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    [post_content] => We are in the town of Rewalsar, a calm and auspicious town that holds a strong sense of spirituality. Living in the monastery of Tso Pema, we have had time and space to reflect on the journey thus far, as well as experience deeply spiritual sites sacred to this area. The most moving of these areas was Padmasambhava Cave, the site where the Buddhist figure Padmasambhava was known to have meditated. In my experience, the most remarkable aspect of this spiritual location was not the cave itself, but rather the mountaintop upon which it was situated.

Standing atop this mountain, a moment of serenity settled within me. In every direction you looked, a string of prayer flags could be seen waving softly in the wind. Their multitude was quite moving to me, seeing the signs of prayers delivered here by previous visitors. Rewalsar could be seen down below, with the sacred lake glittering in the sunlight. Standing there, although it was not a location sacred to my religious faith, I felt closer in touch with my own faith. The air of spiritual dedication that rested upon this site strengthened my own values and beliefs. Looking around once more, smiles of wonder and curiosity were painted across the faces of all my friends, and I had no doubt that I looked the same. Coming together, our group tied a string of our own flags to join those already present. Sending up group prayers for mindfulness and care in the journey ahead, this was truly a moment of growth for the group coming together, as well as for each of us in our own silent, unique ways. As we prepare to move on from this town, I recall the different areas that we have been fortunate enough to have visited. I call to mind their unique beauty, and cultural meaning. I am deeply grateful for the experience that I have been gifted, and for those that are yet ahead. As the day comes to an end, I close my eyes, and smile to the sound of prayer flags waving softly in the wind.
    [post_title] => Listening to the wind in Rewalsar
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Listening to the wind in Rewalsar

Adam Kostanecki,Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

We are in the town of Rewalsar, a calm and auspicious town that holds a strong sense of spirituality. Living in the monastery of Tso Pema, we have had time and space to reflect on the journey thus far, as well as experience deeply spiritual sites sacred to this area. The most moving of these […]

Posted On

07/5/17

Author

Adam Kostanecki

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    [post_content] => After our departure from Delhi on an all-night train, we hopped into a small van. It weaved expertly and endlessly through a thousand small mountain towns, traversing the twistiest and narrowest winding roads I have ever encountered; high above the farms and lakes that reflected the heavens as clear as day, as I peered over my shoulder down the steep cliffs of the rocky yet grassy terrain, I felt as though I could see the entire earth. I relished the novel flavor of a banana that was truly sweet. I smelled the energy of the people traipsing through the small, dusty markets. Rebecca told me that her first homestay father had once answered her question of why some trees are considered holy with, "How could you not think that is sacred?"

It was a few hours--one of the longest uninterrupted periods of smiling that I'm capable of remembering--but even still the scenery had become much the same; we had all grown used to being inches from the edge, high in the air. But then unexpectedly, quickly, seemingly out of nowhere, we rounded a corner and were met with a sight to send magic through my veins. Built into the shelf, poking out of the Himalayan foothills and scattered across the valley, an expansive and colorful town surrounded a giant, glimmering statue atop a temple nestled into the slope of a mountain. I thought it was Buddha at the time, but have now learned that it is not Buddha but the guru who brought Buddhism to Tibet. Setting my eyes upon this for the first time was truly otherworldly. I consider it one of the great honors of my life.

Having now visited this temple, seen the profound care with which it and numerous other religious sites were constructed, and observed the intricate and intimate practices that breathe spirituality into all life that exists here, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this culture. I wake up each morning to the sounds of Sikhs chanting and young Buddhist monks laughing while ringing their bells. Mantras set to music waft through the air and flap through prayer flags as those of all faiths walk a kora around the lake. Here exists a kind of coexistence that is extremely unique: one that allows each of the very numerous sects of people to deeply--unabashedly--practice and explore their beliefs. The sense of unity, acceptance, and care that permeates this community is a wonder and a joy to witness, as even we, as guests to this culture, have been treated with only the utmost kindness and curiosity. Particularly coming from the U.S., it fills me with warmth and hope to know that a world where unconditional peace and love among all bands of people is no fantasy. It is possible, and it is here. I can feel it within me.
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Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: North India 6-Week

