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Lapchi Mountain & Milarepa Caves

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Trip Overview

Together with Mt Kailash and Tsari, Lapchi is one of the three holy mountain ranges that are believed to be the holiest among mountains, considered the abode of Chakrasamvara, the powerful meditation deity of the highest form Vanjraya tantras. Together, these are so-called “Three Holy Places of Tibet”, associated with the body, speech, and mind aspects of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi.

Lapchi Snow Mountain is situated in the eastern part of Nepal on the border with Tibet, at a height of about 4850 meters in the vicinity of Gauri Shankar Conservation Area. The region was introduced to Pilgrims as a special site as early as the 8th century but was brought to light after visit of Milarepa (1040-1123), but before that the Mahasiddha Saraha and Padmasambhava meditated in the caves of Lapchi. Miarepa left his mark in many places, such as footprints and sacred springs. In the centuries that followed many outstanding meditation masters from the Drikung lineage went to Lapchi to advance their practice.

There are twelve caves in Lapchi in eight of which Milarepa had meditated for considerable lengths of time, the most famous one being bdud ‘dul phug mo che, the “Cave of the Subjugation of Mara”. It is hhere that Milarepa survived for six month on only one measure of tsampa, after it had snowed continuously for 18 days and nights. He mastered the practice of Tummo (gtum mo, inner heat) there and displayed various miracles like transforming his body into fire and water etc. A small monastery, Chöra Gephel Ling (chos ra dge ‘phel gling), founded in the 1830s by Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol, is situated just below this cave, on a small level plain called the chos ‘byung ma thang. The actual mountain range of Lapchi (la phyi) itself is considered to be the mandala of Chakrasamvara with a retinue of 62 deities. It is surrounded by three prominent mountains, the dkar po ‘bum ye, nag po ‘bum ye and gser po ‘bum ye. These mountains are considered to be the palaces ofAvalokiteshvara, Vajrapani and Manjushri respectively. The entire place is considered to be the essential mandala ofVajrayogini. Viewed from the highest cave, the ze phug, one can easily see the triangular shape of the area, with a triangle of sky above, a triangle of earth below and a triangle of water in between (see picture). Currently, there are retreat centers and monasteries under the supervision of Drikung Kagyu school.

Many practitioners who fervently emulated Jetsun Milarepa made pilgrimages from Central, East, and West Tibet to Nepal and India and also meditated in solitary retreats in Lapchi such as Nyo Lhanangpa (1164-1224) and Tsang Nyon Heruka (1452-1507). Gyalwa Gotsangpa (1189-1258). Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol (1781-1851), another of Tibet’s greatest Yogis also visited the site and wrote in praise of the site.

The trip thus will explore the sites above: the caves, hermitages, and monasteries as well as villages, nomadic camps to explore the ancient wisdom and will have audience and interaction with the monks and Lamas to experience the tradition from the practitioners. We will also have mindfulness sessions.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Day 2: Visiting scared sites and mindfulness session and introductory discussions in Kathmandu.

Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Jagat

Day 4: Trek from Jagat to Lapchi area

Days 5-9: Visit Lapchi, Lapchi monastery, surrounding sites and meditation session and interactions with the resident Lamas, monks

Days 10-13: Trek back to Jagat and drive to Kathmandu

Day 14: Departure

Detailed Itinerary

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