Photo of the Week
North India 6-week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2014-08-08 12:14:36
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-08 18:14:36
    [post_content] => Hi everyone,

The North India-6 group has landed in Newark!  All the students are doing great and have now checked in to their domestic flights.  Soon, you'll be picking them up at the airport - stay tuned for plenty of stories, photos, and disjointed memories that may never fully capture the scope of a summer in North India!

With love,

Vajra Yatra Instructor Team
    [post_title] => Students Have Landed!
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North India 6-week

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Students Have Landed!

Caitlin McKimmey,North India 6-week

Description

Hi everyone, The North India-6 group has landed in Newark!  All the students are doing great and have now checked in to their domestic flights.  Soon, you’ll be picking them up at the airport – stay tuned for plenty of stories, photos, and disjointed memories that may never fully capture the scope of a summer in […]

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

Caitlin McKimmey

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-08 04:23:33
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-08 10:23:33
    [post_content] => 
Dear friends and family,
After spending our last evening together in India amongst the singing devotees at one of Delhi's sacred Sufi shrines, we headed to the airport for a tender, reluctant goodbye. Though everyone is excited to come home and see you, no one really wanted to leave. Our students each fell in love with something—many things—we experienced here. From the glaciated peaks of the Himalaya, to the glowing, knowing smile of our monk friend, Gen Tashi-le, to the inspiring students at SECMOL, to the hope, kindness, and brilliance of our Tibetan host families in Dharamsala, to the humor and companionship of our fellow travelers, this summer's trip has left an indelible mark on all of us. 
Our students came to India as ambassadors of the west but they will return to you in a few hours as humble representatives of the communities, landscapes, and issues they learned about this summer in South Asia. Person to person, little by little, may love and understanding between our great societies flourish through the small but courageous work our students have and will continue to do to question what seemed a given and see the world through another's eyes.
With gratitude for an amazing summer!
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Departure Yak

Instructor Team,North India 6-week

Description

Dear friends and family, After spending our last evening together in India amongst the singing devotees at one of Delhi’s sacred Sufi shrines, we headed to the airport for a tender, reluctant goodbye. Though everyone is excited to come home and see you, no one really wanted to leave. Our students each fell in love with something—many things—we experienced here. From the […]

Posted On

08/8/14

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-07 15:34:05
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-07 21:34:05
    [post_content] => Hi Everyone,

We just received word from the instructors that all the students have boarded their international flights from Delhi at 2am in the morning (afternoon US time), and are safely en-route home.

Their instructor, Caitlin McKimmey is with the students and will see each one of them off to their domestic flights after they land.

Many thanks,

Boulder Administration

 

 
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North India 6-week

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Students are Safely in the Air!

Boulder Administration,North India 6-week

Description

Hi Everyone, We just received word from the instructors that all the students have boarded their international flights from Delhi at 2am in the morning (afternoon US time), and are safely en-route home. Their instructor, Caitlin McKimmey is with the students and will see each one of them off to their domestic flights after they […]

Posted On

08/7/14

Author

Boulder Administration

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-06 13:45:24
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    [post_content] => With approximately 30 hours remaining on this course, I have decided to wait out my final yak and write it after getting off of the plane. While I am required to write one more yak before the completion of this trip, I want my final yak to accurately express the beauty, emotion and intensity that I have experienced. As I am relatively sleep-deprived and sweaty from the oven that is Delhi, I would not be given this experience the attention it deserves, were I to write a complete yak now.

 

 
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North India 6-week

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More to Come…

Tamar Gordis,North India 6-week

Description

With approximately 30 hours remaining on this course, I have decided to wait out my final yak and write it after getting off of the plane. While I am required to write one more yak before the completion of this trip, I want my final yak to accurately express the beauty, emotion and intensity that […]

Posted On

08/6/14

Author

Tamar Gordis

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    [post_content] => Well, we really only have 2 days left in india. it's insane how fast that went. time flies when youre having fun. I really dont have much to say. I've met amazing people, seen amazing places, and gained a different perspective on sustainability and happiness. I'm ready to bring that home. thats all. see you all soon.
    [post_title] => well, i'm almost home.
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North India 6-week

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well, i’m almost home.

neal mccormick,North India 6-week

Description

Well, we really only have 2 days left in india. it’s insane how fast that went. time flies when youre having fun. I really dont have much to say. I’ve met amazing people, seen amazing places, and gained a different perspective on sustainability and happiness. I’m ready to bring that home. thats all. see you […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

neal mccormick

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    [post_content] => Impermanence. It can be a challenge. As is the case with this trip; we've reached the ending, and it isn't at all easy to think of the goodbyes. For our last week in India I am one of the two journalists for the group, so I may post a yak that tries to encapsulate our spirit at the end of our adventure, but this is most likely my final personal yak.

