A Journey to the Heart

in Vrindavan & Amritsar, India

with Leslie Chapman

and Jacqueline Glasgow

February 8 – 17, 2020

Trip at a Glance

  • February 8–17, 2020
  • Daily practice with Jacqueline Glasgow & Leslie Chapman
  • Discover Vrindavan, the spiritual city dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna
  • Experience the spiritual electricity in Amritsar, the seat of the Sikh religion
  • Feel the magic of the Taj Mahal during an excursion to Agra
  • Limited to 12 guests
  • Early bird price of $2699 (USD) per person (based on double occupancy; please see Pricing & Inclusions tab below for details)

How to Register

This experience can be combined with “A Journey Home,” January 31 through February 9 in Rishikesh & Vrindavan. Please click the toggle below to open for details on combining both journeys. 

Combining both Journeys

If you wish to attend both A Journey Home & A Journey to the Heart, we’d like to offer you $400 off the total price of the combined trips.  We have alternative plans in Agra so you don’t have to repeat your visit to the Taj Mahal (unless you want to!) You’ll still complete the registration answers for both journeys, but we can send you combined invoices for the deposits and subsequent payments.  Please write us at [email protected] if you are interested in joining both journeys!

New Delhi

Amritsar

Vrindavan

Taj Mahal

Journey at a Glance

February 8  Arrive in New Delhi

February 9  Drive to Vrindavan (~4 hours)

February 10 – 11  Experience the authentic Indian magic of Vrindavan and Agra, including:

  • The spiritual Ghats along the Yamuna River
  • Live Kirtan at ISKCON
  • Discover the beauty of the Taj Mahal
  • Experience the majesty of Agra Fort
  • Daily yoga options

February 12 Drive back to Delhi and fly (~1 hour) to Amritsar, the soulful seat of the Sikh religion

February 13 – 16  Explore Amritsar to the fullest, including:

  • Marvel at Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple 
  • Perform seva (volunteerism) inside the temple
  • Experience authentic rural Punjabi life at a local farm
  • Taste world famous Punjabi cuisine

February 17  Fly back to Delhi (~1 hour)

“A Journey to the Heart” Itinerary

yWelcome to India! You’ll be picked up at the New Delhi airport upon arrival and taken to a comfortable hotel nearby in Delhi’s Aerocity in order to rest before your journey to Vrindavan in the morning.

On February 9th you’ll depart by private vehicle for Vrindavan (~3.5 to 4 hour drive). Vrindavan is one of the most authentic places one can visit in India to experience the practices of Hinduism. It is a safe, lively, and energetic environment to witness and partake in yoga, kirtan, and other devotional practices. You will be staying at a lovely locally-owned hotel adjacent to the Krishna Balaram Mandir; this temple, one of the most incredible and energizing Hindu temples in the world, is on the grounds of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). After lunch and then checking in, you can have a rest before attending an afternoon yoga session in the yoga room at the hotel. In the evening, the group will go over for a short introductory visit to ISKCON.

On February 10th, you’ll spend time visiting the Yamuna Ghats (the riverside area where it’s said that Krishna bathed and spent time) and other temples and historic sites of Vrindavan. Your local guide, Sandeep, lived in Vrindavan for a long period of time and knows the area intimately. He’ll take you to the best sites based what’s going on that specific day. Kirtan (devotional singing) is a big part of ISKCON; click here for a YouTube live stream of what is happening there now!

Early morning on February 11th you’ll depart to Agra in order to experience the Taj Mahal! This “jewel of Muslim art” is breathtaking, no matter how many times your eyes trace the delicate gemstone inlay, the smooth, strong lines of marble, or the carefully manicured gardens and fountains. In addition, the Taj Mahal just underwent a long and thorough years-long cleaning, so you can enjoy a sparkling site without any scaffolding obstructing the view!

During your time in Agra, you’ll also explore Agra Fort, a fascinating complex. Although the current incarnation was completed in 1573, a fort has stood on this land since the 11th century. The 94-acre fort is a gorgeous site to behold and is truly a city unto itself. You’ll get a peak of the Taj Mahal from here, the same place where Shah Jahan, the brains and heart behind the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son until his death in 1666.  Lunch will be in Agra before driving back (~90 minutes) to your hotel in Vrindavan.