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Tso Pema

Katherine Weyback,Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

After our departure from Delhi on an all-night train, we hopped into a small van. It weaved expertly and endlessly through a thousand small mountain towns, traversing the twistiest and narrowest winding roads I have ever encountered; high above the farms and lakes that reflected the heavens as clear as day, as I peered over […]

Posted On

07/5/17

Author

Katherine Weyback

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    [post_content] => We asked our students to write down their first impressions of Delhi and their first 24 hours in country. Below are their responses compiled anonymously.

As soon as I stepped out of the airport late last night, I immediately felt the incredible vibrancy and energy of Delhi. People shouted, cars honked and a thousand smells hit me like a truck, some good and some bad. I love how lively the city can be.

Though the driving scene is incredibly hectic. I was surprised by how little friction there was and how calm the drivers were. There was no "road rage" that I would distinguish. Additionally, there's a lot of green throughout the city where you might not expect it. Colors, smells and sounds are all intensified in Delhi.

Delhi is not what I expected. There are certainly shantytowns and beggars and cramped alleyways where you can't see the sky, but I'm surprised by the glimpses of other cities that I saw as we drive around; there are vast expanses of green and park as if we were in DC, large boulevards and highways where pedestrians wander like in Santiago, trees creating a canopy over the road reminiscent of Charleston. I'm shocked by how something can seem so familiar yet so new and I found myself today extensively contemplating the true extent of difference between each human on this earth. I feel drawn to these people and I feel connected to their city's frantic energy--perhaps the same currents run through us all.

Landing on the airstrip after a 13-hour flight, finally meeting up with everyone over a breakfast cup of chai and pancakes, and even wandering around the city streets-it all still feels so surreal to me. The honking of horns from the unruly city streets still echoes in my ears. If I had to described the city briefly, I would say this: vividly alive.

The day was characterized by enthusiasm and fatigue, two things that seem to contradict one another yet do the perfect justice of what the first day was. Delhi wasn't my favorite city (from what I experienced today) but I am really looking forward to what will be in the following weeks.

Delhi has been a whirlwind of both chaos and wonder. From the hectic auto-rickshaw rides, to the mysterious strolls through narrow alleyways, India has not ceased captivating my thoughts and emotions. My social and cultural foundations of comfort have ben rocked and I have come away with eyes that continue to seek more, legs that demand a movement of rest, and a heart open to further discovery.

I'm quite scared to be completely honest. I'm excited because I took a leap of faith to come here and I am proud. Now that reality has set in I am nervous for the journey ahead. It is a necessary leap of faith but it has come with is share of mental obstacles.

Delhi driving was as expected similar to large capitols I have visited previously-lots of honking and yelling etc. Didn't expect it to be as humid as it is. Thought Delhi would be more of a dry heat. LOVED getting some decent rain. LA doesn't get enough of that. Very refreshing. Didn't expect to be so jet lagged either, usually that's not an issue but last night's sleep was rough! Food was exactly as expected flavorful and spicy and a large variety to choose from.

I've been finding myself mentally losing my ability to absolutely conceptualize time and less often space, in my mind and memory. In the same way this has helped me to be more present but has in other ways severely limited my functionality in professional, academic and urban settings. Coming on this trip I had little intuition of interrogating Tibetan spiritual philosophy in my life anymore than would be appropriate for understanding and appreciating their struggle, history and culture as a people or community. I am grateful that this for Delhi has proven to give a variety of strangely improbable experience and momentary memories.

