Preliminary registration for a pilgrimage with Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche to Buryatia, Russia in June 2016 is now open!
You might remember that during his Moscow teachings in December 2015, Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche spoke of a pilgrimage to King Gesar’s historical places in Buryatia. The Ripa Russia team is currently negotiating the pilgrimage with the Buryat Ripa Sangha. We are happy to share with you these first sketches of the journey.
Please note that these plans are subject to change. We are waiting for Rinpoche’s remarks and approval. Confirmed information will be sent to all registered participants. The pilgrimage begins in Irkutsk on June 11 or June 12, 2016 (to be confirmed). The entire journey will last three weeks and end on July 1, 2016 in Ulan-Ude. It will be possible to join the pilgrimage for one week, ten days, two weeks or for the full three week experience.
– Starting in Irkutsk City (without overnight stay)
– Lake Baikal (2 or 3 days)
– Orlik Village in Okinsky District (about 7 days)
– Ulan-Ude City and vicinity (3 or 4 days)
– Barguzinsky District, the northern part of Lake Baikal (about 6 days)
– Departing from Ulan-Ude
Here you can see the main points of the route and a bird’s-eye view of Ulan-Ude City and the surrounding areas.
Budget travel — around € 670 (Euros) per person for three weeks (travel expenses to Irkutsk are not included). Approximate distance between Moscow and Irkutsk, Buryatia is 5,000 km (3,100 miles). An economy class airline ticket from Moscow to Irkutsk or from Ulan-Ude to Moscow costs up to € 440 (Euros). Flight duration from Moscow to Irkutsk is approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Pilgrimage fees cover:
– Bus and minivan transfer between main route destinations
– Meals in our camp kitchen, simple local food for vegetarians and meat-eaters; please note that during the transfers between destinations you will have to pay for your meals at the roadside cafés and diners
– Guided excursions to places of strength and sacred route destinations
– Comfort travel options will be available to provide more comfortable accommodations wherever possible
Tourist centers, guesthouses, datsans and tents. Outdoor restrooms will be available. Water supply is not always available, bathing days will be organized whenever possible.
The weather near Lake Baikal is unpredictable and changeable. Air temperatures may vary from 25 °C (77 °F) in the afternoon to 0 °C (32 °F) at night, especially in highlands (Orlik Village).
Pilgrimage Tour and Route
Minimal comfort and maximum experience with many hiking trails and transfers. Although the country is mountainous, special skills and hiking equipment are not required. Rinpoche will communicate in English. Russian–English translation and interpreting will be available.
– We will visit places of strength, historically connected to the warrior King Gesar
Bürenkhaan (Tibetan: Machen Pomra) ritual complex at the foot of Mönkh Saridag, also called Mungku-Sardyk, the highest mountain of the Eastern Sayan Mountains; Khaan-Uula where the sword of King Gesar is hidden, according to the legend; Local datsans, including Ivolginsky Datsan and Gesar Sum (“Temple of Gesar”) ritual complex; Cave of yogis (Tibetan: naljorpa); Ascending the sacred mountains Sakhir and Nukhen-dabaan to see a large hole in the mountain that King Gesar made with his arrow, according to the legend
– During the pilgrimage, we will pass waterfalls, canyons and lava planes
– There are group practices with Jigme Rinpoche, including open talks and teachings, Sangha offerings, practices of Gesar and Protectors, hanging Lungta prayer flags, pujas and Tsog offerings
– We will also meet with the local Ripa Sangha and other Sanghas
Children who are twelve years old and older can participate in the pilgrimage together with their parents. Children should be able to cope with uncomfortable lodging, long bus transfers and daily hiking.
You Will Need
– Hiking clothes for cold weather, properly fitting sports footwear, some holiday clothes for ceremonial events and festive meetings
– Sleeping bag and a ground pad
– Medicine kit
– To be prepared for the lack of comfort, hot water and long transfers in off-road conditions
We are currently working on the following issues
– Possibility to join the pilgrimage for one week, ten days or two weeks in the places of the route where our camp will be located, so that we may offer you a transfer; if you would like to join or leave the pilgrimage at any other point and stage, you should plan and do it yourself, while we can only assist you with taxi service contact info and shuttle van timetables
– Most likely we will have to live in tents in several locations; at the moment, we do not have full information on lodging in each location
According to Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche, this is going to be a unique journey that will not be organized on such a scale in the future. This is a rare opportunity to travel with Rinpoche and to receive instructions in Gesar’s places of strength. The King Gesar practice is a Ripa Lineage essential practice. One may connect to this enlightened being and Teacher this way. Read more about King Gesar of Ling.
We are doing our best to plan and organize the journey. Nevertheless, the pilgrimage program will remain subject to change, depending upon circumstances and conditions in each location. We hope that people attending this pilgrimage will be flexible enough to accept the unpredictable changes that will occur.
If you would like to join Rinpoche and us on this pilgrimage, even if you aren’t sure whether you will be able to travel, please register online before March 20. At this point you are not obliged to go on the journey if things change. Your registration simply helps us to plan and estimate the total numbers.
When the program is finalized and approved by Rinpoche, there will be a final registration stage. Only then, you will be asked to prepay. We want to book lodging and transport in advance, before the tourist season starts so that we may obtain discounts. Please contact us with any of your questions by sending your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us also know if you want to assist in organizing the pilgrimage.
Please note that the dates, prices and numbers mentioned might vary slightly. At the moment we just want to give you some reference points, so that you may plan and decide. We are glad to be going on this pilgrimage with you. Read more about the Ripa Lineage history.
With Love and Gratitude,
The Ripa Russia Team and the Ripa Ladrang Team