Bear with me as we talk once again about our summer Yatra via Namarupa.
This one, Yatra Divine 2104, will focus on northern India and up into the Himalayas. (Oh, and quick pause: The headline is my effort at an Upworthy-like one. I give myself a B+.) Bobbie and I pretty much knew we’d be going once we heard that.
I’d skimmed through the itinerary — as always, presented with the caveat that this is India, after all, and anything can happen or change — but not given it a really deep look.
I did this week, and my jaw dropped. The map above, which presents it in a lovely way, also doesn’t do it justice.
And so, I want to present you a few highlights on the off chance you might be thinking about going, or even just on the chance that seeing some of the highlights will get you to consider it. As I wrote: “Your life will change forever.” (And despite the hyperbole, I do mean it.)
One last note before diving into the details: Another reason to go is the other travelers, who in our experience are terrific. And the leaders, Robert Moses and Radhakunda Dasji, could not be better. Robert lived in India for many years, and returns annually — and there’s the whole Sivananda Yoga experience and knowledge he has. Radhakun brings laughter and enthusiasm and protection to the travels. He’s awesome. Honestly, about 1/3 of the reasons I’m going back is to spend more time with him.
This is real travel, in real India. Plus Kate O’Donnell leading Ashtanga practice.
On to the highlights:
- Sunday June 29 ~ Puri – Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra Witness the largest chariot festival in all of India. Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Baladeva and their sister Goddess Subhadra are seated on massive colorful chariots that thunder along the street pulled by thousands of devotees.
- Thursday July 3 ~ Varanasi We will perform the Panchatirthi Pilgrimage. Beginning at the southern end where Asi River meets the Ganga before dawn we will walk all along the Ganga Ghats to the northernmost end where Varana River flows into the Ganga and then enter the heart of the city for darshan of Lord Vishvanath, Annapurna Devi and Sakshi Vinayaka. We will perform sankalpa and worship at Five Tirthas.
- Friday July 4 ~ Varanasi Morning class. Free day to rest and explore and shop the many alleys and bazaars of Varanasi . Optional visit to Sankat Mochan – Lord Hanuman.
- Saturday July 5 ~ New Delhi – Train to Haridwar We will travel by the afternoon Janshatabdi Express train to Haridwar and check into our hotel right on the Ganga and in the heart of the bazaar. Bathe in the swiftly flowing cool Ganga to wash off lifetimes of sins as well as the dust of travel up until now. Free time.
- Sunday July 6 ~ Haridwar Morning class. Visit Manasa Devi temple by cable car. Bus ride to Kankhal to meditate at Anananda Mayi Ma’s samadhi shrine and darshan at Daksha Temple. We will be back in Haridwar in time for Ganga Arati. And more evening shopping in the bazaar.
- Monday July 7 ~ via Rishikesh to Uttarkashi Morning class. Travel by bus to through Rishikesh stopping at The Divine Life Society to meditate at the samadhi shrine of H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda and to take his permission for safe travels to the holy places of the higher Himalayas. This is where the mountains begin. Proceed to Uttarkashi visiting a number of Goddess shrines en route. Night halt in Uttarkashi.
- Saturday July 12 ~ Ravada Village + Guru Purnima Guru Purnima is celebrated on the Full Moon of July. We will join the Swamijis in Uttarkashi to celebrate and also host a sadhu bandhara (feast for sadhus)
Honestly, I’m not sure what the absolute highlight is. The optional visit to Sankat Mochan, maybe? The washing off of a lifetime of sins? And I’ve not included above the karma yoga part of the trip, just because that feels like something all of its own. Nor have I mentioned the promised “hot springs.”
I simply can’t wait for late July to roll around; this will be a test of my very limited patience.
Think about joining, how about? We all could use for some life change.
Posted by Steve