Along the Path – India & Nepal

The information presented here is intended solely for those attending an India & Nepal Pilgrimage organized by Pariyatti. It includes helpful travel and contact information to help prepare you for the pilgrimage. Please do not share this webpage with others. 

Pariyatti Contact Information

For questions about the pilgrimage:

Email: registration@pariyatti.org
Phone: +1 541.357.8185


During the tour - Emergency contact info for your family

The emergency contact numbers below are private numbers, please do not call them unless there is an emergency. 

Emergency contact while group is in India: +91 9560826829
Emergency contact while group is in Nepal: +977 9803942815
For all other inquiries, please call Pariyatti (USA): +1 541.357.8185

Pilgrim Checklist

 
  1. Pay pilgrimage fees
  2. Pay for Ease Into India package (Optional)
  3. Order meditation tent (Optional)
  4. Book travel
    • Ease into India participants: Arrive in Delhi by 12:00pm on the first day of this package.
    • Pilgrimage participants: Arrive in Sarnath by 2:30pm on the first day of the pilgrimage.
    • Depart India from Lucknow after 4:00pm on the last day.
    • If you are interested in travelling in India & Nepal after the pilgrimage ends, please contact Jörn Materne <jomaterne@hotmail.com> for help with travel booking.
  5. Obtain Indian visa 
  6. Bring US$30 cash for Nepal visa
  7. Obtain travel health insurance
  8. Submit Pilgrim Information Form - 2021-11 Form

Travel Planning

 

Clothing

  • Pilgrims are expected to dress modestly and in line with local cultural norms. Shorts, tank tops, and other tight or revealing clothing is not appropriate in the Indian cultural context or while on pilgrimage. Please plan ahead to ensure you have appropriate clothing before the pilgrimage starts.

Health

  • We encourage you to visit a travel clinic to inform yourself about the various health protections that are available to you.  
  • While we are not qualified to provide medical advice, and in any event each individual should ensure that any protections are sanctioned by his or her physician, we would suggest that you consult your doctor to ask whether it would be advisable and acceptable for you to consider the Dukoral vaccine as a means of preventing traveller's diarrhea and acidopholus or other probiotics to strengthen intestinal flora.

Visas

  • India: The Indian government now offers a new Indian e-Tourist Visa. Since the e-tourist visa allows double entry and is valid for 30 days, we recommend it as the best option for our pilgrimages as these e-Visas are much easier to get then the regular tourist visas. You can apply for your Indian e-Tourist Visa online here. In the online application, you will need to list a reference in India. Please use the following: Destination Tours, Flat No- 19, Block No- AF-2 IMLAK Colony, Phase II, Nadesar, Varanasi - 221002, INDIA Tel: 0542-2504413​. 
  • Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application. The guidelines regarding passport validity on arrival in India are unclear. To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
  • If you prefer to get help obtaining your Indian visa, you can use iVisa.com services via this Link
  • Nepal: You can obtain Nepal Visa at the India-Nepal border. In order to do so, please make sure you have about US$30 (cash in US$ and Crisp new bills only) and two passport photo available. Note: Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal. But they must have a Indian Passport or Indian Voter ID, Other ID don’t work at Border.

Travel Health Insurance

  • You are required to carry personal travel insurance in order to participate in this pilgrimage. Your current ​Medical/Life insurance may not cover Pre-Trip Cancellation, Airlift Evacuation, Baggage Insurance etc.
  • There are various economical options available including World Nomads.
  • Please read the ​​policy wording carefully to know what is covered.

Passport photos & photocopies

  • Indian law requires guests to submit passport sized photos (color copies are OK, official photos are not required) and passport photocopies at each venue where we spend a night . So please bring 3 photocopies of the passport data page, (i.e. the pages that show your photo, passport number, date of birth etc.) as well as Indian visa page/e-visa page.

Luggage

  • The bus has a luggage capacity for approximately 32 to 35 suitcases / bags of standard size. We recommend bringing one suitcase per person in addition to one carry on bag. Maximum weight of your suitcase should not exceed 20 kgs.

