The Pulse of Rishikesh

Where Nature, Culture, and Spirit Meet

with Janis Bowersox & Karen Arp-Sandel

February 5–13, 2017

 

Join with other light hearted travelers on our magical mystery tour of India. Discover the heart and soul of one of India’s holiest cities, Rishikesh, nestled into the foothills of the majestic Himalaya Mountains. It is here we will spend most of our time learning about the pulse of life in the birthplace of Yoga. Dip your toes (or submerge yourself three times) in the Ganges River. Join us as we enjoy each moment in a land where spirituality is everywhere. Our experiences will include practicing yoga/meditation, attending spiritual gatherings, exploring nature, discovering art, and being of service (Seva supported by our guided program). If you are called to do so, we offer optional journeys to the Golden Temple in Amritsar or the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Trip at a Glance

  • February 5–13, 2017
  • Daily practice with Janis Bowersox & Karen Arp-Sandel
  • Explore the gem of northern India, Rishikesh
  • Very limited space!
  • $2095 (based on double occupancy)
  • Optional side trip to Taj Mahal and/or Amrtisar can be arranged (please see details below!)

Save my spot, please!

How to Register

Meet Janis & Karen!

Delhi

Rishikesh

The Pulse of Rishikesh Itinerary 

 

Rishikesh bridge Days 1-2

Welcome to Mother India! You’ll arrive in New Delhi, most likely in the evening or the night of the 5th. You’ll be greeted and escorted by a driver who has been hand-selected because he knows his way around the airport and city. You will collect your luggage and be delivered to a 5-star hotel to enjoy your transition into India.

The next morning, you and other trip participants travel in a private vehicle to Rishikesh (about a ~6 hour drive). Driving is one of the most interesting ways to see the countryside and into the everyday lives of rural India. Sometimes the drives in India are just as exciting at the actual sites! In Rishikesh, you are met by Janis and Karen at your home away from home for the next week. This 4-star hotel has all the features you will need to feel safe and comfortable on your journey.

 

class at Anand Prakash (photo courtesy of breathedreamgo.com)

Class at Anand Prakash Ashram (photo courtesy of breathedreamgo.com)

Days 3-8

For 6 full days we will explore the spiritual city of Rishikesh and the surrounding Himalayan mountains and Ganga river. The temperature range of 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit is not too hot, not too cold. Rishikesh is a safe, vegetarian, alcohol-free town full of spiritual visitors (as well as sacred cows and sadhus). Everyone goes out of his or her way to treat you well. As one taxi driver told his patron, “In the North of India, where I’m from, a Guest is God. When someone comes to our home, we treat them with the highest of respect and love. Even if we have to miss eating, we make sure they are well fed. That’s our culture. It brings us joy.”

We’ll sample several styles and venues for yoga, including some with Janis and Karen and also local teachers such as Yogrishi Vishvketu at the Anand Prakash Ashram just around the corner from our hotel. Karen’s leadership with yoga groups and art retreats will suffuse the daily experiences of our tour, as we look with awakened eyes at all aspects of everyday living in the area outside of urban Rishikesh.

A girl posing with her collage art project outside Ramana's Garden Children's Home

A girl posing with her collage art project outside Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home

We are just a few minutes by foot from the Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home, where we will have many lunches at their organic café, overlooking the Ganga river, listening to children in school and at play, as well joining in the evening prayers chanted by the children before bed. We’ll be involved as much as their and our schedule permits, serving the children and teachers there.

Satsang with Shanti Mayi

Satsang with Shanti Mayi

A short walk into the center of our part of town, Laxman Jhula, there are two master teachers who hold meetings at Sachcha Dham Ashram. These sessions, called ‘satsang,’ usually include chanting with live musicians, and a spiritually stimulating exchange among sincere people such as you! These sessions are designed to enliven the potential within all of us. We will sample their sessions and perhaps some others.

Janis at the "Beatles Ashram"

Janis at the “Beatles Ashram”

Additional adventures include a visit to the 14-acre “Beatles Ashram,” also known as the Maharishi Ashram, where the Beatles stayed in the 1960s to study TM (transcendental meditation) with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This ashram just reopened in late 2015.

