SOUTH INDIAN TEMPLE TOUR

THE YOGA OF RITUAL AND DEVOTION

THE YOGA OF RITUAL AND DEVOTION

November 8th – 22nd, 2018

With Ron Reid, Marla Meenakshi Joy & Xenia Ananda Shakti

 Our Southern India Temple Tour will  Ignite the fires of ritual and devotion through yoga, pranayama, meditation, chanting and ritual worship, Ayurvedic massage and treatments while guiding  you through famous temples and other sacred sites including Meenakshi Temple,  Arunanchala and the ashrams of Ramana Maharsi  and Ammachi.

We are so excited and honoured to host you on this very special tour of some ancient sacred sight’s and temple’s in Southern India, where the spiritual energy and Shakti of these places infuse our hearts and minds with Divine grace. Hosted by Ananda Shakti (Xenia), Ron Reid, Marla Meenakshi Joy, and our beloved Indian guide Partha Paitandi who is a Brahman priest, bringing over 30 years of yoga practice and sadhana to help support and guide your journey of self-discovery during this very special tour!

We will be doing a combination of yoga practice, pranayama, meditation, chanting and ritual worship as we ignite the fires of ritual and devotion within us. There will be time for Ayurvedic massage and treatments (at additional costs) and all of the prices and fees will be laid out for you very clearly as the tour evolves. We will be supporting a small group to go, so if you are interested, then please try and book as soon as you can to reserve your spot for this dive into the ancient heritage of yoga and it’s potent and transformative experiences!
For now, here is the itinerary below, and more to come soon.

*(Please note: this tour is being run seperate from Downward Dog so please contact me directly with any questions). We will also be sending you an application to submit so that we can best determine if this is the right trip for you)

Get in Touch to Sign up!

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR

  • Visit Chennai: KAPALEESHWAR TEMPLE, SRI PARTHA SARATHI TEMPLE
  • Daily: Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and Chanting.
  • Visiting some of the ancient and famous SOUTH INDIAN TEMPLES and other SACRED SITES.
  • Special SACRED PUJA’S (ceremonies) according to  the peoples zodiac signs.
  • Visiting the famous GURU MAHARSHI SHRI RAMANA ASHRAM
  • Walking tour of the top of  the HOLY MOUNTAIN in ARUNACHALA
  • Special PUJA’S and DARSHANA’S and BLESSINGS.
  • Enjoy completing our tour at VARKALA BEACH at an AYURVEDIC RESORT for Ayurvedic treatments.
  • Visit the SHRI JANARDANA SWAMI TEMPLE and SHIVAGIRI MATH
  • ELEPHANT SANCTUARY to watch the elephant’s bathe and /or riding them.
  • AMRITA PURI visit: The hugging saint MATA AMMA’S ashram.

CHENNAI (Day 1 and 2)

Kapaleeshwar Temple

The ARULMIGU KAPALEESHWAR TEMPLE is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built approximately in the Seventh Century. The Gopuram inside the temple marks as a unique example of Dravidian architectural style. A traveler cannot help but notice the inscriptions in the premises of the temple that date back to 12th century. The Arulmigu Kapaleeshwar Temple has a tank in the West which is surrounded by broad streets on four sides. The Goddess Parvati is worshipped in the temple and has been incarnated as Goddess Karpagambal or the ‘Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree’.
Arulmigu Karpagambal is enshrined at the entrance and situated exactly in front of the Goddess. The mount of the Goddess is a stone sculpture of Lion located outside the temple. The Arulmigu Kapaleeshwar Temple hosts six different kinds of puja’s( sacred ceremonies) namely Ko pooja,Vaikarai Pooja, Kaala sandhi Puja, Uchi Kala Pooja, Evening Puja, Kala Puja and Ardhajama Pooja.

