrinath.
We'll attend the early morning puja at Badrinath temple when the image of Lord Badrinarayan (in lotus posture looking strikingly like Babaji) is bathed. You may also decide to bathe in the temple hot springs.
- Hot Springs (Badrinath)
Beyond the village of Mana we will walk to and meditate in the cave of Ved Vyasa, where he is said to have written the Mahabharata. A cave attributed to Ganesha is close by. Then we'll cross the Saraswati River, in its rare appearance as it emerges from the mountain before disappearing underground.
We’ll cross "Bhima’s Bridge", walk up the "Stairway to Heaven" which the Pandhavas took at the end of their lives.
- "Stairway To heaven"
Those who wish to may climb to Vasundhara Falls. We’ll also walk to the Neelkanth valley above Badrinath, and we may visit sadhus living there. An alternate, less strenuous, walk along the river boasts natural beauty, pilgrimage sites, and other sadhus. On one afternoon we may have a possible visit with head priest of Badrinath Temple, the Rawal.
On the return from Badrinath, we'll stop in Joshimath, and meditate in the cave where Adi Shankaracharya found enlightenment.
We’ll spend one night near Rudraprayag, then continue on to Rishikesh, to meditate in Sage Vashishta’s cave. After one night in Rishikesh we plan to visit other ashrams, including Swami Sivananda’s Kutir, the Samadhi mandir of Anandamoyee Ma, and the ashram of a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, where his ashes are preserved.
Saturday 29 September
4:00 or 5:00 pm
Shatabdi Express leaves New Delhi
Arrive Haridwar, drive to Devprayag (lunch en route)
Visit Ganga river at Devprayag, opportunity to take dip.
Check into Ramkund Resort, overlooking Devprayag;Dinner & opening gathering in hotel
Sunday, 30 September
Early breakfast at hotel
Drive to Badrinath (8-9 hours), lunch/snacks on your own along the way
Check in and dinner at Narayan Palace in Badrinath
Early morning puja at temple
Breakfast at hotel
Drive to Mana, walk to Vyasa’s cave, Stairway to Heaven, etc.
Lunch on your own; Visits to baths and temple, or walk by river from Mana to Badrinath
Evening meditation or possible visit with head priest of Badrinath Temple
Dinner at hotel
Meditation and breakfast at hotel
Walk to Neelkanth Valley;
Alternate less strenuous walk also offered
Lunch on your own; Continue to enjoy vibration/beauty of Badrinath
Dinner and satsang at hotel
Wednesday, 3 October
Early breakfast; Drive Badrinath to Rudraprayag (7-8 hours)
Stop in Joshimath, visit and meditate in Adi Shankaracharya’s cave
Snacks on your own along the way
Check in and dinner at our hotel near Rudraprayag
Possible evening kirtan
Meditation & Breakfast; Drive Rudraprayag to Rishikesh
Visit Sage Vashishta’s cave by river
Arrive Rishikesh; Check into Tapovan Resort
We may have time in Rishikesh to visit Kriya Yoga Ashram, or to have the darshan of Mataji Vanamali Devi
Dinner and closing satsang at hotel
Friday, 5 October
Leave for Haridwar;
Visit Keshabananda’s ashram with Lahiri Mahasaya’s ashes; Anandamoyee Ma’s ashram and Samadhi mandir
Train leaves Haridwar
Arrive New Delhi station
During a pilgrimage in the mountains, one must expect the unexpected. Our schedule may change due to persistent rain or cold, a closed road, or the ability of a saint not to be where we expect him to be.
Physical Fitness for This Trip
Altitude is the main concern. A medical check-up for high altitudes is advisable before joining this pilgrimage. Consult your doctor especially if you have health concerns such as blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or a heart or lung condition. At such an elevation it is common to feel shortness of breath and your body may move more slowly than usual. On second day, we will drive from Devprayag, at an elevation of 700 metres, to Badrinath, at 3100 metres.
The activities are optional, but we will offer slow group walks of one to three hours, and you may take longer walks if you wish. Some optional walks may climb steeply. There are a good number of steps at most of our destinations. If you look forward to walking, you can prepare yourself for pilgrimage by increasing your level of regular exercise, and by practicing pranayama. The roads to Badrinath continue to improve in recent years. However, if you are susceptible to car-sickness, be warned that the roads are long, have many curves, and are often not smooth.
Accommodations, Meals, and
Train transportation will be by a/c chair car. All other transportation will be by chartered bus. We will be staying in 2 and 3-star hotels. Breakfast and dinner are included.
Double occupancy : Rs. 28,000 per person.
Single occupancy (private room): Rs. 34,000 per person
If you wish double occupancy accommodation and you do not know another pilgrim, you will be assigned a roommate if possible.
The programme fee includes train Delhi-Haridwar-Delhi, all group transportation, lodging and 2 meals a day, and hotel tips.
Not included in the programme fee are most lunches, snacks, and beverages; medical insurance or medical care should you need it; donations at ashrams; personal hotel expenses such as laundry, telephone, or internet.
Completed application form and first payment of Rs. 5000 due by 1 July, 2012, in order to purchase train tickets. Payments by cheque or bank draft payable to "Ananda Sangha", or in person by cash.
Your participation is confirmed only when we approve your application and receive first payment. Balance of fee due by 1 September. If we do not receive the minimum number of confirmed applications by 1 August, the pilgrimage will be cancelled and your payment returned in full. If the pilgrimage takes place and you decide to cancel your own participation, Rs. 1000 of your fee is non-refundable. Cancellation close to date of departure may incur additional costs.
Preparation for Pilgrimage
Weather? What to pack? What to wear?
We'll help you through all these questions and more by e-mail, with letters on preparation and answers to any individual questions.
"Truly life-changing, like no other trip I've ever taken. This pilgrimage surpassed my expectations in terms of blessed fellowship, destinations, accommodations, activities, food—everything." —P. H., North Carolina, USA
"Since the pilgrimage I've felt a new lightness of being—a new lease on life, spiritually. Meditation is easier and more enjoyable. Time flies when I meditate. When I hear a chant, I find myself immersed completely in it—I feel I could sing all day!" —J. T., New Delhi
"Meditating in ancient caves is fantastic and really helps deepen the meditation practice. Now, I'm looking forward to the next pilgrimage!" —S. G., Gurgaon
This pilgrimage will be led by Steve Berry and Nayaswamis Surendra and Tushti Conti of Ananda Sangha, Gurgaon. Steve has been in India for many years, and has led several Ananda pilgrimages, and loves Badrinath. Nayaswamis Tushti and Surendra have recently joined our staff in Gurgaon, having had years of experience leading various aspects of Ananda's work in America. They will be assisted full-time by a guide from Discover Tours, the Indian tour operator that has guided Ananda pilgrimages for 25 years.