2018 Trip To Menri Monastery, Dolanji, India

 

     GesheLa invites you to join him at Menri Monastery in India. Dates for this incredible journey will be from February 12 through March 4, 2018 for the celebration of the Tibetan New Year, the Geshe graduation ceremony followed by a weeklong teaching retreat. 

 

     GesheLa’s students from Sherab Chamma Ling will join the students of Geshe Lhundup Chaphur Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Gyalshen Institute, El Cerrito, California, USA. Students from both groups will come together in India and share their experience in the following 5 main activities: 

1.      Tibetan New Year or Losar – February 16-17

2.      Named Sherab Gyaltsen Birthday – February 20

3.      Geshe Ceremony – February 21-28

4.      Dzogchen ZZNG Teaching from H.E. Menri Ponlob Rinpoche – February 21-28

5.      Tonpa Shenrab Birthday and Geshe Certification  - March 1-2

 

Schedule for February 12 – March 4, 2018 (always subject to minor changes): 

Day 1:  February 12 – Arrival in New Delhi:  Everyone is responsible for arranging their own flight to and from India.  Arrivals will be met at their arriving airport and assisted in transportation to the hotel. 

 

Day 2:  February 13 – a day of rest in New Delhi at a hotel.  

Day 3:  February 14 – Transport to Solan.   Enjoy the picturesque early morning 6-hour train or bus ride from New Delhi to Solan Himachal. Solan is located at the foot of the magnificent Himalayan Mountains of Northern India.  At an elevation of 1600 meters, it is very close to the Tibetan Village of Dolanji and Menri Monastery.  We will either stay at the Monastery’s guesthouse or at local hotels in nearby Solan. 

 

Day 4: February 15 – Losar preparations at Menri Monastery.  After a leisurely breakfast, participants will meet with the spiritual leader of the Bön world, H.H. 33rd Menri Trinzin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche. We will also have audience with the principal teacher of Menri Monastery, H.E. Menri Lopon Rinpoche. This is a very auspicious beginning trip.  Here, we will have the opportunity to participate in Gutor rituals and at the evening to see Cham or mask dance. 

Day 5/6: February 16-17 – Losar Celebration at the Menri Monastery. 

Day 7: February 18 – Visit to Redna Menling Nunnery: We will walk across the river to spend time visiting the new Bön nunnery that is currently under construction. Redna Menling or “Land of Precious Medicine,” is located in a pristine setting across the river from Menri Monastery.  It is the only Bön nunnery in India and one of only a handful in the world. This nunnery houses and instructs Bönpo women from Tibet and its’ borderlands.

     Recently Redna Menling has opened its own dialectic school.  It offers the same curriculum as the traditional monastic Geshe program, and allows participants to pursue the equivalent of a western PHD in Bön spiritual practice and theory. We will be able to talk with some of the nuns there and if scheduling permits, we will join them in practice. Here we can also visit the beautiful temple in which they practice.  Participants also have the option of visiting the Central School for Tibetans, which is a Tibetan School that teaches up to the tenth grade.

Day 8: February 19 – Sang & Lungta rituals

Day 9: February 20 – Named Sherab Gyaltsen birthday celebration at Menri Monastery.  

Day 10-17: February 21-28 – Attendance at the Geshe Ceremony events, Cham or mask dance, scheduled Dzogchen teachings from Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche and planning some tourist events.  More details to follow.

Day 18/19: March 1-2 – Buddha Tonpa Shenrab birthday celebration and Geshe Certification events 

Day 20: March 3 – After breakfast and saying our goodbyes, we will return to Delhi from the Himalayan mountains.  A lunch stop will be made en route.

Day 21: March 4 – Last day in New Delhi and transfer to airport for departure to your home country, or for those who wish, can continue your stay in India with your own plans.  

Important Travel Information: Visa and Passport Requirement: 

    Depending on your country of origin and nationality, the government of India will require you have a valid passport to issue your TOURIST VISA and enter their country (no need to get VISA right away, actually it must be arranged three months before our departure). Please take your time to make sure that your passport is updated. In some cases you might need a new passport.

•     The Government of India requires that your passport be valid at least six months after the date of entry. In addition, your passport must have two (2) blank pages available.

•     A visa is required to enter India. If you have an existing visa, check to be sure that it is still valid and will not expire within six (6) months of start of the journey. 

•     If you do not already have an existing visa to enter India, you may not apply for one until within ninety (90) days prior to your planned date of arrival. 

•     You can apply for an Indian visa directly with the Government of India at their web site, Indian Visa Online: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in)

•     Alternately, you may choose to pay a third party business to handle getting your Indian visa.  Search the Internet for this option. 

Registration Fee:

Total cost to participants is 1500.00 US$ and includes:

-   Accommodation and meals

-   One time airport arrival pickup and departure drop off at New Delhi airport. 

-   All ground transportation related to the schedule of events.  

-   Special contribution to teachers and to the Monastery. 