After breakfast on February 12th, you’ll depart at 7:30 AM for the Delhi airport (~4-hour drive). You’ll fly from Delhi to Amritsar (~1 hour flight) and arrive in Amritsar in the afternoon and settle into your accommodation, a stone’s throw from the holy Sikh gurdwara (temple) Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple.

We find the Golden Temple to be one of the most spiritually electrifying sites on the planet! Your trip leader Jacqueline Glasgow says, “Amritsar is one of the most spiritual places I have been, and I am excited to share this special part of India with our Journey to the Heart participants. It’s like reconnecting with yourself, reconnecting with your heart in the truest form of love and truth—Amritsar brings that out in me.”

The proximity of your accommodation allows you to revisit the temple as often as you wish! You will have plenty of opportunities to perform Seva, or selfless service, within the temple. The temple’s kitchen (or langar) serves free meals to 50,000-100,000 people per day, and you can participate in the thoughtful preparation of those nourishing meals.  You’ll even have the opportunity to be nourished by one of these meals yourself in the communal dining hall; this egalitarian cafeteria is a hallmark of Sikhism, making a space for people of all classes & creeds to humbly eat together. 

We can also walk a short distance to visit the somber but important historic site Jallianwala Bagh; the 1919 massacre that occurred here is considered by some historians to be a crucial step towards the end of British rule in India. And of course, we’re in the state of Punjab, the breadbasket of India. We’ve scouted out some of the best vegetarian thalis in all of Amritsar for you to sample. We like to order family-style so you can try a bit of everything (or a LOT of everything!)

In addition, you’ll experience what life on a farm is like in rural Punjab, with your expert local guide answering all your questions about Indian life and Sikhism along the way. Ride an oxcart, learn how to tie an iconic Sikh turban, and maybe try your hand (or rather, feet!) at a little Bollywood dancing!

You’ll have your last Punjabi meal dinner together on February 16th, and on the afternoon of February 17th, you’ll fly back to Delhi to continue on to home or your next adventure!

Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.

Price & What is Included

The early bird price for this journey is $2699 USD per person (double occupancy).  

A non-refundable $800 deposit holds your space.  The second installment of $999 is due by September 12, 2019 and the balance is due by November 10, 2019. Single supplement ($350) is due along with the last installment. 

We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date. 

If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $350 USD and will be added to your last payment. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

Price Includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare from Delhi to Amritsar
  • All accommodation from night of February 8 to February 16
  • All transportation within India
  • All meals in India from dinner on February 8 until lunch on February 17
  • All site entrance fees
  • All tips at hotels and restaurants in India

 

Price does not include:

  • International airfare (although we will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
  • Indian visa fee ($100 for US citizens; required)
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Tips to local guides (we can advise on this)
  • Alcohol
  • Additional activities not listed in the itinerary
  • Snacks and drinks outside mealtimes
Payments

Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.

A non-refundable $800 deposit holds your space.  The second installment of $999 is due by September 12, 2019 and the balance is due by November 10, 2019. Single supplement ($350) is due along with the last installment. 

We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date. 

For our U.S.-based guests, we accept payments via check and credit or debit card (via PayPal). For our guests with bank and credit card accounts outside the U.S., please write [email protected] for transfer details.

  • Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to RetreaTours and sent to 8821 NW 14 Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.
  • Paying by Credit Card or PayPal balance: You can pay with credit card or PayPal balance through the following the green button below.  Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction. Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance; please click here if you’d like further instruction.

We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date.

 
Registration Questions & Contract

Please click here to complete this journey’s Registration. You will be asked for your passport number; if you will need to renew your passport before this trip, simply fill in your old information and update us when you receive your new passport.

At the end of the form, please press “submit” to finalize your answers. Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and submitted your deposit.

Please click here to download to view and download PDF of the contract for your records. 