Shri Parthasarathy Temple

An abode to Lord Venkat Krishna, Shri Parthasarathy Temple was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century. Shri parthasarathy temple is situated at Tiruvallikeni or Triplicane and is the oldest temple in Chennai. The main shrine inside the temple is of Parthasarathy or Venkata Krishna and the secondary shrine is of Vedavalli Thayaar, with that of Narasimha and Ranganatha.
The temple has incarnations of Lord Vishnu in his four forms namely Narasimha, Rama, Varaha and Krishna. It also has shrines which were built during the rule of Cholas and Vijayanagara Kings. An exquisite feature of the temple is the coloured gopuram. There are two gopurams within the temple one of which is facing east and the other is facing west. The intricately carved pillars of the temple are sure to leave one spell-bound. The water tank situated within the temple is considered holy and sacred because it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was born to sage Bhrigu in the form of Vedavalli. The Shri Parthasarathy Temple also celebrates a floral festival from mid- February to mid- March. This festival is held at the water tank situated within the premises of the temple. Shri Parthasarathy Temple is thus a spectacular depiction of amazing tourist attraction in Chennai.

ARUNACHALA ( Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Annamalaiyar Temple

This gigantic temple is located at the foot of the sacred Tiruvannamalai Hills. It is situated  in an area of 25 acres, with Nine lofty Towers, encompassed with several shrines, Mandapams, and other enclosures decorated with finely and aesthetically carved pillars and sculptures. Inscriptions on the walls of this temple date back to period between 10th and 16th century. The temple is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams, which means “the manifestation of five natural elements : land, water, air, sky or fire.” Annamalaiyar is said to have manifested himself as an element of FIRE in this Temple. The myth goes like this: Arunachaleshwara rose into a massive column of fire, whose crown and feet could not be traced either by Brahma or Vishnu, indicating God is an incarnation without beginning or an end. 
The special days this temple town attracts millions of pilgrims are: Girivalam or Giri pradakshinam on the occasion of the full moon day every month, when lakhs of devotees circumambulates 14 Km foothill path around hill. The other festival is the Karthigai Deepam, celebrated on the full moon day in the Tamil month of KARTHIGAI [November and December]. Massive displays of Deepam (candle lighting ritual) is lit atop the Annamalaiyar Hill, and is visible from several kilometer radius around the Hill. This festival records a convergence of more than three million pilgrims in this town.

Ramana Ashram (spiritual hermitage)

Ramana Ashram: Raman Maharishi, the 20th century saint lived here and taught simple way of life. This Ashram developed and maintained by Sri Ramana Maharishi’s disciples attracts tourists from all over the world. Sri Ramana Maharishi [1879 – 1950] is a 20th Century Saint. He was named as Venkatraman by his parents. Enlightened in the year 1986 at the age of 16, soon attracted devotees into his cult. His simple and effective meditation practices and divine sermons to understand humanity and divinity attracted devotees. They grew in numbers and strength as the days and years passed by and started addressing him as Maharishi (The “great saint/seer). He attained mukti (liberation) in the year 1950. Kandashramam, where Ramana Maharishi meditated during his earlier days, is on the Girivalam path.

 

 

Chidambaram  Temple   ( new addition to our tour !! )

 

A view of north-side gopuram of the temple

A view of north-side gopuram and pond of the temple

The present temple was built in the 10th century when Chidambaram was the capital of the Chola dynasty, making it one of the oldest surviving active temple complexes in South India. After its 10th century consecration by the Cholas who considered Nataraja as their family deity,  the temple has been damaged, repaired, renovated and expanded through the 2nd millennium. Most of the temple’s surviving plan, architecture and structure is from the late 12th and early 13th centuries, with later additions in similar style. While Shiva as Nataraja is the primary deity of the temple, it reverentially presents major themes from Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and other traditions of Hinduism. The Chidambaram temple complex, for example, has the earliest known Amman or Devi temple in South India, a pre-13th century Surya shrine with chariot, shrines for Ganesha, Murugan and Vishnu, one of the earliest known Shiva Ganga sacred pool, large mandapas for the convenience of pilgrims (choultry, ambalam or sabhai) and other monuments. Shiva himself is presented as the Nataraja performing the Ananda Tandava (“Dance of Delight”) in the golden hall of the shrine Pon Ambalam

