Absorb the mighty Himalayas with snowcapped peaks on a journey through Nepal and Bhutan where the people are gracious, the culture is rich, spirituality is prevalent, and modern-day visitors are rewarded with a taste of tradition undisturbed. Your 15-day small group tour, limited to just 16 guests, begins in Kathmandu, the "Roof of the World." Visit Swayambhunath Temple, an ancient and sacred Buddhist complex. Continue to the renowned 16th-century Boudhanath, the country's oldest and largest Buddhist monument that serves as the religious center for the many Tibetan immigrants who now live in Nepal. Travel to Patan, Nepal's third largest city known for its rich culture and artistic tradition. Enjoy a walk through Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO site of historic palaces, temples, and shrines. Take a scenic drive to Nagarkot, a hilltop village commanding a spectacular vista of Nepal's major Himalayan peaks. Travel to Bhaktapur, commonly called the "City of Devotees" and known for its fine artisans, abundant temples, colorful festivals, and traditional lifestyle. Next, fly to the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, where touring includes the Tashichhoe Dzong, a traditional Buddhist fortress monastery that today houses government offices, as well as temples and the royal throne room. Enjoy a cultural exchange as you meet and dine with a Bhutanese family. Continue on to the former capital of Punakha via the Duchula Pass, with stunning views of the Himalayas. Here, follow the sacred tradition of raising prayer flags in the name of peace and wisdom. Our journey continues with visits to local villages and to the bowl-shaped glacial valley of Gangtey, home of the sacred Black-necked cranes. Travel to historic Paro, and tour Ta-Dzong, the national museum showcasing Bhutan's rich cultural heritage. Conclude with a highlight of any trip to Bhutan: a visit to Taktsang, the sacred Tiger's Nest monastery and temple complex hanging from a cliff some 2,000 feet above the upper Paro Valley.
Day 1: Depart for Kathmandu, Nepal
Day 2: Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 3: Kathmandu
Day 4: Kathmandu
Day 5: Kathmandu / Nargarkot
Day 6: Nargarkot
Day 7: Flight to Thimphu, Bhutan
Day 8: Thimphu
Day 9: Thimphu / Punakha
Day 10: Punakha
Day 11: Punakha / Thimphu / Paro
Day 12: Paro
Day 13: Paro / Tiger's Nest Monastery
Day 14: Flight to Kathmandu / Day room / Depart for the U.S.
Day 15: Arrive in the U.S.
As a sociocultural and medical anthropologist, Associate Professor Sienna Craig's research focuses on the worlds of healing across cultures, the meanings people ascribe to illness, and the social lives of medicines. She is also deeply curious about how communities and individuals navigate processes of migration and social change. She conducts research in Nepal, Tibetan areas of China, and among Nepali and Tibetan communities in the United States. Prof. Craig came to Dartmouth in 2006 after completing her Ph.D. in Cultural and Medical Anthropology at Cornell. A native of Santa Barbara, California, she earned her BA in Religious Studies at Brown University in 1995. Her initial fieldwork in the remote kingdom of Mustang, Nepal, which was begun as an undergraduate and continued through a Fulbright fellowship (1995-96), resulted in an ethnographic memoir, Horses Like Lightning: A Story of Passage through the Himalayas (2008). Professor Craig's research explores how traditional medical systems - particularly Sowa Rigpa, the Tibetan "science of healing" - interact with conventional biomedicine in the clinic, the pharmacy, and in ordinary people's lives. She has conducted collaborative research with practitioners of Tibetan medicine in Nepal for more than 20 years, and has worked on projects related to maternal and child health in Tibet and Nepal since 2002. Her book Healing Elements: Efficacy and the Social Ecologies of Tibetan Medicine (2012) and edited volume Medicine between Science and Religion: Explorations on Tibetan Grounds (2010) represent some of this work. Together with her husband Kenneth Bauer, she co-founded DROKPA in 1999, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to partner with pastoral communities in the Himalaya to implement grassroots development and catalyze social entrepreneurship. She has led experiential education trips across High Asia for high school and college students, as well travel programs for adults. Widely published in both academic and popular venues, she is committed to writing across genres - from poetry and fiction to creative nonfiction, children's literature, and ethnography. She is currently at work on a new book project, The Ends of Kinship: Care and Belonging between Nepal and New York City.