Jim has lived, studied, and traveled in South Asia for more than 25 years. He is an adjunct professor of Asian Studies at Castleton State College of Vermont. He has lectured in the U.S. and Europe on Buddhist art, architecture, meditation and philosophy. As a photographer, Jim’s keen knowledge of the Himalayan region and cultures has served him well as a location scout for commercial film productions. He has trekked extensively throughout the Himalayas. Personable and witty, Jim’s expertise has attracted travelers from around the world. Jim leads every tour the way he teaches — with passion and concern that each traveler has the experience of a lifetime!
Pema was born and has lived his entire life high up in the former Himalayan Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim. Pema became a monk at an early age and studied very diligently the teachings of the Buddha. He was recognized by the abbot of his monastery to possess great artistic skills in painting and drawing. The abbot suggested to him that he should study full time the techniques and skills to become a tangka painter (scroll painting). Pema left the monastery and has dedicated his life to creating sacred images. He is now one of the most famous painters in Sikkim who has been commissioned to paint in nearly all the monasteries in Sikkim. He currently has his own tangka painting school where he instructs many students in the centuries-old techniques of painting sacred images in the Tibetan tradition.
Dr. Chewang was born in Tibet in 1955 and grew up in Darjeeling, India where he received his early education before entering the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and Sanskrit University in Varanasi, India where he completed his M.A. studies. He then enrolled in Shantineketan University in 1987 and received his doctorate in 1990 in Buddhist Philosophy specializing in both the Hinayana and Mahayana traditions. Dr. Chewang currently teaches in the Sikkim Institute of Higher Nyingma Studies. For many years Dr. Chewang has taught western students in both India and in the West. As a fully ordained Buddhist monk, he brings both perspectives to his teachings, as a scholar and a Buddhist practitioner. His perfect command of the English language and many years of personal experience add significantly to his gifted style of teaching all aspects of Buddhist Philosophy.
Genla Tashi Tenzing
Genla has been teaching Tibetan Buddhism and culture for more than 25 years. He is a renowned scholar and teacher in Darjeeling and Sikkim and is a consultant to the Government of Sikkim. Genla Tashi Tenzing is also a translator for H.H. Dalai Lama. He has an M.A. in classical Tibetan from the Institute of Tibetology and an M.A. in Political Science from North Bengal University.
Dr. Tulku is a Tibetan master from the Kargu school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was trained in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism under many great masters such as H.H.the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa and H.H. Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche. Ringu Tulku has a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies and has studied at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok and Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Varanasi. For the last 17 years he has been a professor of Tibetology in Sikkim.
Dr. Satya Ranjan Banderjee
Dr. Banderjee is one of India’s leading linguists and is a reputed scholar of Hinduism and Jainism. He has published several books and articles in India and in foreign journals. Dr. Banderjee was honored by the West Bengal Jain community for his valuable contributions to Jainism. Dr. Banderjee holds PhD’s from Calcutta University and also Edinburgh. He was formerly a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin.
Suvendu was born in Kolkata in 1969 and is a true Bengali! His warmth and keen sense of humour makes all of our guests feel right at home in Kolkata — India’s friendliest city. He is an expert on the religious traditions of India — Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Since 1991, Suvendu has led many groups to North Eastern India, North India, Tamilnadu and Kerala. He is fluent in Hindi, Bengali and English and has worked with National Geographic and the Daily Telegraph on assignment. Suvendu’s vast knowledge of India’s history, art, architecture, and culture provides our guests with a fascinating window into one of the most remarkable civilizations on the planet. Having lived in Kolkata his entire life, Suvendu takes our guests into many places other visitors seldom see.