 

 

 

MADURAI (Day 8)

The MEENAKSHI AMMAN TEMPLE is an ancient and one amongst the most important temples of India. Located in the holy city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Temple can be reached easily by the means of local transport from Madurai. The city comprises its own domestic airport that is connected with all the major cities of India. Renowned for its astonishing architecture, the Meenakshi Amman Temple has been nominated for the new “Seven Wonders” of the World. Hundreds and thousands of devotees come every year to pay their obeisance of the Lord.

The Meenakshi Sundareswar Temple is dedicated to Sundareshwar (form of Lord Shiva) and Meenakshi (form of Goddess Parvati). The term “Sundareshwar” suggests “the beautiful lord” and “Meenakshi” means “the fish-eyed goddess”. As per the Hindu folklore, Madurai is the same city where Lord Sundareshwar (Shiva) appeared to marry Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati). The Meenakshi Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred places of Parvati, the other being Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Akilandeswari at Thiruvanaikaval and Vishalakshi at Varanasi.

At the center of the sanctum sanctorum, the shrine of Shiva embraces the site. It is a famous image of Nataraja (Dancing form of Lord Shiva) on a massive silver altar. The shrine is also known as Velli Ambalam (Silver abode). In the proximity, there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Known as Mukuruny Vinayakar, the temple adores the idol that was found during the excavation made in Temple Lake. On the left side of Shiva, the shrine of Goddess Meenakshi appears enchanting with quite less ornamentation.

Temple Structure

Sprawled in an area of 45 acres, the temple complex comprises not less than twelve superlative gopurams (towers), which are richly sculptured and decorated. The tallest tower rises to the extent of 170 feet. The main sanctum sanctorum is believed to be more than 3500 years old. The fortifications and other outer construction are estimated to be 1500-2000 years old. The colossal structure of the temple has got the dimensions of 254 by 237 meters. Having history of thousands of years, the present structure of the temple got erected in the early 17th century. Aayiram Kaal Mandapam is a thousand pillared hall, which is prominent due to its class sculptures. The hall is truly a marvel of architecture and definitely worth-visiting. ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ is the hall, where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati is observed every year in the Hindu month of ‘Chaitra’ (April).

Mythology

According to a mythological legend, Lord Sundarehswar (Shiva) appeared on the earth in order to marry Goddess Meenakshi, who is believed to be an incarnation of Parvati. In advance, Parvati appeared in the form of an infant after the great penance of Malayadwaja Pandya (the ruler of Madurai). When the girl grew up, Lord Shiva descended on the earth to propose her. The grand marriage was observed and it was assumed to be the biggest event on the earth. Lord Vishnu had to attend the marriage of her sister Meenakshi, but on the way he was tricked by Lord Indra and was late.
The marriage took place at Madurai and the angri Lord Vishnu swore never to visit the city. He settled on the nearby hill of Alagar Koil. Ultimately, he was conciliated by the other Gods and he came to bless the celestial couple. In keeping with the traditions, the marriage and Vishnu’s pacification are celebrated as the major festivals in Madurai till this day.. The celestial couple is regarded to have ruled Madurai for a long time. After they left the world, it is not apparent that what actually happened. As per another legend, Shivalingam was discovered by Lord Indra, who built the initial temple.

KERALA (DAYS 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13)

(Varkala Beach) Ayurveda Treatments

Location: 51 km north of Thiruvananthapuram city in Thiruvananthapuram district and 37 km south of Kollam, south Kerala.

Varkala

A calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashram – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach.

The Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural springs. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’.

Janardhana Swamy Temple

One of the ancient temples in Kerala, the Janardhana temple is a major pilgrim spot in Varkala. The temple, which has a history of some 2000 years, is located on a steep hill, at the entrance of the beach road.