About the Practice

Participants can expect a Baptiste-style ‘upbeat,’ motivating, and physical yoga practice in the morning. Some evenings we will offer practice in a more ‘restorative’ style incorporating gentle, yin, and myofascial release techniques.

FAQ (aka, Everything You're Wondering Right About Now!) Visas, Health, Hotels, Food, Money & more.

PASSPORT/VISA

  • What do I need to know about the visa?    

First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section).  You will need to arrange an Indian visa before you arrive; we will provide you more detailed information before you apply for your visa.

You can apply for a Visa on Arrival in advance of your arrival on this website. Please click here to read our blog about how to apply for this visa.  (Please click here to make sure your country is eligible for a Visa on Arrival).

If you plan on staying in India longer than 60 days, you can apply through Cox & Kings Global Services, but you must allow more time for this process (start at least 3 to 4 months before the start of the trip). Please let us know if you prefer this option.

FOOD

  • I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?

Vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels. The only thing that might prove difficult is veganism in India. Although meat is entirely avoidable, India is the world’s largest consumer of butter, and it is almost unavoidable in most of their curries, stews, and even breads. Many vegans that we have known to travel through India adopt what is locally referred to as a “pure veg” diet: no meat, no eggs, but it allows for dairy consumption.  (It is worth nothing that some of the reasons for avoiding dairy consumption in the west is slightly mitigated here, as there is less factory farming and antibiotic use in livestock.) Milk can be avoided by not consuming creamy dishes or milk tea.

Gluten is also avoidable in India by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local languages to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten. Click here for the Hindi version.  If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages.

When you register for a trip, you will answer a set of questions, including a question about food allergies. We’ll take a look at your answers and let you know if we have any suggestions or concerns.

Click here for our very own Indian Food Primer!

  • Can I drink the water?

In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it.  Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. If you’d like to bring a reusable bottle and a means of sterilization to save on plastic water bottle consumption, you are more than welcome. Otherwise, we will have access to bottled water at all times.

HEALTH

  • What vaccines do I need?

None are required to enter India, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you.  You can read the American CDC’s recommendations here and the UK’s NHS recommendations here.

  • What about malaria? 

We request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information.  You can see an NHS map of malaria risks in India here: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/india/india-malaria-map

  • What are the physical requirements for this trip?

Please see the separate section on this page titled “Suggested Fitness Requirements.”

  • Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is required on this trip; please see the separate “Travel Insurance” toggle on this page.

 

MONEY

  • How much money should I bring?

That is entirely up to you and how much shopping you want to do or spa treatments you’ll like. All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras.  

  • How do I get the local currency?

You can either exchange cash in India or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in India so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world.

HOTELS

  • What kind of hotels will we be staying at?

Please see the separate “About our Hotels” toggle on this page.

  • Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?

Yes, just be sure to bring along a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world! 

COMMUNICATION

  • How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?

Before the trip begins we will give you a contact for our hotels and our local friends/guides.

About our Hotels

All of our hotels will have an ensuite bathroom with a western toilet (not a squat toilet). Wifi is available at all hotels, but may be strongest in the lobby or in common areas.  You can visit the websites of our partner hotels here:

Vrindavan:  MVT India

Amritsar: Hotel Sarovar Regency

Suggested Fitness Requirements

Participants should be able to walk at least 1 mile at a time unassisted. Be in shape for leisurely daily exploration on foot & come prepared with proper footwear. 

We will be driving for several multi-hour stretches several times on this trip (~4 hours from Delhi to Vrindavan), so guests should be able to sit in a vehicle for an extended time (although we will stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching along the way).

Travel Insurance

We require that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation. 

We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.

Below you will find some options to look into, if this is a new world to you. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.

World Nomads provides medical coverage for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation, as well. You can use the box on this page to get a quote and see coverage.

InsureMyTrip.com is a good place to see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like.

It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.

Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

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    About your International Flights

    We are more than happy to recommend international flights, but ultimately you will make the purchase yourself. Here is some important information if you would like to research flights yourself:

    When must I arrive in Delhi / where will I stay in Delhi?

