In The Time of the Buddha
Nepal and India – November 14–27, 2023
Two Truths LLC is delighted to share with you life-changing cultural immersions in sacred places. The Tour pilgrimage-retreat in Nepal and northern India will visit the places where the Buddha, the Awakened One, over 80 years, lived, became enlightened through his own personal struggle, and where he taught and where he passed away.
We recommend participants arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, one or two days earlier, before the Tour begins, Tuesday, November 14, 2023, to adjust to the time zones, and breathe in the molecules of this exceptionally sacred, storied, and colorful Himalayan kingdom.
In Kathmandu, the Tour will be staying the nights of Tuesday and Wednesday, November 14 and 15 at The Mila Hotel- a newly built, friendly lodging with a conscious Tibetan Buddhist interior.
We recommend that you book additional nights there, for your arrival prior to November 14th, so you don’t have to change hotels – either through www.booking.com or another trusted reservations platform.
Please note that we return to Kathmandu via flight from Varanasi, India, arriving Kathmandu Sunday, November 26th, Tour Day 13, in the afternoon. The Tour includes lodging at Hotel Mila, the night of Sunday, November 26th.
Note: The Tour ends after breakfast, November 27th, with many participants going onward in Asia, or home.
* Should you wish to stay on in Kathmandu and Nepal, you might want to extend your Hotel Mila reservations. If so, we recommend you do this on your own, before you depart for Asia. In fact, the earlier you can anticipate your plans, and make your own additional hotel nights’ extensions, the better.
Flight access to Kathmandu. You will be booking your own airfare or using frequent flyer miles. Many major airlines fly into Kathmandu, Nepal. We often use the following websites for booking, in addition to using banked frequent flyer miles with our major, favorite air carriers:
Our 14-Day adventure, including the 5-Day Retreat registration is: $3,375.00 per person Double or Twin Occupancy. Single Supplement is $46.00 a night, X 13 nights is $598.00
Deposits of 25% are due August 26, 2023. The balance is due October 5, 2023. Sending the deposit constitutes registration and the holding of space.
A participant Questionnaire will be sent out at the beginning of October, asking you to identify your food preferences, room/ room mate preferences, prior experiences and prior retreats, your aspirations and preferences on the pilgrimage and the retreat.
Included in the price is:
All lodging 13 nights, all ground transportation in Nepal and India, all museum and sacred temple admission fees, and the Safari experience at Chitwan Refuge National Park, including Tharu indigenous village walk, canoe adventure, visit to the Ghariyal Elephant Breeding Center, Rapti River wetland outing inhabited with One-Horned Rhinoceros and crocodiles, jeep jungle safari, and Tharu indigenous traditional stick dance; and all meals through breakfast, Monday, November 27th, are included;
Included as well, registration fees for the retreat with Dr. Karma Phuntsho, Himalayan scholar from Bhutan, and his honorarium, and honorarium to tour co-leader, Dasho Sherab Tenzin, former governor and Cabinet Minister in Bhutan, as well as cruise on the River Ganges, and one-way return airfare from Varanasi, India to Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, November 26th.
Excluded: International air from home to and from Kathmandu, travel insurance, Nepal visa and India visa, tips, alcohol, and gifts purchased.
Refund Policy. For any reason tour payment will be 100% refundable (minus $200.00 admin fee) with written notice, up to 55 days prior to your departure date from the U.S.
Fifty-four days or less, prior to the scheduled departure date, payments are 100% non-refundable, as we are required to make purchases to all of our Nepal and India vendors, hotels, ground transport companies, and have already been committed.
Meeting Place Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:30pm in the lobby of Hotel Mila, Kathmandu. If you choose to arrive earlier and wish to get together, please leave a note at the hotel desk for Charles and Marla.
Passports and proof of travel insurance. A color copy of your Passport pages that include your photo and passport number as well as your signature page, needs to be included in an email to us- along with your flight airline itinerary- and also proof of travel insurance, to us, five weeks prior to departure. Your Passport needs to be valid for at least six months after your scheduled return to home.
You will also need to have a number of blank pages labeled ‘visas’, available in your Passport.
There are many travel insurance vendors, and we can assist you, if you wish.
Vaccinations. Please visit CDC’s Travelers website, www.cdc.gov We will not be visiting tropical areas, though best for you to be informed of vaccinations.
Nepal and India visas. You are responsible for obtaining these prior to departure. Please contact the respective Consulates for initiating these. We can help guide you, if you wish.
Packing. Pack your medications in carry-on luggage. Be sure to pack sunscreen, sun hat, compact umbrella, hand sanitizer or wipes, and pack copies of your health insurance, copies of all your prescriptions, your credit card and bank international phone contacts,
xerox copies of the front and back of your credit cards and also your Passport, your airline itineraries, an alternate form of ID, and personal phone and email contacts. All copied.
Typically, temperatures in Kathmandu in mid- to end of November are 73 degrees to 47 degrees, evenings. With the monsoon season over, November- autumn season, is an ideal time to be in Nepal. Northern India in mid to end of November is 78 to 75 and evening temperatures average 59-55 degrees.