All the yaks we have written during the trip seem like pretty small and insignificant facets of our experience. Every so often we visited an internet cafe somewhere and wrote about various things: a summary, a conversation, or an adventure. Typing on various glitchy computers definitely hasn't been the most engaging part of our time in India, and yet as I write my final one I look back on the times I spent posting the others. I look back on the laughs shared as we recounted the week's occurrences. I consider what we were doing at that time on our journey, learning about non-self, spending a few hours listening to the Dalai Lama give his teachings, perhaps making dinner with Tibetan refugees. I think about the time when there will be no need to post more yaks, a time when our trip is just a memory.

The times are ending. Mountains, friends, and lessons will be left in the rains and fog of the monsoon. Six weeks in India will no longer be something to look forward to, but something to reflect upon. I will no longer expect, I'll remember. While in Tso Pema, as we explored high caves of past Buddhas, as we were fed for free by kind and loving Sikhs, as we slowly walked Kora around the sacred lake, I kept trying to grasp what I saw, what I heard, and the peace I felt. I thought  "India is for only a short time longer, I must grab it so it will not leave me, and if I can't do that I must make a great goodbye, one that is worthy of remembrance." Then I found a quote, and now I can walk in peace. Goodbye isn't something I or any of us need say to the wondrous place we are about to leave, for I'm sure we've loved beyond just our eyes.

 

"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation."

-Rumi

 
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North India 6-week

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Forever with India

Bennett Pienkowski,North India 6-week

Description

Impermanence. It can be a challenge. As is the case with this trip; we’ve reached the ending, and it isn’t at all easy to think of the goodbyes. For our last week in India I am one of the two journalists for the group, so I may post a yak that tries to encapsulate our spirit at […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Bennett Pienkowski

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-05 07:19:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-08-05 13:19:10
    [post_content] => As I carried my 3 year old sister with my 9 year old sister by my side down the uneven crazy roads of Mcleod Ganj to their school for the last time I remember the special times we had at "Home". Tenzin`s smile, the biggest I had seen all week, the night before as she showed me all the palaces and monasteries of Lhasa on her panorama poster. The time she played me her Dramyin (Tibetan Guitar) and sang about the beauty of Tibet. When she translated a song she had been singing of  missing parents in Tibet and how it makes her cry sometimes when she sings it. Yeung don every night as she climbed all over me shouting "Tibetan" phrases such as "Kherang" (you). Watching "Indian Dancing Superstars" or "Barbie"  as a family. Eating way too much Thukpa (modified with butterfly noodles) at every meal as Momola (Grandma) continually loaded more and more  on my plate. Drinking way too much chai throughout the day as it seemed like every sip I took was refilled with more when I was not looking. As much as this feels like "home" it is not for them and they have been living this life as "refugees" for over 30 years. Yeungdon and Tenzin have never seen a Yak or Lhasa or heard their native tongue from the shopkeeper at the local bakery. In fact their parents haven`t either as they are 2nd generation refugees born in India who are the key to preserving their native culture and tongue. Through my experience I have seen this first hand and though there is a growing view that the Tibetan issue is fading, the culture is most certainly not.
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North India 6-week

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Homestay with Tibetan Refugees

Tyler Farrell,North India 6-week

Description

As I carried my 3 year old sister with my 9 year old sister by my side down the uneven crazy roads of Mcleod Ganj to their school for the last time I remember the special times we had at “Home”. Tenzin`s smile, the biggest I had seen all week, the night before as she showed me […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Tyler Farrell

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-05 07:18:47
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    [post_content] => Ahh, my final yak.

