Since there will be a lot of complicated onground arrangement for the Eco Pad Yatra, interested pilgrims are advised to make your own traveling arrangement going to the point(s) of assembly and departing from the finishing point(s), depending on the options.
- The Babatpur Airport is about 25km from the city or half-hour away. Domestic flights connect Varanasi to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Khajuraho.
- Trains are the easiest way to reach Varanasi, with multiple daily services to cities including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai and Kolkata.
- There are buses run by state government from Lucknow (8hrs), Gorakphur (8hrs) Kanpur (9hrs) and Allahabad (3hrs)
- The nearest airport is at Gaya (7km) and Patna (135km). Domestic flights connect Patna to Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow and various other cities. There are also international flights going directly into Gaya, such as Thai Airways.
- The nearest railway station is Gaya (17km).
- Bodh Gaya is well connected by road to Gaya (17km), Nalanda (101km), Rajgir (78km), Patna (135km), Varanasi (252km), Kolkata (495km).
- Regular direct bus services are available from Gaya, Patna, Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi.
- The nearest airport is at Patna (89km). Domestic flights connect Patna to Calcutta, Ranchi, Bombay, Delhi and Lucknow.
- The nearest important train station is Bihar Sharif (about 15km) which is connected to Patna and several other important towns and cities of eastern India. Nalanda itself is a station.
- Bus facilities are available from Patna, Gaya, Bihar Sharif and Rajgir.
- The nearest airport is at Gorakhpur (55km). Daily domestic flights connect Gorakhpur to Delhi.
- The nearest train stations are Gorakhpur Railway Station (51km) and Deoria (35km).
- It is well connected with motorable roads and have regular bus service.
- The closest airport is at Bhairahawa (also known as Sidhhartha Nagar) (22km), where there are flights to and from Kathmandu, Nepal. Other airports serving more destinations include Gorakhpur and Faizabad in India.
- The closest train station is at Nautanwa, India on the Indian Railway network, but passenger trains are infrequent on this line. The alternative of taxi travel from the border crossing at Sunauli to Gorakhpur takes about two hours. From Sonauli, Siddharthanagar is only 3.5km. Total travel time is 12-18 hours from Dehli and 10-12 hours from Kolkata. The Mahaparinirvan Express tourist train stops in Gorakhpur where tourists continue to Lumbini by road.
- Buses ply the route between Sonauli (from stop across from Hotel Yeti) and Lumbini. At Lumbini alight at the main gate. Alternatively, from the Nepal side of the border one can take a shared jeep to Bhairahawa (4 kilometers) followed by a bus to Lumbini. Buses also run from Kathmandu, Pokhara, Gorakhpur and Varanasi to Sonauli.
This is an “Eco-Pad Yatra”. A “SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS” campaign will be enforced throughout the entire journey and “NON-BIODEGRADABLE WASTE MATERIALS” will be picked up along the way.
“Will Power” will be the most required qualification. You should be physically fit and sound with enthusiasm and happiness to be with His Holiness, the trip will carry spiritually and physically blessings for many of us or for that matter most of us. This will be a test of not only spiritual challenge but also physical endurance.
On this trip we will have presence of His Holiness and his spiritual entourage, leading us in the walk along the valleys, fields and over the different lakes and heritages. The soothing winter weather will be doubly blessed and we, the fortunate pilgrims, during these auspicious times will experience life-changing impact on all of us.
Beyond that this trip requires good fitness, however you need not be a superman, nor a super hiker. As long as we are staying healthy, getting rest on our rest days and eating well, and most importantly “DRINKING TONS OF WATER”, everyone should have no problem walking every day and clearing every pass in good style. At the instructions from His Holiness we have constructed the itinerary to ensure that everyone will be able to get the rest that will be much needed.
Compared to the two previous Pad Yatras that covered high altitude (above 12,000ft or 5,000m) in the Himalayas, this Eco Pad Yatra may be much easier in terms of physical endurance. However, for those who have followed His Holiness on various journeys, you should expect some challenges to your physical and mental state.
During the month of November, day temperature is expected to be pleasant, around 24°C. And nights are chilly with temperature getting as low as 2 to 4°C
Permits & Regulations
No special permit is needed, except for a valid tourist visa issued by government of India and/or Nepal.
Visit this website for Indian visa application:
Visit this website for Nepali visa application:
IMPORTANT NOTE: There will be no donkey/yak to carry your backpacks, please make sure that you are able to carry your belongings. It will be possible to buy bottled water but we would not recommend you to use (remember that this is an Eco Pad Yatra). We also regret to inform that we will not be able to give enough boiled water for such huge group, therefore you are requested to bring enough Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets. Here is short check list for your consideration:
- FM Radio for live translation
- Mosquitoes/insects repellent
- Waterproof layers (especially a top), in case of a change in weather conditions
- Mattress and sleeping bag
- Tent, please bring your own, otherwise, like the monastics, you can rest in the open space
- Walking shoes & cotton socks which have nice padding will help to prevent blisters
- Seat mattress
- Fork, spoon, food container and mug
- Head Lamp
- Light wind layers
- Pairs of light cotton pants (JEANS IS NO NO…. it is heavy and if you get wet, it can get really hard to dry)
- Warm hats, sunscreen, sunblock and lip balm
- 1-2 Liters of water
- Snacks, Clif Bars, etc
- Enough powdered drink mix for the day, in case you are not used to the food
- Relevant prayer texts (to be informed as the date of Pad Yatra draws near)
- It is possible to buy boiled and filtered water to refill your own reusable bottle
Health & Inoculations
Officially you do not need any inoculations before entering India unless you have just come from Africa or South America where Yellow Fever is endemic. However there are a few vaccinations you should consider before going. Make sure that your Polio and Diphtheria-Tetanus are up to date: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid.
Check with a local travel medicine clinic for latest information and vaccination schedule. Make sure to get these well in advance of the trip as sometimes they require a course over a few weeks. For more information check out these websites:
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/
- Travel Health Online: www.tripprep.com
- MD Travel Health: www.mdtravelhealth.com
We will have medical kits that contain items for dealing with blisters, cuts and scrapes as well as more serious trauma and drugs for the most common ailments such as headaches, diarrhea, intestinal infections, altitude illness and other assorted infections. As we are huge group size, it would be best that each pilgrim bring his/her set of little medical kits especially for blister care. You will need to bring your own personal medications as well as any items you use specially or regularly.
Consider getting combined Travel and Health insurance. Make sure that you are covered for emergency helicopter evacuations. While we will make every effort to run the trip as planned, Travel Insurance will cover you in the event of a cancelled trip.
On this pilgrimage, each team will appoint their own cook and leader. Every team will cook their own food. All meals are vegetarian, meat is prohibited.