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A practiced hand paints a thanka. Photo by Cara Starnbach, North India Program.

Namastey And Julley From India

First off, I want congratulate everyone and welcome you all to the North India 6-week group!

Thank you for making the decision to join such a wonderful program, one that will be run in the holy Himalayan mountains of North India and Ladakh.

My name is Saurabh Pandey. I grew up in a middle class Hindu family. My grandfather was farmer and I used to help him when I was child. There was no school in my village so I use to walk 5 kilometers everyday to study, but it was fun. That was the first time I got to meet Dragons students. They were in my village because my uncle, Devendra Kumar Pandey (Bantu), works with Dragons and he is my guru (teacher). He has taught me so many things. Seeing my uncle work with Dragons instructors and students inspired me because he was teaching about our culture and our country. I felt blessed from Lord Shiva and Mother Ganga when my uncle invited me to Varanasi (Banaras) to attend high school and college because neither exist in my village.

When I moved to Varanasi I got chance to host Dragons students in my home. I start teaching by Hindi and little bits about my culture. It gave me an opportunity to improve my English language skills from them, too. After passing my 10+2 I was invited to intern on Dragons programs, meet students who were my age, and learn about the methodology and philosophy. During this time I graduated with degrees in sociology and philosophy, and completed a Master’s in India philosophy and religion from Banaras  Hindu University. After all this time, it’s a joy to look back and realize that I have been working with Dragons programs since 2005.

I hope you are all ready to begin our journey up into the beautiful Himalayas, where we will get to challenge ourselves along the ups and downs of the mountain contours, similar to life. This is the first lesson to learn! There is much more to come from incredible India. You will live with host families in McLeod Ganj — the home of the exiled Tibetan populations — and study Tibetan Buddhism visiting a monasteries and other places in India and also this is the birth place of budhiesm and Hinduism. My country contains so many colors and histories, religions, different foods, and welcoming hearts. Get ready for the many flavors of India!

I am really excited to meet you all and share my experience and knowledge. I hope to make this 2018 North india 6 week program the time of your life. If you have any question related to India or Indian culture you can post them here or email me !

Welcome you all, Namastey And Julley

Saurabh Pandey