23 January – 1 February 2020

A once-in-a-lifetime immersion in one of the world’s most spiritual places. Many of these sacred spots are so alive with divine presence that you’ll continue to draw blessings from them for the rest of your life.

“Wandering day after day over the Holy Land, I was more than ever convinced of the value of pilgrimage. The spirit of Christ is all-pervasive; I walked reverently by his side at Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary, the holy Mount of Olives, and by the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.”  — Paramhansa Yogananda.

Our pilgrimage will visit all these places and more—retracing the footsteps of Christ, meditating, and feeling his blessings, as powerful now as when he walked here. Twenty centuries of devotees and pilgrims have only intensified the spiritual vibrations. Our guru Yoganandaji came to unite East and West, and deeply tuning into the vibration of Jesus helps us be more in tune with our whole spiritual path and Sri Yogananda’s mission.


Nayaswami Asha, one of Ananda Sangha’s leading teachers and writers, Spiritual Director of Ananda Palo Alto in California. She has made a lifelong study of the teachings of Jesus, and how they relate to our path of Self-realization. Tyagis Shurjo & Narayani, Spiritual Directors of Ananda Mumbai; Tyagis Keshava & Daya, Spiritual Directors of Ananda Delhi. They will be assisted by a very knowledgeable Israeli guide.

We’ll divide our eight days between Jerusalem—with some of the most powerful places associated with Christ’s life and death—and other locations in Israel. Included are two days and nights on the Sea of Galilee, where Christ gathered his disciples and where the heart of his spiritual mission took place.



Arrive at Tel Aviv airport and drive one hour to King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem, followed by dinner & evening satsang at hotel.


On four different days we have the opportunity to meditate early morning at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a pleasant walk from our hotel. The church was built over three of the most spiritually powerful sites in Israel: where Jesus was crucified; where his body was laid when it was taken down from the cross; and the small cave (sepulchre) where it was placed. The sepulchre is also the place from which, 3 days later, he resurrected. Meditating close to the sepulchre, and taking darshan there, are deeply moving, and the spiritual highlight for many pilgrims. One can also meditate deeply at the base of the cross where Jesus was crucified, and in a quiet lower chapel where it is said the cross itself was found. Many miracles took place on this spot over the centuries.

After breakfast, we’ll go to Mount Scopus, with its panoramic view of New and Old Jerusalem. Then we’ll walk in the footsteps of Christ on the Mount of Olives, and meditate in a cave where he is said to have often gathered with his disciples. The Chapel of the Ascension is said to be the site of his final ascent to heaven, after his death and resurrection.

We’ll meditate in the Garden of Gethsemane church, where Jesus went with his disciples to pray the night before he was put to death. Here also is the grotto where they often camped at night. The cave has been a prayer chapel since the 4th century.

We’ll then return to our hotel for dinner. All our dinners are pre-arranged buffets at our hotel.


After breakfast, a short drive from Jerusalem takes us to the town of Bethlehem, perched on a hill at the edge of the Judaean desert. It’s one of our deepest meditation destinations. Here Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave used for animals. Here the local shepherds came to worship the baby. And here the Three Wise Men from the east came to pay homage and present their gifts. (Yoganandaji stated that the Wise Men were former incarnations of Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar.)

Within the huge Basilica of the Nativity, we’ll be able to meditate right in front of the birthplace. Caves where shepherds “kept watch over their flock” still abound in the area. Here, an angel announced to them the birth of Jesus. We’ll gather in one of the caves with wonderful vibrations.


From our hotel, we can walk to meditate in the beautiful and powerful Abbey of the Dormition, dominating Mount Zion, the highest point in Jerusalem. It marks the site where Mary, the mother of Jesus, passed away. The tradition is that Mary was the center of the lives of the disciples, and they were all drawn to be with her at the moment she left the body.

