Sep. 29th - Oct. 7th
Pilgrimage to the Five Wisdom Ḍākinīs
Oct. 7th - 19th, 2024
A Buddhist pilgrimage to the caves and temples of the ḍākinīs and to Tiger’s Nest Hermitage in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
With Tiffani Gyatso and Dr.Ian Baker
Optional pre-trip to Dharamsala, India -
to the abode of H.H. the Dalai Lama.
‘Look into the mirror of your mind . . .
The mysterious home of the ḍākinī.’
– Mahasiddhā Nāropā
This journey through the universe of Tibetan and Himalayan Tantric Buddhism in India and Bhutan and the places of power of the ḍākinīs–female embodiments of enlightenment–presents Buddhism through its iconographic art in artists’ studios, temples, and monasteries. The trip also includes visits to rarely visited sacred sites and pilgrimages to cave sanctuaries where Buddhist yogis and yoginis meditated and left their blessings.
The trip will begin in India with a journey to the mountain town of Dharamsala, the principal home of the Tibetan community-in-exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Tiffani Gyatso lived and studied for three years at Dharamsala’s Norbulingka Art Institute. She will guide us through the environs of Dharamsala with visits to the temples of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the 17 th Karmapa, in addition to local artists’ studios where the group will experience the process of creating Tibetan thangka paintings and other traditional arts, as well as exploring the lively streets of McLeod Ganj and the smaller villages on the slopes of Nadi and Dharamkot mountains.
After this introduction to Tibetan Buddhism in India, the journey will continue in the Kingdom of Bhutan, amidst rugged Himalayas peaks, pristine nature, and majestic temples. It is here in this last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom that we will explore the magic and mysteries of the Five Wisdom ḍākinīs, the ‘sky farers’ who exemplify our innermost awakened nature and assist seekers on the path to enlightenment. We will explore the ways in which the ḍākinī archetype manifests in Bhutanese Buddhist geography, art, and culture, as well as within our own experience as the dynamic expression of the Five Buddha Families and Five Elements. While Outer Ḍākinīs embody sublime human qualities, Inner Ḍākinīs refer to our innate wisdom and transform afflictive emotions into liberating awareness. When we fail to recognize our five inner Wisdom Ḍākinīs, they can manifest as the five klesha-s, or mental disturbances, of anxiety, anger, jealousy, arrogance, and desire. When we acknowledge and express them, they appear as relational, emotional intelligence and wisdom. Signifying openness, boundless energy, and liberating action, ḍākinīs invite intimate connection with our own deepest nature in myth, meditation, ritual, and art, urging us to live ever more aligned with the interconnected flow of life.
It is possible to choose only the Bhutan or India + Bhutan section. See COMPLETE ITINERARY PDF here.
Join Tiffani Gyatso, Ian Baker, and local Bhutanese yoginīs on this immersive, magical journey through the “last jewel in Buddhism’s Himalayan crown” while rediscovering your original nature of innate wisdom, intrinsic freedom, and altruistic joy through experiential immersion in the symbology and power of Tantric Buddhism, combined with contemplative practices in settings of extraordinary cultural, artistic, and environmental beauty. The Bhutan portion of our journey will begin in the Paro Valley and extend to spiritual power places in Punakha, the Phobjikha Valley, and Bumthang, Bhutan’s cultural and religious heartland.
For those lacking time to participate in both the India and Bhutan portions of this journey, it is possible to join only the Bhutan portion.
“For the past twenty years, I have dedicated my life to the sacred arts of Tibet, India, and the Middle East, producing original creations while serving as a teacher and guide on art-oriented journeys in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. All accommodations and scheduled activities on this journey have been personally chosen to ensure the highest quality experience for an intimate group of up to fifteen people. Like all art, this journey represents a kind of alchemy in which challenges that may arise can deepen and enrich our experience of life. Taking its lead from the Five Wisdom Ḍākinīs, we will be guided throughout our journey by beauty, art, and poetry, as well as fearless love.”
– Tiffani Gyatso
INDIA (Part 1, optional)
INDIA (Part 1, Optional)
29/09 - Arrival in Delhi, India
30/09 - Flight to Dharamsala and Orientation.
01/10 - Visit McLeod Ganj. Visit Tsuglagkhang Temple of HH the Dalai Lama.
02/10 - Visit Norbulingka Institute and Gyuto Monastery of the 17 th Karmapa.
03/10 - Visit Himalayan Museum, with introduction to thangka art.
04/10 - Visit Tushita Center and walk to Bagsu Waterfall and Dharamkot.
05/10 - Morning visit to Karma Sichoe and Dolls4Tibet workshop. Art lessons.
06/10 - Free Day.
07/10 - Flight back to Delhi. Rest or visit Lotus Temple (time allowing).
BHUTAN (Part 2)
07/10 - Arrival in Delhi, India. Overnight at hotel.
08/10 - Flight from Delhi to Paro. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, Bhutan’s earliest Buddhist temple.
09/10 - Visit Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang temple and the National Museum.
10/10 - Pilgrimage to Dzongdraka and Five Wisdom Ḍākinī temples.
11/10 - Travel to Punakha Valley. Visit Punakha Dzong and the fertility temple
of Chimi Lhakhang. Continue to the Phobjika Valley.