I think India is often seem as a very Westernized country whose distinct culture has involved merely for the entertainment of tourists, it is comforting to know there is nothing further from the truth.
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perhaps the same currents run through us all

N India 6 Week Students,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

We asked our students to write down their first impressions of Delhi and their first 24 hours in country. Below are their responses compiled anonymously. As soon as I stepped out of the airport late last night, I immediately felt the incredible vibrancy and energy of Delhi. People shouted, cars honked and a thousand smells […]

Posted On

07/2/17

Author

N India 6 Week Students

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-29 12:29:30
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    [post_content] => Namaste Family and Friends!

This is a quick update to let you know that North India 6 group flight has arrived in Delhi and they are now on their way to the hotel.  The group is awaiting for one more student who will arrive on the 30th morning at 5:45 am and he will join us tomorrow morning . Stay tuned to the Yak board for more updates as the group’s adventure continues.

Thank you
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SUMMER: North India 6-Week

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Arrival to New Delhi

Dragons Admin,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Namaste Family and Friends! This is a quick update to let you know that North India 6 group flight has arrived in Delhi and they are now on their way to the hotel.  The group is awaiting for one more student who will arrive on the 30th morning at 5:45 am and he will join us tomorrow morning . […]

Posted On

06/29/17

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-28 18:06:22
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    [post_content] => Our group has checked in, gone through security and is waiting to board. We'll post again once we've arrived in New Delhi. There we'll meet with our other instructors and the students not on the group flight.

 
    [post_title] => Dragons in Newark
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Dragons in Newark

Rebecca Winslow,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Our group has checked in, gone through security and is waiting to board. We’ll post again once we’ve arrived in New Delhi. There we’ll meet with our other instructors and the students not on the group flight.  

Posted On

06/28/17

Author

Rebecca Winslow

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-27 21:14:36
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    [post_content] => Namaste Everyone,

My name is Hemant Kumar and I will be joining you guys on your upcoming exciting and breathtaking journey to Himalayan region & north India.

I was born in a Hindu family and grew up on the sacred bank of the River Ganges (Ganga-ji) in Varanasi. I still remember when I was a kid I use to go with my parents to the river for a holy dip in the morning. Later the river became my swimming pool for the rest of my life. I developed a keen interest in Yoga at a very early age when I was 8 years old. I was introduced to yoga as a lifestyle and through initial training by my parents and also studied yoga from many Gurus (teachers) & traditions. At the age of 14, I moved to an orphanage called Bal Ashram (home for kids) where I met my spiritual teacher Baba Harihar ram ji. There I was initiated and learned and served at that orphanage for 5 years. In the meantime while I finished my high school and senior secondary (10+2) and moved to Bangalore, the southern part of India to take full time graduate and post-graduate courses in yoga. Having done my Bachelor’s and Master’s I moved back to Varanasi. I came in contact with Dragons and have been working with Dragons since 2011. I love working with students and sharing my experience. In my spare time I love practicing yoga, listening to music “not SINGING”, playing outdoor games and activities.

I feel so blessed to join Rebecca ji and Saurabh ji on this sacred trail and very excited to meet you all in person soon…

Namaste,

Hemant Kumar

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A Journey within…

Hemant Kumar,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Namaste Everyone, My name is Hemant Kumar and I will be joining you guys on your upcoming exciting and breathtaking journey to Himalayan region & north India. I was born in a Hindu family and grew up on the sacred bank of the River Ganges (Ganga-ji) in Varanasi. I still remember when I was a […]

Posted On

06/27/17

Author

Hemant Kumar

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-27 01:26:13
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    [post_content] => 

Hello! In preparation for the journey that we are soon to begin, I sought out a number of documentaries listed in the Course Preparation Manual. Of those that I have watched so far, The Sun Behind the Clouds, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, and Kundun were the most accessible and informative. I would highly recommend watching these documentaries in the last few days before our departure, if you have not already! These films provided a look at the lifestyles, the culture, and above all the history and current crisis of the Tibetan people. These documentaries offer valuable insight into the world that we will be stepping into, in a concise and engaging manner.

