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

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 brief look around Delhi, we travel north for a yoga retreat in the Indian countryside, spend time in a Buddhist forest monastery, explore the Tibetan exile town of Dharamshala, and hike uphill for yoga in the shadows of the great Himalayas.

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 tranquility 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 three days Mirage works its magic, preparing us unhurriedly to move on to Palpung Sherabling, a complex of Tibetan monasteries and stupas set in the forest. Here we live simply, reminded by 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.

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 Triund towards the end of this journey enables us to bring all that we have learnt together. This overnight trip takes us to 9000 feet and unrivalled 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? 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 – Pathankot – Andretta – Palpung Sherabling – Dharamshala – Triund

Yoga holidays in India

Itinerary:
Day 1, Friday 3rd November: Fly Heathrow to Delhi overnight

Departure from your home country to Delhi

Day 2, Saturday 4th November: Welcome to Delhi. Humayun’s Tomb and Nizamuddin Dargah.

Arriving in Delhi in the morning and transfer from the airport to our hotel Colonel’s Retreat to check in and have lunch on the terrace. In the afternoon we will visit Humayun’s Tomb, the sandstone forerunner of the Taj Mahal.

buddhist meditation tours india

As the sun goes down we’ll walk down the road to the Sufi shrine at Nizamuddin Dargah and tune into the experience, with a sunset and sounds meditation as the evening Qawwalis are sung.

Dinner and overnight at Colonel’s Retreat, Delhi

Day 3, Sunday 5th November: Day in Delhi and overnight train to Pathankot

We spend today in Delhi before boarding our night train to the foothills of the Himalayas.

After breakfast we will check out of the hotel and drive to the Deer Park in Delhi for yoga in the park. 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. There’ll be time to wander around Hauz Khas village and eat at one of the many vibrant cafés and restaurants (at guest’s own expense). In the afternoon we’ll visit the atmospheric Gurudwara Bangla Sahib before our evening transfer to Delhi Railway Station to catch overnight train to Pathankot: “Jammu Mail”, train number 14033 departing Delhi at 20:10 and arriving at Pathankot Cantt the following morning at 05:08 (9 hours journey time). We’ll be travelling in First Class sleeper carriage with a packed dinner.

Overnight on train

Day 4, Monday 6th November: Arrive at Pathankot and drive to the Yoga and Meditation retreat at Mirage, Andretta

Today we arrive and settle into a new pace of life in an old house in the Indian countryside.

Arriving at Pathankot at 05:08 we drive 120km (3 hours) to Mirage to begin a peaceful 3-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.

guided yoga and meditation tours in india

Our retreat begins with an evening meditation introducing and exploring the language of our senses through the combined skills of body scanning and soft listening.

Dinner and overnight at Mirage, Andretta

Day 5, Tuesday 7th November: Yoga and Meditation retreat at Mirage

In our morning yoga session 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.

The yoga space at Mirage

The yoga space at Mirage

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. Another great excursion is a trip to Kangra on the Kangra Valley Toy Train which stops in the local village of Panch Rukhi. The Kangra Fort is well worth a visit as it has a great audio guide & a fascinating history.

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

Dinner and overnight at Mirage, Andretta

Day 6, Wednesday 8th November: Yoga retreat at Mirage

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.

yoga and meditation holidays 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?’

Dinner and overnight at Mirage, Andretta

Day 7, Thursday 9th November: Travel from Mirage to Palpung Sherabling Monastery

Today we leave the old house to experience life in a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the forest – it’s a half-hour drive to the serene Palpung Sherabling Monastery, seat of the Tai Situpa, the reincarnate lama of the Kagyu school. We will stop for lunch on the way.

monastery tour india

During our stay at the monastery there will be time to pursue our own programme of yoga and meditation, as well as meet and learn from the resident monks. Meals here are vegetarian, simple and delicious.

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?

Dinner and overnight at Palpung Sherabling Monastery

Day 8, Friday 10th November: A day at the monastery and around

Waking up at Palpung Sherabling Monastery, the rhythm of our day is set by the spiritual community who have welcomed us for our stay. It is a fitting setting for our morning practice when we explore how we might strike a balance between ease and effort.

After a simple lunch in the monastery, we will head out to visit the 13th century Baijnath Temple with its beautiful mountain views and stunning architecture, and then on to Tashi Jong, a Tibetan craft community, monastery and retreat centre.

We return for our evening meal and meditation session, to learn about meditation in movement and practice mindfulness of walking.