    Your drive to Vrindavan is not until the afternoon of February 9th, but we recommend arriving in Delhi the evening of February 8 to catch up on a bit of rest before your journey begins! You may wish to arrive even earlier to get accustomed to the timezone. 

    Your night in New Delhi on February 8 is included in this retreat fee, and you will be staying in a comfortable hotel in Delhi’s Aerocity complex, just a convenient ten-minute drive from the airport. The hotel will pick you up from the airport, and this service is also included in the trip cost.

    What time should I book my departing flight from India?

    You will be arriving back to Delhi in the afternoon of February 17th (~5:30-6 PM), although flight delays are always possible. We would recommend making your return flight home no earlier than 11 PM on February 17th.

    Temperature & Suggested Packing List

    First things first, we know what your burning question is: yes, you will be able to have laundry done and/or wash small things or undergarments by hand in your room!  

    It’s important to understand the weather to really pack wisely! Amritsar and Vrindavan will be between 45° to 80°F based on historical temperatures for this time, so layers are going to be your best friend.

    Here is a suggested packing list, clothing first and accessories second.

    Note: BJ and Lauren live out of their suitcases year round and they swear by packing cubes!  Rolling your clothes (instead of folding) and using packing cubes make packing a dream!

    Clothing

    Although more and more Indians are adopting Western wear, traditional clothing is very prevalent and modesty is the name of the game. In that spirit, please do not wear clothes that are tight, transparent or show too much skin, such as tank tops or halter tops. We also discourage wearing form-fitting “skinny” jeans and shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and blouses or Indian kurtas.

    • 8+ pairs undergarments; you can always have them washed or wash them in your bathroom
    • 2-3 pair light cotton pants or long skirts.  You may want to bring leggings (2 or 3 pair) to wear under your long kurtas, tunics, skirts or pants on chilly mornings or evenings (again—it’s all about the layers!) BJ is a fan of nylon pants, as they are lightweight and easy to clean.
    • 4-5 cotton t-shirts, blouses, or long sleeve shirts.  You can always have laundry done at the hotels, but bring as many as will make you feel comfortable.
    • A jacket for chilly morning or evenings.
    • A hat to keep your head warm during chilly mornings and evenings
    • A scarf to cover your head when inside the Golden Temple at Amritsar
    • Bring a few pairs of socks. Light wool (like SmartWool) or tech socks work very well.
    • Sleeping clothes
    • Comfortable walking shoes, sneakers and/or hiking shoes. You can also bring comfortable slip-ons for use around the hotel and airplane, of course.
    • A pair of sandals or flip-flops, if you wish.  They’ll be convenient for around the hotels and local excursions (when you have to check your footwear at the door). Walking sandals (such as Teva’s or Chaco’s) would also work. (Please note you will not be allowed to wear shoes or socks inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar.)
    • Sarongs are super handy for so many reasons (men and women). Makes for a good cover-up, eyeshade, pillow, scarf, napkin, tissue, etc. These will be readily available early in our travels.
    • A hat with a brim is a great idea for our daytime adventures. (Please note you cannot wear a brimmed hat inside the Golden Temple.)

