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11 Days Bhakti Pilgrimage and Yoga Retreat in India

  • Jiva Ashram, Vrindavan - Varanasi - Bodhgaya

Overview

Bhakti Yoga Retreat India

Experience performing ecstatic kirtans with local and international bands when you join this retreat. Ganesha Events will also take you to visit eternal temples and discover stories and places of Sri Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Buddha, Hanuman, Ram and Sita, encounter enlightened beings of the area and a perfect combination of different styles of yoga sessions, Thai yoga massage workshops, and Hanuman Chalisa workshops. A retreat one should not missed out on!

Highlights

  • Thai yoga massage
  • Hanuman Chalisa workshop
  • Daily yoga sessions with different styles
  • Ecstatic kirtans with local and international bands
  • Visits to temples and discovering stories and places
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 3 daily meals
  • 10 days with instruction
  • English
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For this retreat, participants will be accommodated in three-star hotels and each room is equipped with air-conditioning.

The Bhakti pilgrimage is a peep inside the heart of spiritual mystic grounds of India, where the streets pulse with spirituality, where people dedicate their lives to the divine in its many forms and where resides some of the greatest living yogis and masters of the world. For yoga teachers and all others who want to deepen their understanding of Bhakti yoga, its background, and chants to be able to share with their students and others.

Ganesha Events creates journeys where western eyes can see and experience sacred India through the eyes of an Indian. A pilgrimage through India is a great opportunity to deepen your spiritual background and learn about ancient philosophy, traditional rituals, prayers, and way of life.

What makes this such a special journey into spiritual India is because of Deep who was born and lived all his life in India. He has experienced the secret temple streets to the enlightened beings of the area. India in itself is a difficult place to travel especially for women, but having Deep as a guide, it not only makes it easier, but also makes for a very unique experience as he has a passion to show India through his eyes to the world.

It is a sacred journey into the land of ecstatic kirtans with local and international Bands, visiting eternal temples and discovering stories and places of Indian gods and goddess, and encountering enlightened beings of the area with a perfect combination of yoga and chanting sessions.

Day 1 - Delhi to Vrindavan

You will arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), where your meeting pick up point is at Costa Coffee. For international arrivals, it will be at gate 5 at 2:00 p.m. You will then have a three to four-hour bus to Vrindavan and will have dinner on the way. Once reached, check in at Jiva Ashram and you will have a celebration kirtan at Munger Mandir Temple.

Day 2 - Vrindavan

  • Morning puja and chant with Baba ji Satyanarayana Dasa
  • 09:00 Breakfast at Jiva Ashram
  • Visiting the ​hot spots of Vrindavan
  • Lunch at Jiva Institute
  • Talk on Bhakti and Vrindavan with Swamini Vishwamohini
  • Dinner at Jiva Institute
  • Evening in Radha Raman Temple​ for aarti and kirtan

Day 3​ - Vrindavan

  • Morning puja and chant with Baba Ji
  • 09:00 Breakfast at Jiva Ashram
  • Visit to Govardhan​, the magical mountain of Sri Krishna
  • Lunch at late Shyam Das ​House (kirtan artist, USA)
  • Dinner
  • Kirtan with Rupesh​and Band
  • Sharing session

Day 4​ - Vrindavan

  • 09:00 Breakfast at Jiva Ashram
  • Lohi Bazaar​ for shopping
  • Lunch
  • Visit Barsana​ Temples Parikrama and enlightened beings of Barsana
  • Evening kirtan with Binod Bihari Maharaj

Day 5 - Vrindavan to Varanasi

  • Morning puja with Baba Ji and chant
  • Breakfast
  • Extra time to visit Vrindaban and market
  • Lunch
  • Bus to Tundla train station, night train​ to Varanasi in an air-conditioned sleeper coach of a six-hour train ride

Day 6 - Varanasi

  • Arrival Varanasi and transport to hotel on the Ghaat
  • Early lunch
  • Hanuman Chalisa ​on the Ghaat
  • Evening aarti ceremony ​on the Ghaat
  • Dinner and idli experience​

Day 7 - Varanasi

  • Morning rooftop Vinyasa yoga with Ganga views
  • Breakfast
  • Temples and Saints​ of Varanasi
  • Lunch
  • Temples and Saints of Varanasi
  • Dinner
  • Sharing session

Day 8 - Varanasi

  • Sunrise Ganges boat ride ​and chants
  • Breakfast
  • Hanuman Chalisa in the Shiva Temple
  • Lunch
  • Visiting temples and saints
  • Dinner
  • Indian classical music​ concert

Day 9 - Varanasi to Bodhgaya

  • Rooftop Vinyasa yoga with Ganga views
  • Breakfast
  • Drive to Bodhgaya in an air-conditioned deluxe bus for approximately five hours
  • Lunch
  • Arrival Bodhgaya
  • Dinner

Day 10 - Bodhgaya

  • Morning chants
  • Breakfast
  • Lord Buddha Boddi tree​ and monasteries
  • Lunch
  • Bodhgaya attractions
  • Dinner
  • Sharing and closing circle

Day 11 - Bodhgaya

  • Breakfast and goodbye hugs
  • Transfer to Gaya Airport (GAY)

Ganesha Events will take you to visit eternal temples and discover stories and places of Sri Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Buddha, Hanuman, Ram, and Sita.

