Tamil Nadu to be exact.
Last year I led a group of stalwarts to Chennai for private classes at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Madiram and then on to Varkala, Kerala where I led a yoga retreat. You can read a review of that trip here. A few told me it was their trip of a lifetime. :)
This year my friend and I were going to lead a two week yoga retreat in Varkala, Kerala but we had to cancel because there was no interest in it whatsoever. We were both very bummed about it.
Ironically, after that cancellation three people contacted me about leading a trip to India in the future.
If you have followed this blog since 2005 you know how much I love India, especially South India. The typical tourist trips to India usually go north — Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan, the Buddhist circuit. There is nothing wrong with those areas, but in my opinion, the South is special and overlooked by the usual India tourist. Actually, overlooked is how I like it because where I go I am usually the only Westerner.
I first traveled to Chennai to study at KYM in 2005 and have been returning yearly. I always go to the South first. I realized on my Rajasthan trip this year that I truly am a South Indian Girl. I always tell first-timers to India that the South is a bit easier place to land. I have been to Haridwar in the north, jumping into the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela in 2010. I’ve been to the opposite side of India, in Calcutta to Kali’s temple where I got hit with a shakti blast so hard I almost fell down. I rode a motorcyle into the Thar Desert in Rajasthan this year. But Chennai in Tamil Nadu is my home. One day I hope to live there for 6 months out of the year.
Tamil Nadu is rich in history and spirituality because of the multitude of important temple towns. The history of the Tamil language and its literature is equally as rich as the Sanskrit language and its literature, but unless one travels to South India, it remains unfamiliar to many if not most. An important Yoga text came out of Tamil Nadu, written in Tamil.
Because I love showing people My India, I have decided to investigate leading a SPIRITUAL TOUR OF SOUTH INDIA in late 2015. It would be 15 days which if you count the days on a calendar it is really two full weeks, not a full three weeks. The trip would be a Tamil Nadu temple yatra and where possible I will lead Yoga classes.
I contacted the tour company I used for Rajasthan this year to put together a preliminary plan. The time frame would be September 15-29 or October 1-15 or October 26-November 9, whichever they can do. You would fly into Chennai and we would bus it around Tamil Nadu from town to town ending up back in Chennai. I MAY do an extra week in Varkala, Kerala on the beach for people who wanted to stay longer. Maybe. That would be an extra cost.
The cities I have planned are (two days in each):
Tiruvannamalai — visit Arunachaleswara Temple, climb or walk around Arunachala and visit the Ramana Maharishi ashram;
Auroville/Pondicherry — visit Auroville and relax, shop in Pondicherry;
Chidambaram; visit Shiva temple, where Shiva is in the form of Nataraj;
Thanjavur and Srirangam — side trip to Swamimallai and Gangakondacholapuram possible? Rest in Tiruchirappali or maybe Kumbakonam?;
Karaikukudi and Rameswaram — the water ritual inside the Ramanathaswamy temple;
Madurai — temple rituals, shop — good day to have a South Indian cooking class OR have a South Indian dinner prepared for everyone for last night;
back to Chennai to fly home.
You can Google all those places to see what’s what.
Right now I estimate the approximate cost to be $2000-2900, excluding flight, taxes, tips, meals (which are CHEAP in India.) The optional extra week in Kerala would be an added cost.
Serious inquires only. Let me know your interest. It is never too early to plan your first trip to India.
If not now….when?