Tuesday, July 3, 2012







THE NEXT TWO PILGRIMAGES COMING UP:
GANGA YATRA  AUTUMN PILGRIMAGE 2015
Date: OCTOBER16- OCTOBER 27

FLOWER FESTIVAL & RAJASTHAN
Date: JANUARY 29- FEBRUARY 10
both are priced the same:
investment: $2750 all inclusive! 
Includes:3 meals a day, classes by Raghunath, all internal, guests speakers, hotels,asana classes 1 or 2 times daily. 
kirtan-constantly, study of sacred literature and  it’s practical application classes daily.

Back to the motherland! The home of yoga, mystics, mantras, sadhus, chanting, samaosas, Ayurveda and most of all devotion and love! Without a guide it’s easy to get lost in the craziness of modern India. To decipher the mystery Raghunath will be that guide to introduce you to spiritual India. Visiting like yogis; not tourists. We’re not going to park it at some hotel and do asanas. This is the real deal. Raghu will take you to the holy cities and villages that have been dear to the yogi’s and devotees since before recorded time. He will teach asana, and philosophy regularly and give reading assignments from books of ancient India so you can enter into the mood. More than tourism it will be a chance to learn and grow. We’ll learn meditation techniques, study sacred texts, and dine on authentic and excellent vegetarian food. Because he has spent a lot of time in India with sadhu’s and saints, We will meet up with other guides, friends, Vedic astrologers, palmists, & swami’s whom Raghunath knows of, or has known intimately for years. We’re going to deepen our understanding of yoga culture. With a proper guide India can be a portal to another time-an ancient spiritual culture. It still exists side by side with the modern. As you discover it you will consequently discover yourself a little more and then your life will never be the same. Hare Krishna.




OCTOBER'S ITINERARY

10/ 16– Arrive in Delhi International Airport in the evening and picked up and brought to hotel.
(option is to arrive one day early for sight seeing/shopping around New Delhi) You will be eating incredible vegetarian/vegan cuisine on the entire trip. Please let us know about any special dietary restrictions.

10/17   – Travel to Rishikesh...early morning drive to Rishikesh

10/18-10/20 Rishikesh...
We wake up early for a long ride 6.5 hour bus ride to Rishikesh. Bus rides are filled with Kirtan (sacred singing, and Raghunath giving classes on the sacred literature of India). Rishikesh is an ancient breathtaking  village  in the foothills of the Himalayas along the sacred River Ganga. This has been a holy village before recorded time and is the land of yogis. It has been both frequented and and a home to contemporary sages and seekers from Shivananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, even the Beatles. It has been historically linked to the ancient avatars from Rama, Laxman, Balaram as a place of pilgrimage for millenia.  Raghu will teach yoga, breathing and meditation techniques as well as daily sat sangha teaching the philosophy of ancient Indian texts. He treats these retreats as spiritual educational experiences for seekers on their path as pilgrimage has been for generations.

In Rishikesh we will visits sacred villages, take bathe in the Ganga, visit the temple cave of the sage Vashistha, if the weather permits white water raft down the sacred Ganga, hike to and bath in a Himalayan waterfall and sing, sing, sing in kirtan fully blowing your heart wide open.
10/21 Leave Rishikesh to Haridwar (30 minutes by our bus)

10/21-10/23- Haridwar 
Haridwar literally means the gateway to the Lord. It is 30 minutes south of Rishikesh on the Ganga. We will stay at a wonderful heritage hotel on the Ganga and practice yoga with the most gorgeous view of sacred Mother Ganges. 

Mornings will be filled with Raghu's teaching of sacred literature, chanting meditation, reading and yoga practice. In the evening there will be walking Hari ki Pauri for the gorgeous Ganga Puja or offering of ghee lamps and reciting of mantras. This incredible ritual goes on nightly and has been going on since before recorded history. Raghunath explains all that is going on to decipher the mysteries of these ancient colorful rituals.
We may take day trips to some local temples and the village is festive with incredible markets suited for yogis, including books, deities, carvings, clothes, herbs, music, incenses etc.