I would also like to share some of my thoughts and reactions to what I learned from these documentaries, below.

One of the original features that drew me to the North India program was the focus on the political exile of the Tibetan people by the Chinese government, and the similarity of their oppression to that of the people of Poland under the oppression of the Soviet Union. Having grown up listening to stories and studying the history of Poland's underground fight against the communist regime, I felt a sense of understanding towards the people of Tibet; I have acquired an idea of what it is like to have a foreign power come down and enforce its system on your culture, without provocation. Through this journey to North India, I hope to deeply connect with the people of Tibet, to come to know and appreciate how they have kept their culture alive while living in exile; not only to better understand my family history and the struggles of my relatives, but to develop the ability to decipher where occupation is occurring (and has occurred) around the world, under the title of "liberation" or other terms of delusion.

This historical/political factor that initially sparked my interest has since expanded into the socio-economic inquiry of the costs and benefits of modern industrialization. Through reading and watching documentaries (particularly the The Sun Behind the Clouds and Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh documentaries listed in the Course Preparation Manual), I have been educated on the drastic transformations that the Tibetan people experienced in the rapid transition from traditional, sustainable living to the fast-paced, consumerism-driven lives through Western influence.

I am curious to learn how life is viewed now, relative to how it was in the past, and how the Tibetan perceptions and values of culture have changed with the change in lifestyle. These questions are relatively new and will continue to develop as I have only recently learned of the effect that the push for Western-style "progress" had on the environment and culture of North India, specifically in Ladakh. In particular, I hope to touch deeply the traditional Ladakhi culture that appears to have such contradicting values from those of the West, while existing sustainably and with greater life satisfaction. Having been raised in the fast-paced lifestyle present within the United States, I am curious of the contrasting lifestyles and social structures present elsewhere in the world, particularly those that we will encounter on our journey through North India.

Thank you for your time!

All the best,

Adam Kostanecki

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Movies to Watch Before Wednesday

Adam Kostanecki,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Hello! In preparation for the journey that we are soon to begin, I sought out a number of documentaries listed in the Course Preparation Manual. Of those that I have watched so far, The Sun Behind the Clouds, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, and Kundun were the most accessible and informative. I would highly recommend […]

Posted On

06/27/17

Author

Adam Kostanecki

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-26 12:34:42
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    [post_content] => Dear Dragons Students & Parents,

Your journey is right around the corner and we can’t wait to meet you! Below is a reminder about your day-of travel details. Should you need to reach our staff during students’ travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: info@wheretherebedragons.com

Day of Departure:
  • Carry your passport with you.
  • Make sure you have the meet-up instructions sent to you by email with your passport so that the information is easily accessible.
  • Wear your Dragons t-shirt for easy identification!
Students should plan to meet their peers and instructors at the Newark International Airport United Airlines Ticketing Counter (Terminal C, Level 2) NO LATER THAN 5:00PM on Wednesday, June 28th. Your instructors and fellow students will be wearing Dragons t-shirts and awaiting your arrival.
NORTH INDIA 6 WEEK GROUP DEPARTING FLIGHT INFO:
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
 
United Airlines #082 
Depart: Newark (EWR) 9:50 pm
Arrive: Delhi, India 9:30 pm (+1 day, June 29th)
 Parents, thank you for the support you’ve given your child in making this opportunity available. Students, thank you for stepping out and joining us; we’re so excited to meet you in person!
Dragons Administration [post_title] => Final Departure Reminders!! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => final-departure-reminders-20 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-26 12:34:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-26 18:34:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 641 [name] => SUMMER: North India 6-Week [slug] => summer-2017-north-india-6-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 641 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 621 [count] => 39 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0.1 [cat_ID] => 641 [category_count] => 39 [category_description] => [cat_name] => SUMMER: North India 6-Week [category_nicename] => summer-2017-north-india-6-week [category_parent] => 621 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2017/summer-2017-north-india-6-week/ ) ) [category_links] => SUMMER: North India 6-Week )

SUMMER: North India 6-Week

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Final Departure Reminders!!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Dear Dragons Students & Parents, Your journey is right around the corner and we can’t wait to meet you! Below is a reminder about your day-of travel details. Should you need to reach our staff during students’ travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: info@wheretherebedragons.com […]

Posted On

06/26/17

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-21 08:11:53
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    [post_content] => Hey guys!

