Hello loves! As many of my friends and followers know, I have been to India many times now since my first trip in 2003, and have held retreats in other, closer parts of the world, but not yet in Ma India. I’ve decided this year is the time and we are going to my favorite place! This will be an 8 night retreat held right on the banks of the Ganges river, which they say if you submerge yourself in it washes away all your sins! There will be yoga 7 days as well as a trip to the Beatles Ashram, Ganga Aarti a couple of nights and sightseeing, shopping, and people watching by the river. To be honest, lazily watching the culture from a cafe or just sitting by the river is one of my favourite things to do here. It's a total detox trip!! More details below; Pricing and the mundane stuff near the end. 🐘🙈💫
Imagine sitting by the Ganges ghats overlooking the peaceful river or enjoying the sight of a million stars littering the night sky. This is what you will experience during your visit to Rishikesh. Nestled in the Himalayan foothills beside the Holy River Ganges, Rishikesh is the land of spirituality, yoga, adventure and art. The river is clean here unlike in other parts of India because this is where it exits from the Himalayas to head south through the indian subcontinent so it is lovely to sit near it, lazily watch its current as the Indian people perform rituals along its banks, and even to submerge yourself in if you are so inclined.
Rishikesh is known as one of the holiest places in all of India and as such, sees a high number of pilgrims and yogis every year. Rishikesh is a town where you can feel the air buzzing electric with divinity all around. Spirituality comes from within but this place can inspire and motivate you to form a connection with the universal consciousness if you are paying attention. 🕉
This retreat can be as relaxing a vacation as you want, or as adventurous. If you want to sleep in and take the days slow and easy you can, as we will practice yoga in the early afternoons — not the early morning. 😁 If you want to sit at cafes over the river all day drinking chai and relaxing while people watching, you can. I will be giving everyone a list of the best (cleanest/safest) places to eat for days you’d like to venture out on your own, but your breakfasts and lunches will all be included in the price of the retreat. 💃🏻 This food will all be vegetarian, as Rishikesh is a holy city, it is a vegetarian city. Cows are holy here and you will see them meandering through the streets everywhere. Rishikesh is also one of the three destinations famous for Ganga Aarti (Haridwar and Varanasi being the other two). Ganga Aarti, a traditional spiritual ritual, is a beautiful and divine sight to behold and we will be going to it as a group event twice, but the main one at Parmarth Niketan Ashram is just a stone’s throw from our accommodations and you can go every night if you feel inspired but we will go twice as a group during the week. 💥
For the adventurers among you another highlight of Rishikesh is the array of adventure activities it offers. Rishikesh is one of the most popular places among adrenaline junkies to indulge in thrilling adventurous activities. The town is also called the Adventure Sports Capital of India and is popular for its river rafting and white water rafting. I will investigate the best place to go for this for those of you who are feeling this! Early December is one of the recommended times to go.
We will also take one day trip to the “Beatles Ashram” also known as Chaurasi Kutia, which is an ashram close to Rishikesh on the eastern bank of the Ganges, opposite the Muni Ki Reti, in the foothills of the Himalayas. During the 1960s and 1970s, as the International Academy of Meditation, it was the training centre for students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who devised the Transcendental Meditation technique. The ashram gained international attention between February and April 1968 when English rock band the Beatles studied meditation there, along with celebrities such as Donovan and Mia Farrow. It was the setting for the band's most productive period as songwriters, where they composed most of the songs for their self-titled double album, also known as the "White Album". You can see all the Beatles art in the rooms where they stayed.
For my shopping peeps, the shops and markets in town are full of artistic items, precious artifacts, and handicrafts. A few stores even seem museum-like due to the astounding statuary and gorgeous gems and crystals available. The shops are treasure troves for those who love crafts, antiques, and spiritual things. Rows of shops are full of items like precious and semi-precious jewels, stones, pearls, beads and shells, wooden handicrafts, Madhubani artwork, sequin tapestries as well as handlooms, Indian wear and even carpets.
THE NITTY GRITTY:
Price: ONLY $950 per person (!) which includes private accommodation (Yes a room to yourself) in a nice, clean hotel with its own private western style bathroom for 8 nights; 7 days of yoga classes; breakfast and lunch at the hotel restaurant is also INCLUDED in the price as well as transport from DehraDun airport to your accommodation in Rishikesh. I will have each of you picked up from the airport. Admission to Beatles Ashram is included as well as having me as your guide through the different areas of Rishikesh on the first few days while you get your bearings: Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula, Tapovan, etc.
You must arrive in Rishikesh on Thursday December 5th, which may mean leaving where you are coming from on 12/4 depending on your starting location. You can fly direct to Delhi and take a train to Rishikesh’s area for less money but I would recommend taking a flight to Dehra Dun airport where I will have you picked up unless you have travelled in India or the East in the past.
For those who loves lists:
What’s Included for $950: (I have never been able to offer a retreat under 2K and not sure when I will be able to again so this is incredibly affordable).
~Private car transport from Dehra Dun airport to Rishikesh, door to door ( I will pair people up if anyone is arriving at the same time)
~Eight nights hotel in a private (not shared) room with private, western style bathroom and Air Conditioning
~Breakfast AND Lunch at the hotel restaurant which is vetted and safe
~ Seven days of afternoon yoga classes, each day before lunch (yes you can sleep in if you so desire or take a walk or have a tea along the river after breakfast.)
~Entry to the famous Beatles Ashram
~ A donation to Karma Animal Trust — Rishikesh’s amazing NGO helping the animals of the area.
~ Ganga Aarti on the banks of the river with the group
Send me a $150 non-refundable deposit to reserve your spot or the full $950 can be sent by check, PayPal (friends and family), or Venmo to @melodyhenry — spots are filling up as of this week but I will post when we are down to our last couple of spots.
What’s NOT included:
~Airfare to Dehra Dun airport
~Indian Visa (you can finally apply for this online and print from home! I will send details!)
~Transport back to airport (which I will arrange for you and people on similar flights can share) OR if you choose to go to Agra on the 13th to spend a night or two to see the Taj Mahal I can help point you in the right direction on that as well. (I will look into pricing for anyone interested on that soon).
~Spa treatments or adventure excursions.
~Dinner or any meals outside of our set breakfast and lunch at the Green hotel restaurant.
Once you have paid in full and I get a list of email addresses I will start to send info for things like vaccines I recommend if you don’t have them, what to pack, what kind of clothing to wear, staying healthy in India, etc. You will also be able to personally ask me any questions or concerns you might have about the trip or India in general. We are going to Northern India in December so it will be cool and the risk of mosquito borne illness will be very low. Expect 70s in the day and 50s at night. It can actually get a bit chilly after the sun goes down by the river! :)
Can’t wait to take you to my favorite place in India! 💚🇮🇳💚