Yogic Wisdom India Retreat 2019-20: Bhakti Tour
This year Yogic Wisdom will lead a ‘Bhakti Tour’, a journey of devotion through India. This bhakti tour will be designed to help you experience the unconditional, loving presence that is always within us should we choose to tap into it.
This tour will offer the opportunity to experience this devotion through different paths – devotion to the Divine mother, service to humanity, through chanting and spiritual practices, and how it manifests in different traditions. Here is a little more about the tour:
Kolkata – Bhakti & the Divine Feminine
India’s East has historically been known for worship of the Divine Feminine and Kolkata is no different. Historically the capital city of British India, Kolkata is home to the most famous Kali temples in the country and renowned for its annual Durga Pujas’. To be in Kolkata means to be surrounded by devotion to the Divine mother.
Our journey will begin in Kolkata with the blessings of the Ganga, the mother of all rivers in India, and a recipient great devotion and affection in India.
We will then venture into the life of Mother Teresa, a Saint and Catholic nun who lived in Kolkata. We will pray at her tomb and visit the site where she offered her devotion to Jesus and humanity. It is at the Mother House Missionary of Charities where Mother Theresa lived, prayed, worked, and guided her religious family of sisters spread across the world. It is here that her body was laid to rest.
We will then proceed to offer our prayers to Dakshineswar Kali, a deeply loving manifestation of the Goddess most commonly known for her confronting, wild nature, as one who represents time, death and cutting away the ego of her devotees. The temple has a beautifully open hearted past, founded by female freedom fighter, it has always invited people from all castes, creeds and backgrounds.
This powerful Kali temple is one of Kolkata’s most popular temples, and was the site of worship by the god-intoxicated Saint Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who was it’s second priest over a century ago. Hence a trip to Dakshineswar Kali will not be complete without a visit to Belur Math, the home of Ramakrishna Paramhansa who was one of the most revered Saints and devotees of Kali in the 19th Century.
Ramakrishna Paramahansa Ashraya Orphanage and School
Bangalore – Bhakti & Selfless Service
New Years Eve will be in Bangalore, and what better way to celebrate than to meet with a modern day Bhakta, Leela, who has been running Ashraya Orphanage and school for the last three decades. Ashraya Orphanage shelters over 60 children, and provides free schooling and education to over 200 children who would otherwise be out on the streets. Leela’s devotion to the children and to Sai Baba are an inspiring lesson in unconditional trust towards the divine. A visit to Ashraya helps us learn that when we see and serve that spark of the divine in others, we are able to more clearly access it within ourselves
Mangalore – Bhakti & Nature
Many of us we experience connection most clearly when we are in nature. We will spend some time relaxing and soaking in the beauty of Mangalore and appreciating life on the Indian coast. While we are there, we will make our way down to the energy filled Ananthapadmanabhan Swamy temple, built in the middle of a gorgeous little lake in the village near Kumble, Kerala. This temple is a beautiful example of the abundance that can be found within, and all around us.
Anandashram., Swami Ramdas & Ananthapadmanabhan Swamy temple,
Anandashram, Kanhangad – Bhakti & Chanting the name of Ram
We will have the great privilege of experiencing simple Ashram life when we stay at the ‘Abode of Bliss’, Anandashram. Founded by Swami Ramdas, endearingly called Beloved Papa, his teaching can be captured in a nutshell – ‘The individual is the universal. Expansion of the individual into the universal is possible only when divine thought rules your mind, divine love fills your heart, divine will governs your actions’.
The practice followed in the Ashram consists of chanting of Ram’s name to remember Him, feeling the presence of light within and translating these into work and daily life. Ram Nam (‘Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram’) is the name of divinity chanted in Anandashram.
Kochi – Bhakti & Coexistence
Our final destination will be Kochi, will be reached on rail through a fun day-time rail trip through “God’s own country”, Kerala.
Kochi is a bhakta’s delight as it has welcomed people from all faiths for millenium, setting an example for the world on how bhakti from different faiths can not only coexist, but thrive and grow together. Kochi is home to some of the oldest Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities in the world today. Kochi welcomed Jews in the time of King Solomon, hosted the Apostle Saint Thomas, and established its first mosque while the Prophet Mohammed was still alive. Kerala was also home to ancient Buddhist and Jain communities, and it’s own indigenous spirituality was thriving long before any of these ‘newer’ traditions arrived.
While we are in Kochi, we will have the great privilege of praying and offering our respects at the Ancient Koonan Kurshi Syrian Church from 1st century AD, the Cheraman Jumah Masjid, the oldest mosque in South Asia, and Kadavumbagam Synagogue one of the oldest accessible Synagogues in India.
Now a trip to Kerala would be amiss without an Ayurvedic massage and delicious local cuisine. Kerala is also the home state of Ayurvedic treatment, so during our time in Kochi we will make sure we enjoy Ayurvedic massage, along with ancient arts such as classical dance and martial arts performances.
