16-19 October, 2012
We'll spend most of 4 days in Rishikesh, known as the world capital of yoga and a delight for the spiritually-minded. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and surrounded by forest, Rishikesh is a beautiful spot divided by the Ganges River, which here is rushing and playful before it enters the plains. Hundreds of ashrams, large and small, surround Rishikesh.
Life is centred around the river, as will be our visit. Our hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Ganges. We'll meditate on its banks, and attend an impressive arati worship service at sunset in honour of India's most sacred river.
We'll meditate in the homes, ashrams, and caves where Self-realised yogis of the past have lived. We'll also visit a present-day spiritual teacher.
And there'll be free time to explore your own relationship with this fascinating and powerful place.
Tuesday, 16 October
An early morning train takes us to Haridwar, the gateway to the Himalayas, and the site of the huge Kumbha Mela religious festival. Transportation will be waiting to take us to Rishikesh, where we’ll get settled into our hotel and have lunch together.
The first afternoon will be spent orienting ourselves in the Ram Jhula and Swarg Ashram areas of Rishikesh. At sunset we’ll participate in the renowned Ganga Arati at Parmarth Ashram.
Wednesday-Thursday, 17-18 October
Our days in Rishikesh will include morning stretching and meditation at our hotel or by the river, and meditation and chanting at all of our destinations. We'll meditate in the powerful newly-built temple at Swami Shankarananda's Kriya Yoga Ashram.
The modern saint most associated with Rishikesh was Swami Sivananda, who sent a number of his chief disciples to the West. We'll meditate in Sivananda's house, preserved just as when he lived there, as well as where his body is, and the temple where "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama" has been chanted non-stop since 1942.
We'll also have time in Rishikesh to sightsee, shop, and explore the forested pathways along the Ganges between the neighborhoods of Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula.
On a quiet stretch of the river above Rishikesh we'll meditate in the spiritually powerful cave said to have been home to Sage Vashishta. Just downstream from this shrine is the cave where Swami Kriyananda spent a month in seclusion. At the river's edge we'll have a purification ceremony.
Friday, 19 October
After most of the day in Rishikesh, we'll drive back to Haridwar. We’ll meditate near the ashes of Lahiri Mahasaya, at the ashram of his disciple Swami Keshabananda. We’ll also visit the ashram of Ananda Moyee Ma, whom Yogananda called “Joy-permeated Mother” in Autobiography of a Yogi. There we’ll meditate near her Samadhi Mandir (where her body is), and also in her rooms, and visit her private ghat on the Ganges. We'll board an evening train to Delhi.
Double occupancy: Rs. 18,000 per person.
Single occupancy (private room): Rs. 21,500 per person.
Please note: If you do not have a roommate, we will try to connect you with another single pilgrim of the same sex. If a roommate cannot be found, you will need to pay for single occupancy. If you snore, we ask you to room with someone you know well, or pay for single occupancy.
The programme fee includes air-conditioned chair car Shatabdi train Delhi-Haridwar-Delhi, all group transportation, lodging, 2 meals a day, and tips. Not included in the programme fee are lunches, snacks, and beverages; and personal hotel expenses such as room-service snacks.
A completed application form and 1st payment of Rs. 5,000 are due as soon as possible in order to purchase train tickets and to book the hotel in time. Payments should be made online, by cheque or bank draft payable to "Ananda Sangha", or in person in Gurgaon by cash. Your participation is confirmed only when we approve your application and receive 1st payment. The balance of the fee is due by 15 September.
In case of cancellation, Rs. 1,000 of fee is non-refundable. Cancellation close to date of departure may incur additional costs.
Preparation for Pilgrimage
Weather? What to pack? What to wear?
We'll help you through all these questions and more by e-mail, with letters on preparation and answers to any individual questions.
This pilgrimage will be led by Keshava
and Daya Taylor of Ananda Sangha India.