An Indian Odyessy
A Yoga and Touring Adventure through Southern India
With Sally Riddell ( Ruby9 Yoga )
Taking expressions of interest now for 2022
Dates to be advised
$3900 twin share
This soulful, intimate adventure incorporates yoga, meditation, storytelling and some touring through Southern India. The story of the Mahabharata will thread its way through our adventure, providing a framework onto which we will weave our own experiences and stories as they unfold.
Our trip engages with the rhythms of life, inspiring an exploration of opening your mind and body to a rich and dense experience. It is also a trip that provides time, place and occasion to unwind, relax, and connect with the elements.
We will weave our way from the Bay of Bengal to the Nilgiri Hills of Central South India, via Mahaballipuram and Pondicherry, ending our trip in Madurai in Central Tamil Nadu, and back to Chennai.
DAY1 You will arrive in Chennai and we will pick you up from the airport and bring you to our hotel ready for the start of our adventure the following day.
DAY 2 We begin our adventure in Chennai, our first day orienting ourselves, finding our feet as we explore some of the sites and experiences – markets, temples, the Theosophical Gardens, Krishnamurti’s home, beaches and colonial sites – as well as time for shopping and if you want an Ayurvedic massage.
DAYS 3 – 6 For the next four days we will attend classes at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram. At the KYM our teachers will guide us through practices centred on the concept of the five elements that make up our physical world – earth, fire, wind, water and space – encouraging this concept to find their natural expression in our physical and mental being.
These teachings will be continued in the Nilgiri Hills where we stay at the stately Cardomon House with Sally – using the five elements to explore yoga, visualisation, art and writing. Whilst at Cardamon house, in Arthoor region, our pace will be a little slower and more relaxed. Here we will have the opportunity to walk through tea plantations and the countryside, to swim in the lake and to explore the nearby villages or to read peacefully in the gardens.
DAY 7 Between Chennai and Arthoor, we will visit Mahabalipuram, a world heritage site of magnificent temples, rock carvings and fascinating history.
DAYS 7 & 8 Then to Pondicherry, a gorgeous town with a French colonial heritage. This is a wonderful town to explore – beautiful buildings, fabulous temples, glorious gardens, delightful dining, cultural performances and of course the Auroville establishment. We have a couple of days here for pure indulgence and exploration.
DAYS 9 & 10 From Pondicherry, the train (a first class carriage) takes us to our Nilgiri Hills destination.
DAY 11 To finish our tour we go to Madurai where we have time to visit the huge and magnificent world heritage temple of Meenakshi with a guide who will explain the details of this site.
DAY 12 Our adventure officially ends back in Chennai
From Chennai you can either fly directly to your home destination, or perhaps you would like to go on to another destination of your choice.
You may wish to spend the night in Chennai or fly straight out that evening.
Ruby 9 Yoga can recommend Milesworth Travel to help you with travel within India
Throughout our retreat Sally will tell you stories from the Mahabharata. This is the region of India, they say, that is a significant part of the backdrop for the legend that is the Mahabharata – one of the greatest of Indian stories. A story that tells of courage, fortitude, commitment and loyalty – a magnificent, sweeping saga that, like all good myths, paints a picture for us to contemplate our own life and living.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDE AND TEACHER:
Sally Riddell (Ruby 9 Yoga) is a Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist and teacher of Vedic Chant from Perth, Western Australia who is trained in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya. Her inspirational and inclusive practices stem from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya, following the guidance of her teachers T.K.V. Desikachar, his family and the teachers from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.
Sally teaches in a manner that includes each person in a way that is appropriate for them using all the tools of yoga.
Her personal style of teaching is inspired by the resonance of chant, the wonder of storytelling and the relevance of metaphor.
Sally has led walking and yoga retreats in Western Australia, Spain and India. She is passionate about the power of yoga, Vedic Chant and meditation to guide and inform our daily life and the ways in which our lives intertwine with the rhythms of the natural world.
At the KYM teachers from the faculty will lead us through āsana, pranayama, meditation and chant session. These are all teachers with a wealth of experience, with a dedication to excellence in teaching and with whom it is an absolute pleasure to study. This is yoga taught at the highest level.
