Dates Fall 2025
Location Ladakh, Badrinath, Udaipur, and Rishikesh, in India
Leaders Nayaswami Krishna Das of Ananda Village, California, and Tyagi Keshava of Ananda India

In the high Himalayas lives a mystic spiritual power.

Why have saints from time immemorial sought out the Himalayas? Of incomparable natural beauty, they have been central to scriptures, myths, and legends of countless cultures and religions. Linked to Self-realized masters for thousands of years, these mountains embody spiritual aspiration and mankind’s highest potential.

Explore and drink the nectar of some of the most sacred spiritual sites in India. Together we’ll ascend the extraordinary spiritual Himalayan heights.

This pilgrimage is for those who love nature, high mountains, and places of spiritual power—without needing to be a hiker or climber. Our trip in Northern India is timed for good weather conditions, and we’ll stay in comfortable places and enjoy delicious meals. Our seasoned Ananda Pilgrimage hosts are pleased to invite you to experience the exquisite beauty and spiritual power of the high Himalayas firsthand, as few people have.

High Himalayan Energy: Experience the extraordinary sights and vibrations of the high Himalayas – the beautiful, ancient cultures, and feel the spiritual power emanating from age-old sacred temples and monasteries

Ladakh, Badrinath, and Rishikesh— we’ll travel by train, plane, and car, not by days of trekking. Our journey will take us into the stark beauty of rugged mountains and remote spiritual destinations where we will visit monasteries, beautiful works of architecture, ancient art, caves, the powerful Ganges river, ashrams.

Connect with Higher Consciousness: Through divine friendship and connections within our own group, we’ll raise our energy through conscious practices, meditation, chanting, spiritual fellowship, and giving back to places of pilgrimage

Join us for experiences that last a lifetime.

Ladakh: To reach Ladakh we’ll fly directly over the Himalayas, one of the most beautiful flights in the world. Attune to the thousand years of continuous Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in the rarefied high desert beauty of Ladakh. Explore ancient monasteries in Ladakh, still standing untouched by foreign invasion, are beautiful works of architecture as well as power spots of spirituality.

With our Ladakhi Buddhist guide, we’ll visit and meditate in Tikse, Hemis, and Stakna monasteries—vibrant centers of meditation, dedication, and service, preserving a deep and ancient mystical heritage, still intact.

Badrinath: Badrinath is a spiritual destination of great power, even more ancient than India’s scriptures. It is considered the most important of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage, and gets its name from the temple of Badrinath. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. The rugged pure beauty of the mountains and rivers alone makes this an unforgettable trip. 

We’ll visit the caves of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, founder of the ancient Swami order, and of Ved Byasa, who scribed the Indian epic scripture, the Mahabharata, of which the Bhagavad Gita is the core. 

Rishikesh: Rishikesh, land of the Rishis, is situated on the banks of the Ganges River. Saints and sages have frequented this sacred foothill locale for centuries. Hundreds of ashrams and yoga and meditation centers populate this fascinating and picturesque area. 

Among the sacred places we will visit are the sites made holy by Swami Sivananda, Anandamayee Ma, other saints and ancient rishis. We’ll  meditate along the banks of the Ganges; time for walking and shopping.

“I love Badrinath! There are no words to express what we experienced there both individually and as a group. For me it was a divine experience like never before.”

Udaipur, the City of Lakes

Our first trip is to Udaipur. It’s beautiful, exotic surroundings are perfect for transitioning into India.

A short flight from Delhi will take us to this vibrant and gorgeous city. We’ll explore the rich culture of Rajasthan, while adjusting to the Indian time zone. Udaipur has impressive temples, museums, and natural features.

Our hotel is right on the lake with picturesque views and high-level comfort. Udaipur, in Rajasthan, is known as the City of Lakes. The marble palaces, beautifully laid out gardens and the lakes make Udaipur seem almost like a mirage. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli Mountains and set on the edge of three lakes, It’s a brilliant kaleidoscope of narrow lanes flanked by bright stalls, gardens, lakes, palaces and temples.

We’ll visit the huge and impressive City Palace, the nearby Jagdish temple, an ancient architectural wonder, and take a boat ride on Lake Pichola out to the Jagmandir Island Palace. Shopping in Udaipur is rich and varied.

On the agenda is the huge and impressive City Palace; the nearby Jagdish Temple, an ancient architectural wonder; and a serene boat ride on Lake Pichola out to the Jagmandir Island Palace. Shopping in Udaipur is rich and varied.

Buddhist Ladakh and Leh: Little Tibet

The environment of Ladakh, known as “Little Tibet,” is absolutely stunning. Rolling valley plains are surrounded by spectacular mountains. The remoteness of this area has a feeling of ageless power and grandiose splendor.