12/10 - Visit Gangtey Monastery, followed by a hike and hot stone baths.
13/10 - Travel to Bumthang Valley, stopping on the way at the monastic
fortress of Trongsa Dzong and Chendebji Stupa.
14/10 - Visit Jambay Lhakhang temple, Kurjey temple (body print of Guru
Rimpoche), and Tamshing Monastery.
15/10 - Visit Monmo Tashi Khyidren temple and the Tak Rimochen temple.
Continue to Ogyen Choling Manor.
16/10 - (Padmasambhava Day). Visit the Twenty-One Taras Temple and
Longchenpa’s Secret Cave of Bliss (Sangwa Dechen Phug).
17/10 - Morning flight from Bumthang to Paro. Explore downtown Paro.
18/10 - Pilgrimage to Tiger’s Nest, Yeshi Tsogyal’s Lion Cave, and a cave
temple of Yoginī Machik Labdron.
19/10 - Flight to Delhi. (Connect to your international flight back home the
same evening, or book an extra night in Delhi with our assistance.)
Download the COMPLETE DAY BY DAY ITINERARY PDF HERE
*The itinerary is created as a base of orientation subjected to change according to conditions.
Ian Baker, PhD earned degrees in History and Anthropology following earlier graduate work in Buddhist Studies and English Literature at the University of Oxford. He is the author of seven critically acclaimed books on Himalayan and Tibetan cultural history, environment, art, and medicine including, Tibetan Yoga: Principles and Practices, Buddhas of the Celestial Gallery, The Tibetan Art of Healing, The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple, and The Heart of the World. He was designated by National Geographic Society as one of seven ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his field research concerning ‘hidden lands’ (beyul) in the Buddhist Himalayas. He is co-founder, with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, of The Vajra Path, an initiative for bringing the practices of Vajrayāna Buddhism into interdisciplinary dialogue with the contemporary world as well as with parallel traditions across time and geographies.
Bhutan visa fees and sustainable development fees (*Bhutan requires a
tourist tax of US$100 per day - this amount is included)
All meals (*Veg and non-veg)
Hotels*** (1 night in Delhi. 11 nights in Bhutan)
1 domestic flight in Bhutan
Round-trip flight from Delhi to Paro
Local transport in comfortable minibuses
Entrance fees to monuments
All scheduled activities and teachings
Local Bhutanese guides
Accompanying experts: artist Tiffani Gyatso
and historian Ian Baker
NOT INCLUDED Bhutan
International ticket (from your country to India from where we fly to Bhutan)
Flights in the Bhutan itinerary are included with departure from Delhi. For those who are not coming from Dharamsala (part 1), will meet the group at the hotel in Delhi on Oct. 7th to fly to Bhutan together the next day, Oct. 8th.
Pick up at Delhi Airport
Delhi - Dharamsala Round-Trip Flight
Hotels*** (2 nights in Delhi. 7 nights in Dharamsala)
Comfortable ground transportation
Monument admission fees
Guide, translation and thangka lessons by artist Tiffani Gyatso
NOT INCLUDED India
International flight from your home to India
Visa and other documentary fees
Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Gratuities (normally group members add some amount to common tips
given to the principal guide to distribute while setting aside additional
funds for independent tips)
Tiffani Gyatso is an artist from Brazil, specialized in traditional Tibetan Thangka painting based on her study at Gandan monastery in Mongolia and Norbulingka Institute in India from 2003 to 2006. She later furthered her study of sacred geometry of the Middle East at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London. In 2018 she graduated in Visual Arts at Dulcina de Moraes University in Brasilia. Today she runs her own art retreat center at the Atelier YabYum in the mountains of Brazil and annually guides art groups to India, Nepal, and Bhutan. She is the author of the book, Life and Thangka. For further information about her life and work, please visit www.tiffanigyatso.com.
Prices and Registration
India: Delhi and Dharamsala: Sep. 29 - Oct. 7 (9 nights)
Shared double room: US$ 1,500
Single room: US$1,900
Bhutan: Oct. 7 - Oct. 19, 2024 (12 nights)
US$200 Early-bird Discount signing up until April 1st
(for double rooms)
Early-bird Double Room: US$5,700 (before April 1st)
Double Room: US$5,900 (after April 1st)
Single Room: US$6,700
Limited group of up to 15 participants. English and Portuguese speakers, translation into both languages.
To reserve a place, please either pay in full (preferred for administrative purposes) or send a deposit of $4,000 to the account details provided in the complete Itinerary HERE.
Contact Tiffani (BR): email@example.com
Contact Mukul (US): firstname.lastname@example.org
See here our TRIP TIPS
Any questions, queries or comments?Schedule a free Zoom conversation withTiffani: email@example.com
Trip payments are fully refundable until June 28, 2024 (subtracting transfer fees). Cancelations between June 28 and July 26 will receive a 50% refund of the amount deposited. If you cancel for any reason after July 26th, no refund will be possible due to Bhutan's tourism policy.
More travel updates, reading guidelines, and other details will be sent after trip registration. Group Zoom meetings will be scheduled four weeks before traveling, to acquaint group participants with each other and to clarify travel details.
For any questions or a free zoom conversation to clarify any detail, please contact Tiffani Gyatso at: firstname.lastname@example.org