We will join in the Aarti ceremony at the Parmarth Niketan, an ashram that hosts the International Yoga Festival. Aarti is a devotional ritual that takes place every day at sunset on the banks of the Ganga river (and includes a fire ceremony).

We will taste the excellent food of India, visit a temple (or 2) and watch the sun rise over the Himalayan mountains. Other nature explorations will be finalized as the trip draws closer–you are sure to be delighted! There will be time for discovering art and shopping, or even optional river rafting. In her two years of exploring Rishikesh, Janis stumbled upon many rich adventures as they presented themselves.

Sunrise at Kunjapuri Temple

Janis at sunrise at Kunjapuri Temple

One of Karen’s daily practices is walking. Janis and Karen share their love of nature’s gifts with the hikes, walks and wandering planned for this journey. The journey of a lifetime begins with a single step. Allow yourself to enter the portal of discovery with every step in Rishikesh.

A volunteer at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home for the last two years, Janis has spent many hours harvesting vegetables in the organic gardens, serving guests in the café, and playing with the children after school and on the weekends. We will be able to be introduced to this unique and wonderful home for at-risk children in a way most visitors can only glimpse. Karen’s experience as a life long teacher fuels her passion for meeting children, playing with them, conversing and leading them into the joys of creative activities. She is a strong role model and guide for authentic Seva (volunteering) at Ramana’s Garden.

The shining faces of Ramana's Garden Children's Home

The shining faces of Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home

There are local residents (some of them grew up in Ramana’s) that we will call on to guide us on a hike or teach us cooking. Perhaps you fancy a massage, henna session, classical Indian dance lesson, private yoga session, or music lesson–we know natives who can provide these. We are in the capable and loving hands of RetreaTours who can arrange for any sort of help that we might need. You are welcome to have as much downtime as you want on our retreat, and to explore on your own.

Day 9+

RishikeshOn our last day in Rishikesh, some of you will be transitioning back to Delhi to catch your airplane back to your home land or on to your next adventure. You are also invited to extend your trip to Amritsar (northwest of Rishikesh near the Pakistani border) for a tour of the Golden Temple, as well as many other sites.

If you have not seen the Taj Mahal, we recommend you add this to your trip. The Taj Mahal was designated as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. You will be in the capable hands of an experienced and much adored tour guide who has worked with RetreaTours a number of times and does an excellent job navigating you around this incredible landmark in a way to avoid some of the pitfalls tourists without guides encounter.

In addition to these two add on trips with other participants, if there is another part of India (or the world for that matter) that you fancy a visit to after this excursion, RetreaTours will help you arrange it–keep reading to learn more!

Please enjoy these video snippets taken by Janis in Rishikesh!

Please click the tab title to see the desired text.

Janis Bowsersox yoga retreat bioJanis Bowersox (Fatehjeet Kaur) has been practicing yoga on and off the mat for the last two decades.  Combining an MBA from Yale with her love of yoga, she opened a thriving yoga studio in her hometown in Connecticut. Janis founded Yoga for Everybody, in Fairfield, CT from 2004-2010. After selling her studio to one of her teachers, she became a life coach and co-authored the book, So You Want to Open a Yoga Studio (available on Amazon). She currently resides in the Berkshire mountains in Western MA with her two cats. She has two grown and thriving children. Recently, she traveled to assist with the refugee crisis in Lesbos, Greece. As a Kundalini yoga instructor, Janis finds this practice helps her “keep up” with the challenges of these times.

Janis worked at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for two years before retiring to teach yoga, travel and volunteer. Janis returns to India yearly to volunteer at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home in Rishikesh. There she saw that the children who had not a toy had everything. Deeply moved by the spiritual nature of this amazing town on the Ganga River at the foothills of the Himalayas mountains, Janis wants to share this magical place with you!

Learn more about Janis at JanisBowersox.com.

