Deer Park Goes to India – Join Us!

In the Footsteps of the Buddha

Dhamekh Stupa at Sarnath in India
Dhamekh Stupa at Sarnath

Pilgrimage to India/Nepal with Dharmacharya Shantum Seth and the monastics in the Plum Village tradition A pilgrimage for Deer Park monastery.

Deer Park October 2016 pilgrimage:  In the Footsteps of the Buddha (14 days, beginning and ending in Delhi) October 15 – 28, 2016 – US$ 2600

Shakyamuni Buddha discovered the truth of overcoming suffering and bringing happiness to the individual, family and society. Before he died, the Buddha suggested that it would be of great benefit to those who are interested in his teachings to make a pilgrimage to the places associated with his life.

This 14-day journey will begin in New Delhi on the 15th of October 2016 after which we fly to Varanasi. Thereafter, we travel by our own private coach to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda/Rajgir, Vaishali, Kesariya, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Sravasti. From Sravasti we go by road to Lucknow and then fly to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi on the 28th of October in the evening. You should book your departure flight late night (after 11 pm) on 28th October or early morning of 29th October 2016.

In Delhi, we will visit the place where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, lived and died. This is a wonderful place to begin the pilgrimage as Gandhiji reminds us of the Buddha in our time. He personified a unique way of living, faith and politics where it became a practice of applied ethics.

The Buddha lived and traveled along the plains of the Ganges. Besides Delhi, we shall visit two states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and go into southern Nepal. Our journey will take us to the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first teachings; Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment; Kushinagar, where he passed away and Lumbini where he was born. We will visit his favorite meditation place, Vulture Peak in Rajgir; take a gentle walk across the countryside to Dungeshwari cave where he practiced austerities; visit the village of Sujata, the young girl who offered him rice and milk when he was starving to death; Sravasti where he spent 24 rain retreats; Kapilavastu, where he spent the first 29 years of his life; Vaishali, where the first nuns were ordained; Kesariya, where the largest stupa in the world is; and Nalanda, the site of the famous university from the 5th to 12th centuries where a lot to Mahayana teachings were developed. Aside from visiting the places where the Buddha lived, we shall visit monasteries, temples and shrines of different faiths, take a boat ride at sunrise along the Ganges at Varanasi, have discussions with locals, visit the homes of the poor and the privileged and get a deep understanding of historical and contemporary India. We would discuss this within the context of the Buddha’s teachings, so we can examine what we are witnessing and experiencing both from an external and internal perspective.

Jeta Grove in Sravasti
Jeta Grove in Sravasti

India’s cities stand in contrast to her villages and have their own interesting (if seemingly chaotic) lifestyle. Varanasi and Bodh Gaya are both significant pilgrimage sites, having their own distinct character and personality. In these places we get a closer view of how modern and traditional India co-exist. Kushinagar, Lumbini, Sravasti and Rajgir are smaller towns and relatively quiet, giving the pilgrims the opportunity to absorb the nuances of the local culture and society.

Join us on this journey through a fascinating and mysterious India – as we walk ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha’. The pilgrimage is an unforgettable opportunity to explore areas that few tourists visit and to see and experience aspects of Indian life that, in many ways, that have not changed since the time of the Buddha. We invite you to journey with other practitioners on a transformative journey that will allow you to touch an ancient culture and civilization, and experience the life of the Buddha through the places he lived and taught.

Trip Cost and Details

The cost for the pilgrimage “In the Footsteps of the Buddha” (October 15 – 28, 2016) is US$ 2600 based on double occupancy. The single room supplement is an additional US$ 1800. Does not include airfare to Delhi, India. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking. The remainder of the cost of the pilgrimage is due by August 5, 2016. To register, you may complete the form in this document and follow the included instructions. Complete details also included in the document.


If, after reviewing the information packet, you have questions, please contact Currently, this pilgrimage is for US-based practitioners. In order to provide a deep, intimate and mindful experience spaces will be limited.

92 responses to “Deer Park Goes to India – Join Us!”

  1. Interested…thank you for the opportunity. Would like to coordinate flight plans with others to and from…Phoenix or West Coast

  2. Interested…….would like more info and potentially coordinate to and from with others from the West Coast (I am in Phoenix).

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    • Hi! Thank you for your interest. We are planning a smaller group, with a maximum of around 80 people which would be two buses.

    • Hello…Yet another important journey for you…Paula and I traveled with the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order…now known as Tri Ratna…Shantum will certainly be a joy…The trip itself can be surprisingly challenging traveling across the various sites…There is a renaissance of Buddhism in India that was initially led by Dr. Ambedkhar in the early 1950’s that is rising out of various oppressed castes…Ambedkhar was an adversary of Ghandi’s and wrote the Indian Constitution…himself an Untouchable person…Ambedkhar was advocating for a very engaged form of Buddhism that held out promise for people that had been living under very difficult conditions for almost millennia…sorry for the longish riff…I hope that your trip will be delightful…Jett

  3. I have sleep apnea and usually use a Cpap machine. Will there be electricity where we sleep? Also how handicap friendly will this be.
    In gratitude

  4. Hi there, The description says that this is a “fund-raising pilgrimage”. I am wanting more details about that aspect of the trip. Will a portion of the registration fee be going to Deer Park Monastery? If so, how much?
    Thank you,

  5. Hello, I am so excited. Is there an detailed Itinerary yet? I am trying to educate myself of the regions before we go.

