Yogi Pilgrimage to the Source of the Ganges

Yogi Pilgrimage to the Source of the Ganges – May 2017

Yoga Tours in India

This epic pilgrimage starts with a short preparatory retreat in an ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas, and ends with a stunning trek along an ancient pilgrimage route – from the old temple at Gangotri to the glacier at the source of the Ganges in the high Himalayas.

Led by Spanish yoga teacher Sandra Arribas Lopez and Italian yoga teacher Fabio Filippi, we will be meeting yogis and gurus along the way, visiting ancient Hindu temples, and walking through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world.

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This tour is suitable for people of all levels of yoga, and absolute beginners are welcome. There is no pressure to be flexible, but a reasonable level of fitness is required for the trek. It is mostly easy trekking, with one more difficult section (Gaumukh to Tapovan) that you can skip if you are not up for it.

Sandra will be leading the group and introducing some yoga philosophy and practice in most of the stops – some gentle yoga in Delhi after the long flight, meditation in the mountains, and exercises to loosen up after trekking.

The main yoga sessions will include gentle pranayama, asana and meditation follow by optional digestive yoga before lunch and dinner (10 mins) and a Yin or Hatha yoga in the evening. Once settled down in the mountain camps, the evening classes are perfect to relieve stress on the legs and body after trekking, with attention on breathing for best results of the yoga asana and to feel good at altitude.

On the trek we will also practice Yoga Nidra before bed time – you will never sleep so well and peacefully. These classes will also focus on the legs (yin yoga) so you feel completely refreshed in the morning for walking. This yoga is passive, calm, and improves joint health, providing an entry point to meditation. In the magical Tapovan plateau we will have a meditation session, sit still and feel the nature and the power of the glacier.

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Sandra, Pilgrimage Leader

Life in finance brought me a lot of stress that I didn’t know how to manage – that’s how I was introduced to yoga, and my first pranayama and meditation class changed my life. I quit my job and decided to dedicate myself to learn this science and to pass it on everywhere where I go, teaching in the East and West. My aim is to bring all my knowledge and benefits of Yoga to everybody so they feel blissful, refresh and renewed, willing to learn more. Come and join me on this pilgrimage to the holy mountains on the roof of the world.

Yogi Pilgrimage to the Source of the Ganges

Delhi – Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Gaumukh – Tapovan

Itinerary:
Day 1: Saturday 6th May 2017. Fly to Delhi

Fly from your home country to New Delhi, India. (International flights are not in this package because we are expecting people to join from various different countries. We can however arrange flights from the UK if required.)

Day 2: Sunday 7th May 2017. Arrive in Delhi. Day at leisure. Overnight train to Haridwar

We will meet you on arrival in Delhi airport and drive you to the Royal Plaza hotel in central Delhi. It is boiling hot in Delhi in May, so today we have not planned any sightseeing – we will just relax by the pool and have some gentle post-flight yoga. If you wish to step out and explore Delhi we can help organize something for you.

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In the evening we will drive to nearby New Delhi Railway Station to catch the night train to Haridwar, one of the seven holy cities of India, whose name literally means “Gateway to God”. Our evening train is fittingly named after a mountain goddess, the “Nanda Devi Express”, train number 12205, departing New Delhi at 23:50 and arriving at Haridwar Junction the following morning at 03:50 (4 hours journey time).

Overnight on train

Day 3: Monday 8th May 2017: Yoga in Rishikesh.

On arrival at Haridwar Junction, we will hop into our jeeps and drive 60km to Rishikesh Yogaashram, an ashram up in the hills just above Rishikesh. Today will be a day of yoga and talks at the ashram, and we will also walk to the nearby Neelkanth Mahadev – a Shiva temple and popular pilgrimage spot situated on the spot where, in Hindu mythology, Shiva drank the poison that discoloured his throat (Neelkanth literally means “blue throat”)

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Overnight in ashram

Day 4: Tuesday 9th May 2017. Drive Rishikesh to Uttarkashi

After morning yoga and breakfast, we will hop into our jeeps for the drive further up the mountains to the hill town of Uttarkashi (170km, 6 hours), where we check into the Sivananda Ashram.

Overnight in ashram in Uttarkashi

Day 5: Wednesday 10th May 2017. Yoga in ashram, Uttarkashi

Yoga retreat in ashram in Uttarkashi

 Overnight in ashram in Uttarkashi

Day 6: Thursday 11th May 2017. Yoga in ashram, Uttarkashi

Yoga retreat in ashram in Uttarkashi

Overnight in ashram in Uttarkashi

Day 7: Friday 12th May 2017. Drive Uttarkashi to Harsil, (75km, 2.5 hours). Overnight in Harsil

Today we hop into our jeeps to drive 75km – about 2.5 hours – higher up into the mountain to Harsil, stopping on the way to bathe in the hot springs at Gangnani.

