• Bhutan: honouring & preserving cultural heritage, traditional architecture and native knowledge
• Northeast India: Experiencing amazing natural wonders & cultural diversity between Myanmar & Tibet
Mythical Journey to Sacred Places, Sikkim, India
The Himalayas have attracted mystical seekers for millennia. Nowhere else in the world are you as close to the sky as here. This applies to both the mundane altitudes of the giant mountains as well as figuratively: Nowhere in the world there are so many worshiped sacred mountains, lakes, rivers, caves , temples and monasteries as here. There is hardly a place in the magnificent mountain world that has not got a story or a legend attached to it, worthy of worship.
The animistic religions of the earlier wandering hunter-gatherer mountain peoples has always been considered extraordinary natural wonders such as waterfalls , hot springs , especially old trees and the like as holy.
Hindu temples are almost always in places where once something magical or mystical happened. Each temple has its own story - as one of the many Hindu gods in this place performed a special miracle or continues to do.
Buddhist sacred places usually relate to historical persons such as Milarepa or Padmasambhava who meditated in special places such as caves.
It is believed that these places have been especially blessed by the presence of such holy persons by their presence and therefore possess healing powers. Padmasambhava has also left many foot- and hand-prints in rocks that are still visible and revered today.
Apart from such natural, sacred Buddhist sites there are of course also countless religious temples, shrines and monasteries. Unlike in Tibet they have escaped destruction in the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas.
Many of them are many centuries old. All these places exude a spirit of magic that hardly leaves anyone untouched and draws one to look inwards, away from the hustle of the Western everyday life.
Let us take us on an unforgettable mystical journey. As per legend, anyone who visits these places with an open heart will be touched by their magic.
Our mystical journeys are aimed primarily at people who are looking for such an awakening experience but do not know where and how to find it. We take you to these places and tell you their stories. We build bridges to this world and open doors for you. However, passing through them will be your own choice.
You will be travelling in comfortable, appropriate vehicles and be accompanied by a qualified, English speaking tour guide who will cater after your needs and interests. We arrange meetings with lamas, nuns or Rimpoches and there are always opportunities for interaction. You will stay in typical hotels and/or homestays that reflect the local culture.
How did Sikkim receive its original name “Payul Demazong” - Land of Hidden Spiritual Treasures?
In the 8th Century Guru Padmasambhava, at the request of the Tibetan King Khri - Srong Ide btsan ( 775-797 ), began to spread and establish his Buddhist teachings in Tibet. During his travels throughout Tibet, he also visited Sikkim, consecrated the land and prophesied that Buddhism would flourish here in Sikkim in the future. During his journeys he hid many “spiritual treasures”, so called “termas” in the lakes and caves of Sikkim. Guru Padmasambhava predicted that at the right time in the future, these would be discovered by the holiest and purest lamas of that time who would decrypt them for the benefit of humanity.
In Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet Guru Padmasambhava is regarded as the “second Buddha” and worshipped as the incarnation of the historical Buddha Shakaymuni. People here simply refer to him as “root-teacher” - “Guru Rimpoche”.
In Sikkim there are four particularly holy caves:
• Sharchhogbayphung - the secret cave
• Khando Sangphuk - the cave of the fairies
• Lharinyingphug - the old cave of the hill of God
• Dechenphu - the cave of happiness
These caves are located in all four directions of Tashiding which is the spiritual heart of Sikkim. They are said to possess a lot of power and it is believed that whoever visits all four of them is bound to experience profound spiritual cleansing.
The most sacred of these caves is difficult to reach and it takes a good dose of determination and physical fitness to overcome the steep trail to the cave of Lharinyingphug. Terton Rinchen Lingpa found spiritual treasures (termas) here that had been left by Guru Padmasambhava. His decryption revealed promising messages and suggest in the translation provided by Ringu Tulku that the place has the power for many blessings, including for a long life, wealth and children.
On our journey you will visit caves that can be reached relatively easily, without multi-day trekking. These are the cave of the fairies, the secret cave and the cave in central Tashiding which as per local belief is the spiritual heart of the world.
If you are physically fit we also are pleased to organize the treks to the caves Lharinyingphug (+ 2-3 days) and Dechenphu (+ 2-3 days). We know the routes and organize this trek with our standard support-team and trekking equipment.
Day 1: Delhi / Kolkota: flight to Bagdogra and transfer to Rumtek/Gangtok. Overnight in Hotel
Day 2: Rumtek: Introduction to Buddhism & Meditation by a local Lama/monk. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 3: Gangtok: City tour with focus as per your specific interests. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 4: Sikkim’s monastic heritage and visit a Lepcha-village and their shaman. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 5: Travel to the Cave of Fairies and time allowing visit another sacred cave along the way. Overnight in Hotel in Pelling or in Homestay.
Day 6: Visit Sikkim’s main Nyngma monastery and a sacred lake. Overnight in Hotel or Homestay.
Day 7: Visit sacred places in Yoksum & Tashiding. Overnight in Lodge or Homestay.
Day 8: Tashiding – visit the shrines and the central cave Sharchobayphug here. Witness a ceremony. Overnight in Lodge or Homestay.
Day 9: Tashiding – Gangtok/Rumtek. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 10: Transfer to Bagdogra Airport or continue with Travel Module "Sikkim North", "Darjeeling", "Kalimpong", "Bhutan" etc.
- Cave Dechenphu (+ 3 days):
Three days of Trekking starting from Pelling on narrow trails and with steep uphill sections to a maximum altitude of 2’800 m (9’200 ft) with daily trekking of 4 to 5 hrs per day.
- Cave Lharinyingphu (+3 days):
Three days of trekking starting from Tashiding to the “old cave of the hill of god” with steep uphill sections on a narrow nature trail to a maximum altitude of 3’000 m (9’850 ft) and daily trekking of 5 – 6 hrs per day.
- Cave Yongjodrak (+ 8 - 10 days):
Eight- to ten-days to a sacred cave near Goechela, 5000 m (16’400 ft) with 3 – max. 8 hrs of trekking per day on a trekking-trail.