Dinner and overnight at Palpung Sherabling Monastery

Day 9, Saturday 11th November: A day at the monastery

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 is free for relaxation and personal practice.

yoga tours in india

yoga tours in india

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?

Dinner and overnight at Palpung Sherabling Monastery

Day 10: Sunday 12th November: Drive to Dharamshala

With our last morning at the monastery, we bring together all that we have learnt in a flowing practice to loosen us up for the journey ahead.

We then move on for the final part of our journey in Dharamshala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community.

After check out we drive 65km (2 hours) to McLeod Ganj (upper Dharamsala), stopping en route at Norbulingka Institute and lunch at Joyfulcafe (at guests’ own expense). The Norblingka Institute is famous for its arts studios including Tibetan statue making, Thangka painting, screen printing, applique, wood-carving, and wood and metal craft.

The old world charm of the Grace Hotel

The old world charm of the Grace Hotel

After checking in to the Grace Hotel in Dharamsala and an evening meal we’ll be walking the pilgrimage route 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.

Dinner and overnight at Grace Hotel, Dharamshala

Day 11: Monday 13th November: Explore Dharamshala

During our stay in Dharamsala we explore aspects of compassion in our yoga and meditation. In our morning yoga on the terrace at Grace Hotel we look at how a physical expression of kindness and compassion in the body feels different from a “no pain no gain” approach.

yoga tours in india

In the afternoon we attend a talk on Buddhism at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, and visit to Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and the Astrological Institute, known for its almanacs, calendars and horoscopes.

We return for an evening meal at the hotel. In our evening meditation session we look at how kindness and compassion can be developed through a mindfulness practice.

Dinner and overnight at Grace Hotel, Dharamshala

Day 12, Tuesday 14th November: Trek to Triund and camp out in the mountains

We take the opportunity for a morning yoga practice once more on the terrace at the Grace Hotel. We focus on how to stay present and move from our centre supported by our breath, skills we can use if we opt for today’s 3-4 hour trek to Triund. For those who wish to remain in Dharamshala there are various options to pursue other interests.

(This photo was taken on the walk to Triund in midwinter - there will not be snow like this in November)

Hiking to Triund in midwinter – there will not be snow like this in November

Those who opt for the trek will be hiking up to the magnificent viewpoint at Triund where we will be camping out for the night in the shadow of the high Himalayas. The evening meditation allows us to explore the landscape and the sense of spaciousness that a mindfulness practice can create for us.

Dinner and overnight at Triund

Day 13, Wednesday 15th November: Return to town

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.

Yoga Holiday in India

Yoga at Triund

The return trek is 3 hours to Dharamsala with the rest of the afternoon at our leisure.

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.

Dinner and overnight at Grace Hotel, Dharamshala

Day 14, Thursday 16th November: Dharamshala tour

Our final morning yoga session on the terrace at The Grace Hotel gives us the opportunity to bring all that we have been learning and practising together. We will be trying out a self-practice to take home.

The rest of the day is free to explore the monasteries, temples and markets of McLeod Ganj.

yoga meditation holiday india

In our final 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. For our final evening we will have dinner in a Tibetan restaurant in McLeod Ganj.

Overnight at Grace Hotel, Dharamshala

Day 15, Friday 17th November: Fly to Delhi

We check out of The Grace Hotel and transfer to Dharamshala airport to catch Spice Jet flight SG-2192 departing Dharamshala at 12:10 and arriving at Delhi at 13:30 (1h 20m journey time).  We transfer to Ashok Country Resort for an evening meal and our last night.

Dinner and overnight at Ashok Country Resort, Delhi

Day 16, Saturday 18th November: International Departure

Transfer to Delhi airport for international departures.

Buddhist tour India

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£1,930
Single room supplement:
£480
The cost includes:
  • One internal flight (Dharamshala to Delhi) in economy class
  • 13 nights’ accommodation on twin/double share basis
  • Breakfast and dinner each day, lunch on days 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 + 12
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned car or coach
  • Train tickets and reservations as per itinerary (Delhi to Pathankot)
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports and railway station
  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing, talk on Tibetan Buddhism by lama.
  • Yoga and meditation with Hugh Poulton and Sarah Haden
  • Yoga mat with cotton cloth and carry bag
  • Mineral water while travelling
The cost does not include:
  • International airfare.
  • India visa fee. You can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • 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 compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. 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 card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.

CONTACT US

To enquire or make a booking on this tour, please call: 020 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm

TESTIMONIALS:
“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
Soul-of-india-logo-white-sml
New banner jpeg