    Accessories

    • Ear plugs and eye shades to help you sleep better and recover from jet lag more quickly. BJ swears by this! Click here for more of our tips on preventing and dealing with jet lag. 
    • Good sunscreen. Lauren prefers mineral-based ones like Devita: good for you, good for the environment. How do you know if it’s mineral based? If the activeingredient is either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide—that’s it. They might be a little pricier initially, but a little goes a long way.
    • Daypack or camera bag. (If you need a recommendation on a camera, BJ would be happy to help, just email him. We can discuss what type of photography you like, how much you want to spend, and how much you want to lug around.)
    • If you do bring your camera, don’t forget extra batteries and/or your charging cord! You may want to think about an extra memory card, too.
    • Headlamp or flashlight for ease of movement after dark.
    • Toiletries. The hotel provides soap, shampoo, and conditioner, but bring your own if you prefer. 
    • People tend to think they need to bring toilet paper to India—not true!  However, bringing a few packs of travel tissues isn’t a bad idea, to keep on you for public restrooms.
    • Wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer. Nothing replaces good ol’ hand-washing, but this will work in a pinch.
    • Ladies will want to bring any necessary feminine hygiene products with them.
    • Plug adaptor for electronics: Here’s a nice example of a great universal adapter and here’s one with USB ports, as well.
    • VERY IMPORTANT!  A print out of your RETURN airline ticket itinerary; you’ll need this to enter the airport to get home. You can also have it readily accessible on your phone (you may want to save it as a photo).
    • Photocopy of your passport and your visa, just in case you need them.
    • A small travel umbrella, if you wish; can work for rain (which we’re not expecting) OR as a parasol
    • Light rain shell. A raincoat can be an extra layer on top of a sweater or sweatshirt for cold early mornings, like our sunrise trip to the mountains.
    • Small notebook and pen for journaling purposes, if you desire!
    • Enough of any prescription drugs you need, as well as over-the-counter needs.  We recommend Imodium (anti-diarrheal), a probiotic (Lauren is a BIG fan of Jarrodophilus EPS), as well as melatonin and Benadryl for jet lag purposes.
    • We will have wifi at all of our hotels if you want to stay in touch via your smartphone or tablet. Don’t forget your chargers!
    • We encourage you to bring your smartphone or tablet, and please don’t forget your chargers! We recommend setting up Skype and, FaceTime can be handy for communicating with home. 
    Contact RetreaTours

    Please write [email protected] for any questions you may have about this journey.  If you have not received a reply within 48 hours, please do check your spam folder.

    About Jacqueline Glagow

    With over 6,000 yoga training hours, Jacqueline Glasgow is E-RYT500 and holds certifications in Yin Yoga, Power Yoga & Yoga Therapy. She is currently pursuing Anatomy Trains Certification in both functional and structural movement. Jacqueline has over 25 years in the health and fitness industry as a group fitness and yoga instructor, life coach & certified Yoga Therapist. She acknowledges her teachers: Bryan Kest, with whom she is certified; Paul Grilley, Tom Myers, and Baron Baptiste, with whom she is certified and has assisted in trainings. Off the mat, Jacqueline is a fascia and mobility coach, life coach and has completed Tony Robbins UPW & Mastery programs.

    Jacqueline travels around the country training and certifying yoga teachers. She leads yoga retreats to India and Asheville, NC.

    Jacqueline’s classes embody both strength & ease. She is passionate about melding together, all the disciplines & modalities she has learned to create an environment of self-inquiry on the yoga mat. She is committed to integrity, love & lightness and teaches from this platform. She encourages her students to step into their greatness by moving through obstacles to create the best versions of themselves.

    About Leslie Chapman

    Leslie Chapman is the owner of Toledo Yoga, a Baptiste Yoga Affiliate. She is an E-RYT 500 certified through Bala Vinyasa in Naples, Florida and a Certified Baptiste Teacher. Leslie has been a mentor for Africa Yoga Project since 2014, working to support the growth and development of yoga programs in Rwanda. In addition to leading students to teach, through the Toledo Yoga 200-Hour Teacher Training Program and the Practice Yoga Naples 200-Hour Teacher Training Program, Leslie is dedicated to her own path of learning. Leslie has completed trainings in restorative yoga, yin yoga, therapeutics, Ashtanga yoga, body mechanics and more. In 2019, Leslie is graduating from the Baptiste Fit to Lead Program and Movement Mastery with Brian Aganad.

    Off the mat, Leslie enjoys traveling the world with her family and experiencing the wonders through the eyes of her teenage daughters.

    Leslie’s mission is to inspire others to live playfully, learn creatively and live life joyfully on and off the mat.

    About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours, your tour organizers

    Although we will not be joining you on this magical tour, you are in excellent hands with our partners in India!!

    BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding.  In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable and transformative retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours!)

    BJ & Lauren at Georgetown, Penang muralBJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.

    The dynamic duo are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, information about local food, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.

    As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you!  So….let’s get going!

    (Pictured above: BJ & Lauren play on an interactive street mural in Georgetown, Malaysia.)

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