Karen Arp-Sandel-2Karen Arp-Sandel, BA, KYT, artist, educator, and spiritual activist, is the founder of the international Vibrant Visionary Collage Community. Karen awakens the transformational power of creativity by teaching art as a spiritual practice. Certified in Kripalu Yoga, Yoga Ed., and Kripalu Yoga in the Schools, Karen is passionate about the benefits of yoga on and off the mat. She embodies her dharma by envisioning art and yoga as an evolutionary path for finding joy.

A first time traveler to India, Karen brings the spirit of Beginner’s Mind to appreciating the beauty of nature, to creating community with new people, and interacting with the pulse of life in Rishikesh.  She is a skilled facilitator of group sharing that opens hearts and minds to inner listening, while exploring new horizons. Her warmth welcomes everyone to experience sacred space, as travelers on the path of discovery.

“Traveling to India for the first time, I look forward to the richness and vitality of Rishikesh area as source of creative imagery that will ignite my imagination. I am in my 8th year of leading retreats at Kripalu with participants from all across the United States, Northeastern Canada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. As a lifelong teacher, my experience with people of all ages brings me great joy. My passion is bringing outreach programs to underserved populations in MA, NY, CA using community collaboration programs like Learning through Arts and Yoga in the Schools and Boys and Girls Club after school enrichment programs.

 

“I also design and implement unique programs like my 2015 Karma Yoga outreach in Jamaica, BWI. I was the school’s artist in residence at Sankofa Academy & Learning Center, where I introduced my Yoga and Art curriculum to all grades and the staff. In 2014, I joined the Earth Symposium Faculty at The Darrow School in New Lebanon, NY, to teachmindfulness practices,Yoga and the art of making Peace Flags to HS students. Traveling to India with Janis, I am eager to expand my international work by visiting Ramana’s Garden and meeting the children Janis has told me so much about. I hope to inspire the staff with ideas for artistic self-expression at the orphanage that will encourage art time. Research shows that art enhances academic learning and creates a more joyful community spirit.

 

“Spending time in the “ birthplace of Yoga” is a special opportunity. My style as a group facilitator brings a sense of community to my groups that deepens with our time together, living with a true sense of the word Sangha “community.” I’ll be eager to both practice and teach Yoga in this uniquely spiritual environment. Our group will learn about Yoga on and off the mat from Janis and me as we interface with people and enjoy the rhythm of daily living.”

To learn more about Karen, visit KarenArpSandel.com.

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.

In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $200 value) should you choose to extend your travels. 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.)

While we have a rough outline of what we’ll be doing, there’s room to tailor the agenda to meet your needs and desires as well as be in the moment, as opportunities arise. We will be hiking, chanting, practicing physical yoga, listening to spiritual gurus, dancing, enjoying delicious food and drinks. In addition to daily yoga every morning, we can enjoy guided yoga nidra sessions and restorative yoga.

We will spend time almost every day (and sometimes twice a day) at the Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home and Organic Cafe, as we enjoy their organic lunches and also the evening chanting with the children.

 This 9 day/8 night all-inclusive journey is $1995 per person (double occupancy, not including airfare) until September 30, 2016.

Price after September 30, 2016: $2095

If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $295. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary).

A $500 deposit holds your space, with the balance split between two more payments, 120 days and 60 days from the start of the trip. Please refer to the payment section for more specifics and your convenient payment options.

Price Includes:

  • All meals, and all the water, tea, and coffee your heart desires
  • All accommodation
  • Transportation between Delhi and Rishikesh and within Rishikesh.
  • Daily classes with Janis & Karen.
  • Site entrance fees

 

Price does not include:

  • International airfare (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
  • Indian visa fee (please refer to the FAQ on this page for more information about how to obtain an Indian visa)
  • Travel insurance (required; please see the “Travel Insurance” tab on this page for recommendations)

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

Deposit: $500 (saves your spot)

2nd Installment: $1000, due October 8, 2016

Final installment: Remaining balance, due December 7, 2016

We accept payments via check (which we prefer) and credit card (via PayPal). For our international guests, we can accept wires, which we find is the most economical solution for everyone; please contact us for wire details.

  • Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to Insight Travels, LLC 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 red buttons below.  Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction. All PayPal transactions must be in USD.