Nearby is the room where it is said Jesus shared his last supper with his apostles the night before he died. Just outside the room we get a marvelous view of the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock―two of the most holy sites to Jews and Muslims. The great Jewish temple stood on this rock in ancient times, where Jews believe that creation started, and the prophet Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son. They consider it to be where God’s divine presence is most manifested. It’s also the third holiest spot for Muslims, who also associate it with creation, and believe that Mohammed ascended to heaven here. For centuries, Jerusalem was in turns a Jewish city, a Christian city, and a Muslim city. Today it is open to those of all traditions.

Another nearby stop is the tomb of King David, where we hope to meditate. David is a young shepherd who kills the giant, Goliath, and later becomes king of ancient Israel.


Early morning we’ll go by bus to Lion’s Gate in Old Jerusalem, then walk in devotional procession the “Stations of the Cross,” or “Via Dolorosa,” said to be the route that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, to the place where he was crucified. Pilgrims have followed this same path for 1700 years.  We’ll chant and pray at each of the stopping places along the route. This is a wonderful way to feel the experience of Christ. Our walk culminates movingly at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

After breakfast we’ll visit the picturesque village of Ein Karem, where John the Baptist, the guru of Jesus, was born and raised. A historic church marks the spot. His birthplace is a grotto under the church where we can meditate and enjoy the vibrations.

Outside the village, below the Franciscan Hermitage of St. John, we plan to meditate in the quiet cave where John the Baptist lived.


Tranquil Tabgha, on the north-west shore, is where Jesus fed a crowd of 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. It is also where he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. Two simple churches recall these events. We’ll gather on the rocks by the water to chant and meditate. Today we drive north to spend three days exploring the Sea of Galilee area. Two nights will be spent at Golan Hotel, overlooking the water. A large, picturesque lake set among hills, the Sea of Galilee lies some 210 meters below sea level. It is here that Jesus gathered his first disciples and trained them. And here he spent the most time sharing his teachings, celebrating the love of God with his devotees. On the lakeshore it is easy to feel what it must have been like to be there with Jesus.

Overlooking the lake, the Mount of Beatitudes is believed to be the setting for Jesus’ most famous discourse, the Sermon on the Mount. We plan to sing in the church here, with its wonderful acoustics, and, weather permitting, spend time on the extensive grounds. It is one of the most beautifully serene places in the Holy Land.


Mount Tabor has throughout history been a sacred mountain, where humanity has sought contact with the divine. We’ll reach the top of the mountain by bus and shuttle van, and spend some time enjoying this dramatic location, said to have been the scene of Christ’s Transfiguration, where he revealed his full divinity and cosmic form to three disciples. It’s very powerful. We’ll meditate, sing, and chant on this holy spot.

In the afternoon we’ll take a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus walked on the water; we’ll ride in a boat. Either way, being on the water is sacred. If the weather is cooperative, we’ll also meditate in the boat.


We’ll visit the sacred Jordan River at the spot where Christ received a deep blessing from God after being baptized in the river by his guru, John.

Then we’ll visit the Mount of Temptation, where Christ spent a 40-day fast and was tempted by the devil. The mountain has a gravity-defying monastery clinging to its sheer face. Monks and hermits have lived there since the early centuries of Christianity, turning natural caves into cells and chapels. The summit of the mount offers a panoramic view of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. We’ll climb the mountain quickly and smoothly by cable car, then take several flights of steps to reach the monastery and wonderful meditation caves.

We’ll return to Jerusalem for our final two nights, arriving in time for dinner.


In the morning we’ll first meditate in the Church of St. Anne, built in the twelfth century. The church preserves the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the grotto below the main church. St. Anne’s has remarkable acoustics and we’ll sing there. Then we can meditatively walk the Stations of the Cross once more, ending our walk at the powerful Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Our last afternoon will be free time in Old Jerusalem, and in the evening, we’ll have a closing satsang.


