Please note, the below schedule will doubtless be modified to accommodate group interest and energy levels as well as the inevitable unforeseen opportunities and challenges India will bestow upon us.
May 8: In transit to India.
May 9: Group arrival in Delhi 6:00 AM, meet Galen and local coordinators Peter Sonam and Amit Dharampal at airport. Transfer to hotel, rest and breakfast followed by late morning group orientation and afternoon/evening tour of Old Delhi.
May 10: Visit to Delhi’s SamPark Press and lecture on Indian women and poetry with Sunandan Roy Chowdury. Afternoon tour of New Delhi.
May 11: Early departure for Ladakh by Jet Airways. Meet local coordinator Rinchen Namgial, transfer to guest house. Late morning rest, lunch, discussion on Ladakh history and modernization with Namgial, and viewing of ‘Ancient Futures’ film at nearby Ladakh Women’s Alliance.
May 12: Morning visit to Tikse or Sabu monasteries and audience with local Oracle. Afternoon walk through Leh Old Town (Muslim quarter) and lecture/discussion with Ladakhi Muslim author Abdul Ghani Sheikh.
May 13: Morning walk to Shanti Stupa and afternoon visit to local monastery and/or SECMOL school for sustainable development. Will include discussion on Tibetan/Ladakhi Buddhism with local intellectual Tashi Rabgey or evelopment and cultural change with SECMOL founder Sonam Angchuk.
May 14: Early morning departure for drive along Indus River gorge to 11th century Alchi Monastery. Lunch in Alchi village and afternoon trek to Mangyu Village (2-3 hours). Overnight homestay in Mangyu.
May 15: Day-long service project in Mangyu and 2nd overnight homestay.
May 16: Return drive to Leh and afternoon in Leh town for shopping/email/etc.
May 17: Morning visit to Siddhartha School and/or Stok Palace, lunch in Choglamsar Tibetan Refugee village and afternoon visit to Central Institute for Buddhist Studies with lecture by Director Dr. Ngawang Tsering. Evening Ladakhi cultural performance at Chube Guest House.
May 18: Early flight to Delhi. Morning visit to Delhi temples and activity TBA. 3:30 PM train to Agra, arrive Agra 6:00 PM and transfer to hotel.
May 19: Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal. 10:30 AM train to Delhi, arrive Delhi 1:30 PM. Afternoon in Delhi TBA. 6:00 PM departure for Dharamsala by overnight bus.
May 20: Arrive McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala 6:00 AM. Transfer to Guest House for morning rest and breakfast. Afternoon tour of McLeod Ganj including Tibet Museum and Namgyal Monastery. Meet local Tibetan homestay families in evening and transfer to respective homes.
May 21-23: Three days in McLeod Ganj will include a series of discussions with guest speakers including Tibetan independence activist and poet Tenzin Tsendue; former director of Tibetan Youth Congress and author Lhasang Tsering; former political prisoners and authors of memoirs ‘Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk,’ Palden Gyatso, and ‘The Voice that Remembers,’ Ama Adhe; President of Students for a Free Tibet (India Chapter) Tenzin Choeying; Director of Library of Tibetan Works and Archives Geshe Lhakdor; and others. During this time, when we will continue with local homestays, we’ll also visit the Norbulinka Institute (dedicated to the preservation of traditional Tibetan art and culture), the Men-Tse-Kang center for Tibetan Medicine and Astrology, as well as the Tibetan Children’s Village boarding campus. We also hope to have the privilege and good fortune of receiving a private audience with His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa.
May 24: 7:00 AM departure for Amristar and the heart of Sikhism, the Golden Temple. We will stay overnight in a hotel adjacent to the Golden Temple and have the opportunity to walk throughout the Temple precincts as well as volunteer in the Langar (public kitchens).
May 25: 8:00 AM train for Delhi, arriving Delhi 4:30 PM. Afternoon and evening free for final interests in the city before retiring to hotel for the night.
May 26: 8:00 AM flight departure for the US.