Help Me Plan My Trip To India

#1 Jun 1st, 2010, 22:41
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  • fannex17 is offline
#1
This will be my first time visiting India. I am flying in to Delhi from London on the 23rd of July. I then plan to spend only a few days in Delhi, maybe at a youth hostel. Now India is HUGE and there are so many places I want to go. But I want to enjoy places and not spread myself out to thinly.

I have chosen to go to India because I feel that spiritually there is a big gap in my life. I have been interested in Buddhism for a while now and have applied for the http://www.dhamma.org/en/code.shtml 10 day intro to Buddhism course.

I also would love to go to the temple where the Dalai Lama is. Looking from his schedule he is in India throughout the end of July.

Where else do you think I should go? I am planning to leave on the 20th of August.
Money is tight...although the ashrams are purely donation.

Also I think I may take the trains, unless anyone strongly recommends flying?

Leh, sounds like a place that would interest me.

Finally as well as wanting to find myself spiritually or at least get an introduction to it, I would also like to see some elephants. Where can I go for this?

Markets for hand made jewellery and silks as well!

I know I am never going to want to leave. I have never taken a trip like this by myself before. i just need help narrowing down to the 4-5 things I want/should do whilst in India so I can really plan and enjoy my trip.
#2 Jun 1st, 2010, 23:42
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  • kullukid is offline
#2
[QUOTE=fannex17;977872]

I also would love to go to the temple where the Dalai Lama is. Looking from his schedule he is in India throughout the end of July.


Also I think I may take the trains, unless anyone strongly recommends flying?

Leh, sounds like a place that would interest me.

QUOTE]

Bearing in mind it will be monsoon season when you arrive I'd suggest you fly straight to Leh where they don't get rain at this time,then you could come back by road in a share jeep to Manali & from there you could head to Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj home of HHDL by which time the rains may have started to reced south if you are lucky!KK
#3 Jun 2nd, 2010, 00:39
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  • curious_man123 is offline
#3
For Elephants and Tiger viewing, visit Corbett National Park

http://www.corbettnationalpark.in
#4 Jun 2nd, 2010, 00:46
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  • curious_man123 is offline
#4
For study of Buddhism, visit Tushita Meditation Centre at Mcleodganj. Their 'Introduction to Buddhism' course is quite famous.

http://www.tushita.info
#5 Jun 2nd, 2010, 05:36
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  • fannex17 is offline
#5
Thank you! Would you say this is a better course than Vipassana Meditation in Dharamsala?
#6 Jun 2nd, 2010, 05:59
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  • NatashaC is offline
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I have done the Tushita course and would highly recommend it.

It is hard to say that one is better than the other, having spoken with travellers who have done both I understand that the vipassana courses are much more intense and results in a very focussed meditation practise w/ significant internal focus. One traveller told me he cried daily during meditation and described it as the most emotionally draining but ultimately beneficial experience he has ever had. However, he felt that the Tushita course - which he did after a break of a few weeks - gave him a better grounding for real life practise...

Tushita’s course helps ground your knowledge of the Dharma - thus is your interest is in Buddhist practise then it may be a better option. Ultimately it depends on what you are looking to get from the experience
#7 Jun 2nd, 2010, 06:12
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  • fannex17 is offline
#7
NatashaC
It is interesting you ask me what I am looking for from the experience. This whole trip to India I am positive will have an impact on my life. I find that I am a constant worrier and find it hard to have balance in my life. I live like a good person but spirituality is something that is missing from my life. I do not want to take the 'easier' course just the one that is most suited to me. Which is hard to say when I know very little!
#8 Jun 2nd, 2010, 08:14
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  • curious_man123 is offline
#8
Fannex. the Tushita site has answered your question in the FAQ section:

I'm not sure whether to take Tushita's course (Introduction to Buddhism) or a 10-day Goenka Vipassana Course. Do you have any advice?

