Spiritual Diversity in India
with Azad Kaur and Ishvara
September 16th – 29th 2012
Optional extension to Orissa  30th September – 3rd October 2012

 A pilgrimage through India is an explosion of the senses as one explores spirituality, culture, colour, incredible food and humanity in all it’s forms. Home to the Ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and four of the world’s major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – there is a very rich diversity to experience.

In September, after the Monsoon rains have restored the earth and everything cools down, we will visit some of India’s special places.  Our journey begins in the modern capital of New Delhi where we bombard our senses with the many sights and smells of this Mogul city. Rich in history, a shopping mecca, an architectural wonder….we spend time at a Sikh temple complex, a Mosque and a Jain temple. We then move on to the ancient village of Vrndavan, the home of Lord Krishna and Hindu holy town, where life has hardly changed in five thousand years. Here we stay in an ashram while visiting the surrounding sites and temples. Finally, we retire to the foothills of the Himalayas where we enjoy the natural beauty of the Ganges in Rishikesh and travel to the hill station of Mussourie, visiting a Ti


Day 1   September 16     orientation  Arrive  in New Delhi early morning, and transfer to the Jyothi Mahal hotel. Day to freshen up, relax and explore the local shopping district. In the evening we visit the Bangla Sahib Sikh temple complex where we    share in the evening meal and devotions.

Day 2   September 17     contrasts and extremes  We make our way to Chandi Chowk in Old Delhi, visit the Jama Masjid, one of the world’s largest mosques, and then go to the Digambara Jain temple, and the Jain hospital for injured birds. After lunch we visit the Bahai Lotus temple. Evening to relax back at the Jyothi Mahal.

Day 3   September 18     village life  Up early to catch the Bhopal Shatabdi express train to Mathura.  Arrive an hour later and transfer to the village of Vrndavan where we check in at the MVT Ashram.  Vrndavan is a  very holy town, the home of Lord  Krishna, and in the evening we visit the Krishna Balaram temple complex.

Day 4   September 19     a taste of Ancient India  We walk down to the Yamuna river and float by boat for several hours to the town of Mathura – birthplace of Lord Krishna. We pass ancient temples, cows, pilgrims bathing, multitudes of green        parrots…we then make our way back to the Loi Bazaar in Vrndavan to shop for cotton, silk, natural incense and perfumes

Day 5  September 20      the seventh World Wonder  We wake up early to drive to Agra, where we arrive at sunrise to visit  one of the world’s greatest monuments, the Taj Mahal. Lunch at Zorba the Buddha, an Osho restaurant, and we spend the  afternoon at the Red Fort, built by Shah Jahan. We also visit various craft  shops  and then return to  MVT Ashram for the evening.             

Day 6    September 21    land of  1000 temples  We explore the villages near Vrndavan and visit various temples in the surrounding areas. Our visit includes Radha Kund and Shyma Kund, where the Divine lovers, Radha and Krishna used to bathe. We also spend time meditating at Kusum Sarovara lake. Evening at Ashram.

Day 7     September 22   heading for the Himalayas  Morning at leisure in Vrndavan. Checkout  midday and make our way to New Delhi. In the evening we board the Mussourie Express and sleep on the overnight train which arrives at the                   Foothills of the Himalayas in the early morning. 

Day 8     September 23   the home of Yoga  We arrive early in Haridwar and make our way 14km up the Ganges river to Rishikesh. Yogis from all over the world gather here to practice all forms of yoga. After checking in at the Divine Cottage Resort, we go down to the Ganges to swim. We meet astrologers, gurus, healers and  other soothsayers – an opportunity to go for an Ayurvedic massage or palm reading. As evening approaches, we make our way down to the Ganges for the Ganga Puja Ceremony.

Day 9     September 24   view from the clouds  Travelling early through the forests up into the mountains, we head for the hill station of Mussourie, visiting a Tibetan  monastery along the way. We book into an old Victorian hunting lodge,  Padmini Niwas, and late in the afternoon cycle down to Happy Valley, a Tibetan refugee centre where we spend time with the locals.

