Mountains, Monasteries and Mudhouses; travels with Mindfulness and Yoga in the lap of the snows

Mountains, Monasteries and Mudhouses:
travels with Mindfulness and Yoga in the lap of the snows
29 September to 14 October 2018

yoga holidays in india

Led by yoga teachers Hugh Poulton and Sarah Haden, this is a very different type of yoga tour in India – shunning the usual hotels in favour of traditional old houses and Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan foothills.

After a night in Delhi we travel north for a yoga retreat in the Indian countryside, spend time visiting Buddhist forest monasteries, explore the Tibetan exile town of Dharamshala, and trek to experience yoga in the shadows of the great Himalayas. We will end the tour in the holy Sikh city of Amritsar.

Hugh and Sarah will be leading the yoga and meditation along the way helping you to develop your personal understanding and direct experience of the teachings yoga and Buddhsim offer. They have an engaging and accessible approach to the subtlety of this teaching through daily asanas, meditation sessions and philosophy in action talks.

Yoga holidays in India

There will be plenty free time for you to explore and experience the beauty and tranquillity of rural India at your own pace. Our destination, Himachal Pradesh (literally “in the lap of the snows”) is a region of outstanding natural beauty where undulating tea plantations contrast with snow-capped ranges and dense forest, where the pine scented air is said to have curative powers.
Our first retreat location is the Mirage – lovingly restored traditional Himachal mud-houses near Andretta artists’ colony. Over six days Mirage works its magic, each day inviting us to unwind and unravel. We visit local monasteries, nunneries and a tea estate and witness those around us whose daily rhythm follows the beat of a different drum. Our yoga and meditation practice over our stay allows us to see the impact of this within ourselves.

Moving on to Norbulingka allows us to experience an artistic culture steeped in spirituality inviting us to reflect on how meaning and purpose is expressed.

meditation group tour dharamshala

Moving on to Dharamshala we witness the blend of daily and spiritual life played out in front of us. In our practice we question how to sustain a balance between these for ourselves. Trekking to Kareri towards the end of this journey enables us to bring all that we have learnt together. This two night trip takes us to 9500 feet and unrivaled views of the local mountains. Once more we are immersed in nature prompting the questions: where have we been, what have we seen and what have we come to understand about ourselves? Lastly we travel to Amritsar and the holiest site of Sikhism as well as the choreographed symbolism of the Wagah Ceremony. Come with us on an altogether different kind of tour, and experience the soul of India.
Scroll down for the full itinerary

Mountains, Monasteries and Mudhouses; travels with Mindfulness and Yoga in the lap of the snows

Delhi – Andretta – Norbulingka – Dharamsala – Kareri Lake – Amritsar

Yoga holidays in India


Fly from your country to Delhi. We suggest a daytime flight arriving in Delhi at night. If you are traveling from the UK then we recommend British Airways BA0143 from Heathrow (10:25) to Delhi (23:25). Speak to Soul of India about booking your flight.

Arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and transfer to Red Fox Hotel, very close to the airport for a night’s rest.

Overnight in Red Fox Hotel, Delhi


Today we will fly from Delhi to the foothills of the Himalayas. Transfer from hotel to Terminal 3 to board Air India AI-9713 from Delhi (11:00) to Dharamsala Gaggal Airport (12:50). On arrival we will travel 50km in our private minibus to Mirage Andretta, the country house which is our home for our yoga retreat over the coming days.

We arrive at The Mirage to begin a peaceful 6-day yoga and meditation retreat. Located in a cluster of traditional mud houses and set against a backdrop of jungle & bamboo groves, the Mirage is more a heritage homestay than a hotel, furnished with hand-picked Indian furniture and artefacts. Relax and breathe it in.

Our retreat begins with a short evening practice and meditation.

Here we’ll work with a gentle yoga introduction to the natural energy of the body and our breath and begin to explore how they support our movement and vitality in all that we do.  Our evening meditation introduces exploring the language of our senses through the combined skills of body scanning and soft listening.

Overnight in Mirage Andretta

DAY 3: MONDAY 1st October 2018. YOGA IN ANDRETTA

We have the whole day to begin to unravel and unwind in this special place.

We start with Morning Yoga before breakfast. Here we tune into the natural rhythms of the body and mind, becoming familiar with our patterns of holding and release as we build on our soft listening skills from the previous evening’s session. It’s possible the limitations in our body and mind might be more interesting than at first glance.