Finances, Tips, and Donations

  • As all your meals, accommodations, and entry fees to various parks and musems are pre-paid, the only funds you will require are for incidental expenses along the way. Note: Entry fees are included as part of the package only when we visit sites as a group. If pilgrims choose to visit sites on their own during free time, then they are responsible for their own entrance tickets
  • Tips: Appropriate and recommended tips to the driver and assistant will be paid by the tour organizers on your behalf and are included in your package. Should you wish to show your appreciation separately, that is left to your discretion.
  • Donations: The organizers will make donations on behalf of the group at the various Vipassana Centers and monasteries where we will stay. You will also have the opportunity to donate more if you wish. During the Pilgrimage we visit about 5 Vipassana Centers, and attend 3 one-day courses. In the past, some pilgrims have wanted to donate more at these Centers, but were not able to do so as credit cards were not accepted. So, if you wish to donate more at Vipassana Centers please bring additional cash. The cash can be in any currency.

Post-Pilgrimage Travel

  • If you are interested in travelling in India & Nepal after the pilgrimage ends, please contact Jörn Materne <jomaterne@hotmail.com> for help with travel booking.

What to Expect

 

Important: The items below are a summary, and should not be considered as comprehensive. You should thoroughly read the Travel section of Along the Path in order to ensure that you are adequately prepared for your upcoming pilgrimage.

 

What to expect

 

Food: All the food served during the pilgrimage will be vegetarian, and consist mainly of Indian food. At some locations eggs may be available for breakfast. Please note: We cannot accommodate personal food preferences. So you are requested to make do with the simple vegetarian meals provided. We are unable cater to Vegan or special diets. So if your diet is very restrictive, you may have to manage with plain white rice and Dhal (lentil soup) or boiled vegetables.

Climate: The temperatures during

  • Oct/Nov noon time will be (31°C / 88°F) and (12°C / 54°F) in the mornings and evenings.
  • Jan/Feb noon time will be (23°C / 73°F) and (5°C / 41°F) in the mornings and evenings.
  • Feb/March noon time will be (31°C / 88°F) and (12°C / 54°F) in the mornings and evenings.

***Please review the packing list below for recommendations.

Air quality: Expect dusty, smoky, and moist air in many locations. Dust masks are helpful and suggested below in the packing list. 

Transportation: Exclusive use of a private comfortable air conditioned bus for the entire trip. At times short excursions may require the use taxis. While traveling long distances you will usually need to attend to calls to nature outdoors due to lack of public facilities.

Accommodations:  Consist of Vipassana centers and monasteries. These vary in comfort level and the rooms vary between dormitory style accommodations with shared bathrooms, double rooms with attached bathrooms, and private rooms with attached bathroom. Couples will not be able to stay together at all Vipassana centers and at some monasteries. Hot water is not always available, and power outages are common.

Laundry: At about 3 locations we have laundry service and rest of places where we stay do not offer laundry (dhobi) services. So it is good to to carry your own detergent, clothes pins and plan to wash your clothes in buckets

Wi-Fi: Do not expect to have wi-fi internet access. Internet cafes will be available at various locations along the route, but accessing the internet with your own computer / device may not be possible. Internet data sticks and SIM cards are available in India, but you will need to plan ahead in order to obtain one.

Resources supplied by Pariyatti

 

Inspirational

  1. Along the Path: eBook and print versions. Once your booking is confirmed you will receive a coupon code to obtain these books for free. You will need to cover shipping costs for the print version.  
  2. An inspirational photo essay from a participant on our inaugural 2013 pilgrimage. Download here.
  3. Digital audio & video materials:

Items Pariyatti will bring on the bus

  1. First aid kit
  2. Flashlights  (for emergency use only - not enough for everyone)
  3. Powered electrolyte mix
  4. Drinking water 

Suggested list of items for pilgrims to bring

(please refer to pp. 6-7 of Along the Path)