To reach Ladakh we’ll fly directly over the Himalayas, one of the most beautiful flights in the world. A well-kept global secret, Ladakh is part of the Tibetan plateau, and has remained a Shangri-La of traditional Buddhist heritage and culture. Only recently have foreigners been allowed to visit. 

Our trip is timed for good weather conditions — much of the year Ladakh endures harsh cold weather. From our simple hotel in the Ladakh capital of Leh, we’ll take day trips to explore the Indus river valley, visiting and meditating in sacred hilltop monasteries and temples.

Ladakh is India’s most remote and sparsely populated region, a high desert, cradled by the Karakoram and the Himalayas. It offers a unique Himalayan landscape and culture that, until 1974, had been glimpsed by only a few intrepid Western travelers. It is one of the last undisturbed enclaves of Mahayana Buddhism, Ladakh’s principal religion for the last thousand years. Perched on rocky hilltops and sheer cliffs, medieval monasteries are both repositories of ancient wisdom and living centers of worship.

In the morning we’ll fly to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. It’s just a one-hour flight, but one of the most spectacular in the world—flying over the whole Himalayan range, from south to north, at an altitude low enough for incredible views.

After checking in to our hotel, (see below), we’ll rest for most of the day to acclimatize our bodies to the 11,500 foot elevation and the rarified air.

Mid-afternoon we’ll offer a visit to Shanti Stupa for a view over Leh, the meandering bright green Indus Valley, surrounding high desert, and lofty mountain peaks. We can then walk through a traditional village to reach Leh’s main bazaar, on the ancient Silk Road connecting China, India, and Europe. It’s still a crossroads of Tibetan, Kashmiri, and Indian culture.

Our dinners in Leh will be at our hotel, a building using traditional Tibetan architecture.

We’ll leave early to witness soul-stirring traditional morning prayers and chanting by the Buddhist monks at the 15th century Tikse monastery, followed by breakfast.

With our Ladakhi Buddhist guide, we’ll visit and meditate in Tikse, Hemis, and Stakna monasteries—vibrant centers of meditation, dedication, and service, preserving a deep and ancient mystical heritage, still intact.

Hemis is the largest and wealthiest monastery, founded in 1672, and home to 500 monks. Old manuscripts found in the monastery support the tradition that Jesus stayed here during his “lost years.”

After breakfast we’ll take a scenic drive along—and high above—the Indus River, and visit the charming ancient village of Alchi, containing deeply peaceful 11th century temples. We will see the wall paintings done in Kashmiri style, amazingly preserved by Ladakh’s rarefied air and dry climate. 

The Buddha’s teachings were brought from India first to Kashmir, then to Ladakh, then to Tibet in the 9th century. Ladakh’s continuous and still vibrant tradition of meditation, introspection, and Buddha’s teachings of Dharma, dates from this time.

We’ll also visit Likir and Spituk monasteries, which offer rich collections of paintings and Buddhist artifacts, and the opportunity to feel the tangible power left by centuries of spiritual masters and monks meditating in these same shrines.

“I have always suspected that Paramhansa Yogananda was, in fact, himself Shankara­charya. Some of the stories he told me about that great master seemed to me the sort of thing history could not have recorded.”

Badrinath, Land of Spirit

Badrinath is considered the most important of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage, and gets its name from the temple of Badrinath. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. The rugged pure beauty of the mountains and rivers alone makes this an unforgettable trip. It is one of the highest places in India accessible by road, and rests near the Tibetan/Chinese border. From here, giant glaciers form one source of the mighty and sacred Ganges River.

Much lore surrounds Badrinath: Paramhansa Yogananda said the immortal Mahavatar Babaji lives nearby to this day. Badrinath is mentioned in the ancient texts of India, and was re-established as a pilgrimage site in the ninth century by Adi Shankara­charya, the great reformer of Hinduism and founder of the Swami order. Legend also tells of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata making their divine ascension here.

If there is time in the late afternoon, we’ll visit the famous temple in the center of town, above the Ganges, which here is much smaller, and known as the Alaknanda River. The colorful Temple of Badrinath enshrines the sacred statue discovered in the river by Sri Shankaracharya in the 9th century. This statue depicts a seated, long-haired yogi, looking strikingly like Mahavatar Babaji. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year seek spiritual blessings at this holy site.

We’ll drive a short distance to the village of Mana, just 15 miles from the border of Tibet. From here, amidst stunning natural beauty and clear air, ancient history becomes blended with still more ancient Hindu mythology. We’ll meditate in the cave where Ved Vyasa is said to have written the Mahabharata epic. Another cave is attributed to the elephant-headed Ganesha, who served as Vyasa’s scribe.