Spend the afternoon at your own pace. There are lovely walks along jungle trails or across the local paddy fields with diverse bird life. Andretta Artists’ colony is a short walk away.

In the evening meditation session we explore the nature of sensory experience and how to retain curiosity with the familiar as well as the novel.

Overnight in Mirage Andretta

DAY 4: TUESDAY 2nd October 2018. YOGA AND TEA

As The Mirage begins to work its magic we begin to find a different rhythm and pace.

In our morning yoga session we look at how to bring the mind and body together. We experiment in movement with a playful approach to tension to create mobility, stability and flexibility.

guided yoga and meditation tours in india

After lunch there is the opportunity to visit the nearby Wah Tea Estate for a free tour of the operation and sampling of estate green and black tea.

In the evening meditation session we reflect on the nature of true flexibility and ask ourselves: ‘how do we get the mind out of the way?’

Overnight in Mirage Andretta


Today Presents the opportunity to deepen our practice. The morning yoga session will explore the meaning of balance in our practice and how it is expressed in our body.

The yoga space at Mirage

The yoga space at Mirage

This afternoon we will drive a short distance to visit the Buddhist nunnery at Dongyu Gatsal Ling.

In the evening meditation session we reflect on what we have learnt about balance from the morning yoga and explore how ‘letting be’ has practical relevance in our practice and daily life.  Might balance of mind as well as balance of body have a part to play?

Overnight in Mirage Andretta


Our morning practice explores how we might strike a balance between ease and effort.

yoga and meditation holidays in india

As well as yoga, we will also drive out to explore some of the area today, stopping at the Tibetan monastery at Palpung Sherabling and the ancient Shiva temple at Baijnath.

In the afternoon we will learn about meditation in movement and practice mindfulness of walking whilst visiting the stupas and Chortens of Palpung Sherabling monastery.

Overnight in Mirage Andretta

DAY 7: FRIDAY 5th October 2018. YOGA IN ANDRETTA

In our morning yoga we explore how all movement is Yoga and consider what might a daily practice bring or mean to us?

The afternoon we will drive a short distance to visit the Tibetan community at Tashi Jong with its interesting monasteries and handicrafts initiatives.

We come together for an evening meal and meditation when we look at how the mind can feel so variable. How might awareness of our mind states be good for us? We reflect on what our stay at The Mirage has meant for us.

Overnight in Mirage Andretta


Our morning session reflects on the importance of transition, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Today we will check out of our yoga retreat and travel 40km to Norbulingka, a centre for preserving traditional Tibetan arts, and we will stay overnight in the attached Norling House.

In the evening meditation session we consider the nature of limitation and explore how our senses might guide us and what we might do differently in the face of challenge.

Overnight in Norling House

DAY 9: SUNDAY 7th October 2018. TO DHARAMSALA

After breakfast we will drive a few miles to Dharamsala, the Himalayan hill station town which is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community in exile in India.

At Dharamsala we will check into the Glenmoor Cottages, our home for the next few days tucked away in the forest. Our evening meditation embraces our new surroundings immersed in nature.

Overnight in Glenmoor Cottages Dharamsala


During our stay in Dharamsala we explore aspects of compassion in our yoga and meditation.

In our morning yoga outside surrounded by forest we look at how a physical expression of kindness and compassion feels in the body supports us to find our internal rhythm that is natural and centred.

We’ll be walking the kora; the sacred path around the Dalai Lama’s residence. The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of teachers who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.  It’s an opportunity to quietly reflect in this special place.

Overnight in Glenmoor Cottages Dharamsala


Today we will start our 2 night trek with yoga in the Himalayas. For those not up for trekking, there is the option to stay back in Dharamsala with no change in cost. For those who wish to remain in Dharamshala there are various options to pursue other interests.

For those trekking, we will depart early morning and drive 20km to Kareri village and trek 5km alongside the river Nyund to Harnala village.

The evening meditation allows us to explore the landscape and the sense of spaciousness that a mindfulness practice can create for us.

Overnight in camp at Harnala, or at hotel in Dharamsala

DAY 12: WEDNESDAY 10th October. TREK

A short morning yoga practice to prepare our body and mind for the day ahead. After breakfast we continue our trek to Kareri lake – 10km in 5 to 6 hours. After reaching to the lake we will set up our camp and explore the Shiva Temple.

