Step into the scintillating environment of profound positivity, where the path to attain inner peace is shown by training the mind away from angry, selfish and hateful thoughts. The event is graced by His Holiness Dalai Lama where he blesses all the ten thousands of devotees with his teachings and wisdom.

The main highlight of the event is the creation of a spectacularly beautiful sand mandala at the beginning of the festival which is later undone signifying the transient nature of everything in the world. Thus, the literal meaning of Kalachakra – Wheel of Time –  is symbolised.

Since the whole festival is dedicated to world peace, it is free for all. One simply has to register beforehand or at Bodhgaya itself. The 34th Kalachakra festival is being held from 3rd to 14th Jan 2017 at the Kalachakra Maidan near Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, in the state of Bihar.

The Attainment of Peace:

An ancient ritual of Kalachakra initiation is performed for a large audience at the festival by His Holiness Dalai Lama. This initiation is a complex process for attaining enlightenment. The path to enlightenment is believed to be through inner peace, which Buddhism believes will help bring World Peace.

His Holiness Dalai Lama:

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His Holiness the Dalai Lamas have always had a specific interest in Kalachakra practice. His Holiness the current (14th) Dalai Lama will be initiating ten thousands of devotees in Kalachakra practice at the festival. He will give out his teachings primarily in Tibetan, though, during the festival, translation in English and a few other languages is provided via FM radio.

The Sand Mandala:

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The monks patiently create an intricate sand mandala using 14 colours during the course of 8 days. After the creation is complete, people are allowed to visit this star highlight. When the festival ends, all of the beautiful mandala is undone. Creation and destruction of the Sand Mandala signify the impermanence of everything around us. The end of the ceremony is marked by the release of the positive energy of the mandala into the world through a ritual.

Travel Tips:

  1. One needs to obtain entry permit by presenting their passport and two passport-sized photos. It is best to avoid the rush at the venue and register online through the following link:
    https://www.kalachakra2017.co.in
  2. If you want to listen to the translation, ensure that you bring your own FM radios. Also, mobile phones are not allowed inside the teaching area.
  3. From Gaya Airport to Bodh Gaya: 13.8 km (25min) via NH 83.
    From Gaya Railway Station: 17km
    By Road From: Gaya(17km), Nalanda(101km), Rajgir(78km), Patna(135km), Varanasi(252km) and Kolkatta(495km).
  4. During the event, the town is flooded with devotees from all around the world, thus, it is advisable to book a stay in advance to avoid hassles.
  5. Since the event is taking place in the winter months of January, one needs to mind the fog which is very likely to affect the operation of flights and trains. So it is better to plan to arrive few days beforehand in Bodhgaya.

Schedule:

January 3-4: The first two days of this 13-day event starts with the preparation and consecrating the venue which includes chanting of prayers, creation of the sand mandala and other rituals. These rituals are conducted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with the monks of Namgyal Monastery, the home of Dalai Lama.

January 5-8: The next four days are dedicated to preliminary teachings by His Holiness Dalai Lama on “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life – Shantideva” and “The Middling Stages of Meditation – Kamalashila”.

January 9: The Kalchakara ritual and offering dance is performed on this day by the monks of Namgyal Monastery.

January 10-13: His Holiness will confer the Kalachakra Initiation.

January 14: A long life empowerment for the public and long life ceremony for His Holiness is performed.

Where to Stay:

Rightstay has curated a list of properties made available especially for Kalachakra Festival. Check here.

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Maharaja Camps (Top left), Shantidevi Ashram’s Guesthouse (Top right), Hotel Orchid Annexe (Bottom left), Karma Guesthouse (Bottom right)

 

So all of you folks who are glued to their screens but can’t seem to find that restful calmness inside, pack your bags and head to this inspiring festival. Embrace the stir that rises in you while gliding through this celebration. For it will show you the path leading to what your soul has been yearning for – peace.

– Tanishka Goyal and Shrennya Kalyani