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There is nothing more invigorating and soul-nourishing than being on top of the world, literally. Soul Seed will take you on an unforgettable journey through Northern India’s Himalayas, bringing you to experience the jaw-dropping beauty and diversity of the landscapes as well as the fascinating synergetic blend of cultures that make your visits so warm and stimulating.
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The accommodation throughout this three-week journey will be provided in a shared double room. The rooms will be clean, comfortable, modest, and in a safe location. More details are included in your guidebook.
This trip offers you the chance to experience a little bit of everything, including beginner yoga and meditation classes, hiking and rafting through the foothills, volunteering with Tibetan refugees, a gastronomic tour of local specialties, and a variety of cultural excursions to give you a well-rounded historical and contemporary perspective of each locale.
The thoughtfully chosen activities are balanced with plenty of “you-time” when you will have the freedom to explore your own interests or simply relax and take in the extraordinary majesty of your surroundings. From the delights of Delhi, to the prairies of Punjab, to the Tibetan paradise of Dharamsala, to the snow-capped peaks surrounding Manali, to the Ganges-side yoga capital of Rishikesh, and the magnificence of the Taj Mahal, you will experience the best of this magical region alongside like-minded travelers in safety and comfort.
Your journey begins in India's bustling capital Delhi, where you'll be picked up from the airport and brought to the guesthouse to meet the rest of the group. You'll have a crash-course in Indian culture, navigate the bustling streets, practice bartering skills in local markets, and visit the city's historical and spiritual landmarks. There will also be a group welcome dinner to feast on the best of the best traditional Indian cuisine and get ready for the next three weeks.
Rishikesh is a charming and quaint town that sits idly along the banks of the Ganges. It is both a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus to bathe in its holy waters and considered the world's yoga capital. Cradled among the green foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh lines the banks of “Mother Ganga” where she leaves her Himalayan source and enters the plains of North India.
“Shanti Shanti” is the motto here, meaning peace, rest, calmness, tranquility, or bliss. Its contextual translation is 'chill out'. In Rishikesh, you'll have a chance to relax and reflect on the past two weeks along the banks of the Ganges River with daily yoga and meditation. There are multitudes of classes to engage in from yoga, reiki, drumming, cooking, jewelry making - nearly anything you can think of.
For the adventurous spirit, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, rafting, and paragliding over the Himalayas. And for those who want to relax, you may want to enjoy one of Rishikesh’s most “Shanti” ubiquitous pastimes by chilling out in an open air café on the banks of the Ganges, sipping honey ginger lemon tea with a book or a like mind.
Nestled at 2,100 meters in the foothills of the Himalayas, McLeod Ganj is home to the Dalai Lama and his exiled followers. With a backdrop of snowcapped peaks overlooking the Kangra valley, you'll discover the fascinating intersection of Tibetan and North Indian culture that make this town like nowhere else on earth. You'll begin each day with a yoga practice and have plenty of time to explore everything this town has to offer.
Hiking through the forests to nearby villages, chatting over chai with monks, and attending classes from Buddhist philosophy to woodcarving, time seems to simultaneously crawl and fly in this mountaintop town. You’ll have the opportunity to volunteer with a local grassroots organization for Tibetan refugees where you’ll discover a truly authentic exchange of culture.
Learning about their culture, hearing their fascinating stories of exile, and teaching them about your culture and language is an appreciated, heartwarming, and meaningful way to engage with the local culture. You'll discover local issues from speakers and films, learn to cook local cuisine, and hike through the pine and rhododendron forests to the majestic snow-capped peak of Mount Triund.
You'll have plenty of time to relax, reflect, explore the streets, and peruse the plethora of spiritual, adventurous, and cultural activities this diverse town has to offer.
Amritsar is the Sikh spiritual capital of India and home to the magnificent Golden Temple. A golden gurdwara surrounded by a pool of crystal holy water, this is one of the most spiritual places in India. You'll take part in the traditional langar, a display of the Sikh principle of equality between all people, where thousands of visitors share a meal along rows of mats lining the temple floor - the rice pudding is world famous!
Each day, volunteers serve 100,000 people free of charge. Outside the serenity of the temple, the city of Amritsar is a bustling Punjabi center. You'll visit the surrounding local markets and key historical sites that tell of the region's tragic history and present reality. To end the evening, you will drive to the Baaga border for the strange and highly entertaining boarder ceremony between the Indian and Pakistani armies.
Arriving in Agra, home of India’s greatest wonder and a buzzing North Indian city itself, you'll have the day to explore the magnificent Taj Mahal and Agra's surrounding historical sites and markets. Words can’t do justice to describe the majesty of this immaculate structure and space - it’s an awe-inspiring experience which will always remain imprinted in your memory of India. In the evening, you'll have a rooftop dinner with a backdrop of the sun setting behind the silhouette of one of the world’s most grand structures.
You can wander the streets of the old city alongside elephants and camels, tackle the organized chaos of the spice and tea markets, and feast on some of the best Indian food around. You’ll have the chance to experience India’s oldest and most spectacular relics of history such as Amber Fort, an opulent palace complex of sandstone and marble perched atop the hills surrounding Jaipur and overlooking Maota Lake.
You will wake up early and head back to Delhi to be dropped off at the guesthouse. Depending on where you’re headed from here, Soul Seed Journeys can help you arrange further travel or transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
During the three weeks, there are several included excursions to enjoy India at its finest.
Allison is an educator and social justice enthusiast raised in Calgary, Alberta. With a background in international development and education, Allison’s passion lies in women’s education and community development. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in international development from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Calgary. Allison has worked for several non-profit organizations, including non-government organizations (NGO) in Argentina and India, an Aboriginal women’s group, and youth experiential education program in Calgary.
Calla Turnbull is an aspiring multi-tasker. She is currently managing the marketing and development of Soul Seed Journeys, managing a small technical writing start-up, and working as an environmental administrator in Calgary, Alberta. These disciplines aren’t as different as they sound; each of them allows Calla to develop her communication skills, be continuously learning, and fund her voracious desire for travel.
From the delights of Delhi, to the prairies of Punjab, to the Tibetan paradise of Dharamsala, to the snow-capped peaks surrounding Manali, to the Ganges-side yoga capital of Rishikesh, and the magnificence of the Taj Mahal, you will experience the best of this magical region alongside like-minded travelers in safety and comfort.
Food is not included in the package, except for the welcome dinner.
Please book your flight to arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Transfer from and to the airport is included. The organizer will pick you up from the airport.
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