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FEBRUARY 15-27, 2019



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Your retreat starts with your arrival and overnight stay in Delhi on February 15, 2019, and ends with your departure for the United States on February 27. Other than the two nights in Delhi you will be spending the entire time at TARA in Kangra Valley in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Your hosts, Charlene Geiss and Amber Chand, look forward to welcoming you to an experience that will both nourish and uplift you during these challenging times. The retreat, The Seven Lanterns: Journey to Your Luminous Self, is a wonderful weaving of teachings, writings, guided conversations, contemplative walks, and rituals. The excursions into the Valley of the Goddesses will shape treasured memories of elaborate temples and soulful nunneries, quiet mountain towns and joyful villagers, and ancient marketplaces with antiquities. Here are some of the highlights of your journey.


Single Accomodation: $3500

Double Accomodation: $3300

$500 deposit will reserve your place. (This does not include international flights)


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Our home in Kangra Valley is situated in the Western Himalayas and lies in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is named The Valley of the Goddesses because of the Hindu goddess temples that are situated throughout the valley. Surrounded by a cedar tree forest the valley has an average elevation of 2,000 feet and lies beneath the magnificent Dhauladhar range with peaks that are as high as 15,000 feet. In 1960 the Dalai Lama moved his Central Tibetan Administration to DHARAMSALA, also known as “Little Lhasa”, and it became the center for Tibetan exiles. Dharamsala delights its visitors with lovely gardens and tea plantations that produce teas that are now popular world-wide. MCCLEOD GANJ, perched on the mountain just beyond Dharamsala, was named after Sir Donald McCleod, a Lieutenant Governor of Punjab during the days of the British Raj. Today, aside from being known as an important Buddhist center and the residence of the Dalai Lama, McCleod Ganj offers us labyrinthian streets with bustling marketplaces that are filled with Tibetan handicrafts, carpets, jewelry, thangkas, and shawls.


At the main temple with its ornate open-air courtyard His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives teachings several times a year. The Dalai Lama’s Temple is considered the most sacred monument here and houses larger than life statues of the Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Avalokitewshwara. One of the world’s largest collections of sacred Tibetan texts is also housed here.

      I remember vividly sitting on thick Tibetan rugs in the open air courtyard, as monkeys clambered the         rafters and Tibetan monks handed out hunks of bread and Tibetan tea, eagerly awaiting His Holiness, the Dalai Lama's arrival. Amber, India Journal, 2011


We will be residing at TARA, a very special healing retreat center with its open-hearted Himalayan welcome, organic gardens and stone cottages, nourishing vegetarian cuisine, comfortable beds (complete with hot water bottles for those chilly nights) and peaceful pathways. Surrounding TARA is an area culturally rich with Buddhist and Hindu temples, art, nature trails and busy village life.

The Training and Research Academy (TARA) and its sister organization, Jagori Grameen (Women Awaken) is the first feminist and eco-friendly center in India supporting Himalayan women and girls in the region. It is well known for its community-based work with women’s and youth collectives, farmer’s groups, and school children. Founded by visionary activist, Abha Bhaiya in 2007, the organization today promotes justice, dignity, and peace, along with sustainable agricultural practices in harmony with nature. Volunteers from around the world help to support this remarkable organization.



Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was born and given the name Diane Perry in England in 1943. Twenty-one years later she was one of the first to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monastic. In 1976, she went into seclusion having found a cave 13,200 feet above sea level and practiced there in a living space about 6 feet square for 12 years. The first nine years she allowed very few visitors, but the last 3 years were spent in strict retreat. Her story has been told in, Cave in the Snow, by Vicki Mackenzie.

At the request of her teacher, the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, Jetsunma was asked to end her solitary practice and to establish a nunnery to give young nuns of Drukpa Kagyu lineage the opportunity to realize their intellectual and spiritual potential after years of neglect. The Nunnery was named “Dongyu Gatsal Ling” or “Garden of the Authentic Lineage.” DGL has grown to be an important nunnery that provides a daily life of study, meditation, and service that is interwoven with Dharma principles. The nuns take monastic vows and very recently they celebrated the first group of graduating nuns to have completed their studies in Buddhist Philosophy.

      As soon as she was in our presence we were enraptured by her being which appeared to be lit up from the inside. As she invited us to sit on the floor, we scurried to sit as close up front as possible. And then, she spoke and I had a hard time looking away to take notes. Charlene, India Journal 2011


Meandering through the village streets one comes upon the intricately carved and painted gates of Norbulingka Institute and enters a magnificent shangri-la where beauty permeates everything, everywhere. This place is dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art and supports an environment in which Tibetan community and family can flourish. Here one can have a meal, meditate in the garden, visit the different studios to watch the artists as they create religious statues, woodwork, and traditional thangka paintings. And the Institute’s store is always a favorite last stop. The Dalai Lama says, “Tibetan society is such an example: that’s why it is worth preserving and I am pleased to see that in its work to keep Tibetan culture alive the Norbulingka Institute is actively contributing to the task.”


Evening of traditional folk music

Visit to a Jagori Grameen initiative

Performance of Searching for the Moon, a one woman show by Amber

Lighting of a Thousand and One Lamp ceremony

Shopping and/or exploring McCleod Ganj

Hike to Naddi Village (optional)

The Seven Lanterns: Journey to Your Luminous Self

details to be announced early November

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Pictures Above

Top Row: Lake Pichola, Udaipur--Cristy and I, Jodhpur--Blue City, Jodhpur--Amber, Hemant (Marigold Hotel Owner), & I

Bottom Row: Ravla Kemphur (Exotic Marigold Hotel)--Udaipur Shop--Jagmandir Palace, Udaipur--Kankarwa Haveli

Pictures Below

Top Row: Sunset on Lake Pichola--Udaipur--Detail at Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur--Hindu Temple in Udaipur

Bottom Row: Opium Ceremony, Bishnoi Village--Udaipur Palace--Detail of Elephant--Tea Plantation, Munnar