HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS
YOGA RETREAT
BEGINNERS ARE WELCOME
Practice Yoga, Relax, Meditate, Meet Holy Saints,
and Heal in the Foothills of the Himalayas

Do you now want to practice Yoga and deep meditation in the land of Mother India, the birthplace of Yoga? Because on our amazing Himalayan Foothill Retreat, we will have that rare opportunity in an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If there were ever a time for healing, that time is now. On our Himalayan Yoga retreat we will experience deep relaxation and healing by practicing Yoga with one of the foremost Yoga instructors in India--Ved Prakash, a Yoga gold Medalist.

On our retreat we will not only practice Yoga and meditation on a daily basis. We will also see the sights of the magnificent Kumoan Himalayas. We will visit the ashram of the illustrous saint Neem Karoli Baba (preceptor of Ram Dass). We will also meet some living legends--saints who are now gracing the Himalayas with their profound spiritual presence.

In addition, we will visit one of the holiest villages of India--Jageshwar, where serenity and peace suffuses the atmosphere, and where one of India's 12 Jyotirlingas vibrates from an ancient temple. We will explore and enjoy the spiritual energy that radiates from the 200 ancient temples in Jageshwar.



               

TOUR DATES:
June 10 to June 20, 2003



Susan Shumsky of Divine Travels is a member of Travel Service Network, Inc. (TSN).

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Day 1      Welcome to India

Fly overnight to India, arriving in the late evening. Your tour leader will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of Delhi, followed by the Traditional Indian Welcome at the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Metropolitan Nikko Or The Oberoi Maidens Or Similar

     

 

Day 2       Explore Old Delhi and New Delhi

After breakfast, Rickshaw Ride in the narrow crowded lanes of Old Delhi and visit Jama Mosque. Afternoon, visit Laxmi Narayan Temple, Chattarpur Temple & Yogmaya Temple. Personal meeting with Devraha Hansbaba (subject to availability).

Later, transfer to Chor Bizarre Restaurant ­ one of the oldest & famous restaurant of Delhi serving Traditional Indian, Continental & Kashmiri Cuisine for Welcome Dinner. After dinner, transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Oberoi Maidens or Similar
(Meals ­ Breakfast & Welcome Dinner at Chor Bizarre)

 

New Delhi: The new capital designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. An interesting drive in the one passing through the impressive Rajpath from the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate towards the Presidential Palace. Visit Humayun's Tomb built in 1565 AD, Safdarjung's Tomb, the Qutab Minar, 72 meters high and the most curious antique, the uncorroded Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD.

Old Delhi: The 350 year old walled city was built by Emperor Shah Jehan in 1648 as his capital. Opposite the fort are the black and white onion dome and minarets of the Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India. Raj Ghat is worth a visit where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948.

   

Chattarpur Temple: Barely 4km away from Qutub Minar stand the ostentatious and opulent temples of Chattarpur. Made of shining white marble ­ the stone favoured by Delhi's nouveau riche Delhi - these temples are very popular with the city's Hindus and the queues during Durga Puja have to be seen to be believed. The main temple, of course, is dedicated to goddess Durga.

       

 

Day 3       Delhi/ Haridwar/ Rishikesh
After breakfast, leave for Rishikesh en route explore Evening Aarti at Har Ki Pauri on Holy River Ganges at Haridwar. Afterwards, continue to Rishikesh. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
(Breakfast & Dinner)
Hotel: Natraj Or Similar
    

Haridwar: This sacred town, 52 km from Dehra Dun, marks the emergence of the Ganga into the plains, piercing through the Shiwalik Range. The devout believe that this is one of the four places in India upon which the nectar or Immortality, amrit, fell. It has been churned out of the formless ocean and was being carried in a Kunbha - pot - when it split. On the zodiacal anniversary of this event, a huge religious fair, the Kumbha Mela, is held here every 12 years when hundreds of thousands of devotees bathe in the Ganga. Every six years the Ardh (half) Kumbh is held.

  

 

Day 4      Rishikesh
After breakfast, yoga classes till noon. Afternoon, visit to various ashrams and temples at Rishikesh followed by evening Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Natraj or Similar (Meals ­ Breakfast & Dinner)

Rishikesh is situated on the right bank of river Ganga and surrounded on three sides by Himalayan ranges are known from medieval time as a celestial abode. It is a great pilgrimage center of India, attracting a large number of pilgrims. It is believed that Bharat, brother of Lord Rama, subjected himself to severe penance here. A temple known as Bharat Temple was later constructed at the site and the town of Rishikesh sprang up around the temple. It has since been the abode of saints and sages from where they sojourn before undertaking the arduous pilgrimage that lay ahead on the distant Himalayan Peaks. This is the gateway to the kingdom of gods and pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. The other tourist places of interest are Rishikund & Raghunath Temple, Triveni Ghat, Bharat Temple and Laxman Jhoola. Rishikesh is the venue of our rafting adventure. The great snows of the Gangotri glaciers feed the Ganges, which gains in strength as the melting glaciers send down their icy waters. Ancient temples in Rishikesh add to the pleasure of exploring this area.