Day 10   September 25   hiking in the forests  Spend the morning at leisure. Afternoon hike in nearby forest, and at 16h00 there will be an Indian vegetarian cooking class at the Padmini Niwas Lodge.

Day 11  September 26    holy rapids  Making our way back to Rishikesh, we travel by jeep up the Ganges and descend by raft to the Ganga nature camp. Yoga on the banks of  the river, swim, enjoy the camp fire, and sleep in tents on the banks of the  river.

Day 12   September 27   ashrams of Rishikesh  Wake up on the banks of the Ganges and river raft back to Rishikesh. Day exploring at leisure. Once again we stay at the Divine Cottage Resort.               

Day 13   September 28   heading home   We leave Rishikesh and fly back to New  Delhi. Check into Jyothi Mahal hotel. Last minute shopping and a good night’s rest.

Day 14   September 29   flying out   Leave in the morning  at 11h00 for our flight home.

Extension to the Temple of the 64 Yoginis


Day 14   September 29     travel to Puri   Leave in the morning for flight to Bhubaneswar, on  the north coast, and  on arrival transfer to the Mayfair Hotel, Puri.  Settle in and relax at the hotel which is on the beach.

Day 15   September 30       ceremony at the 64 Yoginis   Short drive to the Temple of the 64  Yoginis  in Hirapur and spend the day there. Today is the full moon. Return to Mayfair Hotel.

Day 16  October 1      exploring Orissa    Day open to explore the Orissa area together, visit the
Jain and Buddist caves near Bhuhabeswar,  and the site of the great battle of Ashoka, a beautiful place to meditate.

Day 17    Oct 2     back to Delhi    Depart Bhubaneswar for flight to New Delhi and book into Jyothi
Mahal hotel. Last minute shopping and rest.

Day 18     Oct 3      departure    Depart New Delhi for return home


Ishvara   As a child I was infatuated with India and all things Indian …My passion for India led to my converting to Hinduism at an early age… It inspired me to teach yoga and live in various ashrams around the world. My family travelled extensively and both my parents spoke many languages, so I grew up learning many languages including Hindi, French and Greek. After  studying Fine Arts, Psychology and Comparative Religion at Wits University, I travelled extensively throughout India and also lived in California, Italy, Greece, Mauritius and Britain.

Besides the Subcontinent, my travels have taken me throughout the Middle East, South East Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. I have also always been interested in various world cuisines. My main focus is on traditional ways of cooking, particularly in North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Central Asia and South East Asia. I love to share my knowledge and experience of various ancient cultures with people. I spend my time teaching various ethnic cuisines – when I am not travelling to exotic destinations…

Azad Kaur  (Ruth)  I spent my early years living in mostly rural settings in Uganda and South  Africa, always drawn to and fascinated by the stillness  of the nature. I first learned yoga and meditation at the age of 19, and have  practised ever since. I am a Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, have studied the writings of many yogic masters, and also spent many years  studying with Leslie Temple-Thurston,  a teacher of enlightenment. After studying education and linguistics, most of my career was spent working with non-profits in South Africa. I now lead retreats and pilgrimages to  sacred places in the world, and assist others in transiting to more balanced states of  consciousness.

 Pricing for Indian Journey

All costs do not include International airfare

  •  The cost of the tour excluding international airfare is $2625.00, double occupancy
  •   If paying in Rands, the cost will be calculated on the Rand/Dollar exchange rate on the day of payment.
  •   50 % Deposit is due when booking.
  •   Balance of payment for the trip is due not later than August 12, 2012.

The cost of the tour covers:

  • Lodging, transportation in India, all breakfasts, entrance fees to temples and sites and the cooking class.

The cost excludes:

  • International airfare & airport taxes, travel insurance, lunches and dinners (meals are very inexpensive in India), drinks, any excursions you take on your own, massages, treatments, shopping…
  • An extra $500.00 should be sufficient for extra meals, personal needs and gratuity, unless you plan on doing a lot of shopping.

To sign up for this tour

To register for this tour, please email Ruth on ruth@mysticalplaces.org