Days: 9 / Difficulty: 2 of 5 (Moderate)
Trekking and Meditation to Halesi Mahadev (Maratika Cave). Lodge, 9 Days.
Maratika Cave (lit. ‘The Cave of Bringing Death to an End’) and Maratika Monastery are located in the Khotang District of East-Nepal, approximately 185 km south west of Mount Everest, at the hilly region between the holy rivers Dudh Koshi to the right and Sun Koshi to the left. In the local dialect it is also known as ‘Haleshi’. It is a place full of natural beauty, cultural inheritance and is popular among the Hindus, for whom it is associated with Lord Shiva, as well as Buddhists all over the world.
The Legend goes, that Lord Vishnu was the first ever devotee to pay homage to the Haleshi Mahadeva in the Satya Yuga, the ‘Golden Age’. Afterwards, the last 6000 years until now, many kings, sages, devotees, philosophers, thinkers, hermits, abbots and ascetics have been paying homage to this sacred place. It is taken as a place for fulfilling wishes and giving boons to the real devotees, that their wishes will been fulfilled.
For Buddhists his power-place is generally associated with Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), where he and his consort Mandarava were blessed with immortal life by Buddha Amitayus. The caves of Maratika are mentioned in tibetan literature up from the 12th century. The ‘Sanglingma’, a Kathang (biography) of Padmasambhava discovered by Nyang Ral Nyima Öser, describes the original event, which made the Maratika caves a sacred place for Buddhists:
At the request of the Bodhisattva Avaloketesvara, the Buddha Amitayus once taught eighteen tantras of long life. The Dakini Sangwa Yeshe recorded them and hid the teachings afterwards in the Maratika-Cave. While Guru Padmasambhava was in the kingdom of Sahor, he met king Arshadhara’s daughter, a sixteen-year-old maiden called ‘Mandarava-Flower’, who endowed the qualifying marks of a tantric adept. The Guru magnetized her and took her along as his spiritual consort and support in practice. Later on, the Master and his consort went to Maratika, disclosed the mandalas of Buddha Amitayus and practiced the earlier by Sangwa Yeshe hidded long-life-tantras. After three months they had a vision of Amitayus, who appeared in the sky and placed the nectar-filled vase of immortal life upon their heads. So he blessed Master Padma to be the daka Hayagriva and Mandarava to be his consort, the dakini Vajra Varahi. Thus they attained the vidyadhara level of longevity beyond birth and death. While the Guru later went to Tibet to establish Buddhism there, Mandarava stayed in India, where she had a lot of deciples.
Other later written sources narrate this episode in the life of the great saint, for example the ‘Padma Thangyig Sheldrangma’ (14th century) a Terma (treasure-text) of Orgyen Lingpa. Also, the Samten Lingpa alias Tagsham Nuden Dorje, a Tertön (revealer of hidden treasures) from the second half of the 17th century, consecrates six folios to this episode in his biography of Padmasambhava and his consort.
In ‘Guide to the sacred places of Nepal’ also Khamtrul Choki Nyima (1730-1780) had written about Maratika-Cave. Brief introductions by H.H. Dalai Lama, Trulshik Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Lama Ngawang Chophel Gyatso and Lopon Karma Wangchuk, can also be found in ‘The Guide to Maratika’.
We have choosen this short trek for ‘Trekking and Meditation’, because Maratika is believed to be one of the most holiest places in Nepal and by that reason very auspicious for meditation, specially for Buddhists, who want to make a short pilgrimage in combination with more intense meditation practice, which we can modify at your wish.
If you need Meditation instruction you can get this at day 2 a short introduction to Shamata Practice and then you meditate on your own on the trek.
Itinerary in detail
Day 1:Arrival in Kathmandu
Arrival in Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and you will be met at the airport by our representative who will be waiting with a Swiss Family Treks sign outside the terminal and transfer to Hotel by private car. Welcome drink and after you settle into the hotel there will be a group briefing with your tour leader. He will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 2: Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Kathmandu Valley by private van.
After brekafast in the hotel, Drive to Swayambhunath Stupa which is very close form the centre of Kathmandu. It takes some minutes to be there. This Temple is also known as Monkey Temple which is considered to be self made Stupa. Then visit to Boudhanath Stupa: the biggest stupa in Nepal and one of the bigger stupa in the world. You can basically experience Tibetan Buddhism, culture and way of life in Boudhanath Area. Boudhanath area is the authentic place to buy Tibetan stuffs. Again you will be visit Pashupatinath Temple and it is one of the most sacred temples in the entire Hindu world. It is a sacred place where Hindus come to die and to be cremated. The temple of Pashupatinath is a large double roofed, gilt pagoda, decorated with brass, the gateway is plated with silver. There are images of Shiva along with other statues, shrines and temples dedicated to other deities in the complex. A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eight-century statue of Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. There are rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over south Asia offering ceremonies to worship Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lamidanda and trek to Halesi Mahadev,Overnight in Lodge.
Day 4: Exploring the Halesi Mahadev Temple and Caves,Overnight in Lodge.
Day 5: Exploring the Monasteries and surrounding hills,Overnight in Lodge.
Day 6: Trek from Halesi Mahadev to Lamidanda,Overnight in Lodge.
Day 7: Fly from Lamidanda to Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel,Overnight in Hotel.
Day 8:Full Day Guided Sightseeing Tour in Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar square by private van
After breakfast, we are going to visit two historical monuments which represent early and late medieval history, architecture, culture and religion. Bhaktapur Durbar square is an ancient newari city, 13 kilometers far from Kathmandu stores numbers of Hindu temples, 55 windowed medieval durbar and offers you various examples of metal smith and wooden craft along with the opportunity of exploring traditional pottery work to the another corner. Patan durbar square is equally important which represents late medieval history, Culture and architecture. Stay overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 9: Final Departure from Kathmandu
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Our Trek Package Cost includes;
* Airport/Hotel/Airport pick up and transfer by private car/van.
* 4 nights accommodation in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at 3*** hotel in Kathmandu.
* Kathmandu City Tour as per above mentioned itinerary and entry fees.
* Round Trip domestic flight tickets and airport tax.
* Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with Tea & coffee and hot water during the Lodge trek.
* Lodge to lodge accommodation during the trek.
* 1 experienced helpful and friendly guide, porters (1 porter for 2 peoples), their food & accommodation, salary, equipments & insurance.
* All transportation by private vehicle.
* All necessary permits.
* First Aid medical kit box.
* Office Service charge.
* All Government Tax.
Our Trek Package Cost doesn't include;
* Any meals in Kathmandu other than breakfast.
* Travel insurance (if you want us to arrange your travel insurance, we would greatly be happy to assist).
* International air fare to and from Nepal.
* Nepal Tourist Visa fee.
* Items and expenses of personal nature.
* Any kind of alcoholic drinks, cold drinks, laundry, phone call, internet.
* Personal Trekking Equipments like sleeping bags, jackets (can all be hired in KTM)
* Emergency Evacuation (Helicopter Rescue).
* Any costs which arise due to a change of the itinerary, because of landslides, domestic flight delays, political disturbance, and strikes etc.
* Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost included.
* Horse renting and additional porters during the trek.
* Tips for guide, porters, driver...
Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory.
Customize Your Trek: This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition GmbH. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.