   

   

   

  

Day 5       Rishikesh

After breakfast, yoga classes till noon. Afternoon, visit Vashishth Cave for meditation and personal meeting with Godavari Giri Ji Maharaj (subject to availability). Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Natraj or Similar (Meals ­ Breakfast & Dinner)

   
  
 

 

Day 6       Rishikesh/Nainital
After breakfast leave from Delhi for Nainital. Reach Nainital in the evening and transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Balrampur Palace or similar (Meals - Breakfast & Dinner)

Balrampur House (The Only Heritage Resort Of Nainital) - The summer retreat of the premier Baron of Awadh - The Maharaja of Balrampur, built by the British in 1889. Located on a hillside, rebuilt by Monsieur Mortimer, an accomplished architect of France, surpasses natural surroundings, its architecture is leisurely yet luxurious, flawlessly preserving the mood of Old England.

        

 

Day 7       Nainital

After breakfast, yoga classes until noon. Afternoon, boat ride in Naini Lake and evening free for shopping on the Mall. half day sight seeing of Dorothy's Seat, Land's End, and Hanuman Garhi. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Balrampur Palace or Similar (Meals - Breakfast & Dinner)

Dorothy's Seat: Named in memory of an English woman, who was killed in an air crash, this pleasant spot offers a partial view of Nainital.

Land's End: Situated at 2118 mtrs on the southern border of the lake, this hill affords a view of another lake, Khurpa Tal.

Hanuman Garhi: A place of religious interests, also good for viewing the setting sun.

Nainital: An eye shaped green emerald lake at 1938 mts. with awesome mountains silhouetted against the sky in the backdrop surrounded by thick forest of pine and deciduous trees, welcome to Nainital! Charming locales, elegant villas and sailboats skimming across the Naini Lake's water add to the idealic beauty of this 100-year old hill station.

  

 

Day 8        Nainital/ Kainchi Temple/ Jageshwar

After breakfast, drive to Kainchi Temple to meet Siddhi Mai, the main disciple of Neem Karoli Baba (subject to availability). Neem Karoli Baba was a remarkable saint made famous by the American guru Ram Das. Many miracles have taken place in the lives of Neem Karoli's disciples.



Then continue to Jageshwar, 100km away from Nainital. At Jageshwar meet a great saint named Teet Maharaj ji (subject to availability). He is believed to be more than 150 years old and still drives a car !!! An expert in Jyotish (Hindu Astrology, Teet Maharaj has given remarkable spontaneous readings to our tour participants and blessed us with his holy presence.
Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: KMVN Guest House Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast & Dinner)

        

The small town of Jageshwar lies in a beautiful, tranquil narrow valley hedged by lush, green, monarch sized ancient deodars. In the Kumaon hills of Uttar Pradesh, it has a complex of about 200 ancient and medieval temples, which belong to and reflect the early period of the north Indian style of temple architecture. Most of these temples are dedicated to the various manifestations of Lord Shiva. The idol at Jageshwar is considered to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (the most sacred shrines of Lord Shiva) in India, where thousands of Shiva devotees come to offer prayers during various Hindu festivals held in honor of Lord Shiva. According to legend, Shiva came here to perform penance after the sacrifice of Sati, and earned the wrath of the Seven Rishis.

  

A continuous chain of snowcapped mountains looms over this beautiful temple site where silence reigns supreme and not even a leaf rustles, as though afraid to disturb the stillness. The mighty force of the cosmic dance begins to work on one's mind when one visits one temple after another here. Most of the temples are dedicated to Shiva and he is addressed by different names like Dandeshavara, Nilakantheshvara, Mahamrityunjaya, etc. and Jageshwar is only a corruption of Yogisvara or the Lord of the Yogis. These together with other temples dedicated to Surya--the Sun God, Navadurga (nine manifestations of the great goddess Durga), Kalika, Pushtidevi, Kuber etc. indicate that their builders practiced Shaivism (worship of Shiva), especially the Lakulish sect.