ABOUT OUR ACCOMMODATION:
In Chennai we are staying at the Raj Palace Hotel. This is a well appointed Hotel with a fine dining room and swimming pool. We are within walking distance of the KYM and tuk tuks are always available at the front gates. There are plenty of other eateries nearby as well.
In Pondicherry we will be staying at “Gratitude Hermitage”, a comfortable and interesting French colonial home that has been devotedly refurbished. Each room has an ensuite bathroom. We are in the French Quarter, where wandering the streets, dropping in to shops of all types, discovering delightful restaurants, is all a part of the ambience.
The Auroville Ashram is nearby and is on the itinerary should you wish to come (you might simply like a day of rest)
Cardamon House is again a fabulous colonial building with an story of its own. Originally it was the home of an English tea plantation owner. It has been lovingly restored but retains all the grandeur of the colonial past. Each room whether single or twin share, is well appointed and has an ensuite bathroom. Set in the Nilgiri Hills the views are magnificent and there are plenty of walks that can be enjoyed, bird watching, swimming, and visits to local villages can be arranged.
In Madurai we will stay at the Fortune Pandiyan Hotel, a comfortable, modern hotel.
On returning to Chennai you can choose to stay again at the Raj Palace Hotel (approx $40 per night) or the Raintree Hotel (approx $80 per night) can be booked. If you are flying out in the evening, we will take you to the airport.
YOUR INVESTMENT INCLUDES:
14 days and 15 nights
Airport transfer on arrival and departure
Accommodation in Chennai, Pondicherry, Artoor, and Madurai
Breakfasts, dinners, light lunches.
In Chennai 5 days at the KYM, staying at Raj Palace Hotel
Private mini Bus transport to Mahabalipuram and Sally will be your guide around this amazing site.
Private mini Bus transport to Pondicherry.
Accommodation at “Gratitude Hermitage” colonial accommodation
Breakfasts, dinners, light lunches
Private mini Bus transport to Auroville
Train to Arthoor
Private mini bus transfer to Cardamon House
Accommodation at Cardamon House
5 nights, 4 days
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Private mini bus to Madurai
Guided tour of Madurai Meenakshi Temple.
Accommodation at Fortune Pandiyan Hotel Madurai
Transfer from Madurai to Chennai
Flights to and from India
Internal air flights or accommodation prior to or after the India Odyssey tour
Extra food and drinks, and alcohol.Accommodation in Chennai prior to the starting date of the adventure (if you stay at the Raj Palace Hotel the cost of a room is approximately $40 and can be arranged when you book for this retreat)
Your final night of accommodation of October 12th.
Transfers to the airport when you leave India.
Dinners whilst in Chennai (breakfast and lunch will be provided)
Any food other than lunch in Madurai (breakfast will be provided)
Private consults at the KYM
Personal use of local transport
Village tours, guided walks or extra activities at Cardamon House
Internal air flights or extra trains in India
SITES and SHOPPING:
In Chennai there are any number of interesting things to do and see. Depending on time and what appeals to our group our choices include – the Kavalyam Markets, a visit to Kapalaswar Temple, in Mysore ( an exciting place to wander and wonder), Eliot Beach and the Laksmi Temple, the Ramakrishna Math, de Luz church, 1000 Lights Mosque, the Ice House, Hickinbothoms Bookshop, and many other cultural choices. For the shoppers and foodies -Amethyst Cafe and shopping experience, Isha Life Ayurvedic centre, cafe and shop, Spencer Plaza (great for singing bowls and cashmere and a fun Indian shopping mall experience), Kalpha Druma ( soft furnishings, fabrics, and handicrafts) and loads of other choices for shopping and dining.
Mahabalipuram is a world heritage site. The entire area had been swamped by sand during a tsunami hundreds of years ago. During the British Colonial days the sand began to move and parts of this extraordinary site began to emerge. The more they dug, the more they found. Each year archaeologists are finding more treasures. Right at the water’s edge is the Shore Temple – a magnificent temple dedicated to Siva. Nearby is Arjuna’s Penance, an enormous granite rock face carved with the story of the anguish of the warrior Arjuna as he prepared for war (this is a part of the story of the Mahabharata). Next to this the temple of Durga, Krisna’ s Ball and a host of smaller but no less delightful temples and carvings. Nearby are the 5 Pranathas. This is a site that describes the procession of kings as they follow the guidance of the goddesses Durga, Laksmi and Sarasvati. It is a truly magnificent site and one well worth a visit.