The evening meditation allows us to explore the landscape and the sense of spaciousness that a mindfulness practice can create for us.

Overnight in camp at Kareri Lake, or at hotel in Dharamsala


Waking up in the hills in our tents, we feel a greater intimacy with the elements and explore this more fully in our outdoor morning yoga practice focusing on the 5 classical elements – earth, air, fire, water and space. We experiment with our practice as we adapt to landscape and weather, feeling for ourselves how we respond to the change in routine and environment.

This morning we wake up by the lake and, after breakfast, commence our walk back downhill to the road and drive back to Dharamsala.

Those not on the trek can spend the day exploring Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj.

Once more we return to our forest retreat. In the evening meditation we look at when to put ourselves first and examine how constructive selfishness can help. We practice metta/loving kindness meditation, learning an approach that gives us the skills to look after and support ourselves.

Overnight in Glenmoor Cottages Dharamsala

DAY 14: FRIDAY 12th October. TO AMRITSAR

Today we move on from Dharamsala, and drive down from the Himalayan foothills through the fertile plains of Punjab to Amritsar – the 190 km drive will take approx 5 hours.

In Amritsar we will be staying in Ranjitvilas, a traditional Punjabi farmhouse on the edge of the city with space in the garden for yoga.

In our evening meditation session we learn how to use Metta meditation/loving kindness to embrace others; we can begin to see how our meditation practice supports acts of compassion in daily life.

Overnight in Ranjitvilas, Amritsar


A shorter final morning practice we will be trying out a self-practice to take home and exploring how to use our the coming day as an inspiration for meditation in daily life.

We will spend much of the day at the Golden Temple, taking in the serenity of the place. You can also get involved with volunteering in the kitchen, cooking and serving food for the pilgrims. Later we can visit the poignant site of Jalianwala Bagh and drive out for the closing ceremony on the Wagah border with Pakistan.

Overnight in Ranjitvilas, Amritsar


Spend the morning at leisure, exploring Amritsar or doing some last minute shopping. We will check out of the hotel at noon, but still have some of the afternoon free before our flight to Delhi.

Afternoon transfer to Amritsar airport to board Jet Airways 9W-739 from Amritsar (19:05) to Delhi (20:15).

At Delhi airport transfer for international departure. Our recommended flight for departures to the UK is British Airways BA0142 from Delhi (01:50, after midnight) to Heathrow (06:30).

Speak to Soul of India about different flight options for other countries.

Buddhist tour India

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
Single room supplement:
The cost includes:
  • 15 nights’ accommodation in hotels, guest houses and tents (as per itinerary. (Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability)
  • Meals as per meal plan: Breakfast at hotel in Delhi. Breakfast, lunch & dinner included on retreat at Andretta. Breakfast & dinner at hotel in Dharamsala. Breakfast, lunch & dinner on trek. Breakfast & dinner at hotel in Amritsar.
  • 2 internal flights as per itinerary in economy class: Delhi to Dharamsala & Amritsar to Delhi
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports
  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary
  • Meditation and yoga taught by Hugh Poulton & Sarah Haden
  • Mineral water while traveling
The cost does not include:
  • International flights
  • India visa fee. You can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information.
  • Some meals (see meal plan)
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc.
  • Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
  • Travel Insurance: It is essential to have adequate travel insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
Please ensure:
  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover
  • It provides cover for your whole trip
  • It covers you for all activities
  • It covers all your pre-existing medical conditions
  • Keep your Policy Number and Insurer’s 24-hour Emergency Number handy with you

If you wish to book this tour, please contact us for a booking form. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit or credit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Our Bank details are on the booking form.


To enquire or make a booking on this tour, please call: +44 (0)20 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm (UK time)

“I cannot recommend this company enough. Safe to say India has got under our skin and into our hearts, and when we visit again we will definitely be booking with this company - if you are thinking of going I urge you to do the same.”- Gillian and Ashley Iredale
``The whole experience was great, the most relaxing day of the holiday was the cruise up the backwaters when the whole group experienced it together``- Margaret Fortune
``A whole variety of experiences- worship, culture, scenery, friendliness of the people & their hospitality``- Daphne Brindle
``Being in India and witnessing the faith that the people of India have, Hindus, Muslim or Christians, seeing with my own eyes the devotion the people have`` - Steve Breward