Close by, the characters of the Mahabharata come to life, as the “Stairway to Heaven” marks the path the Pandava brothers took at the end of their lives; Bhima’s bridge is the boulder he is said to have placed so his brothers could cross the Saraswati River. The Saraswati River is said to have its source from the mountain here, and flows above ground for only a short distance before going underground, only to emerge hundreds of miles later at Allahabad.

It’s just a 2-mile walk along the river from Mana to Badrinath. We’ll have dinners together at our hotel every evening in Badrinath.

While it’s still dark, we can walk to the temple and participate in the unique and moving early morning Abhishek puja, full of symbolism, led by Badrinath’s head priest.

After breakfast we can walk in the Neelkanth Valley, above the temple, where a number of sadhus and yogis live very simply. There is a special place on the river where departed souls are blessed and prayed for, and we can offer our own love and blessings at this spot. Free time in the afternoon can include bathing in the hot springs below the temple.

Meditation can be at the temple, breakfast as usual at the hotel. Today we can spend longer in the Mana area, and those who wish can walk the “Stairway to Heaven” as far as Vasundhara Falls—a 3-mile hike. Free time can be spent exploring the town and hills at your own pace.

After an early breakfast we’ll start our drive down the mountain. An important stop will be the ancient town of Joshimath, where we can visit and meditate in Adi Shankara­charya’s cave, where he is said to have achieved enlightenment. Here, also, is one of the four monasteries he established in the four cardinal points of India.

Swami Kriyananda wrote, “I have always suspected that Paramhansa Yogananda was, in fact, himself Shankara­charya. Some of the stories he told me about that great master seemed to me the sort of thing history could not have recorded.”

Rishikesh, Gateway to the Himalayas

Rishikesh, land of the Rishis, is situated on the banks of the Ganges River. Saints and sages have frequented this sacred foothill locale for centuries.

Hundreds of ashrams and yoga and meditation centers populate this fascinating and picturesque area. Among the sacred places we will visit are the sites made holy by Swami Sivananda, Anandamayee Ma, other saints and ancient rishis. We’ll also visit Vanamali Devi, now known simply as Mataji, a modern spiritual teacher and author; and the Kriya Yoga Ashram of Swami Shankarananda, disciple of Swami Sri Yukteswar’s lineage.

Swami Sivananda came to Rishikesh in the 1930’s and popularized meditation and yoga, making the town the “capital of yoga.” Our Rishikesh activities include meditation at Sivananda’s cottage on the Ganges River, his samadhi mandir, where his body is, and in the temple where “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” has been chanted non-stop since 1942.

We can take a boat across the river, and at sunset participate in the Ganga Arati ceremony right on the water. We might meditate in the beautiful domed Kriya Yoga Ashram, built using the calculations of Swami Sri Yukteswar.

One late afternoon we’ll have chanting, discussion, and arati with a wise and devoted modern spiritual teacher, Sri Vanamali Devi, now simply called Mataji, at her idyllic ashram overlooking the Ganges River. You’ll also have free time to spend by the river, to sightsee, shop in the markets, and walk along the pathways along the Ganges between the neighborhoods of Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula.

One morning, we’ll visit the inspiring and heart touching Mother Miracle School, a non-profit training center for children and families living in impoverished Rishikesh communities. Shahla Ettefagh started with 12 children in an after-school program, and now has over 400 students. Then we’ll take a bus ride 45 minutes to the town of Haridwar, where the enormous Kumbha Mela gathering is held every 12 years.

Paramhansa Yogananda said, “If you go to a place where masters have lived, the vibrations there will quicken your realization.” We’ll visit the ashram of Swami Keshabananda, where an outdoor temple houses the ashes of Lahiri Mahasaya. Then we’ll go to the ashram of Anandamayee Ma, immortalized in Autobiography of a Yogi, as the “Joy-Permeated Mother.” Her ashes are kept here in a special shrine, and the house where she lived is preserved.

“Let my idle chatter be the muttering of prayer, my every manual movement the execution of ritual gesture, my walking a ceremonial circumambulation, my eating and other acts the rite of sacrifice, my lying down prostration in worship, my every pleasure enjoyed with dedication of myself, let whatever activity is mine be some form of worship of you.”

Meet our pilgrimage hosts

Nayaswami Krishna Das

Spiritual Pilgrimage Leader, Ananda Minister, Teacher, and Counselor

For the past 18 years, experienced pilgrimage leader, Nayaswami Krishnadas has taken people to holy places throughout India, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the United States.