  • Deep Deka

    Deep Deka is a visionary for the India yoga festival, Bhakti Camp, and Bhakti pilgrimage. Growing up in a traditional Indian family with mantras, kirtans, and pujas (spiritual rituals), he has a deep desire to go deeper and to share what small knowledge he has about this practice with others. Deep is an Indian living in europe for last 5 years who has the passion to show his culture and spirituality through his eyes to the western world.

  • Pau Castellagué

    Pau was introduced to the practice of yoga by the light of his younger brother Wari Om. Meeting his teacher Soma in the Navarra Mountains was the start of his spiritual journey. His path is full of joy and gratitude as auspicious teachers cross by him every step of the way like Jordi, Dolors, Laurino, Takis, Jason, Jenny, Soma, Dayalu, Goenka, and Amma.

  • Mireia Castellsagué

    Mireia is passionate about playing and sharing yoga, meditation, Thai, and Acro yoga around the world. She runs the Omshanti Yoga Studio near Barcelona and is also the co-founder of the Barcelona yoga conference and co-organizer of the “India Yoga Festival”. Happy to share yoga, acrobatics and Thai with lightness and transformation tools, Mireia started practicing yoga when she was 21.

  • Wari Om

    Wari is a yoga photographer and filmmaker. He travels around the world sharing and expanding the light of yoga. His work has been published and sponsored by some of the most prominent yoga magazines and conferences.

Ayodhya (Sri Ram, Sita, and Hanuman)

Ayodhya is the city where Lord Sri Ram, Sita, and Hanuman lived the amusing adventures of the Ramayana. It has the central role in the ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana, whose protagonist Lord Rama is god incarnated on earth as the prince of Ayodhya. The epic describes Lord Rama's 14 year exile, his victory over evil, and his grand return with his wife, Sita, to Ayodhya to become the king.

This return to Ayodhya is celebrated as Diwali, the leading festival of hundreds of millions of Hindus world-wide. Consequently, Lord Rama's reign over Ayodhya and its surroundings, called Ram Rajya, is the epitome of good governance and moral society in the Hindu tradition. There are palaces where Lord Ram and Sita enjoyed each other's company and where lies the floating stone from the bridge across India and Lanka.

Bodhgaya (Lord Buddha)

The crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya was where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a Bodhi tree and became Buddha 2600 years ago. 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 to pray, study, and meditate.

The most hallowed spot in town is a Bodhi tree, which flourishes inside the Mahabodhi temple complex, amid a beautiful garden setting, its roots embedded in the same soil as it celebrated ancestor. Additionally, many monasteries and temples dot the bucolic landscape, built in their national style by foreign Buddhist communities.

Undoubtedly, the most sacred fig tree ever to grace the earth was the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, where Prince Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, achieved enlightenment. Buddha was said to have stared unblinkingly at the tree in an awed gesture of gratitude and wonder after his enlightenment. Today, pilgrims and tourists alike flock here and attempt to do exactly the same thing, and the tree is considered the most important of Buddhisms four holiest sites.

Known as Sri Maha Bodhi, the original tree was paid special attention by Ashoka, a mighty Indian emperor who ruled most of the subcontinent from 269 to 232 BC, a century or so after Buddha was believed dead. His wife, Tissarakkh, was not such a fan of the tree and in a fit of jealousy and rage, caused the original Bodhi Trees death with poisonous thorns shortly after becoming the queen.

Varanasi (Mystical Shiva)

This is a spiritual capital of India. Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than a legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together. It is often referred to the holy city of India, the religious capital of India, the city of Shiva, and the city of learning. Scholarly books have been written in the city, including the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas. Today, there is a temple of his namesake in the city, the Tulsi Manas Mandir.

The current temples and religious institutions in the city are dated to the 18th century. Being the oldest city of the world and an important Hindu pilgrimage center, Varanasi attracts a large number of people from all over the world. For centuries, Varanasi is famous for spiritualism, mysticism, Indian philosophy, and Hinduism. All these are reflected in numerous sects, temples, Ashrams, and Ghats.

