Travel to India with Sarahjoy and Jay!
Experience Varanasi, Bodh Gaya, Tiruvannamalai, and Rishikesh
December 19th, 2017 to January 10th, 2018
This 23-day trip is for those looking to dive deep into their spiritual practice and experience the wonders of India with an itinerary specially created by Sarahjoy.
Learn Raga singing, meditation, yoga philosophy, and asana from some of the finest teachers India has to offer.
Experience to the heart of Hindu culture in Varanasi, live in an ashram in Rishikesh, journey to the most holy place for followers of Buddhism bodh gaya, and to Tiruvannamalai one of Tamil Nadu’s holiest destinations.
Come home with a fresh perspective and renewed sense of self.
Visit Intriguing Places…
There are temple towns, there are mountain towns, and then there are temple-mountain towns where God appears as a phallus of fire. Welcome to Tiruvannamalai, one of Tamil Nadu’s holiest destinations.
Set below boulder-strewn Mt Arunachala, this is one of South India’s five ‘elemental’ cities of Shiva; here the god is worshiped in his fire incarnation as Arunachaleshwar. At every full moon, ‘Tiru’ swells with thousands of pilgrims who circumnavigate Arunachala’s base in a purifying ritual known as Girivalam; at any time you’ll see Shaivite priests, sadhus (spiritual men) and devotees gathered around the Arunachaleshwar Temple.
Tiru’s reputation for strong spiritual energies has produced numerous ashrams, and the town now attracts ever-growing numbers of spiritual-minded travellers.
Varanasi is one of the most blindingly colorful, unrelentingly chaotic, and unapologetically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But, if you’re ready for it, this may just turn out to be your favorite stop of all (it’s Jay and Sarahjoy’s favorite place!).
This is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hinduism’s seven holy cities. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death), making Varanasi the beating heart of the Hindu universe. Most visitors agree it’s a magical place, but it’s not for the faint-hearted – a walk along the ghats or a boat ride on the river will live long in the memory.
The crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya was where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree 2600 years ago and became Buddha (the ‘Awakened One’). In terms of blessedness, this tiny temple town is to Buddhists what Mecca is to Muslims. Unsurprisingly, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world every year, who come for prayer, study and meditation.
The most hallowed spot in town is the bodhi tree that flourishes inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, amid a beautiful garden setting, its roots embedded in the same soil as its celebrated ancestor. Additionally, many monasteries and temples dot the town, built in their national style by foreign Buddhist communities. The ambience is a mix of monastic tranquillity, backpacker comforts and small-town hustle, underpinned by an intensity of devotion that makes it endlessly interesting.
The holy city of Rishikesh, in the base of the Himalayas, holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for local Hindus. Considered the “birthplace of yoga,” it is a mecca for spiritual seekers. Sacred rivers and mountains set the scene for yoga and reflective hikes, and rafting here is a great way to see India from a different perspective. It is said that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it.
Thousands from both the near east and the far west have undergone spiritual refuge in an attempt to reach a new sense of self in Rishikesh. The Beatles got in touch with their Eastern spiritual side here, writing several songs for The White Album in 1968. Led by George Harrison’s commitment, the Beatles’ interest in the Maharishi changed the more conservative Western attitudes about Indian spirituality and encouraged the study of Transcendental Meditation
Throughout our journey we will be coming to know the many faces of India. Some of those we are most fortunate to be able to learn and study from are Saraswathi Vasudevan and Deobrat Mishra. Both are highly-acclaimed in their respected fields and the vastness of knowledge to be learned from the both of them is remarkable!
Study with Sarahjoy’s Mentors!
Director, Yoga Vahini, Chennai
Saras began her journey in the path of yoga & healing nearly 22 years ago. She studied and trained in the Classical tradition of Yoga that is strongly founded in the teachings of Patanjali & specializes in adapting yoga to the unique needs and abilities of each individual.
She holds 2 Masters Degrees in Nutrition and Psychology and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Yoga. She serves as a yoga teacher, trainer & therapist and has also been actively involved in yoga research bringing much needed scientific perspective to yoga therapy. www.yogavahini.com
Director, Mishra Music Center, Varanasi
Deobrat Mishra was born into a renowned music family of the Benares Gharana. He is a 7th generation sitar player and learned from his father, the great Maestro Pandit Shivnath.
He learned table first from his mother, then vocal music and then Sitar at the age of five.
At the age of 8 he gave his first Sitar stage Program in a Shitala Temple. From then on he wanted to be a great artist. He has traveled around the world extensively and currently teaches at his music center in Varanasi.
Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh
Sadhvi Abha Saraswati (Mataji) is an avid yoga practitioner since the age of twenty-five, when – through yoga – she cured herself of a terminal kidney ailment called nephritis. Since then she has delved more and more deeply into various forms of yoga, and has become not only a practitioner but also a teacher. Sadhvi Abha took Sanyas diksha in 2003 from H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji.
She lives at Parmarth Niketan Ashram where she teaches yogasana, yoga nidra, nada yoga, yogic philosophy and Vedic chanting to students from around the world, as well as infuses the evening Ganga Aarti with the heavenly sound of her voice.
$3,450 register by 6.20.17
$4,150 after 6.20.17
includes breakfast, some dinners, all sub-continental travel, tips.
Does not include international airfare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below includes the hearty details of our upcoming journey to India. Everything from what to expect socially, general functionaliies, and what you should prepare for as a whole. Please do read through the document thoroughly and we highly anticipate our transformative journey with each and everyone of you!
Date(s) - 12/19/2017 - 01/10/2018