 

Click here to pay the $500 deposit by credit card (via PayPal)

Click here to pay the 2nd installment of $1000, due by October 8, 2016

The final installment will be due by December 7, 2016, and the amount will depend on early bird pricing, whether you have a shared or private room, and if you are extending your stay. We will let you know what that amount is well before it is due.

 

We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind for very little cost. When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

 

We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

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    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 (they must be Visa pages, not Amendment/Endorsement pages).  You will need to arrange an Indian visa before you arrive.

    On this itinerary, you will only be entering India once, making you eligible for a Visa on Arrival. (Please click here to make sure your country is eligible for a Visa on Arrival).  You can apply for a Visa on Arrival 4 to 30 days in advance of your arrival on this website. If you would like to receive a more long-term visa to India, 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).

    • I don’t have a passport yet! What should I do?

    If you are a U.S. citizen, please click on this link to start the process. The standard processing is ~8 weeks, so please allow yourself plenty of time to apply and receive your passport (as you will need your passport information to apply for the Indian visa).

    FOOD

    • I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?
      • Vegetarians will have no problem anywhere on our travels as Rishikesh is a vegetarian city (and alcohol-free)! The only thing that might prove a challenge 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 I 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 language 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!
    • 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.

    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 CDC’s recommendations here and the Scottish NHS recommendations here.
    • Do I need travel insurance?  We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind!  When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.
      • We like World Nomads‘ Explorer Plans, but ultimately you have to choose the company and policy that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click here to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

    MONEY

    • How much money should I bring?  That is entirely up to you and how much shopping you want to do, as well as your love for extras like massages, alcoholic beverages, etc.  All of your meals and transportation is 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 (although not at the airport, the rate is terrible!) or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Better yet, a combination of both!  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!
    • Can I use a credit card?  For large purchases (rugs, etc) many shops will take credit card (although they might charge a percentage on top of your credit card company’s international fee). For smaller items, count on using cash only.

    ACTIVITIES

    • Can I opt out of activities?  Absolutely! Nothing on these trips in mandatory. In fact, we build in a bit of downtime most days for self-exploration or rest, depending on how you’re feeling that day. We can help you build in extra activities, too, if that is your style.

    HOTELS

    • What kind of hotels will we be staying at?   We take great pride in our hotel choices; it might be cliche, but we value location, location, location above all else! This often means little to no traffic, and that you can return to the sites on your own at any time.  All of our hotels will be very simple but clean, and all have hot water and wifi.
    • Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?   Yes, just be sure to bring along a 2-pin European style converter. Better yet, grab a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world!

    COMMUNICATION

    • Should I bring my mobile phone?   We don’t recommend bringing your phone and using it with an international plan, as that can get expensive fast. If you do bring your phone, put it in airplane mode and use it for wifi at our hotels and restaurants.
    • How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?   Before the trip we will give you a list of our hotels and their phone numbers; in addition, we will give you our Indian phone numbers ahead of time, as well as an American number good for text messages and voicemails.

     

    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! Rishikesh will be between 45° to 75°F, 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 tank tops or halter tops. We also discourage wearing form-fitting “skinny” jeans and shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wear loose fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and blouses or Indian kurtas.

    • 6+ pairs undergarments; you can always have them washed or wash them in your bathroom
    • 3-5 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
    • Bring a few pairs of socks. Light wool (like SmartWool) or tech socks work very well.
    • Sleeping attire: our rooms will not have heat in them at night (although they will have plenty of blankets), so please make sure you bring sleeping attire to keep you warm!
    • Comfortable walking shoes, sneakers and/or hiking shoes. You can also bring comfortable slip-ons for use around the hotel and airplane, of course. If you’d like to bring an older pair of sneakers and donate them at the end of your stay (along with any clothes, coats, socks…), they would be put to very good use!
    • A pair of sandals or flip-flops, if you wish.  They’ll be convenient for around the hotels, local excursions, and the Golden Temple (when you have to check your footwear at the door). Walking sandals (such as Teva’s or Chaco’s) would also work.
    • 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.

