Thank you for such a wonderful trip along the Buddha’s path in the middle land and beyond. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey which was truly one of a lifetime. The group was informal and brought together people from a number of walks of life and continents with a common interest in the Buddha and his teachings.
With Mindah looking after the Buddhist teaching side of things and Rajnee, born and bred in Bodh Gaya, looking after the logistics, this made for a very enjoyable and relaxed trip. I could not fault the service provided from the moment I stepped off the plane on my arrival, to being dropped off for my departure. I thought the trip was excellent value for money and would quite happily do it all again and will recommend it to others.
My favorite moment was meditating under the Bodhi tree at 6am, it just felt so right. I have tended to focus on the meditation side of things to this point, so my knowledge of the holy sites and their locations was limited, so it was great to put images and place names to the stories and something I can build upon.
I enjoyed Mindah’s teachings in the very places they were originally given. The accommodation was better than expected given the rural locations and the still developing pilgrimage market. That said the hotels used were consistently the best/one of the best in their location. Whilst the caves of Ajanta and Ellora aren’t holy sites, they really are amazing and well worth a visit, and a valuable addition to the trip.
Advice to others considering this trip: If you feel the time is right, if you have the cash, just do it; it is a trip of a lifetime. There is a fair amount of travelling; a lot to pack in over the 2 weeks, but it’s well worth it.
This pilgrimage of the Buddha’s epic self-discovery and the iconic memorials constructed by the greatest emperor of India to celebrate Buddha’s journey – was indeed a trip of a lifetime for me. I am at a loss to describe this experience. To call it “Amazing” or even “Wonderful” just does not cut it, it’s a lot more than that!
I couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of Mindah and Rajnee’s tremendous effort and dedication to put to together such an exhaustive trip. The value I got out of this pilgrimage is way more than what was charged for it! It will be hard to duplicate this trip by anybody. It has provided me a renewed motivation to walk on the Buddha’s Path with a very deep tangible perspective!
This pilgrimage was a trip of a lifetime. I always felt safe with our group and I’m thankful to have had Rajnee, who grew up in Bodhgaya and was able to negotiate and translate for us. Also, with all of Mindah’s experience of living and traveling there, it only added to having a great experience.
All the arrangements were well planned and thought out – from the plane transfers, meals, guided tours, private bus transportation and check in at each hotel. So not having to think about any of that made me feel at ease and made the trip very relaxing and enjoyable.
Highlights of the trip were being able to go into Nepal and seeing so much of India. Also, being able to taste so many Indian dishes, do some local shopping and getting to know the culture and people. I’m really grateful for the pilgrimage itself and all the carefully planned stops at Buddhist sites along the way. Mindah did an exceptional job of explaining things and giving teachings to us at each of the stops we made.
I would highly recommend going on this pilgrimage. It went above and beyond my expectations; I don’t have a single complaint! I’m so thankful for Mindah & Rajnee for making this such a wonderful experience.
Despite being a Buddhist novice, my experience changed me forever. I still struggle in Samsara (as most of us do), but my understanding of the fundamentals of Buddhism have truly not only solidified, but literally exploded. My pilgrimage had profound effects on my basic reality, but more importantly my understanding of ‘this instant’. I could list many moments that were profound, but better to say I understand how nirvana opened up to the Buddha. From New Delhi to Bodh Gaya – the universe and awakening is within us. But sometimes being in the right place in the right time makes it resound and touch us. “Pay attention”, I tell myself, but my trip to Nepal and India had an indelible effect that will continue to direct me for years.
Fundamental to basic Buddhism is learning to steady the mind like an archer or even a barista at Starbucks. Aiming for those moments of tranquility becomes key to daily existence. With this I can (possibly) calm myself; the monkey mind can be tamed. But it takes insight and practice. Mindah helped bring me these moments of tranquility.
When I reflect upon the incredible pictures I took, they somehow lack the depth of feeling and understanding that you get when being there. There’s nothing as palpable as my experience on pilgrimage; neither K2 nor Berlin could match it. If it calls to you, go. That’s all I can suggest.
I recently had an opportunity to attend the 2015 Enthusiastic Buddhist pilgrimage to India. This trip was the fulfilment of a long time wish to travel to India to see the holy places of the Buddha first-hand. After doing some online research on other pilgrimage travel companies and weighing up undertaking a backpacking pilgrimage myself, I found that the Enthusiastic Buddhist pilgrimage provided what I was looking for. Very quickly I realized that India is a challenging environment for the novice traveller, and I was glad to undertake my pilgrimage with Mindah’s and Rajnee’s experience and support.
The trip was comprehensive, including not only the four major Buddhist pilgrimage locations sighted by the Buddha himself, but included many other extraordinary Buddhist sites including Vulture Peak, Nalanda, Bamboo Grove, Mahakala cave, and the Buddhist caves at Ellora and Ajanta. Experienced local guides were arranged to provide insightful commentary and explanation at many of the sites. A significant part of the pilgrimage for me were the opportunities provided to practice at the sites with Mindah conducting insightful formal dharma talks, guided contemplative practices and sitting mediation practices. There were many personal trip highlights, including spending several days at Bodhgaya.
The pilgrimage accommodation and meal arrangements were excellent. Very clean, secure and comfortable rooms and delicious buffets of India cuisine catering for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian were provided throughout the trip. There were also opportunities to venture out and organise your own meals if you wished.
Although there were some lengthy day road trips, comfortable transport was always arranged and the road trips provided an amazing front row seat to the incredible spectacle that is northern India.
Woven into complementing the pilgrimage were several unique India experiences. Very memorable was a Ganges boat tour in the evening to a see a nightly Hindu fire ceremony and further along, a humbling opportunity to observe the burning Ghats where Hindus cremate their deceased.
Throughout the pilgrimage, I very much enjoyed Rajnee’s wonderful, friendly commentary and first-hand explanations of life in India. He was always accommodating and ready to answer any questions and made every effort to ensure the pilgrimage experience was comfortable and enjoyable.
Mindah’s clear, insightful instruction and commentary on the teachings and pilgrimage locations and her purposeful intention to bring people to connect with these many extraordinary Buddhist places, and Rajnee’s experience in providing tours around India, his connections and his genuine wish to provide the most enjoyable, comfortable and stress-free pilgrimage experience – combined to make a truly wonderful pilgrimage dynamic.
I am truly grateful to Mindah and Rajnee for providing me such a blessed opportunity to connect personally with so many significant and holy Buddhist sites. I would not hesitate for a moment to give a heartfelt recommendation to anyone considering undertaking a pilgrimage with Mindah and Rajnee and The Enthusiastic Buddhist pilgrimage.
Advice to others considering this trip: If you’re in a position to undertake a pilgrimage and have the motivation to do so, I offer heartfelt encouragement to do it. It is an extraordinary opportunity to connect directly with the life and places of the Buddha himself. For myself, although I had an aspiration to go on pilgrimage for several years, initially deciding to undertake the pilgrimage was certainly stepping outside my comfort zone, but having done it now, I total encourage you to go for it.
You can read all about our 2015 pilgrimage here: Sacred Sites & Friendship: Blessings of our 2015 Buddhist Pilgrimage