From January 5th to January 20th 2013
From devotion and mysticism to well-being and care of the body: Some of the many faces of India.
There are no words to describe it. No books, no photos, and no films that can prepare the visitor for the impact with this wonderful and impressive country.
What is certain is that you will remember it forever. At the end of the trip, things that first shocked you, then became normal, will become extraordinary. India will be already in your heart.
The trip might start in a startling way, in the crowd on Calcutta, a city full of spirituality. The city of Mother Teresa, the Saint who spent her life taking care of the poor and sick people of Calcutta. We will stop at the Ashram of Ramakrishna, one of the most relevant Indian saints, then at the Kalighat, the temple which gave the name to the city and one of the most visited temples of Kali. We will then go to the Belur Math, the Ashram founded by Vivekananda, the most famous/important disciple of Ramakrishna and also the first Yogi who officially travelled in the Western countries with the intent of spreading the Yogic culture and spirituality.
From Calcutta we will leave by train and have a tour suggested out of any touristic itinerary. Together with Partha Paitandi, a Brahman born and raised in this area, we discover Tara Pith, one of the main center for the Induist Tantric tradition. Near the main temple dedicated to Tara in one of her most terrifying aspects, there is a cremation site we will visit next to the river where many Sadhu live and practice their Tantric tradition. We will then travel to Bacreswar, a small village in the countryside of Bengala, for a short stop to experience the simple and real Indian life. In the evening we will see a Baul music performance.
The Bauls of Bengala are mystical singers who preserve one of the most ancient and fascinating traditions of India. They consecrate their existence to dance, music and singing which become a mean to communicate the internal joy, the universal brotherhood, the discover of the Divine inside everyone's heart.
Once back in Calcutta we will fly to the very south of the country, to the sweet Kerala to spend a few days in an Ayurvedic Centre in the pursuit of our wellness/wellbeing in Varkala at the Kerala Bamboo House. We will spend 4 days there enjoying ayurvedic treatments and consultations, yoga lessons, and delicacy of the cuisine of Southern India, all prepared following the ayurvedic tradition.
And then suddenly, the beach here will show us another of the contrasts of India: tourists on one side, under the beach umbrellas enjoying and relaxing, and on the other, the Sadhus and the Hindu pilgrims bathing in these waters considered to be purifiers of the sins of the soul: Papanasam Beach (Papam: sin, Nasam: destruction). If we then want to go for a walk, it is possible to find uncontaminated beaches and a temple dedicated to Vishnu that is 2000 years old, where every morning the puja starts with cannon shots and songs that enter the village with their peculiar sound.
By train we will then reach, for a day, the extreme South of India, Kanyakumari, in the point where three oceans meet: the Gulf of Bengala, the Indian and Arab Oceans. This is also the place where a very unique natural event takes place every day: the sun rises and sets on the sea and, when there’s the full moon it is possible to experience the wonder of the sun and the moon rising from sea at the same moment. This is a very important pilgrimage destination for the Hindus, it is dedicated to the goddess Kanyakumari, “young virgin”, incarnation of Devi, wife of Shiva.
A check list of things to see include the temple of Kanyakumari, the memorial of Vivekananda on a rocky island 500 meters from the coast, only accessible by ferry, the statue of Thiruvalluvar and Gandhi’s memorial facing the three Oceans. This place was chosen by Gandhi himself for contemplation and here is where his ashes were dispersed. In the last days we will surrender to the crowded markets of Delhi where we will be able to visit the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi, attend the evening puja and to the dinner at the temple Hari Krishna, and go in the traffic and among the crowds for a little bit longer before heading back to Italy.
Once out of the plane we will be already missing the smells, the colors, the traffic, the eyes and the smiles of this wonderful India.
The cost is € 1,250 per person and it includes:
- All accommodation in double room
- Three domestic flights (Delhi-Calcutta, Calcutta-Trivandrum, Trivandrum-Delhi)
- All buses, trains and shuttles from all locations to the others which are part of our itinerary
- For the days at the Ayurvedis centre, this price includes meals, Yoga lessons, and one Ayurvedic massage a day
The cost does NOT include the local transportation to locations not being part of our itinerary and meals outside of the Ayurvedic centre. The cost does NOT include the flight return ticket. The flight can have a cost between € 550 and € 1000 depending when you book it. The earlier you buy it the better the price will be. If you prefer travelling with the guide, Hari-Om can take care of your flight booking through the CTS agency of Alessandria. Also through this agency it is possible to obtain the visa to enter India.
CTS can stipulate for those who wish an insurance which can also be done separately. At the time of subscription, we will be able to give you more details about the ticket price. For those flying alone or those flying from out of Italy, we will give instructions about when and where to meet at the Delhi airport. From Delhi we will take the first domestic flight to Calcutta and beginning our trip. The night stay at the ashram Bakreshvar is included but we can't garantee the room type.
Partha Paitandi: he lives in Bakreshvar in the West Bengala, where he is a Brahmin in the temple. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Bengoli. He loves Italy and Italians, especially Pirlo and Balotelli.
January 5: arrival in Delhi, flight Calcutta-Delhi. Night in Calcutta
Jan 6: visit to the Ashram of Ananda Mayi Maa and Ramakrishna. Night in Calcutta
Jan 7: visit to the Kalighat and Mother Teresa. Night in Calcutta
Jan 8: Train trip in the morning to Rampur Hat and transfer to Tara Pith. Night in Tara Pith
Jan 9: visit of the temple of Tara Pith
Jan 10: transfer to Bakreshvar. Night in Bakreshvar
Jan 11: visit of the temple. Late afternoon back to Calcutta
Jan 12: flight to Trivandrum, transfer to the Ayurvedic center. Night at the center
Jan 13-14-15: stay at the Ayurvedic center with Ayurvedic treatments, Ayurvedic visit and yoga lessons
Jan 16: transfer to Kanyakumari, city tour and night in town.
Jan 17: transfer to Trivandrum, flight to Delhi
Jan 18: temples and shopping in Delhi
Jan 19: temples and shopping in Delhi, possible day tour at the Taj Mahal
Jan 20: flight back to Italy