Namarupa Yatra Divine: This is a cannot miss trip to India

Over the weekend, we received an email with information we’d been awaiting anxiously: Word of the next Namarupa Yatra.


Robert Moses, co-founder of the magazine with Eddie Stern, had dropped a few hints our way about when and where the trip might be: Summer of 2014, the Himalayas. That was about all we needed to know to be on board.

The details about the trip, the Yatra Divine that “will honor the three main strains of devotion in India,” turned out to be even better.

I asked Robert if we could share the broad outlines, and he said yes. So here they are:

Saivites, Vaishnavites and Shaktas.
Bathe in Ganga at Ganga Sagar, Varanasi, Haridwar and Devaprayag
Yatris can venture on the whole Yatra or choose section One or Two.
Brief itinerary preview.
First Section: 24 June 2014
We will start in Kolkotta, spend a few days in the Kolkotta area having darshan of Kali and sacred places connected to the great saint Ramakrishna.
We will then head down to Puri to witness the very largest most awesome Chariot Festival of all – Lord Jaganath, Lord Balaram and Devi Subhadra summer vacation procession! We will also visit Konark and other temples in Puri area.
Then it is on to Varanasi by air to worship Lord Viswanath, Devi Annapurna, boat along the Ganga and just be in this most ancient of all cities.
And on to Delhi.
Second Section: July 4, 2014
Delhi to Haridwar and darshan of Ganga at Hari-Ki-Puri, great bazaar and visit surrounding area temples.
Then we will head on up into the Himalayas – Bathe at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devaprayag, visit Gaurikund, darshan of Lord Siva at Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, darshan of Lord Vishnu at Badrinath and back down to Rishikesh.
We will return to Delhi on July 16 for flights home.
If you followed our Yatra tip over the winter holiday, you already should know just how fantastic this trip will be. There was the head shaving. There were the images, the looking. There was the best Mysore room ever. There was touching the Siva linga. All of it can be summed up in this video (which we have posted before):
I want to stress a few other things:
  • Our trip was remarkably smooth and worry-free (given it is India!), thanks in no small part to Robert and the inimitable Radhakunda Das. I won’t lie. Probably 18% of the pull to return is the opportunity to be with Radhakun again. He’s one of those people you just have to meet in this life. (Robert happens to be another.)
  • You’re an Ashtangi? Worried about your practice suffering? No worries! You likely can count on having two authorized teachers along: Kate O’Donnell and Barry Silver.
  • We’re bringing it to your attention now so you can begin planning and saving, just as we are.

If you are interested, I am sure you can get more information from Robert at the Namarupa contact page. You also can read up there about other, past Yatras.

Our trip truly was life-altering. We cannot urge you to go strongly enough. If you are feeling a pull to Mother India, this is a great way to answer the call.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

10 thoughts on “Namarupa Yatra Divine: This is a cannot miss trip to India”

  1. India in July is hot. Maybe 110 degrees on the average during the day, a mild 100 at night. In the mountains it is cooler, but still it is like walking around in a sauna without relief. The heat may be dry in some places…. Please check temperature guides… Air conditioning is not an option in temples. The hotels yes. I come from the Caribbean and I thought I was on a slow roast which is not a pleasant feeling. Mountain regions will be cooler but very hot Delhi, very hot sir…

  2. When I read the beginning of your post about the upcoming Yatra as “honor[ing] the three main strains of devotion in India,” I was curious if the trip would include visits to significant Muslim sites in India as well as Jain or perhaps Sikh sites. When I read further, I was disappointed to see the trip would focus on three paths of devotion within Hinduism only.

    I’ve noticed that easy assumptions are often made on this blog about India as a Hindu nation, not as a nation of many religions. I find this is too often the case within the ashtanga community as well. I think we all need to question the accuracy of these assumptions and the sort of discourse we are implicitly supporting when we treat India as the site only of one religion. History does not support this reading. Since many ashtanga practitioners have not grown up in South Asia, I think we need to work harder to have a better understanding of the assumptions we bring to the practice and our visits to India.

    1. We understand and welcome the perspective you’re adding here. I know Robert and Eddie and others involved in Namarupa are open to a broad range of religious traditions, lines of thinking and intertwined histories. (As, I hope I can say, do we at this site.)

      I would just note that Namarupa investigates the traditions of India that are summed up as Hindu — and I think it recognizes the difficult nature of lumping together a belief system that is so multifaceted. (I’m having to speak for them, so I could be mischaracterizing this.) The name, to some extent, defines that. I don’t think it is in any way their intent to suggest India is just a Hindu nation; it is just that they are focusing on that rich aspect of the country given their own histories and interests.

      If in any way I’ve poorly limited the perspective of Namarupa or done a poor job of describing it, that faults lies with me and not them.

      But in general, just based on our interests and our focus, we’ll continue to have a focus largely on the Hinduism and yoga. It is merely the lens here, but not the lens or the only one.



      1. Thank you for your reply and thoughts. I think a more accurate description of the trip would be to replace India with Hinduism at the end of your sentence that it “will honor the three main strains of devotion…”. When I read “three main strains of devotion in India,” I think of Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism (or Sikhism, or Buddhism, or Christianity). The way you phrased it, Hinduism and India are interchangeable, and that phrasing (for me) is problematic. My thinking is that it is important not to make Hinduism and India too easily interchangeable in the language we (as ashtangis) use, since right wing Hindu discourse in India does argue India is a Hindu nation rather than a nation of many religious beliefs. That discourse has led to violence in the past and today. My argument is that it is important for all of us who practice ashtanga & observe certain Hindu traditions to clearly differentiate ourselves from movements that support violence and to try to learn as much as possible about the sociopolitical context of our practice.

      2. Understood on those points. I have tried to take the middle path; I’ve put it in quotes, which is how it came from Namarupa — again, an outlook that focuses on the Hinduism tradition in India.

        All that said, it will be a great, great trip.


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