Ambience and architecture

Varkala Janrdhanaswami Temple is popular not only as a pilgrim centre but it also has a grand allure with its architectural splendor. The temple faces Papanasam beach and the proximity to the sea adds to its spiritual as well as aesthetic aura. A flight of broad steps leads to the Janardhana temple and on the way, you will be greeted by a high entrance arch with tiled roof. An old banyan tree stands on the temple ground and idols of several serpent gods and goddesses are also installed here.

Brightly painted idols of Hanuman, Garuda, Lord Shiva and others greet you once you are about to enter the sanctorum. The main shrine Lord Janardhana (Vishnu) has four arms in which are placed shanghu (the holy conch shell) chakra (wheel), gada (mace) and kumbham (pot).

The temple has many attractive features and it has a circular sanctum sanctorum surmounted by a conical dome of copper sheets. The mandapa or pavilion is square in shape and it has wooden carvings of Navagrahas (nine planets) on the ceiling. There is a hall in which the bali peetha is situated and this too is an important feature of the temple architecture.
Though the original date of construction of the temple is not available, there are some inscriptions which indicate that the renovation of the temple had been carried out at different periods of history. One of the inscriptions says that the temple was renovated by Umayamma Rani, who ruled this region in the later 17th century.

An ancient inscription dated 1252 has also been found on the temple premises. It is seen engraved on the lower part of the mandapa before the temple. Tall granite posts and heavy brass bells hung from ceilings too evoke interest in a connoisseur. The oil trays cut in the granite posts hold lighted wicks during evenings and it is a treat to the eyes.
There is a pool called `Chakra Theertha’ on the northern part of the temple which is about 240 ft in circumference.

A two thousand year old shrine, the Janardhanaswamy Temple sits, which is a short distance away from the beach. The Sivagiri Matt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days – 30th December to 1st January. Shree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: “one caste, one religion and one god”, in a society torn by the taboos of caste system.

Shivagiri Math

Shivagiri is a pilgrimage centre in Varkala, where one of its social reformers and sage “Shree Narayana guru’s” tomb is located, and a place where Guru became enlightened and got salvation. The “Samadhi” (final resting place) of the Guru here, attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Shivagiri pilgrimage.

Ayurveda

(Which is ultimately the harmony of body, mind and soul) 
sprouted in the pristine land of India some 5000 years ago. Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since then Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it’s a unique, indispensable branch of medicine, a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body’s humors – vata, pitta and kapha – to achieve the right balance.

Kerala: the Land of Ayurveda

Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (traditional practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries. Unlike the other Indian State’s, the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not alternative but mainstream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.

Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.

The Advantages of Ayurveda in Kerala

The “Ashtangahridayam”, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda.

It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardized protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars where the first to focus on the “Anti- oxidant properties” of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhi’s. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.

Mata Amritanaandamayi Math

The Mata Amritanaandamayi Math is the ashram in Amritapuri of the world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian hSri Mata Amritaanandamayi Devi (known to most people simply as “Amma”). Amritapuri Ashram is the headquarters of Mata Amritaanandamayi Math (MAM), Amma’s India-based spiritual and humanitarian organization, and the international headquarters of “Embracing the World”

It is also home to an international community of more than 3,000 people. Permanent residents include monastic disciples and families from all over India and abroad. Inspired by Amma, they have dedicated their lives to attaining the goal of Self-realization and serving the world. It is here that they live with Amma, imbibing her teachings, practicing meditation and participating in selfless service.

Amritapuri is also an international pilgrimage centre for people searching for solace, inspiration and inner peace. Thousands of people come to the ashram every day to experience Amma’s boundless love. Amma makes herself available day and night to meet everyone who comes, and to advise the disciples and volunteers managing the many humanitarian projects of “Embracing the World”. Daily, Amma leads the evening prayers and devotional singing. Several times a week, she sits with all the residents in meditation and holds open question-and-answer sessions on spiritual topics.