I am writing this post while in the town called Tso Pema, a small settlement built around a sacred lake (called Tso Pema, or Lotus Lake; Tso = Lake, Pema = Lotus flower). The lake is sacred to Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh religions and therefore is the location for thousands of pilgrimages year round. We are here in Tso Pema to conduct the part of the trip known as "transference". It is a period 0f reflection, contemplation, comparisons: seeing how we've changed through this trip, reflecting on all that we've done, and preparing to return home and tell our story; taking North India and this whole experience home with us, and integrating it into our lives. We've done many interesting things here such as hiking up to these ancient caves where Buddhist practitioners have historically traveled to, and where there is currently a group of practicing nuns. We went to the top of that mountain and hung up a bunch of prayer flags in order to leave our mark, which felt very symbolic. It then started pouring, and we had to flee. We've also been doing a lot of meditation and yoga, and me and my friend Zac actually led a guided meditation this morning, which went really well.

Today we are taking an overnight bus to Delhi to spend the last 2 days of our trip. We'll be shopping, seeing the city, visiting mosques, and attending a Sufi traditional music performance, which I am personally extremely excited for. Except Delhi is disgustingly humid... so not too hyped for that.

It's certainly strange reflecting back on this whole trip. It seems to have been so much longer than 6 weeks. Newark seems like a lifetime ago, as does the western world and the life I lived in it. However, I feel like I am ready to return, and I am so excited to see all of you and tell you all about this trip. Expect me to be a bit delirious, though, when I get home from the exhausting plane ride back. I may need a couple days to collect my thoughts.

See you soon,

Sammy
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North India 6-week

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Our final days

Sammy Levine,North India 6-week

Description

Ahh, my final yak. I am writing this post while in the town called Tso Pema, a small settlement built around a sacred lake (called Tso Pema, or Lotus Lake; Tso = Lake, Pema = Lotus flower). The lake is sacred to Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh religions and therefore is the location for thousands of […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Sammy Levine

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    [post_date] => 2014-08-05 07:17:52
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    [post_content] => Mosquitoes for days

And Thali for just as long

So lovely, Tso Pema
    [post_title] => A Haiku for Tso Pema
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North India 6-week

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A Haiku for Tso Pema

Samantha Watkins,North India 6-week

Description

Mosquitoes for days And Thali for just as long So lovely, Tso Pema

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Samantha Watkins

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    [post_content] => It's really strange to be coming home. We've spent six weeks here that have both felt like forever and passed by in a blink. We've climbed in the Himalaya, made friends with Ladakhis and Tibetan refugees, gotten sick and well again, eaten dahl and momos and drank endless tea, and discovered the teachings of the Buddha. We've been on a beautiful journey both physically and spiritually, and now it's time to see how that translates coming home. And while that's a little hard, it'll be another journey in itself.

Yesterday we hiked from Tso Pema to the top of a nearby mountain, where we lit butter lamps in sacred caves and walked up past nuns to a forest of prayer flags at the summit. A fog rolled in, giving the sense that this little place of intense spirituality was the whole world, with everything else shrouded in white. Together we tied a long string of prayer flags up and left them there as something from our group that will remain on that mountain long after we all go home. Then the cloud that we were standing in started to pour on us, so we got out of there. I think it'll be moments like that, of intense conditions and magical locations, that will stick out to me the most from this trip.

Tonight we ride a bus back to Delhi, where it'll be just as rainy and humid as it is here but about 10 or 15 degrees hotter. We'll wrap up our transference and spend a little bit more time seeing mosques, textile shopping, and hearing Sufi devotional music before we board our plane for a 36-hour day that takes us back home to the states. Then it'l be time to see how the worldviews, philosophy, perspective, and practices that we've gained here are carried back into the rest of our lives. That'll be the beginning of the next and longest phase of this trip- the aftermath. I think it might turn out to be just as beautiful as the rest has been.
    [post_title] => Out of the mountains, with philosophy in tow
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North India 6-week

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Out of the mountains, with philosophy in tow

Leo Stevenson,North India 6-week

Description

It’s really strange to be coming home. We’ve spent six weeks here that have both felt like forever and passed by in a blink. We’ve climbed in the Himalaya, made friends with Ladakhis and Tibetan refugees, gotten sick and well again, eaten dahl and momos and drank endless tea, and discovered the teachings of the […]

Posted On

08/5/14

Author

Leo Stevenson

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