SPIRIT OF DEVOTION GANGA PILGRIMAGE September 24 - October 5, 2017

raghu chant.jpg
raghu chant.jpg

SPIRIT OF DEVOTION GANGA PILGRIMAGE September 24 - October 5, 2017


September 24 - October 5, 2017

9/24 – Arrive in Delhi International Airport in the evening and be picked up and brought to the hotel.
(Option: arrive one day early for sight seeing/ shopping around New Delhi) You will be eating incredible vegetarian/vegan cuisine the entire trip. Please let us know about any special dietary restrictions.

9/25 – Travel to Rishikesh. Early morning drive to Rishikesh.
We will wake up early for a 6.5 hour bus ride to Rishikesh. Bus rides are filled with Kirtan (sacred singing) and Raghunath giving classes on the sacred literature of India).

9/25 – 28 Rishikesh...
Rishikesh is an ancient, breathtaking village in the foothills of the Himalayas along the sacred River Ganga. This has been a holy village, since before recorded time and is the land of Yogis. It has been both frequented and a home to contemporary sages and seekers from Shivananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and even the Beatles. It has been historically linked to the ancient avatars from Rama, Laxman, Balaram as a place of pilgrimage for millenia. Raghu will teach yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques as well as daily sat sangha, teaching the philosophy of ancient Indian texts. He treats these retreats as spiritual educational experiences for seekers on their path, just as pilgrimages have been used for generations.

In Rishikesh, we will visits sacred villages, bathe in the Ganga, visit the temple cave of the sage Vashistha (weather permitting), white water raft down the sacred Ganga, hike to and bathe in a Himalayan waterfall and sing, sing, sing in kirtan fully blowing your heart wide open.

9/28 Leave Rishikesh to Haridwar (30 minutes by our bus)

9/28 - 10/3 – Haridwar
Haridwar literally means the gateway to the Lord. It is 30 minutes south of Rishikesh on the Ganga. We will stay at a wonderful heritage hotel on the Ganga and practice yoga with the most gorgeous view of sacred Mother Ganges. 

Mornings will be filled with Raghu's teaching of sacred literature, chanting meditation, reading, and yoga practice. In the evening, we will be walking Hari ki Pauri for the gorgeous Ganga Puja (the offering of ghee lamps and reciting of mantras). This incredible ritual goes on nightly and has been going on since before recorded history. Raghunath explains all that is going on to decipher the mysteries of these ancient, colorful rituals.
We may take day trips to some local temples and the village, which is filled with incredible markets suited for yogis, including books, deities, carvings, clothes, herbs, music, incenses, etc.

10/3 – Leave Haridwar for an 8am early morning train to Mathura/Vrindavan

10/3 - 5 Vrindavan with an optional Taj Mahal trip (this will be a nominal extra charge)
The holy town of Vrindavana is the stronghold of Krishna Bhakti. Here we will have a chance to deeply immerse ourselves in the culture and practice of Bhakti, following in the footsteps of the great saints who have come here for many centuries. Those who have been here before know of the mystic nature of this special holy place, where Bhakti comes naturally. Great contemporary Swami's such as  Paramahamsa Yogananda, Neem Karoli Baba, and Srila Prabhupada who spearheaded the Bhakti movement in the west. 
We will visit the beautiful Hare Krishna temple, which is both gorgeous and has phenomenal kirtans, which attracts pilgrims from both India and around the world.
The entire time in Vrindavana will be spent absorbed in all the limbs of Bhakti-yoga including kirtan, hearing from sacred texts, associating with very saintly people, and visiting special holy spots and temples. In Vrindavan, we will minimize our physical yoga practice as the mood in Vrindavan is more kirtan oriented with stories of ancient literature and visits to holy temples. There are always auspicious surprises and unique opportunities arising in Vrindavana. Some of the things we plan to do are:

Nature walks along the old banks of the Yamuna River. The river is known for its rich soil that nourishes various trees and flowers and home to exotic birds, such as parrots and peacocks, and genuine simple villagers living simple, devoted lives.

Visit some of the main temples of Vrindavana and experience the amazing spiritual atmosphere that goes with each one.

Experience incredible kirtans at dusk at the intimate courtyard of the Krsna Balarama Temple.   

Visit the holy Yamuna river and the impressive Kesi ghat, giving us a chance to walk the narrow streets of Vrindavana and experience the atmosphere of this holy city.

Visit two charities that will melt your heart. Firstly, the Sandipani Muni School, a place where children from the surrounding villages can freely attend coming from the poorest of the poor. Attend their assembly in the morning and get a chance to meet them and dance with them with such love and affection. Visit their classrooms and experience their environment. Meet the wonderful man behind this vision and see all the work he has done and continues to do today.
Secondly, visit Care for Cows. Abandoned and injured cows are brought to this sanctuary to be taken care of for the rest of their lives with love. Caring for cows is part of the Vrindavana culture. These cows are full of affection and you will have a chance to make friends with the cows, feed them and give lots of hugs!

10/5 – Vrindavana
Our last day in Vrindavan will be left free for people to do their last minute things as we check out of the hotel by 11:00 am. There is the opportunity to shop, revisit temples, etc. A 3-4 hour bus ride will be arranged to take us back to New Delhi for our evening flights, if you are leaving India then.

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