This Fee DOES NOT include:

•   International Airfare

•   Visa for India 

•   Health and Travel Insurance (recommended to obtain in home country prior to travel) 

•   Any unforeseen costs like strike due to political reason, hike in fuel rate, or if there is any new government taxes introduced additional fee will be applied as per government rules.

•   Transport costs if beyond set program 

•   Personal Expenses, telephone, laundry

•   Hard drinks and soft drinks 

•   Travel Immunizations – none required, but many recommended

Minimum number of participants required:  10

Maximum number of participants: 20

Participants must be minimum 16 years of age.  

If fewer than 10 participants, then your payment will be reimbursed in full, minus an administration fee.   

Method of Payment  -  Preferred method of payment is by Cheque or Money Order payable to Sherab Chamma Ling.   

Mailing Address: 

Sherab Chamma Ling 

12 – 390 Cowichan Ave

Courtenay, B.C. Canada V9N 7T4

Registration: If you wish to register, please contact Norma Chambers by Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You will be emailed a registration form and tentatively registered until you return the form to Norma and pay your registration fee. 

Cancellation Policy:  Payments are non-refundable unless you face extenuating circumstances.  Please contact Norma if that is the case.  

Deadline for Registration and Payment:  January 15, 2018

General Advice and Information:

Altitude Changes:

The question has come up about the altitude of the places we are visiting.

Solan and Menri Monastery are at about 5,200 feet above sea level. Evenings and nights can be cold – and maybe rain . . . pack accordingly.  

Luggage and Packing:

     If you are brining electronics, you will need an electrical adapter/converter solution. = Suitable for India.    You should also bring a few sundry items just in case you find the need: some just-in-case antibiotics from your doctor, and the usual assortment of over-the-counter items like aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication, topical antibiotic, band aids, antihistamine, etc.  Bring extra medications for those you doctor may have prescribed. It may not be possible to get the same medication in India, or at least not the same brand/dosage.  If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should have a copy of your prescription with you and an extra pair.    

Immunizations:

     While no immunizations are required to enter India, you should consider being up to date for a number of immunizations. The recommendations for immunizations include vaccinations for Tetanus, Polio, Measles, Mumps, German measles, typhoid, Hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.  Check with your travel clinic to discuss anti-malaria prevention. Your own medical condition may require special support, and we strongly recommend that you consult your primary care physician and/or travel clinic well in advance of the start of this trip. 

Your Arrival Time in Delhi: 

     As soon as you have made your travel arrangements to Delhi arriving, please email the airline, flight number, and time of arrival to the trip contact (Norma Chambers email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) This is so there will be someone at the airport to meet you once you have cleared airport customs.  You will then be taken to the hotel in New Delhi. 

Travel Insurance and Signing of Liability Release:

     We require a copy of your travel insurance Proof of Purchase prior to your travel.  If you wish, you can send us a copy of your policy so that we have that handy as a backup for you should it be necessary. We will also need a copy of your passport main page, passport photo, and will contact you if other information is needed.

     Along with your registration form, you will also be sent a letter of liability release for you to sign and return together with the completed registration form.  Without these, you will not be accepted on the trip. 

Currency Restrictions: 

     US Dollars are the best currency to take to India. Pounds and Euros are also acceptable.   As of 2013, it is illegal for Westerners to take Indian rupees into India. Here’s what their official web site says: (http://www.immihelp.com/travel-to-india/import/currency.html)

Importing Foreign or Indian Currency into India: 

Foreign Currency:

     Any foreign passenger can bring any amount of foreign exchange into India without any limit. However, you have foreign currency notes (bills) of more than US $5,000 or equivalent and/or foreign exchange including currency of more than US $10,000 or equivalent, you will have to make the declaration before the customs officer. 

Indian Currency: 

     Generally, import of Indian currency is prohibited. However, in the case of passengers normally resident of India who are returning from a visit abroad, Indian currency up to Rs. 7,500 is allowed.

     Therefore, you will need to convert your dollars, pounds, or euros into rupees once you have arrived in Delhi.   Since your ground transport, accommodation and meals are all covered in the trip fee, your need for Indian rupees will be for whatever items you may wish to purchase for yourself along the way.

     In the arrival section (Terminal 3) of the Delhi airport, there are currency exchange counters before and after the customs area.

     Before the customs, there are 2 currency exchange counters:  Thomas Cook and Central Bank of India.  Both the counters are open 24 hours, and both offer the same exchange rate.  However, Central Bank of India doesn’t charge any commission whereas Thomas Cook does.  Make sure that you ask for Central Bank of India’s counter since they are not as strategically located as Thomas Cook. The current rate is about 67 rupees to the US dollar.

Contact: 

If you have any questions, please contact volunteer coordinator:

Norma Chambers:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Geshe YongDong was born in the village of Nagpa, Amdo, Tibet in 1969. His childhood years were spent much like that of any other Tibetan boy at that time. He had a large extended family of many aunts and uncles... Read More


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