Our Mystical Mamas Tour group journeyed to some of Northern India’s most spiritual places, learning about Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism as we traveled. New friendships were formed both within our group and with our host communities as we took in the sights of India’s beautiful historical monuments and temples, witnessing the ways of life in both the cities and rural areas we visited. As we traveled, we also learned to meditate and explore our own spirituality, laughing and learning to love the mysterious sides of us not often revealed, ultimately gaining greater awareness about ourselves. And of course, we also enjoyed the food and shopping that India has to offer too – call it a successful “Eat, Pray, Love” India spiritual tour! Below are some of the top highlights of our India spiritual tour. Additional photos can be seen by clicking on the links to albums on Global Family Travels Facebook page:
Mystical Mamas at the Ngari Institute - We had a joyful time with the children of the Ngari Institute Project, an orphanage started by three Tibetan monks who have brought children from very poor families to provide them with education and basic needs. The children sang to us and we played with them, enjoying some of the gifts we brought of jump ropes, tennis and soccer balls.
Visit to Siddhartha School Project (SSP), Stok, Ladakh - We enjoyed a heart-filled visit to the Siddharta School, located in Stok, a quaint village nestled in the Himalayan foothills. A school that is very near and dear to Global Family Travels, the Siddhartha School is one-of-a-kind in its efforts to preserve and enhance the local culture. We have been invited by Lama Khen Rinpoche, the school’s founder, to enjoy a morning assembly and tea with the students at the school.
Varanasi, India - A city on the banks of the Mother Ganges River and considered the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. We witnessed many people walking on the ghats (steps), bathing, and swimming in the river. Many families were paying their respect to loved ones being cremated. In Hindu traditions, cremation is one of the rites of passage and the Ghats of Varanasi are considered one of the holiest locations for this ritual.
Mahabodhi Temple - Bodh Gaya – A place of pilgrimage for Buddhists where Lord Buddha is said to have achieved Enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi Tree.
Donkey Sanctuary in Ladakh - A fun visit to the Donkey Sanctuary in Leh, a place where stray donkeys are loved and cared for. We fed the donkeys carrots and learned about the project.
Thiksey Monastery & Hemis Monastery, Ladakh - Thiksey Gompa was built some 600 years ago, Thiksey Gompa is considered the most beautiful of all the Monasteries in Ladakh and consists of 12 levels ascending a hillside. The gompa contains 10 temples and below the monastery itself are chapels and "houses" stretching down the hillside. Hemis Monastery is positioned inside a gorge. The monastery was built in the 17th century, and it holds the distinction of being the biggest and wealthiest monastery of Ladakh.
Nalanda University - We visited the ruins of the Nalanda University, a religious center of learning from the fifth century AD to 1197 AD. At its peak, the university attracted 10,000 scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Greece, and Persia.
Shopping in Old Delhi - A maze of narrow lanes, pulsing with energy and colorful shops!
Red Fort & Taj Mahal - A trip to India is not complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal and the Red fort. Built by Emperor Shah Jehan in memory to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj is the ultimate tribute to love ever transcribed in architecture. The Red Fort is built along the Yamuna River and stretches almost 2.5 km. The boundary wall of the fort is made of red sandstone. The fort has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate. Though a part of the fort is still used by the Indian Army and is not accessible to the public, a visit to this historic fort gives you an insight on the life style of 16th century Mughals.
Indian Cuisine - We grilled our own Tandoori kebabs at our table and enjoy the delicious curries - we did not go hungry on this trip!
Join us in 2015 for another amazing spiritual tour in Northern India. Visit Mystical Mamas tour page for more information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.