Pack to dress comfortably and also in ‘layers’. Review smart packing lists on www.travelite.org
We will be traveling comfortably by first-class AC delux bus, short voyages with inspired stops, between sacred sites and pilgrimage venues.
Currency. Best to change dollars for Nepalese Rupee (NPR). 1 USD= approximately 131 Nepalese NPR. You can bring cash and exchange for Nepalese currency at the Kathmandu Airport. At the airport you can use your bank credit card (as long as you remember your PIN number) to have Nepalese NPR returned to you, out of the ATM.
Best to travel throughout the trip with a combination of different currency denominations- including small denominations for public washrooms, and street market purchases, an ATM credit card. Travelers checks are very difficult to exchange. You can also exchange dollars for Indian Rupees (INR), at the Kathmandu Airport, anticipating the second part of our trip. Currently, $10.00 USD = 828 Indian Rupees. $100.00 USD (for those anticipating purchasing Indian antiques, art, artifacts, upscale clothing) is 8280 INR Indian Rupees.
The best currency converter information site is www.xe.com Be sure to inform your bank and credit card companies of your upcoming trip.
Time Zone. Nepal is 12 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Tucson, Arizona. 3:52 am Tuesday in Nepal is 3:07 pm Monday, in Tucson, Arizona. The parts of pilgrimage India where we will be is 12 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Tucson, Arizona. For our time in Asia, we will be in the “future”. Something to think about, perhaps a Buddhist koan.
Tips. Housekeeping staff in Nepal and Indian hotels, doing good care, typically gain $2.00-4.00 per night. We will be tipping our bus drivers both in Nepal and also in India. If you feel called by the bus driver’s particular safety intention or otherwise, you are also welcome to tip that person for the multiple days’ driving.
In Nepal and also in India, public restrooms may have attendants that clean the facility and keep it clean, and always seem to be there. .50 cents in their currency, a small tip is appreciated , and so we encourage you to always keep small coins with you.
Dana. Dana is the spontaneous response of a grateful heart. During our retreat, many things will arise and emerge. Buddhist tradition in the ancient Pali language of thousands of years ago, notices in the dance of giving and receiving, the goodness of generosity, appreciation, and reciprocity shines through.
Two Truths LLC, the trip originator, Charles and Marla will be making an offering to our retreat teachers, Lopen Karma Phuntsho and Dasho Sherab Tenzin. If, with reflection you are so moved in appreciation and respect for our teachers and their insights, you are welcome to offer Dana in gratitude.
Electricity, Telephones, Internet, and Ei-Fi in Asia. You can obtain a compact, inexpensive Universal adapter/converter at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, or on Amazon.
Telephoning and voice/ video over the internet: Calling overseas to Nepal is +977 and then the specific area code followed by the number. Calling overseas to India is +91 and then the specific area code followed by the number. Calling back to the USA is: 001 or +1.
Wi-Fi is readily available in most places we will be going- except for remote villages. Internet may be spotty in the Chitwan National Park, although consistent in the Tiger Land Safari Resort, where we will be staying for three nights.
Out on safari, internet coverage might be sometimes a challenge. We encourage you to use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or WhatsApp back home. To do so, before you leave home, we recommend both the future caller and the receiver, be registered with the service, i.e. Zoom and FaceTime. Zoom needs both parties to be connected to the internet, i.e. in a hotel or restaurant, on your part.
Resources. We invite you to view and check out the following books and films for profound insights into Buddhism and meditation, cultural traditions, history and life in Nepal and India:
- Travels in Nepal: The Sequestered Kingdom by Charlie Pye-Smith
- Three Kingdoms on the Roof of the World: Bhutan, Nepal, and Ladakh by Robert Z. Apte
- A History of Nepal by John Whelpton
- Nepal-Culture Smart: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture by Essa Feller
- Nepal: A Guide to the Art and Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley by Michael Hutt
- The Story of India by Michael Wood
- Spiritual Heritage of India: A Summary of Indian Philosophy and Religion by Swami Prabhavananda
- India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul
- India, A Sacred Geography by Harvard scholar Diana L. Eck
- Nine Lives: In Search of The Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple
- Recalling Chogyam Trungpa, 36 Contributors, ed. Fabrice Midal
- Training in Compassion: Zen and Lojong by Zoketsu Norman Fischer
- The World Could Be Otherwise by Zoketsu Norman Fischer
- Buddha by Karen Armstrong
- Buddha’s Brain: Happiness, Love, Wisdom by Rick Hanson
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
- Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
- Wherever You Go There You Are, Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Happiness Is An Inside Job by Sylvia Boorstein
- That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist by Sylvia Boorstein
- The Bodhisattva’s Brain by Owen Flannigan
- Shambhala, The Sacred Path of The Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa
- Essential Zen by Kazuaki Tanahashi: Poetry and Prose by Dogen, Basho et others.
- Bring Me The Rhinoceros – Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life by John Tarrant
- The Way of The Traveler, Journeys of Self-Discovery by Joseph Dizpenza
- No Death, No Fear, Comforting Wisdom for Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Coming To Our Senses, Healing Ourselves and The World by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Altruism by Matthieu Ricard
- Love and Relationships – a YouTube Video by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Bhutanese lama, whose film-making name is Khyentse Norbu. Hilarious and true to the bone.