Elephant Rehabilitation Centre (Sanctuary) at Kottur

The morning rising sun draws countless figures in the water reservoir to which the black beauties, both big and small, plunge in for their joyful dip and re-draw the figures in the water. To watch these jumbo’s having their ceremonious bath is not enough for the spectators. Some of them cheerfully get into the water to help the mahouts in scrubbing the tough skin of these peace loving mammals.

This is not an intro of a fairy tale that we are discussing here, these are some of the routine visuals that one will come across in the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kottur near Kappukadu in Thiruvananthapuram district. From time immemorial elephants have been an integral part of the history, tradition, myth and culture of India and Kerala in particular. One cannot imagine a festival in Kerala without the presence of an elephant. Flanked by the water of the Neyyar reservoir and the moist deciduous forest and grass lands, the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kottur spreads over 56 hectares and is surrounded by trenches to keep wild animals at bay. This provides enough space for all the elephants accommodated here. One of the major highlights of the centre is the chain-free life these mammals enjoy. Freedom to roam, that too in well protected vicinities is something unique to this centre. For the sick and injured elephants, the centre is almost like an orphanage or retirement home. 30 elephants can be accommodated within this comfortable zone at a time and they are looked after by a team of experts.

The ideal time to visit the centre is between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., when the elephants are bathed and fed. Visitors can lend a hand to the mahouts in these activities. The elephants are fed with cooked rice and jaggery made in to the shape of balls. Visitors are allowed to go near and enjoy the feeding of these amazing creatures. Elephant rides are also provided at the centre. For researchers and students this is an ideal place to observe and study the behavior of these giant and celebrated mammals.

DRIVE TO TRIVANDRAM AIRPORT (for flight home ) – Day 14

SHORTER OVERVIEW ITINERARY

DAY 1

Upon arrival at the Chennai airport, a transfer to the hotel by car from the airport will have been arranged. Meet and greet orientation, then a light asana practice, and perhaps a temple blessing.

DAY 2

After morning breakfast , we will set out for some famous temple’s including the KAPLEESHWAR TEMPLE, and offer puja. We will then home some shopping time at Market. In the evening we will visit the SHRI PARTHA SARATHY TEMPLE for “Arati” (evening prayers) and then return back to the hotel for our overnight stay.

DAY 3

After our morning breakfast , we will transfer to ARUNACHALA (195 km/4 hour drive). Upon arrival we will check into our hotel, and possible practice or puja of some kind on day 3.

DAY 4, 5, 6, 7

Intensive yoga program of: Asana, Meditation and Chanting. Daily trips to local sight – seeing temple’s, including the visit of the SHRI ARUNACHALA SHIVA TEMPLE, SHRI RAMANA MAHARSHI ASHRAM and the girivalam (circumambulation) around the ARUNACHALA HILL. The circumambulation path is 14 kilometres (81⁄2 miles). There are eight lingams located at the eight directions, which provides an octagonal structure to the town of Tiruvannamalai. The eight lingams are: Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Yama Lingam, Niruthi Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Kubera Lingam and Esanya Lingam.

DAY 8

Early morning (6 am) transfer to MADURAI (325 km/5 hours by car). We will check in to the hotel and have time to freshen up. A full day temple tour and shopping. Over-night will be at Madurai hotel.

DAY 9

Early morning transfer to KERALA/VARKALA ( 285 km or 5 1⁄2 hours by private air-conditioned car. We will check into the resort and have a free day.

DAY 10, 11, 12, 13

Intensive of Yoga, Meditation, Chanting, Ayurvedic treatment’s, and local sigh-t seeing of the SHRI JANARDANA SWAMI TEMPLE and the SHIVA GIRI MATH and some other temples nearby . We will also visit the Amritapuram hugging saint Amma Ashram (SUBJECT TO: IF AMMA IS THERE!). The Amma Ashram is around 80 km from Varkala beach, and is a 2 hour drive by car. We will also visit the KONTUR ELEPHANT SANCTUARY on the last day of our stay in Varakala.

