Meditative Pilgrimage

Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity located in the holy land of Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. We offer courses and retreats on Tibetan Buddhist meditation and philosophy in English, and pilgrimages steeped in the history and culture of Buddhism. Our courses are taught by experienced Western and Tibetan teachers and emphasize the practical application of the Buddha’s teachings to increase wisdom, compassion, peace, and happiness in one’s daily life.

Additionally, our social service projects – school, clinic, and welfare – bring immediate benefit to our rural community.

Meditative Pilgrimage

Through the Meditative pilgrimage, the participants will visit various local holy Buddhist sights including the Mahabodhi Tree & Stupa, Vulture’s Peak, Nalanda, Mahakala Cave, Sujata, and Gurupada Cave. At each site the group will be given important information about the site and led into different meditations and practices relevant to the place.

Holy sites to be visited

  • Mahabodhi Tree & Stupa: where the Buddha manifested enlightenment.
  • Vulture’s Peak: where Buddha taught the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras turning the 2nd wheel of Dharma.
  • Nalanda: one of the earliest universities in the world, founded in the 5th century, where renowned Buddhist scholars such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Shantideva studied.
  • Mahakala Cave: said to be a place where Lord Buddha did ascetic practices.
  • Sujata: where Lord Buddha also did ascetic practices & was offered food before attaining enlightenment.
  • Gurupada Cave: renowned as the site of Asanga’s 12-year retreat which led to his vision of Maitreya Buddha.

Making the most of our journey

At each site, the group will be given important information about the site and led to different meditations and practices relevant to the place. During the first day of the course, there will be a Dharma talk: Being a pilgrim versus being a tourist.

Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche:

Pilgrimage needs faith. More faith, more happiness. Otherwise, we are just like tourists looking at ruins. Pilgrimage is not just going to holy places and taking pictures. We go to holy places for blessing, so it’s good to do practices at the different holy places.

Bodhgaya is not only the place where the Buddha showed the holy deed of achieving enlightenment under the bodhi tree but also where all the great pandits such as Nagarjuna and Asanga practiced and made so many prayers. Also, many great enlightened beings and yogis from Tibet, China, Nepal, and other countries came here and made many prayers to benefit us sentient beings so there would be unbelievable benefits for us to purify negative karma and accumulate merit as quickly as possible.


Day 1Introduction
4:00 pmWelcome from Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)
6:00 pmDinner at Root Institute (please book at reception)
7:00 pmPilgrimage to Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya
Day 2Vultures Peak & Nalanda
6:00 amPilgrimage to Vultures Peak (with take-away breakfast)
12:00 pmLunch at Rajgir
1:30 pmPilgrimage to Nalanda University
6:00 pmDinner at Root Institute (please book at reception)
Day 3Mahakala Cave & Sujata
7:30 amBreakfast at Root Institute (please book at reception)
8:30 amPilgrimage to Mahakala Cave & Sujata
12:00 pmLunch at Root Institute (please book at reception)
Day 4Gurupada Cave
6:00 amPilgrimage to Gurupada (with take-away breakfast)
2:00 pmLunch at Root Institute (please book at reception)


Please note: This schedule is subject to change.

6-9 December 2019

17-20 December 2019

10-13 January 2020

This course is offered via a suggested donation. Please note that we will not turn away anybody for lack of funds. Do let us know how we can make your visit to Root Institute possible.

This course is suitable for beginners and anyone open to learning more about the practical application of Buddha’s teachings to increase wisdom, compassion, peace and happiness in one’s daily life.

This course is offered offline / in person at the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture in the holy land of Bodhgaya.

Sitting on over two acres, Root Institute offers a tranquil and spiritual environment for individuals or groups wishing to attend one of our courses, undertake meditation retreat, or simply wanting a peaceful place to stay during a visit to Bodhgaya.

Flights to and from Gaya Airport are available between September and June. Domestic flights are from Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata, and international from Bangkok, Colombo and Yangon. We are 10 km or 20 minutes from Gaya Airport.

Gaya Railway Station is 16 km or 40 minutes away. Gaya is on the main train line with Delhi, Kolkata, and Varanasi. By train, Gaya is ∼4–5 hours from Varanasi, ∼12–15 hours from Delhi, and ∼5–6 hours from Kolkata. Direct trains to Gaya are also available from many other cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Dehradun, and Haridwar (for travel to/from Rishikesh).


Annie McGhee

Annie is a long-term Tibetan Buddhist student and yoga teacher. Her classes are well known for their warm-hearted teaching style, influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, to help develop an open-hearted approach to life.

She has been practicing yoga for more than five decades and teaching yoga for over 36 years. Annie has led yoga and meditation retreats, workshops and classes in Australia, Indonesia, and India.

Her passion is research on and pilgrimages to the holy Buddhist sites of India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.