     

    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 active ingredient 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.
    • At least one bandana, as they’ll come in handy for wiping hands, faces, covering heads, etc. Though they’ll loan us a bandana at the Golden Temple, you can wear your own head covering—a nice idea.
    • Toiletries. Not all of our hotels are guaranteed to have shampoo and none will have conditioner, so be sure to bring some of your own if you prefer a specific brand. Please note that you can buy products in Rishikesh at the Organic Store.
    • 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: you’ll need a 2 pin adaptor common across Europe. 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 accessibly 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
    • Raincoat.  Umbrellas are sometimes no match for the strong early morning wind, and it is likely to rain at least once. 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 (although it’s consistency and strength are variable) if you want to stay in touch via your smart phone or tablet. Don’t forget your chargers! We recommend setting up Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or another wifi-based calling service before leaving home, and familiarizing your loved ones with it before you leave. (We love the free WhatsApp application, which is used widely all over the world–with a cellular or wifi connection, you can make free international texts or phone calls!)

     

     

     

    Please scroll down within this box to reach the end of the questionnaire and contract. At the end of the contract, you will see a “submit” box—please hit that button.  Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and contract on the website.

    IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE FILLING OUT THIS FORM WITHIN THE PAGE, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE FORM. 

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

     

     

    **There is a minimum number of guests that must be reached before this trip is confirmed. We will post on this page when that minimum has been reached. At that time, you are free to purchase your flight.

    These flights are just suggestions. Please be sure to double-check dates and times to ensure it works for your itinerary. We get no commissions for the flight you purchase. We suggest you purchase directly through the airline website.

     

    Industry research suggests that the optimum time to purchase a flight from the US to Asia is about 159 before the start of your trip. We are, however, big fans of purchasing your flight as soon as possible, as soon as the trip is confirmed after reaching the minimum number of guests. 

     

    Below we will post good flight options we find that will match up well with the dates of this retreat. If you don’t see something you like; or prefer a different origin airport; or of you plan on arriving early, staying late, or going on to another destination – please let us know and we will be happy to assist you. Contact BJ at [email protected] and he’ll help you find exactly what you need.

     

    Note: Since the trip begins on 5 February, you will want to find a flight that arrives before midnight on 5 February (those usually depart the USA on 4 February). For your departure date from Delhi, make sure you choose something that departs after ~9pm on the 13 February (it’s OK to depart after midnight on 14 February).

     

    This flight below is the best one from Boston. There are no non-stop flights to Delhi from Boston, but this has an easy/short connection in Dubai (a nice airport). The cost as of 7/28/2016 is $847 booked directly on the Emirates.com website.  The flight arrival and departure times are fantastic and the price is good. This would be for someone who doesn’t want to arrival early or extend their trip later. But similar flights can be found for other dates. Emirates, btw, was rated the best airline in the world for 2016. It is an exceptionally comfortable airline to fly — even in economy class.

     

    This particular option (below) is from JFK. Booking directly at the airline (AirIndia.com) the price is currently (as of 7/28/2016) $937. It is a non-stop roundtrip flight. The times perfectly match up with the retreat [it arrives in the mid-afternoon of the 5th and departs in the early morning hours of the 14th]. There are cheaper flights on other airlines, but none are better than this non-stop.

    If you’re looking to spend less for your flight, Turkish Airways is the place to go. From either Boston or NYC flights can be found under $700. In all cases, you would have a layover in Istanbul. Turkish Airways was recently ranked the 7th best airline in the world (far better than any U.S. based carrier). You can search on their website or on Kayak.com for details. The main problem with the Turkish Air flights are the arrival times aren’t quite as good as the options I listed above – but it is a good option and would save you money.

    From the Washington, DC area, the best option is on Emirates. It’s $861 (as of 7/28/2016) and has a layover in Dubai. There are different options (times) for this route, but this is the best. It DOES have a 7 hour layover on the way to Delhi, but it’s during the daytime and you could go see the city from the future (Dubai) if you so choose. Otherwise, it’s a nice airport to spend time in…


    From Miami I feel SwissAir offers the best option. It arrives just after midnight on the 6th, but that will work fine — especially if you can sleep on a plane (most flights from Miami arrive to Delhi in the wee-hours of the morning). The price is good and the layovers aren’t too long. Swiss Air is ranked #15 in the list of world’s best airlines.