DAY 14

Transfer to TRIVANDRAM AIRPORT for the flight home.

****JAI MA GURU and NAMASTE! ****

THE GUIDES

ANANDA SHAKTI

Ananda Shakti’s life has been dedicated to discovering how to become Bliss and live in authentic service and devotion to the Divine. Her great delight is to share her experience of awakening with others who are aspiring to know Love. She have had the immense honor of receiving spiritual initiations and blessings by many great masters in the Americas and in her Beloved India. She is a devotee of Devi the Divine Feminine, Goddess, or Shakti principle and it is in Her service and inspiration that Ananda Shakti acts.

Sananda is the name that Ananda Shakti chose to represent her offerings. Sananda is one of the names for the Goddess of bliss and fullness as well as representing a state of spiritual absorption in Bliss. It is also a Vedic word for the big bang theory, the Great Oneness from where the multiplicity birthed. The word Sananda represents the One and the Many and is also known as an esoteric name for Christ Consciousness. Ananda Shakti feels that it describes her inspiration, a merging of the East and the West of the One and the Many and the embodiment of Bliss.

Ananda Shakti has been leading, Sananda Devi, yoga teacher training courses since 2004 in Toronto, Canada and abroad. She also teaches a specialized form of yoga called Kriya Prayer Flows, which open the body/mind to the moods that are the pillars of spiritual awakening: Devotion, Faith and Inspiration.

Ananda Shakti is also an intuitive healer and through Sananda Art of Life, specialize in the release of karmic imprinting and offers training in this intuitive method of connecting to higher realms energies to release what is dense and stuck in the world of form.
She lead retreats and tours to different places in the world, for instance The Sublime Shakti Tours to India, which are an absolute delight ! A journey through India to the most potent Goddess Temples while learning yoga, meditation and chanting along the way.

She has a history in the music scene and L*O*V*E* POWER is the name of her current band. They play interactive music and kirtan merging East and West, Bliss and Dance, Performer and Audience. They believe Music and the Power of Love can turn this world around.

More about Ananda Xenia Shakti and Sananda Yoga at http://www.onlyloveisreal.love

MARLA MEENAKSHI JOY

Marla Meenakshi Joy, (Co-owner and Director of Downward Dog Yoga Centre), first traveled to India in 1988 to study meditation and the philosophy of the Vedas with Swami Shyam, as well as other learned scholars in the Himalayas. She is a Certified Meditation and Yoga Philosophy teacher from the International Meditation Institute in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas, and, along with her studies with her Pranayama teacher Sri Sudhir Tiwari, has also completed an “Advanced Pranayama” training with Sri O.P. Tiwari from the Kaivalyadhama Institute in Pune, India.

She has been teaching in teacher training programs since 1999 across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia, as both a teacher of Philosophy and Sanskrit, Chanting and Meditation, Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga, and Restorative Yoga.

A practicing Shiatsu Therapist since 1993, and teaching Mysore (Self-Practice) around the globe, Meenakshi has a healing and informative touch.
As a celebrated song-stress, she also leads Kirtan (call-and-response chanting) with her band SWAHA, with inspired musical compositions with her partner/keyboardist, Ron Reid. She has produced four CD’s of Sanskrit chanting entitled “Prayer’s”, “Salutations”, “Vishnu’s Dream”, “Bolo!”, “Shanti Pulse, and their newest CD “Gone Beyond”.

www.swaha.ca            www.downwarddog.com

RON REID

Ron Reid has been practicing Yoga for over 30 years and teaching since 1988. He is Co-owner and Director of the Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Ron has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath both in India and North America and was one of the first Canadian teachers to be authorized by Pattabhi Jois.. Along with his studies with his Pranayama teacher Sri Sudhir Tiwari, has also completed an “Advanced Pranayama” training with Sri O.P. Tiwari from the Kaivalyadhama Institute in Pune, India.
In addition to regular classes at Downward Dog, he conducts workshops and teacher trainings in Canada, the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Asia, and is becoming a familiar face at various conferences around the world.