Krishnadas, a long-time Ananda teacher and minister, has an enthusiastic passion for sharing holy sites and the lives of saints. He helps you enter into the spiritual quality of each place so that you may have the fullest spiritual experience possible. He leads the group in the devotional practice of chanting, enhancing the trip with music and love for God. Krishnadas has lively and uplifting energy, and will make you feel at ease in foreign countries wherever you are.

Keshava Taylor

Spiritual Co-Director of Ananda Delhi, Teacher, Spiritual Pilgrimage Leader

Experienced Pilgrimage leader and coordinator, Keshava has for 18 years regularly led Indian and Western pilgrims to spiritual power points around India. He continues to develop relationships with the custodians of these shrines. Keshava works with the tour operators, guides, hotels, and travel agents who are essential to making a trip comfortable and smoothly run.

Keshava’s attention to detail is phenomenal and his familiarity with India invaluable. He brings in-depth knowledge of Indian culture along with a deep understanding of spiritual teachings. His calm depth of spirit surrounds and encompasses each trip with a sense of solidarity and security that all will run well.

Our 21-day itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi
Most pilgrims will arrive in New Delhi at night and will be transported to the hotel for immediate rest.

Day 2: Delhi Orientation and Ananda Center
The day is lightly scheduled for rest and orientation, including a lunch and opening gathering at the Ananda meditation center. An optional outing to an outdoor market is planned for the afternoon, followed by preparations for an early morning flight to Udaipur the next day.

Day 3-6: Udaipur Exploration
This period includes a three-night stay in Udaipur, featuring exploration of temples, museums, and the natural beauty of the city. Key attractions include the City Palace, Jagdish Temple, and a boat ride on Lake Pichola to Jagmandir Island Palace, complemented by rich shopping experiences.

Day 7: Journey to Ladakh
The journey to Ladakh begins with a morning flight to its capital, Leh, offering spectacular Himalayan views. This will be followed by rest at a hotel to acclimatize. The afternoon includes a visit to Shanti Stupa and Leh’s main bazaar, with dinner at a hotel featuring traditional Tibetan architecture.

Day 8: Monastery Visits in Ladakh
The day features morning prayers at Tikse monastery and visits to Tikse, Hemis, and Stakna monasteries, guided by a Ladakhi Buddhist expert, with dinner back at the hotel in Leh.

Day 9: Exploring Ancient Villages and Temples
We will take a scenic drive to the charming, ancient village of Alchi to visit peaceful 11th century temples and explore Likir and Spituk monasteries, followed by dinner at the hotel in Leh.

Day 10: Journey to Rishikesh via Dehradun
An early morning flight to Dehradun will be followed by a drive to Rishikesh for an overnight stay.

Day 11: Drive to Badrinath
The day involves a drive towards Badrinath with an overnight stay at Rudraprayag.

Day 12: Arrival at Badrinath
After continuing the drive to Badrinath, there will be an opportunity to visit the Temple of Badrinath if time allows, followed by dinner and an overnight stay in the town.

Day 13: Exploring Badrinath
The day starts with early morning meditation at the temple and a visit to the village of Mana, including a walk along the river back to Badrinath, and concludes with dinner at the hotel.

Day 14: Spiritual Activities in Badrinath
We will partake in the early morning Abhishek puja at the Badrinath temple, explore the Neelkanth Valley, and have a free afternoon for activities such as bathing in hot springs.

Day 15: Continued Exploration in Badrinath
The day includes meditation at the temple, a longer stay in the Mana area with an optional hike to Vasundhara Falls, and free time for exploring the town and surrounding hills.

Day 16: Departure from Badrinath
After an early breakfast, the group will depart from Badrinath, stopping at Joshimath for meditation in Adi Shankaracharya’s cave, and arriving for an overnight stay at Rudraprayag by late afternoon.

Day 17–20: Rishikesh Stay
The journey continues from Rudraprayag to Rishikesh, including meditation stops along the Ganges River and visits to significant spiritual sites and ashrams. Evening activities and dinner will be at the hotel in Rishikesh.

Day 21: Return to Delhi
The morning includes a final stroll along the Ganges River in Rishikesh, followed by a departure to Delhi. The evening will feature a gathering and dinner at the Ananda Delhi Center.

Day 22: Free Day in Delhi
The last day is a free day in Delhi for repacking and relaxation, with the hotel room reserved for an additional night to accommodate late-night flights or early next morning departures.