Last but not least, we will make a day trip to the Alleppey backwaters to enjoy and appreciate local village life along the Kerala backwaters. We will see life that is lived along the canals, and crops that are ingeniously grown below the sea-level.
|Day||Day of week||Date||Night stay||Activity|
|10:45AM: Air India flight to Delhi
5:50PM: Land in Delhi
8:15PM: Board Air India flight to Kolkata
10:20PM: Land in Kolkata
12:30PM: Check into hotel
|Day 2||Saturday||28/12/19||Kolkata||Morning: open retreat
Afternoon: Visit Mother House with church, mother theresa tomb and museum, St Thomas Church
Early night (people will be tired)
|Day 3||Sunday||29/12/19||Kolkata||Ramakrishna mission – visit Dakshineswar Kali + Belur Math
Early night (people will still be recovering from jetlag)
|Day 4||Monday||30/12/19||Kolkata||Day of exploration – can do a historical walking tour, visit Kalighat temple, Chinese Kali temple, shopping etc. Kolkata is one of Indias oldest cities and home to many great people.
Early night (next day is big)
|4:45AM: Leave for airport and check in
6:55AM: Flight Kolkata to Bengaluru;
9:35AM: Land in Bengaluru and have breakfast
11:30AM: Reach Hotel, check in and freshen up (or go straight to ashraya)
12.30PM: Head to Ashraya school and spend time with the children and Leela (lunch 12.45), followed by orphanage
4:00PM: Leave Ashraya and head to MG Road (or go back to hotel)
6:00PM: New years fun (Blossoms, dinner, party!)
|Morning flight: Bangalore to Mangalore
Drive south and stop at Ananthapadmanabhan Swamy temple lake, and Kasagod beach.
Evening: Reach Anandashram – Ashram program
|Day 7||Thursday||2/1/20||Kanhangad||Ashram program|
|Day 8||Friday||3/1/20||Kanhangad||Ashram program|
|Day 9||Saturday||4/1/20||Kanhangad||Ashram program|
|Morning: Train from Kanhangad to Kochi (5:45AM or 8:30AM)
8 hour train journey with beautiful scenery (better in the day – no good night time train options)
Afternoon: Reach Kochi by late afternoon, check in by evening and have dinner
|Day 11||Monday||6/1/20||Kochi||Morning: Spiritual program (Ancient Malabar Jews Synagogue)
Afternoon: Fun (in Jew town)
|Day 12||Tuesday||7/1/20||Kochi||Morning: Spiritual program (Ancient Koonan Kurshi Syrian Church from 1st cent AD)
Afternoon: Fun (Chinese fishing nets and ancient martial art performance)
|Day 13||Wednesday||8/1/20||Kochi||Day visit to Allepey the beautiful backwaters|
|Day 14||Thursday||9/1/20||Kochi||Morning: Spiritual program (Cheraman Jumah Masjid – oldest mosque in India)
Afternoon: Fun (street art walking tour + evening performance: classical dance)
|Day 15||Friday||10/1/20||Kochi||Morning: Pack
Afternoon: Lunch and fun
8PM: Head to airport for return flight
|Day 16||Saturday||11/1/20||Flight||1:00AM: Air Malaysia Flight departs for Sydney
8:30PM: Flight arrives in Sydney
The cost of the retreat, including all accommodation, breakfasts and internal transfers and local guides and Yogic Wisdom team and yoga/spiritual teachings, is $3600.
To book your place, or if you want more information, contact Yogic Wisdom via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone; 0410 545502
Payments via Direct Deposit
Retreat Deposit $1000 by 31st July 2019
Remainder Payment $2600 by 27th September 2019
St George Bank
Account Name: Yogic Wisdom
BSB 112 879
Account 430 542 037
Booking flights to and from India (excluded from retreat costing)
recommend booking with Kylie Amos from ITravel on 0448 386 875
Suggested flight around $1500
Flight to India – Sydney to Kolkata with Air India
Flight home – Kochi to Sydney with Malaysia Airlines
Payment and Refund Policy
Retreat fees (not including non-refundable deposit) will be refunded if you withdraw from the retreat up to one month prior to departure 27 November 2019. A refund of 50% of retreat fees will be considered up to two weeks prior to 12 December 2019, if your place in the retreat can be filled. All other payments are non-refundable after the retreat commencement date. In circumstances such as personal difficulties and illness, payment may be transferred to other Yogic Wisdom programs.
Greater Retreat Details
India tourist visa from Australia – apply
You will need to supply the first hotel address in India and a jpeg version of a photograph which you can obtain from the Post Office, see the visa website for the required dimensions, they are a different size to passport photos. You will also need a colour copy of the first page of your passport. Apply approx 6 weeks prior to travel. Fee is around $100 AUD Travel Money
Money is easy to withdraw from ATM or take cash to exchange at hotel lobbies, you can also change money at Delhi airport on arrival. It is difficult to obtain Indian currency in Australia at a good rate, Travelex are the only ones providing it at present.
There will be a safe is all the hotels to store your money and passport
Medical Considerations and Vaccinations
● Some students have a general antibiotics script filled to take with in case of need
● Diarrhoea medication is another medication some people take with them
Ask your GP about their suggestions from the table below, some GP’s specialise in travel medicine Vaccinations
Recommended Vaccines for India from Australian Health Authorities
Typhoid – Contaminated Food or Water
Japanese Encephalitis – Mosquito-borne (we are travelling in winter so less likely to be infected)
Hepatitis A – Contaminated Food or Water
Rabies – Rabies Infected Animals
Polio – Contaminated Food or Water
Influenza – Airborne Droplets