    Montreal and Toronto have great options on Air Canada. They are usually just over $800USD and if you’re flying from Toronto, they are often non-stop flights. Easy to find them on AirCanada.com
    As you get away from the coastal cities (west or east) prices go up a little and flight-times go up a little. That said, the best option from Denver is pretty good. It’s on Air Canada and is $997 as of 7/28/2016.
    Again, if you need any assistance, please write BJ at [email protected]   There is no fee or commissions for this valuable service we provide. 

    Extend your stay–let us help!

    If you’d like to extend your journey before or after this retreat, we would be more than happy to help you plan your stay!  We can advise you on hotels, flights, and itineraries, whether you want to arrive in India early, stay afterwards, or venture to somewhere else in South or Southeast Asia at the end of the trip. We offer our retreat guests free travel consulting, normally a $200 value.

    Some ideas to get you started:

    • Continue on in India and explore Varanasi, Jaipur, or even head to south India.
    • Consider a visit to one of our favorite countries in the world, Nepal!
    • Visit Bhutan, a well-loved and well-protected travel destination often referred to as the “Last Shangri-La”
    • Anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia that your heart desires!

     

    Please read below for two very special trip extensions from Rishikesh!

    AMRITSAR EXTENSION

    Not ready to leave this magical country? You can visit the holy city of Amritsar if you wish! After your Rishikesh retreat, you’ll fly from Delhi to Amritsar, a short 45 minute flight but to a whole new world. Amritsar is the seat of the Sikh religion and the home to the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib. Our favorite accommodation (and yoga studio) is impossibly close the temple itself–and you can feel it in the air! It is the perfect home base to explore Amritsar.

    Amritsar has so much to offer, and the Golden Temple is the shining jewel in its crown. You’ll take a guided tour of the Golden Temple and grounds, including the remarkable kitchen and dining hall that serves 50,000-150,000 FREE meals per day. You’ll have the opportunity to perform seva, or volunteer service, in this kitchen area, as well.

    One of the reasons we chose to form a partnership with this hotel in Amritsar is because of its location, a mere 108 steps from the Golden Temple. You can choose to go back and visit at any time of day or night by yourself for contemplation, seva, or to engage in discussion with some of the friendliest people on the planet.

    If you can bear to tear yourself away from the high vibes of the temple, we have other goodies in store. Amritsar is in the state of Punjab, known as the bread basket of India. You’ll have the opportunity to explore a rural village and working farm in this fertile region. You can also attend the nightly Wagah border closing ceremony; every night since 1959, this border between India and Pakistan has hosted a high-energy, wonderfully-choreographed closing ceremony that resembles a pep rally more than an official exercise!

     

    Group Amritsar extension: February 13-18, 2017

    $750 USD

    TAJ MAHAL EXTENSION

    We think that no trip to India is complete without laying eyes on the marble marvel dedicated to love, the Taj Mahal. You can take a private vehicle (~4-5 hours) or train (~2 hours) to the city of Agra. Agra has many treasures to offer–the Taj Mahal is just the iconic cherry on top. If you have time, you can visit the impressive Agra Fort, a huge and stunning complex with gorgeous courtyards, intricate marble architecture, and a rich history. You can also get your first sneak peak of the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort!

    You’re arise early for the best view of the Taj Mahal, not to mention to beat the heat and the crowds. You’ll tour the Taj Mahal along with our good friend and local expert, and then have time to explore on your own. John Keats once wrote, “A thing of beauty if a joy forever,” and we think this monument to love embodies this line perfectly.

    After the Taj Mahal visit, you’ll make your way back to Delhi to depart for home or your next adventure!

    Taj Mahal Extension: Please contact RetreaTours for a price, based on your preferred mode of transportation and length of stay. Extensions start from just $150!

    Questions about your daily practice or Rishikesh itinerary? Please contact Janis at JanisBowersox -at- gmail.com

    Other questions? Contact RetreaTours through the box below.

    Contact RetreaTours

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