Overnight in hotel in Harsil

Day 8: Saturday 13th May 2017. Drive to Gangotri, trek to Chirbasa.

Today is the first day of our trek to the source of the Ganges. We leave the hotel at Harsil early morning and drive 25km drive to Gangotri, where we meet our guides and stop in at the famous Gangotri temple for a pre-trek blessing.

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The first stretch is about 8km, and will take the most part of the morning. It is a fairly easy walk along a path, but we will take it easy because we are at an altitude of 3,400m and will be walking uphill. Sleeping and camping equipment are provided, which will be carried alongside us by hardy mountain donkeys, so you only have to carry your water and chocolate.

At Chirbasa we will set up our camp and Sandra will lead the rejuvenating yoga.

 Overnight in camp at Chirbasa

Day 9: Sunday 14th May 2017. Trek Chirbasa to Bhojbasa.

This morning is another easy trek of about 5km from Chirbasa to Bhojbasa, as we gain height and cross the tree line with the scenery changing to more rugged mountain terrain. We set up camp in another stunning location for some yoga to soothe the joints and muscles.

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Overnight in camp at Bhojbasa

Day 10: Monday 15th May 2017. Trek Bhojbasa to Gaumukh to Tapovan

This morning we trek to the Gaumukh, the sacred spot where the holy river Ganges emerges from the mouth of the glacier at its source.

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After stopping here briefly we continue to walk over the glacier and up to the breathtaking plateau at Tapovan. This part of the trek is more difficult than the initial 2 days, and those who are not feeling up to it can return with our guides to spend the night at Bhojbasa, and rejoin the rest of the group on their way back down.

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Overnight in tents in Tapovan

Day 11: Tuesday 16th May 2017: Trek Tapovan to Bhojbasa

Today we begin the return trek – which we will do faster as we are going downhill. Tapovan to Bhojbasa: 9km, 3 hours.

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Overnight in tents at Bhojbasa

Day 12: Wednesday 17th May 2017: Trek Bhojbasa to Gangotri, Drive to Uttarkashi.

Morning trek from Bhojbasa to Gangotri (13km, 4 hours) followed by a quick lunch in Gangotri before hopping in jeeps to drive 100 km to Uttarkashi (about 3-4 hours). We might stop en route to bathe in the hot springs at Gangnani – great for your aching bones. In Uttarkashi we will stay in a hotel rather than an ashram, for a little more comfort after the trek.

Overnight in hotel in Uttarkashi

Day 13: Thursday 18th May 2017: Rest day in Uttarkashi.

Day at rest in Uttarkashi – chill out or wander the market hill town.

Overnight in hotel in Uttarkashi

Day 14: Friday 19th May 2017: Drive Uttarkashi to Rishikesh (170km, 6 hours)

Drive in jeeps from Uttarkashi to Rishikesh (Laxman Jhula) and check into the hotel Narayana Palace.

Overnight in hotel Narayana Palace

Day 15: Saturday 20th May: Day exploring in Rishikesh. Evening train to Delhi. Overnight in Delhi

Today we spend the day exploring Rishikesh and Laxman Jhula. Afternoon transfer to Haridwar Junction to catch “Dehradun Shatabdi” train no. 12018 departing at 18:15 and arriving at New Delhi Railway Station at 22:45 (4 hours 30 minutes journey time). Travel in AC chair class. Transfer from New Delhi Railway Station to airport hotel

Overnight in hotel near Delhi airport.

Day 16: Sunday 21st May 2017: Return international flight

It’s the end of the journey – goodbyes and transfer from hotel to airport for international departures.

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The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£1,690
Single room supplement:
£445
The cost includes:
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in hotels, ashrams and tents as per itinerary, sharing twin or double room or single room. Day/evening use of Royal Plaza on 6th May. Hotels have en-suite facilities. Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability. Trekking accommodation is provided in tents with sleeping bags and sleeping mats.
  • Trekking arrangements include guide, ponies to carry luggage/equipment and camp kitchen staff.
  • Breakfast and dinner each day, and also lunch from days 7-13. All meals are vegetarian.
  • Train tickets and reservations as per itinerary (Delhi to Haridwar, and Haridwar to Delhi)
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned car or coach. Driving in the mountains will be in 4×4 Mahindra Xylo vehicles.
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports and railway station.
  • English speaking escort guide for the whole tour
  • Yoga led by Sandra Arribas Lopez
  • 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
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