To bring from home

  1. Personal medications: Please bring enough for the entire pilgrimage as it will be difficult to acquire them locally. We also encourage you to bring your preferred brands of motion sickness pills, cough drops, and pain medication since the ones we have in our first-aid kit may not meet your preferences.
  2. Dust masks to help manage the low air quality in many locations (i.e. dirt, dust, smoke). We highly recommend you purchase a couple of 3M respirator 9211 N95 masks. These may be available in pharmacies, hardware stores, and office supply stores.
  3. Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  4. Sleeping bag
    • For Oct/Nov: good summer sleeping bag.
    • For Jan/Feb: Warm sleeping bag (rated for 5°C / 41°F). This is essential as only blankets are provided at various accommodations and past pilgrims have found them to be insufficient.
    • For Feb/March good summer sleeping bag.
  5. Ear plugs and eye mask
  6. Cold weather clothes
    • For Oct/Nov:: a fleece or woollen sweater will do for chilly nights.
    • For Jan/Feb: Thermal underwear (wool is better than cotton) and warm clothes: long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, down jacket, wool hat, and warm socks. One set is enough. There may not be a need for a down jacket, depending on personal preference. Please note: Northern India and Nepal will be cold in the mornings and evenings (5°C / 41°F) at this time of year.
    • For Feb/March a fleece or woollen sweater will do for chilly nights.
  7. Warm socks for walking on the cold floors of various sites..
  8. Mosquito net for sleeping. The ones sold in camping stores pack well (e.g. REI's for Americans & MEC's for Canadians). Note: It is not always easy to find a way to hang a mosquito net, so you may want to consider getting a mosquito bed tent that has its own frame instead of a net that needs to be hung.
  9. Meditation cushion (Various options are listed here. The inflatable ones are the easiest to travel with.)
  10. Meditation tent for protection from mosquitoes while meditating. Please note the order cut-off date for this item. These will be delivered to you at the start of your pilgrimage. We also have a limited number meditation tents that you may borrow during the pilgrimage, but we cannot guarantee that we will have enough for everyone.
  11. Durable water bottle
  12. Shake flashlight/ Flashlight with battery charger
  13. Pocket knife (pack in your checked luggage or it will get taken away at security!)
  14. Travel alarm clock
  15. Small sewing kit
  16. Travel towel (quick dry ones made for camping / travelling are ideal)
  17. Hair brush, elastic, barrettes
  18. Good pens, notebook
  19. Combination padlock (push buttons are useful especially in low light conditions)
  20. Secure money belt
  21. Sun protection: umbrella, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, fan
  22. Footwear:  2 pairs can be useful
    • Good walking shoes
    • Flip flops
  23. Postcards or photographs of home or of Vipassana centers to share with fellow pilgrims or people we meet along the way
  24. Portable travel power strip for charging your electronic devices. It should accept a power input of 100V- 240V and the plug should be European style.
  25. Clothes pins for drying hand washed clothing

Pilgrimage Itinerary

 

November 2021 Pilgrimage Itinerary

We highly recommend arriving a couple of days prior to the start of the pilgrimage to give yourself a chance to get acclimatized and overcome your jet lag. We offer an Ease into India package for this purpose.

Ease into India 

  • Nov 04: Arrival in Delhi at any time > Airport Pickup > hotel check-in at Aerocity, near international airport, Delhi
  • Nov 05: Breakfast > Transfer to Delhi airport for flight to Varanasi > Airport Transfer to Varanasi > Check-in at a hotel near river Ganges > Small briefing/introduction > Varanasi sightseeing > Evening boat ride > Group sitting
  • Nov 06: Breakfast > Free time > Departure to Sarnath.

Start of Pilgrimage (view route on Google Maps)

  • Nov 6 - Nov 9: Sarnath (India). Arrive by 2:30pm in Sarnath on Nov 6th.
  • Nov 9 - 14: Bodhgaya (India) 
  • Nov 14 - 16: Nalanda (India)
  • Nov 16 - 18: Vaishali (India)
  • Nov 18 - 20: Kushinagar (India)
  • Nov 20 - 25: Lumbini (Nepal)
  • Nov 25 - 26: Shravasti (India)
  • Nov 27: Transfer to Lucknow airport & train station. Do not book outgoing travel that departs before 3:30pm.