  6. I am from San Diego and I llike to go with someone on the plane.
    I am planning to book my fly this month.

    • I am going to create a group call “roommate” for whoever needs a roommate then,
      I am sure there are others too. What do you think ? would a face book group is ok?
      May we be in the Buddha land together soon!

  7. hi,
    I created a private group called “Deer Park India” in face book, it is created so we can find a roommate to share the experience with and not having to pay the single fees. If you are interested in joining, please send me your email to “” and I will add you into the group so you can access the info.

  8. hi all,
    I emailed Bina about finding a roommate and here is her respond:
    Jan 20 at 3:24 AM
    Hi Thuy,

    No, you don’t need to find a room-mate for the pilgrimage – I am happy to find someone to share the room. So please do sign up for the pilgrimage.

    Look forward to having you on our Deer Park pilgrimage.

    Bina Aranha

  9. My wife and I are interested in this trip. What type of hotels are included? Are any meals included?

  10. I have been a follower of Thich Nhat Hahn since the seventies, when a Vietnam Veteran gave me one of his books and suggested that I might find it useful in therapy at a Counselling Service. I would love to go on this trip but live in Australia. Any chance of a trip again in 2017 that might include other nationalities?

      • It is true that the trip is often available for anyone in the world. Our friend Shantum runs these tours throughout the year. The intention with this trip is to support and gather US-based practitioners. Feel free to contact for more information or clarifications.

  11. I am very interested in this trip and the time fits me well. But i am a sangha member from Hong Kong, visited Deer Park last year though, may I join? Thanks.

  12. Hi everyone…. I have registered and traveling alone… wasn’t sure if we had to have an already designated ‘roommate’ as that is what i am reading on others comments…. also I will be traveling from the east coast (I live in Ohio) most likely DC… if anyone was also coming from this side if they wanted a travel buddy…. Thank you!!

  13. I have registered and will be departing from New York, hopefully a few days early. Does anyone have recommendations for Travel Insurance ?

    • Hey Joe… I too will be traveling from New York…. did you ever find any travel insurance or have any recommendation??

      • Hi Nina, I booked my flight with United and bought the insurance they offered. Am looking into something in addition to that but not sure it will be worthwhile.

        I am flying out of Newark thankfully on a direct flight, my email address is

  14. Took care of my deposit today, it’s official I’ll be going on this great trip as well . I will be traveling on my own, and wouldn’t mind the buddy system if there is another female that has yet to purchase air fair leaving from San Diego and we can coordinate.

    My name is Christy my number is 619-417-7967

    • I would like to buy airfare next month, I do want to get it taken care of, but there is still some time. Feel free to call or email me.

  15. Angela:

    Hello- I plan on flying out from San Diego. I haven’t done much research on flights and would like to partner with someone on planning this departure and return. Thanks Angela

  16. Hello, i registered for the trip and need to book my flight…anyone from San Diego or Los Angeles flying with the Agra option? I was wondering what your flight times are coz it would be nice to travel with others. is there also a fb or page where everyone is connecting for roommates and such? Thank you!

  17. I am going too!!! So excited!I could not find the Facebook page “Deer Park India”. Would you please direct me how to join? I will arrive on the 14th. Does any lady would like to share a hotel room in Crowne Plaza on the 14th? Email me please

  18. I would like to go. I was based in New York for 7 years but had returned to my native country Taiwan over 5 years ago, to help build sangha. Am I still considered US based? I do plan to return to the US in the near future…

    • I believe so. Kently replied to someone in prior message, “It is true that the trip is often available for anyone in the world. Our friend Shantum runs these tours throughout the year. The intention with this trip is to support and gather US-based practitioners. Feel free to contact for more information or clarifications.”

  19. Mora and Harry Thompson here. We are new members of Open Heart Sanga and Deer Park. We are going! Leaving from San Diego.

    On the Multiple Entry Visa for India, it looks like they want us to put our original passports in a Fed Ex envelope with the other forms and send it to them in San Francisco. This seemed a bit scary. Has anyone had problems with the Visa process?

    • Hello Mora and Harry, I was worried too. I sent out my passport to San Francisco on Monday three weeks ago. They kept sending me an update where my passport was. Then I received it back via FedEx on Friday the same week. I look forward to meeting you two. Mumm

      • Dear Footsteps of the Buddha Sangha,

        Margaret and I fly Oct 11th LAX – Qatar Airways flt# 740 at 4:05 PM. We are staying at a B n B in Hauz – Kaus area to settle in and relax before the mobile retreat begins. I hear we are about 75 lay friends and 12 monastics. We are excited !


        • YAY!!! I am happy to know that you and Margaret are coming! Super excited!!! I am arriving on the 14th and will be staying at the Crown Plaza where we also will stay the first night of pilgrimage.

  20. I wanted to let you all know that I created a Google Group for our upcoming pilgrimage to India (it’s email based). Groups are great for connecting, communicating, staying in touch, sharing photos and videos, make plans and supporting each others continued practice.

    To join go to:

    Also, I have created a Facebook Closed Group for those of us going to India-

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