Awakening + Adventure: Mindfulness and Buddhist Practices

Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Rachel Walls
  • Email address verified
Nov 8 - 22, 2019
Group size: 6 - 12
Awakening + Adventure: Mindfulness and Buddhist Practices
Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India

Rachel Walls
  • Email address verified

Nov 8 - 22, 2019
Group size: 6 - 12

About this trip

This small group adventure (maximum 12 participants) will spend two full weeks in India, starting in the capitol city of Delhi, then north to Tibetan settlements in the Himalayas. Our host organization, LHA Charitable Trust, is located in Dharamsala, India. They are a non-profit organization that has been providing social services and education for the Tibetan refugee communities for the past 21 years. Their main building, Ahimsa House, will serve as our lodging while we stay in Dharamsala. It is only steps away from the home and temple of H.H. the Dalai Lama. 

Surrounded by lush landscapes draped with colorful prayer flags, we will explore Eastern techniques for healing and personal well-being from both Indian and Tibetan traditions. The concepts of Mindfulness as well as Buddhist practices will be approached through readings, lectures, site visits, and discussions. The group will have the opportunity to meet with a wide array of teachers and other professionals, as well as lay persons who live these ancient traditions. 

This experience may put you outside of your comfort zone which will allow space for immense personal growth. There will be daily opportunities for meditation, yoga, and other mindfulness practices along with personal time for study, reflection, shopping, and adventure. This trip will also include time for trekking in the Himalayas, exploring the wide array of local cuisine, massage, Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda.  

Our main guide, Venerable Tsering Phuntsok, has been guiding groups annually since 2002 and is well known for keeping group members smiling. He speaks English as well as all the local languages. All of our guides, drivers, and assistants have had many years of experience and will be able to offer us all the experience of a lifetime! 

This experience is designed to create a safe space for you to explore India and to grow personally. As a group organizer, I look forward to getting to know you and assisting with any questions that may arise during the preparation time and throughout our time together in India. This will be my second journey to India with Tsering and LHA Charitable Trust, a team that has now hosted over 60 groups to India. Their first group was from the Tulane School of Social Work in 2002. I traveled to India in 2011 as a graduate student and it was an unforgettable experience. I was impacted by the resiliency of the Tibetan community, their generosity, and their ability to take care of their own. Their example of strength during persecution has influenced my life greatly. I have been on a personal and professional pursuit to achieve the level of enlightenment and compassion that the Tibetan community exemplifies. I am excited to return to this special place with you. 

Almost 50% of the annual budget of LHA Charitable Trust is generated by hosting groups such as this one. The funds generated by hosting groups enables them to continue to carry out all the beneficial social services that they provide to the Himalayan community and to over 400 volunteers from 30 different countries that they host and coordinate each year. 

To learn more about our host organization and the services they provide, please see

If you or anyone you know may be interested in joining this group, please do feel free to contact me directly with any questions. 

I look forward to meeting you in India! 


What's Included


All nights lodging while in India - Double Occupancy. (Single rooms available at an extra cost)

* note that the two accommodations listed with websites are the most extravagant, others are more simple.

  •   Delhi (2 nights): Ashok Country Resort
  •   Night Train (1 night) *Domestic Flight option at your own expense
  •   Dharamsala (4 nights): LHA Charitable Trust Guest House “Ahimsa House”  
  •   Bir (2 nights): Nyingmapa Guest House "home monastery of our guide Ven. Tsering Phuntsok"
  •   Mandi (2 nights) Raj Palace Hotel (Day trip to Tso Pema)
  •   Gallu (1 night): Himalayan Mountain Lodge  
  •   Night Bus (1 night) *Domestic Flight option at your own expense

All Overland Transportation while in India

Two meals per day will be provided.  
Salary and/or expenses for organizers and guides

Payments to group assistants and translators  
Honorariums for guest lecturers & teachers

Class fees 

Meeting room rentals (Yoga, Meditation & Lectures)
Donations to social service organizations visited by the group


Please be assured that as the trip date approaches, all participants will receive clear instructions on packing, visa application, travel health and all the other important information needed to prepare for this incredible adventure of a lifetime. 

There will be phone and wifi availability throughout the trip. 


Approximately two months prior to the departure date, you will be given the details on the specific international flight which I, the group leader, will be flying. You will be invited to join on that or a connecting flight that would have us arrive in Delhi together. Should you prefer to book any other independent flight we will work with you to arrange airport pick up and transportation to Ashok Country Resort where the group will be staying upon arrival.

From Delhi to the Himalayas, the group will travel by overnight train and on the return will travel by overnight bus. Both journeys are an incredible India experience but may not be for everyone. The other option is a domestic flight which we will be happy to help and organize for those preferring to fly. The train and bus are included in the trip cost yet the domestic flight option would be at your own expense (approximately $150 each way). 

All overland transportation while in India will be provided with professional licensed drivers in Toyota or Chevy SUVs.  Local Taxis or Auto Rickshaws may be used for short distance transport.

What’s included

  • Guide/Interpretor
    Salary for the guides that will help you navigate and translate during your adventures in India
  • Meals
    Two meals per day will be provided. For the extra meal we will recommend clean, healthy restaurants to explore your own tastes and the wide array of local cuisine.
  • Transportation
    Chevy or Toyota SUVs with licensed professional drivers from a transport company that we have worked with since 2002, bus fare to and from Delhi.
  • Lodging
    Ashok Country Resort, Ahimsa House, Nyingmapa Guest House, and Himalayan Mountain Lodge. The rooms covered in your trip costs are double occupancy.
  • Roundtrip Airfare
    International flights
  • Domestic flights
    Item optional, bus fare is covered
  • India Visa
    Approx $75
  • Travel Insurance
    Approx $100
  • 2 meals per day
    Approx $5
  • Souvenirs
    Shop at your own risk


Friday, August 2, 2019
Depart from USA

Leave the USA for Delhi, India. Air time ~15 hours. 

Your Organizer

Rachel Walls
I first traveled to India in 2011 as a graduate student with the Tulane School of Social Work and LHA Charitable Trust. Amazed by the resiliency of the Tibetan community during that trip, I began working as a social worker focused on trauma-informed care. I was able to implement many of the mindfulness techniques that I learned in India into my personal and professional life. I have organized and taught Mindfulness based workshops to the homeless population in Los Angeles and to active-duty military members struggling with addiction. I am also a certified yoga instructor and have implemented alternative forms of healing, including yoga nidra and healing touch, into my professional life. Planning this trip has been in the works for a number of years. I have been working closely with LHA Charitable Trust and our guides to ensure this is the best possible experience for all of us.