Pondicherry is a delight of old and new, ancient and colonial, a shopper’s delight, and foodies’ paradise, the colours of India mingled into a glomesh fantasy. Simply wandering the streets is fun. There are also the famous botanical gardens that provided the setting for the book “The Life of Pi”, by Yann Martell.
Not far from Central Pondicherry is Auroville, at 24 -hectare property set up by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the 1920s with an active community of people, who dedicate themselves to education, spiritual study and inclusion, and to furthering the development of altruistic ideals and peace. Central to the entire property is the Lotus Meditation Dome in the Garden of Peace. This is an enormous golden sphere which sit proud and shining in the middle of the property. You can walk along the Harmony Walk and as you round the corner – there it is. It is possible to book a time to visit this shrine or simply look from a short distance away. In addition to the furthering of education and spiritual awareness practices, the community includes and facilitates the local villages to produce goods that are environmentally and financially responsible, of very high quality and exquisite beauty. Clothing, jewellery, handbags, handicrafts – it’s all here.
Train rides are fantastic. The railways service throughout India and are remarkably reliable and certainly less congested than the roads. This is a great way to see the countryside.
At Cardamon House in Arthoor, it is possible to walk, swim, bird watch,visit villages, indulge in that fabulous book you bought in Hickinbothams bookshop, eat and drink and quietly enjoy your time in this beautiful setting.
The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is another World Heritage site. Here we will have a guide to tell us the detailed history and features of this incredible building.
Throughout our tour you will be treated to some fabulous cuisine. Some simple, local experiences, others sumptuous delights. Part of the fun is to try different places. We will be going to a variety of restaurants and in Pondicherry at “Gratitude” and “Cardamon House” in Arthoor we will experience their fabulous in house cooking.
Street food is abundant and often wonderful but can be unreliable in terms of cleanliness. Wherever you go in India it is wise to ask for no ice in your drinks, to eat cooked rather than raw food, to drink bottled water, to make sure of your own personal hygiene, and to be very sensible about your choices.
Southern Indian food is fabulous.
WHAT WE REQUIRE FROM YOU:
We do require that you have a reasonable level of fitness, and that any medical issues have been discussed and cleared by your doctor.
Attached to our agreement is a medical indemnity form that you must fill in and return to us. You must supply us with your current passport details. Please make sure that your passport has a least six months validity from the date you return to Australia.
We also need your India tourist visa details. Evisas are easy www……..you may need to go to the Indian Embassy in your city to formalise your visa. The size for the identity photo for India is irregular – it is easier to get it done at the Embassy.
We require your travel details – flights, times of arrival and departure and airports you will use in India.
We request that you have insurance and that you provide us with insurance details prior to travelling. Banks often provide insurance for credit card holders or an insurance company of your choice.
We also require that you sign an acknowledgement of expectations. We will send this to you at your time of booking.
We recommend that you see your doctor for advice for any injections you may want to have. Do this as soon as possible. Make sure you give yourself at least three months prior to travel for Hepatitis vaccination.
On booking, we will provide you with a file detailing more information with respect to health, safety, clothing requirements and travel arrangements. Basically you need to be well prepared with footwear and suitable clothing (please keep in mind that Southern India is more traditional than Northern India)
Your booking is confirmed when we have received both your $200 deposit and your signed indemnity form. Final payment for this retreat is required by June 9th, 2020.
HOW TO GET THERE:
There are several airlines that fly at varying costs into multiple Indian destinations, with stop overs
in another Asian country.
Internal flights in India are very reasonable.
As the “Indian Odyssey” begins and finishes in Chennai you may choose to fly into and out of
Should you choose to continue your stay in India, there are any number of International Airports.
We will transfer you from the airport to the Raj Palace Hotel when you arrive in Chennai and help to arrange transport to either an airport or train station at the end of the retreat.
You will need to plan to arrive in Chennai at least 1 day before the date we begin our adventure since we have an early start on the first day.