Varanasi is associated not only with Hinduism, but also with Buddhism and Jainism. Besides numerous temples, Varanasi also boasts of Buddhist stupas and Jain temples. Varanasi is also a mirror of the age-old Indian civilization. The archaeological museum at Sarnath houses numerous remains of the past, including the National emblem of India, the Ashoka pillar.

Since Varanasi is mainly associated with Hinduism, temples form the main attraction. The Ganga Ghats (river fronts) are the main center of religious activities and rituals, and also form one of the main attractions of Varanasi. The Alamgir Mosque, blend of the Hindu and Mughal styles of the architecture, is another important attraction of Varanasi.

Some of the most important temples of Varanasi are Durga temple, Vishwanath temple, Sankat Mochan temple, Tulsi Manas temple, and the Bharat Mata temple. The Bharat Mata Temple houses a huge relief map of the whole of Indian subcontinent and Tibetan plateau, the Archaeological museum, Sarnath, Buddhist stupas, and temples at Sarnath.

Vrindavan (Sri Krishna and Radha)

This is known as the land of kirtan. Millions of bhaktas or devotees of Radha Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna's life on earth. One of the most fascinating thing about Vrindavan is that kirtan is soul of it. People express their devotion by singing the divine chants and mantras.

The village of Vrindavan is where the young Krishna is said to have grown up. Pilgrims flock here from all over India. Dozens of temples, old and modern, dot the area. They come in all shapes and sizes and many have their own unique peculiarities, making a visit here a lifetime memory. In all parts of India, that eighty-four-square-mile tract of land is considered to be the most sacred place of pilgrimage because Krishna sported in it, and many devotees still linger there in ecstasy in search of Krishna and his childhood associates.

Srimati Radharani is the supreme goddess. It is described that she is the chief associate and devotee of Lord Krishna, and topmost of all goddesses. Her name means the she is the most excellent worshiper of Lord Krishna. However, she is also an expansion of the Lord's energy.

Since she is also an extension of Krishna, she is the feminine aspect of god. Thus, god is both male and female. They are one, but Krishna expands into two, himself and Radharani, for the sake of divine loving pastimes. If they remained as one, then there is no relationship, there are no pastimes, and there can be no dynamic exchange of love.

So, similarly, the spiritual world is the manifestation where in all souls have the opportunity to engage in a multitude of pastimes in loving relationships in full spiritual variety, without many hindrances you find in this material world. The only difference is that the spiritual world is centered around the supreme being. And, that supreme personality has expanded himself into Radharani for exhibiting the supreme loving relationship, in which so many others assist them.

It is believed that the essence of Vrindavan was lost over time until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the year 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavan, with purpose of locating the lost holy places associated with Lord Sri Krishna's transcendent pastimes.

Chaitanya wandered through the different sacred forests of Vrindavan in a spiritual trance of divine love. It was believed that by his divine spiritual power, he was able to locate all the important places of Krishna's pastimes in and around Vrindavan.

The major tradition followed in the area is Vaisnavism, and it is a center of learning with many Vrindavan ashrams operating. It is a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places, like Govardhana and Gokul that are associated with Krishna.

Participants will be served with three daily meals.

For this retreat, you will have a Thai yoga massage.

  • 3 daily meals
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • All travel expenses
  • Excursion visits to temples
  • Kirtan sessions
  • Thai yoga massage and Hanuman Chalisa workshop
  • Yoga sessions mentioned in itinerary
  • Additional activities
  • Additional meals
  • International flights
  • Personal expenses and shopping
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) and depart at Gaya Airport (GAY). Transfers from and to the airports are included. Ganesha Events will pick you up from Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) at 14:00 and drop you off at Gaya Airport (GAY) or Gaya train station junction in the morning. Upon arrival, once the group is together, you will go to Vrindaban by bus.

Transfer from Delhi to Vrindaban will take three hours by bus (150 kilometers). Transfer from Vrindaban to Ayodhya is about 550 kilometers and you will have an overnight trip with a coach train. From Ayodhya to Varanasi, it will take four hours by bus (200 kilometers) and from Varanasi to Bodhgaya, it will take four hours and 30 minutes (250 kilometers). All transfers are included in the price.

For information about the booking conditions, please send Ganesha Events an inquiry.
  • Review by Sanjani
    10 out of 10

    "All I can say is that I am coming back next year and I can't wait!"

    India Yoga Festival Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Vincent
    10 out of 10

    "Such a great Bhakti gathering! Grateful for the love and joy we shared."

    India Yoga Festival Facebook page, edited

Freiburg, Germany

Ganesha Events is trying to bring a harmonic blend of traditional yoga and the newest tendencies and styles evolving from around the globe.

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11 days / 10 nights

Availability

Arrival: Wednesday March 1, 2017
Departure: Saturday March 11, 2017

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