My name's Audrey Aldisert. I just barely survived junior year so it's officially #seniorszn. I'm from Los Angeles, meaning I use the words "bro" and "dude" a lot, get cold anywhere that's under 70 degrees, and own three fidget spinners.

Typical things about me - varsity cross country and track, violist, senior class officer, and above all a dedicated student. These commitments essentially consume my life so I have time for little else.

I've travelled to eighteen countries, all unique and all beautiful in their own way. My dad is this insane traveller and luckily he's passed his interest in world cultures on to me. The place that was the most influential was Bhutan. Ever since I visited I knew that I not only wanted to go back but potentially live there. And not to be "that guy" that's like "I found myself when traveling" but honestly that's what happened and I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything. I've been dying to go to North India for a while now, especially because I hear it has an atmosphere that generally parallels that of Bhutan's, so I knew that it was the place to be. And who better to explore it with than you wonderful people! Can't wait for next week:)

Best, Audrey

(I'm the one on the left in the first picture)
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View post

#intro

Audrey Aldisert,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

Hey guys! My name’s Audrey Aldisert. I just barely survived junior year so it’s officially #seniorszn. I’m from Los Angeles, meaning I use the words “bro” and “dude” a lot, get cold anywhere that’s under 70 degrees, and own three fidget spinners. Typical things about me – varsity cross country and track, violist, senior class officer, and above […]

Posted On

06/21/17

Author

Audrey Aldisert

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    [post_date] => 2017-06-18 13:02:37
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Hello and Czejść!

My name is Adam Kostanecki, and I am thrilled to be a member of this journey to North India with all of you! Growing up in various states, I was raised in the Polish culture by my immigrant parents. I was raised speaking Polish at home, celebrating Polish traditions, and living according to Polish customs. It is a culture that I hold close to, and a heritage that I am proud of.

In my personal time, I enjoy being active outdoors (I am an avid snowboarder), reading, and cultivating plants. I am a bit of a botanist, with a personal collection of 150 seed-grown cacti. The diversity in the adaptive features of this plant family fascinates me and drives my passion to learn more. I have recently completed my freshman year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, with the goal of majoring in Plant Biology. I work at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory, where I care for and learn about the exotic plants we house there. I have a deep love for the work that I do, being surrounded by plants that I not only find intriguing, but that hold great potential for both research and conservation. If along this journey any of you happen to come upon a plant that fascinates you, I will be happy to share in that enjoyment with you!

fullsizeoutput_2dcf.jpeg

The characteristics that I value most in life are positivity, respect, and honesty. Although our travels are sure to bring challenges our way, I will strive to bring forth a positive mindset throughout our experiences. I enjoy practicing meditation, and working towards staying in the present moment (although during finals week I wished I was anywhere but the present). With less than two weeks left, I am very excited for what this program has in store for all of us. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you all as we set off on this incredible journey together!

All the best,

 

- Adam Kostanecki

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What’s a Polish snowboarding botanist doing in North India…?

Adam Kostanecki,SUMMER: North India 6-Week

Description

   Hello and Czejść! My name is Adam Kostanecki, and I am thrilled to be a member of this journey to North India with all of you! Growing up in various states, I was raised in the Polish culture by my immigrant parents. I was raised speaking Polish at home, celebrating Polish traditions, and living […]

Posted On

06/18/17

Author

Adam Kostanecki

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