Both courses are excellent, and we are happy to recommend Vipassana courses. The Tushita ‘Introduction to Buddhism’ course and Goenka Vipassana courses are both residential, 10 days in duration, held in silence, and are open to anyone of any religion. However, they are very different from each other in other regards and each may be more suitable to different people at different times. Here are some points to consider (please keep in mind that the following points only apply to Vipassana courses as taught by Goenka, not other forms of Vipassana courses, for example like those you can find in Thailand):

Emphasis: On the Vipassana course you can expect to learn a meditation technique and have the opportunity to practice it over 10 days of strict silence. Apart from a 90 minute video each evening, there is almost no teaching of the philosophy involved, while the emphasis of Tushita's course is on explaining Buddhist philosophy, using a few different meditation techniques to help you to absorb and apply this knowledge to your own experiences.

Schedule: Students may find the Tushita schedule lighter than a Vipassana course. In a Vipassana centre, the wake-up time is 4am, and sessions of sitting meditation run pretty much continuously throughout the day from 4:30am up to around 9pm (see their website for the exact schedule), this means that you are sitting for approximately 13 hours a day. At Tushita, the wake-up time is 6am, sessions run from 6:45 to around 9pm and there is a mixture of meditation, teaching, stretching (simple yoga), discussion groups, and a break after lunch for reading, resting or contemplation.

Silence: Vipassana courses are held in ‘Noble Silence’, which as well as not speaking, means avoiding eye contact, not writing and not reading anything other than Vipassana literature. Silence is also observed on Tushita courses, however, you need not avoid eye contact, and there is one discussion group session a day (except in the last 2 days of meditation retreat), where students are divided into groups of 8-10 people to discuss what they have learned in the previous day, resuming silence after the session. Also, since our courses involve a lot of information, we actually encourage people to take notes, and we have a well-stocked library from which you are welcome to read any Dharma material.

In short…! If you're looking for a deep meditation retreat, you may prefer Vipassana; if you're interested in gaining knowledge about Buddhist philosophy and a few techniques to increase balance and harmony in your life, then Tushita may be for you!
#9 Jun 4th, 2010, 19:04
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  • SatuR is offline
#9
Like Kullukid, I'd say go to Ladakh. Especially if you're interested in Buddhism. Beautiful monasteries, you can also take courses in Buddhism (you'll find them locally), you'll suffer from a bit of altitude sickness but it's worth it. It seems you don't have so much time to travel around, but you can still visit both Leh AND Manali & Dharamsala (the headquarters of His Holiness).
#10 Jun 6th, 2010, 10:31
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  • newislander is offline
#10
Just because you are searching for spirituality doesn't mean you should give up your reason. Read Karen Armstrong on the buddha for an excellent introduction to buddhism. That way you should be able to avoid getting bogged down in all the same old same old supersitious claptrap that will be part of your indian buddhist/spiritual experience.

Another person I recommend you try to read is J Krishnamurti. There are some good websites on him. It seems to me that a lot of his ideas build upon buddhism. But they are more modern and therefore suit a modern mentality much better.

when you say you are missing something spiritually in your life, I wonder what you mean. Do you mean feeling connected to the world at a deeper level or feeling connected to something outside the world. Although I would say that Krishnamurti is something of an agnostic approach I believe what he does is help give people a way to understand and develop that connection to the world but essentially we are all alone and that is a hard thing to come to terms with for some people. As K says, belief is a crutch. It is the easy way. He has an excellent piece on Krishnamurti Australia website. just go to the link in god and belief.

Although I am an atheist myself, I went to a gurdwara for a few weeks where I felt something good I wouldn't say spiritual but i did feel connected with people there and enjoyed the simplicity of the lifestyle. I went to a couple of ashrams also and although i loved aspects about it (especially the food) i felt very much on my own and disconnected from everyone. I even got bored in the second place. These places are also very much a man's domain, at least those where indians go are. But perhaps my aloneness and boredom was also because I wasn't searching for god and didn't feel the need to get advice from the sadhus there. If i had i could have found people to have deep and meaningful conversations with.

One book i strongly urge all western seeks going to india to read is Sadhus by Patrick Levy. It is beautifully written. He becomes a sadhu for a while and we get a wonderful insight into the lives of Sadhus in all their variety and also into hinduism. I STRONGLY recommend this book. You can buy it in delhi.

Once i met a woman who was just returning home from Beas in Punjab. She had been a follower of the guru there for 30 years. She was american. This impressed me and when i go back to india, i hope to visit the ashram at Beas.

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