Unlike a typical rushed tour, the pace of this pilgrimage will be relaxed. You’ll have time not only to learn about the holy shrines, but also to meditate and tune in to the joy-filled vibrations of Jesus and his disciples. And when you don’t feel to meditate, you can enjoy the upliftment of a stroll through the grounds of these shrines, and have free time to explore on your own. Whether meditating, strolling, or simply soaking it all in, your spiritual efforts will get a boost from your like-minded fellow pilgrims.

At our pilgrimage destinations we’ll use the ‘Whisper’ wireless headset system. Pilgrimage leaders can share inspiration with each pilgrim via individual headsets, even in very quiet public places, like churches.


We’ll stay in very comfortable 4-star hotels: King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem, a short walk to Old Jerusalem; and Golan Hotel in Tiberias with a view of the Sea of Galilee. Abundant buffet breakfasts and dinners (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) are provided each day at the hotels. Lunches, if desired, are at your own expense. Transport is by climate-controlled bus, and by walking.


One needs to be in good physical shape to take this trip. Our destinations are historic shrines. Most have many steps, rough cobblestone paths, and no assistance for those with difficulty walking or with steps.

Shared room: Rs. 1,35,000 per person, plus flight to Israel Single room: Rs. 1,85,000 per person, plus flight to Israel

Included in tour cost:

Hotel accommodations, breakfast and dinner, Group bus travel within Israel, Airport transfers, arriving 23 Jan and departing 1 Feb, for those on flights listed below. English-speaking guide, Entrance fees, All necessary tips.

Not included in tour cost:

International airfare to and from Israel, Airport transfers at times other than those listed below, Lunches (It’s  easy to buy a lunch of your choosing), Personal hotel amenities and expenditures, Optional tip for local guide, Medical insurance or care, Israeli visa.


Fill out the online application, link below. Once you are approved, you’d make your first payment of Rs. 35,000. Balance of fee due by 1 October 2019. Your participation is confirmed only when we approve your application and receive first payment. Receiving applications and payments as soon as possible will allow us to secure necessary accommodations and transportation.


We’ll recommend one airline, with connections for arrival from Delhi, Mumbai, and other Indian cities, so that the group arrives and begins the pilgrimage together. Currently the flights below are the best we can find, but we’ll continue to monitor flights for some more weeks. Airport transfers by bus to and from our hotel in Jerusalem will be provided for the below listed flights only.

Current costs, (as on April 18) for below flights are Rs. 44,000-55,000 roundtrip:

  • Delhi-Tel Aviv: Turkish Airlines Flights 717 & 786, dep Delhi 23 Jan 6:55am, arrive Tel Aviv 14:25.

  • Tel Aviv-Delhi: Turkish Airlines Flights 787 & 716, dep Tel Aviv 1 Feb 15:20, arr Delhi 5:15am 2 Feb.

  • Mumbai-Tel Aviv: Turkish Airlines Flights 721 & 786, dep Mumbai 23 Jan 6:55am, arrive Tel Aviv 14:25.

  • Tel Aviv-Mumbai: Turkish Airlines Flights 787 & 720, dep Tel Aviv 1 Feb 15:20, arr Mumbai 5:15am 2 Feb.


Weather is cool to cold, but not freezing. Temperatures in Sea of Galilee area are similar to Delhi in January. High of about 18 degrees; low of about 9 degrees. Jerusalem is a little colder, around 13 high/6 low. Weather can be damp and some rain is expected during our visit. Hotels are well-heated; churches and our pilgrimage destinations tend not to be.


Indian citizens must obtain a visa prior to arriving, cost is under Rs. 2000. Your passport needs to be valid through August 2020. We can help you apply. If you do not have a valid passport, apply for one soon. The process can take time, and you must have a passport before requesting a visa.


For your visa you must purchase travel medical insurance for the days you’ll be away from home. This appears to be about Rs. 2000-4000, depending on age. Medical care can be very costly without it.


Weather? What to pack? What to wear? Arrival/Departure? We’ll help you through all these questions and more by e-mail, with letters on preparation and answers to any individual questions.

Complete Application Form

Glimpses from the past Pilgrimage.

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