Stay connected: Be the first to learn the finalized dates and pricing

Costs

Early Bird Rates
Available now through Feb. 15, 2024

Shared room, per person*: $2,500
Private room: $3,300

Regular Rates
Available from Feb. 16 – June 15, 2024

Shared room, per person*: $3,000
Private room: $4,000

*We will match you with a roommate of the same gender.

To register, reserve online and make your $1000 U.S. deposit — this will secure your reservation. Remember, space is limited!

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We’re currently finalizing the dates and details for this pilgrimage. Would you like to know more? Just add your email to this list and we’ll keep you up to date.

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Important Details

All hotels, restaurants, and menus have been personally inspected by Ananda. We’ll stay in clean, Western-style, comfortable but not luxurious 2- or 3-star hotel rooms with attached bath, and central heating where needed. In the mountains the variety of fruits and vegetables is limited. Still, hotel buffet meals include simple but healthy Indian, Western, and Asian dishes.

We’ll fly from Delhi to Leh (capital of Ladakh), about 1 hour each way. Transportation within Ladakh will be by air-conditioned bus or SUV, on good roads, driving 2 – 4 hours a day for two days.

Transportation up to Badrinath includes air-conditioned train the first afternoon, followed by 12 – 14 hours of driving by air-conditioned SUV, spread over two days. The road to Badrinath is spectacularly scenic, but often curving. Washouts during the monsoon season are never fully repaired, making the road paved for most of the distance, but also with long gravel stretches, sometimes in poor condition. Our drivers are well-experienced with these roads, and we’ll have a very experienced local guide we have worked with for almost 30 years of Ananda Himalayan pilgrimages, but this is definitely a mountain adventure.

Leh is at an elevation of 11,500 feet. Arriving by flight requires a 12- to 24-hour acclimatization period to adjust to the elevation and thin air. We’ll spend our first day resting, drinking extra water, and having light, optional activity within the town of Leh. By taking this rest period, most people have little discomfort. You should consult your doctor if you have a chronic problem that could be affected by elevation. There is no need to walk long distances, but both Ladakh and Badrinath involve climbing many stairs. Those with asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, lung or heart conditions should consult their doctors and may need to limit their activity. You may choose to arrive in India a day or two earlier than the group if you would like extra time to rest and get over jetlag, before ascending to this elevation. This would cost just $100-150 per day extra. Badrinath is only slightly lower than Ladakh, at 10,000 feet, but we make our ascent gradually by road. Also in Badrinath, hiking is optional, and you can have a thoroughly enjoyable time without long walks.

You will need a passport that is valid until March 2026. If yours expires before March 2026, you must renew it before you request your visa. If you need a new passport, or need to renew one, do so immediately by going to travel.state.gov. You will find instructions there.

All our travel will be within India. You’ll need a visa for India, but no other special permits. The easiest way to obtain a visa is to apply for an eVisa, and we can provide you support for that process. Or if you live near a local Indian Embassy you can visit in person. Check www.cgisf.org

Your own meditation practice will enhance the pilgrimage experience, but is not necessary to deeply enjoy this trip. A love of adventure, high mountains, natural beauty, ancient cultures, spiritual traditions, and silence is all that is needed. Optional group meditations are offered most days.

You should be moderately fit, without health conditions liable to be affected by elevations up to 11,500 feet. All destinations involve climbing many stairs, at your own pace. Extensive walking is not required. Longer hikes are optional.

Travelling in the high mountains one must expect the unexpected, and flexibility is a key item to pack in your suitcase. Daytime weather is usually mild, but can also change suddenly. Roads are occasionally blocked by falling rock, which may cause delay or change of plans.

Dates Fall 2025
Location Ladakh, Badrinath, Udaipur, and Rishikesh, in India
Leaders Nayaswami Krishna Das of Ananda Village, California, and Tyagi Keshava of Ananda India

Frequent questions

What is your cancellation policy?

For cancellations received before Feb. 15, 2024, your payment will be refunded, less a $150 cancellation fee.

For cancellations received before June 15, 2024, we will provide a 50% refund.

For cancellations made between June 15 through July 15, 2024 we will refund $150.00.

Can I choose a shared room if I don’t have a roommate?

Yes. If you prefer shared lodgings but are not coming with a roommate, we will try to match you with someone of the same gender who also needs a roommate.

When will full payment be charged?

Full payment will be charged to your credit card on the last day of the Early Bird or Regular pricing dates.

Any questions?

For more information, or to talk further about this pilgrimage, please write to us. We’d love to answer any questions that you have.

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“The northern Himalayan crags near Badrinarayan are still blessed by the living presence of Mahavatar Babaji…” The artwork below, a depiction of a devotee with the Masters in the Himalayas, is by Jonah West. Visit his website at Jonah West Art.