     

Jageshwar witnessed a great deal of temple building activity at different time periods and the earliest temples in Jageshwar date back to the 4th century AD, while the latest ones date back to the 16th century AD. During the 4th and 5th centuries AD, when the Gupta emperors held sway over vast tracts of northern and central India, the Kumaon hills were governed by an independent dynasty of Katyuri kings. They are credited with having selected this site for building temples. The temples originally constructed during the Gupta period were renovated by the rulers of the Ghand dynasty who overthrew the Katyuris in the 7th century AD. Numerous temples were constructed and restored during the Gujarat Pratihara dynasty (AD 9th-10th century) and also in the 15th and 16th centuries AD.

Of the numerous stone temples in this group, the Mahamrityunjaya temple seems to be the oldest and is dated approximately to the 8th century AD, while the others mentioned above, including a few minor ones, belong to the subsequent centuries. The temples of Surya, Navagraha and Neelkantheshvara are of late Katyuri age. It is said that originally 400 temples existed here, of which only about 108 have survived. Time and vandalism have destroyed the rest.



Susan Shumsky of Divine Travels is a member of Travel Service Network, Inc. (TSN).

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affiliations include:




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Day 9      Jageshwar/Nainital

After breakfast, visit 1200 years old temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Afterwards, return back to Nainital. Reach Nainital and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Balrampur Palace (Meals - Breakfast & Dinner)

The temples of Jageshwar belong to the simple Nagara style (north Indian style of temple architecture). Temples belonging to this style have a tall curvilinear spire shikhara surmounted by an amalaka (capstone) and a kalasha (the water urn shaped auspicious Hindu symbol) atop the square Garbhagriha, the entrance to which is through a carved doorway.



Most of the temples enshrine a stone lingam or phallic representation of Lord Shiva. Impressive stone images of different Hindu deities can be seen around the altar within these temples. Most of the temples in Jageshwar are in a state of decay and one can see many beautiful but broken sculptures lying around. The Ekamukhalinga (a Shivling having the face of Lord Shiva carved on it) is one of the rarest specimens to be found in northern India. The two life-size dwarapalas (door guardians) outside the Jagannath temple are another attraction but one of them is badly mutilated.

   

 

Day 10       Nainital

After breakfast, yoga classes till noon. Afternoon, rest of the day at leisure. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Balrampur House or Similar (Meals ­ Breakfast & Dinner)

      
 
Day 11        Nainital/Delhi

After breakfast, leave back for Delhi by surface. Reach Delhi and transfer to Chor Bizarre Restaurant for Farewell Dinner. After dinner, transfer to IGI Airport and tour terminates.

IMPORTANT: Yoga exercises like "SHUDDHI KRIYA" will take place before breakfast and other exercises will be 02 hours after breakfast.

END OF TOUR

           

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Our Retreat Setting

Nainital is surrounded by forested mountains, at an altitude of 1938m. Naini Lake, 500m broad and 2.4km long, forms the core of the small hill town of Nainital. The town itself is spread out in tiers, and is one of the most picturesque hill stations in North India. Situated in the Lower Himalayas, the town offers much to the visitor; there are horse and pony rides along the lake, boating and sailing, a skating rink, a ropeway that goes to Snow View, and a Boat Club on the northern lake shore. In summer, hockey, cricket and football matches are played the Flats. A crowded shopping mall on the lake's eastern shore, caters to the tourists' passion for mementos.

There is an interesting legend about Naini Lake. A local fable speaks of a terrible, snake-like 'monster' that lives in its green waters. Locals also believe that whoever swims to the centre of the lake will either be devoured by this monster, or will be trapped by weeds, and drown. Although this monster has never been sighted so far, locals vehemently insist that it exists. However, the lake forms a pretty sight at night, when thousands of Nainital's twinkling lights are reflected in its placid waters.

Nainital is famous for its residential educational institutions and the Naina Devi Temple. The original Naina Devi Temple was destroyed in the 1880 landslide, then rebuilt. The temple is also the venue for an annual festival held in honor of Lord Shiva's wife, Parvati.

At a height of 2,610m, Naina Peak (Cheena Peak) is a quiet place from where the Nanda Devi peak and the mountains on the Tibet border can be viewed. A ropeway from the Bara Bazaar (Mallital Bazaar) leads to Snow View, which also offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas. The Hanuman Temple on the road to Haldwani, the Astronomical Observatory, Sanjay Park (botanical gardens), Barrah Patthar (12 stones), Tiffin Top, Dorothy's Seat and Land's End are other interesting places to visit in Nainital. The best way to reach these places is to walk or ride on ponyback.


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