First Time In India - 6 month trip aprox.

#1 Aug 26th, 2014, 10:58
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  • urdapilletaf is offline
#1
Hello everyone!

My name is Fernando, from Buenos Aires, and I'm planning a trip to India starting around january 2015. I will be in California at that time so I thought about fliying into Calcutta, so I could start covering terrain from there. Truth is I haven't yet looked at any details since planing a trip through such a country seems quite overwhelming. I don't have a specific time I must leave, but i'll say 6 months so as to start planning something.

One of the things I am really looking forward is studying buddhism, so i thought about going to Dharamsala or even to Sri Lanka (i've heard about buddhist retiement at Nialmbe), but to be honest i've juuuuuust started looking at things and possibilities so I'de love if more experienced travellers could give me a hint, not only in the buddhist/retirement/study subject but also on how to make the most of this visit to such a country.

Muchas gracias!!!
#2 Aug 26th, 2014, 11:46
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  • BholeBaba is offline
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by urdapilletaf View Post One of the things I am really looking forward is studying buddhism, so i thought about going to Dharamsala or even to Sri Lanka (i've heard about buddhist retiement at Nialmbe)
If possible, do consider spending time exploring the monasteries and temples in Sikkim and Ladakh*, both of which should ideally be visited around June/July/August, IMO. And do also swing by Bodh Gaya and Sarnath. Buddhist sites are aplenty in the eastern Indian state of Bihar as well as in parts of Maharashtra (Ajanta Ellora) and Madhya Pradesh (Sanchi Stupa).

*Ladakh will give you a nice flavour of Tibetan Buddhism, quite distinct to the Theravada Buddhism that is practiced in Sri Lanka.

Welcome to IndiaMike.
#3 Aug 26th, 2014, 14:10
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  • karikor is offline
#3
Hello,

Welcome to Indiamike. Hope you have a long and fruitful stay with us. By the way, are you specifically looking at Buddhist Tourism & nothing else for 6 months?

Regards,

Karikor
#4 Aug 27th, 2014, 04:01
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  • urdapilletaf is offline
#4
Thank you BholeBaba and Karikor for your reply!

As a first timer in India, I'd love getting to know as muchs as I can, tourist wise. Also, spending some time in retirement is at the top of my list: practicing and learning new meditation techniques. Truth is I am not yet sure where or with whom (all recommendations are welcomed!) I have a personal interest in buddhism (although I know quite a bit about it, I only do so intellectually), but I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to learn from the many branches of hinduism.

Getting back to the itinerary: as I will be flying from California, I thought it might help to fly in from Calcutta, and then maybe go straight to Sikkim. Trouble is, I'll be getting to India in Jan, so I reckon that area would be veeeery cold at that time. So it might be a better idea to go south, through Madras all the way to the bottom, then maybe cross to Sri Lanka to explore some theravada. After that, when the months of deep cold go by, I could start making my way up north through Mumbai and Rajasthan.

Does this sound doable?

Thanks for all the advice and the warm welcoming.
#5 Aug 27th, 2014, 04:19
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  • urdapilletaf is offline
#5
Reading the "how to get the most of the itinerary section" post, I realized I forgot to add some more info:

This will be my second time in Asia, as I spent 6 months in Lao, Cambodia, Malasia, Borneo, Vietnam and Thailand when I was 21 (I'm 26 now).

My idea of the trip is a low-to-middle-budget, travel in whatever transport available (train i guess?), relaxed paced kinnda trip. Fluorescent paint, goa trance partying, or anything in that line, is not in my mind. Ashrams, meditating and learning about different paths, is.


Thank you again.
#6 Aug 27th, 2014, 12:27
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  • BholeBaba is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by urdapilletaf View Post Thank you BholeBaba and Karikor for your reply!

As a first timer in India, I'd love getting to know as muchs as I can, tourist wise. Also, spending some time in retirement is at the top of my list: practicing and learning new meditation techniques. Truth is I am not yet sure where or with whom (all recommendations are welcomed!) I have a personal interest in buddhism (although I know quite a bit about it, I only do so intellectually), but I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to learn from the many branches of hinduism.

Getting back to the itinerary: as I will be flying from California, I thought it might help to fly in from Calcutta, and then maybe go straight to Sikkim. Trouble is, I'll be getting to India in Jan, so I reckon that area would be veeeery cold at that time. So it might be a better idea to go south, through Madras all the way to the bottom, then maybe cross to Sri Lanka to explore some theravada. After that, when the months of deep cold go by, I could start making my way up north through Mumbai and Rajasthan.

Does this sound doable?

Thanks for all the advice and the warm welcoming.

If you're interested in attending retreats you might want to check out "Vipasana" centres around the country. A Google search will give you some information. I think there is one in Dharmashala also. Each of these retreats has limited capacity and they tend to get booked up well in advance.

Since you're flying in from the US it really doesn't matter where in India you fly into as you will pretty much be travelling half way around the world any way.

Between April and October North India gets unbearably hot, esp in May, June and July. No one who hasn't experienced the north Indian summer can truly comprehend what it's like and so I will advise against visiting the northern plains during this time. However, July and August, as I said before, is a good time to explore Dharamshala and McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh as well as Ladakh.

By the way Bhutan and Nepal also have much to offer as regards Buddhist culture.

I'd suggest you cover Delhi-Agra-Amritsar-Varanasi-Rajasthan before the end of February after which you can move south to Tamil Nadu/Kerala before moving back up north to the Himalayan destinations in the peak summer months. I'd personally do something like that.

I have a feeling you might also like exploring Ashrams and meditation centres/Yoga schools in Rishikesh and Varanasi by the way.
Last edited by BholeBaba; Aug 27th, 2014 at 14:41..
#7 Aug 27th, 2014, 13:10
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  • gobbledegeek is offline
#7

Re: First Time In India - 6 month trip aprox.

Thats right. The most practical and useful way to begin with Buddhism is to experience the vipassana course. Many centres require booking well in advance. You may also find a centre in California if you search.

A trip to Keylong and Kaaza is recommended as it is a Buddhist belt. You can also avail accommodation in the campus of a monastery there.

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