Ron is one of Canada’s top teachers, approaching teaching in an inspired, informed and non-dogmatic way. He places the needs of the students ahead of the demands of the practice. While continuing to teach and practice the ashtanga vinyasa system as a foundation, he endeavors to blend tradition with innovation, and to balance precision with grace. Students will find his refined approach to practice both challenging and rewarding.

Ron is also an accomplished musician and composer and performs with his partner Marla Meenakshi Joy under their group name “Swaha”

www.swaha.ca      www.downwarddog.com

PARTHA PAITANDI

Partha Paitandi is a brahmin priest who lives in West Bengal, India. He was born and brought up in a Hindu Brahmin (priest) family in Bakreswar. The Brahmin people are a prominent community spread across the whole of India. The Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes, made up of priests and scholars of Vedic literature. Their traditional occupation is to concern themselves with the spiritual guidance of the people, and to conduct rites at marriages, births, deaths and other auspicious occasions. He works at the Bakreswar Shakti Temple as a main priest. He can also perform all types of Hindu rituals including fire puja. He loves to share the culture, heritage, history and spirituality of India. Partha is a self-motivated person having profound knowledge about culture and philosophy. He fluently speaks English and other local regional languages. He has organised small group tours all over India for the past 10 years.

Partha has consistently serviced various renowned travel companies, as well as been a freelance tour guide and interpreter. He has traveled to many parts of India including North India; Gangotri, Jhansi, Varanasi, Allahabad and Mathura, East India; Orissa and Kamakhya in Assam, South India; Kerala and Tamil Nadu, West India; Jaipur and Udaipur. Partha has also experienced theKumbha Mela, which is the biggest congregation of Sadhus (Hindu Saints) and occurs after every 12 years.

DETAILS

TRIP OVERVIEW

  • Travel type: Small Group Tour
  • Travel style: Cultural, Spiritual, Yoga, Ayurveda treatments
  • Trip length: 14 Nights
  • Start point: Chennai, India
  • End point: Trivandam, India

PLACES WE WILL VISIT

Chennai, Tiruvanamalai – Arunachaleswar, Madurai, Vakala Beach.

TRAVEL DESCRIPTION

(***Fly into CHENNAI, depart at the end from TRIVANDRAM***)

  • CHENNAI – 2 nights
  • ARUNACHALA / Tiruvanamali – 5 nights
  • MADURAI – 1 night
  • VARAKALA – 5 nights

TRANSPORT

By some or all of the following: Auto rickshaw, Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Private A/C vehicle, Taxi, AC first class train, Van, etc.

ACCOMODATION

Comfortable hotels, Comfortable Lodges, Ayurvedic Resort (cabins)

THE COST

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT!: $2,100 USD if paid in full by March 31 2018.
$2,300 Regular Price, Full balance is due by September 1st. 2018
This is double occupancy. For single occupancy please add $500 USD.
Non-refundable / non-transferable deposit due at time of booking to reserve your spot.  Payment Methods, cash or bank transfer ( details will be provided).

NB: There will be NO refunds on deposits or full payments when due, and payments are appreciated as laid out above (ie. There are no payment plans or alternate payment models other than what is laid out above.) Payments are non-refundable, non-transferable, even if there is an emergency issue. We are accepting only serious applicants for this tour…thank you for your understanding!

For payment details please contact: meenakshiswaha@gmail.com

PRICE INCLUDES

  • All accommodations, transits within the tour, Yoga, Meditation, Chanting classes, Visits to the sacred sights, Blessings, Certified yoga instructors, Professional tour guide.

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

International airfare, Meals (we will eat together at chosen restaurants, please budget approximately $250), Ayurvedic Treatments (these are very moderately priced, think at least Half price of North American prices).