10/24-Leave Haridwar for a 8 early morning train to Mathura/Vrindavan
10/24-27 Vrindavan w/ an optional Taj Mahal trip option (this will be a nominal extra charge)
10/24-27 The holy town of Vrindavana is the stronghold of Krishna Bhakti. Here we will have a chance to deeply immerse ourselves in the culture and practice of Bhakti following in the footsteps of the great saints who have come here for many centuries. Those who have been here before know of the mystic nature of this special holy place where Bhakti comes naturally. Great contemporary Swami's such as  Paramahamsa Yogananda, Neem Karoli Baba, and Srila Prabhupada who spearheaded the bhakti movement in the west. 
We will visit the beautiful Hare Krishna temple which is both gorgeous and has phenomenal kirtans which attracts pilgrims from both india and around the world.
The entire time in Vrindavana will be spent absorbed in all the limbs of Bhakti-yoga including kirtan, hearing from sacred texts, associating with very saintly people, and visiting special holy spots and temples. In Vrindavan we will minimize our physical yoga practice as the mood in Vrindavan is more of kirtan, and stories of ancient literature and the visiting of holy temples.There are always auspicious surprises and unique opportunities arising in Vrindavana. Some of the things we plan to do are…
Take a nature walk along the old banks of the Yamuna River with its rich soil nourishing various trees and flowers, exotic birds such as parrots and peacocks and genuine simple villagers living simple devoted lives.
Visit some of the main temples of Vrindavana and experience the amazing atmosphere that goes with each one.
Experience incredible kirtans at dusk at the intimate courtyard of the Krsna Balarama Temple.
Visit the holy Yamuna river and the impressive Kesi ghat, giving us a chance to walk the narrow streets of Vrindavana and experience the atmosphere of this holy city.
Visit two charities that melt your heart. Firstly, the Sandipani Muni School, a place where children from the surrounding villages can freely attend coming from the poorest of the poor. Attend their assembly in the morning and get a chance to meet them and dance with them with such love and affection. Visit their classrooms and experience their environment. Meet the wonderful man behind this vision and see all the work he has done and continues to do
Secondly, visit Care for Cows. Abandoned and injured cows are brought to this sanctuary to be taken care of for the rest of their lives with love. Caring for cows is part of the Vrindavana culture. These cows are full of affection and here you will have a chance to make friends with the cows, feed them and give lots of hugs!

October 27th – Vrindavana – Our last day in Vrindavan will be left free for people to do their last minute things as we check out of the hotel by 11.00 am. There is the opportunity to shop, revisit temples etc. A 3-4 hour bus ride will be arranged to take us back to New Delhi for our evening flights.  (if you are leaving India then).













What the Video Students made of the last Pilgrimage!

Contact Raghu.pilgrimage@gmail.com to be a part of amazing adventure. Scroll down for details and to hear the experiences of others who have taken this journey in years' past.



  JANUARY'S PILGRIMAGE ITINERARY

1/29 ARRIVAL Mumbai evening dinner.
1/30 Flower Festival hosted by Radhanath Swami: This incredible festival hosted at Radhanath Swami's Krishna Ashram/temple in Chowpatty Mumbai is breathtaking and life changing. Many yoga pilgrimages from the west come for this. It's mind blowing as 1 ton of flower petals get showered on the altar and then ultimately on all of us! Nothing to compare this too. this is after we spend the afternoon shopping for some nice clothes for the festival or harmonium shopping and the morning listening to Radhanath Swami's class as we pick flowers with the temple monks and community. Real Special
1/31  Mumbai at Ephanta Island (temple caves) After yoga we will visit Ancient caves discovered by the Portuguese  that are no longer used for worship but quite breathtaking and a fun ferry/kirtan boat ride over  the Arabian sea for an hour or so to a little island.  It's transcendental sightseeing with lots of kirtan. And we get to ride on a boat!! :)  Don't expect the Queen Mary.
February 1-3 fly to Udaipur, Rajasthan: Udaipur is a great place. The next few cities/villages we will visit are medieval kingdoms in the state of Rajasthan. The Rajputs as they were called, were for the most part unconquerable by the British and the Moghul invaders and retained much of their culture.  The Kings and  their subjects were great devotees of Krishna & Shiva generally and claim to be descendants of the Sun God Surya. The Kings palace although touristy is actually great and gives the students/pilgrims a chance to see bhakti historically through the lineage of kings. Raghu will tell stories of all these places so we know what we're doing and where we're going.  We will also visit a fantastic ancient carved temple of Jagadish (Vishnu) sit there where Raghu will lecture there on our reading and we will have kirtan in this divine setting and hand sculpted marble. This town is also filled with incredible transcendental shopping: vintage art/posters, antiques of all sorts, great clothing etc. Food is all veg and fantastic!
February 4-6 Nathwar & Pushkara: After yoga and our sat sangha We leave Udaipur and stop off in one of my favorite temples Sri Nathji in Nathwar. This is the famous Gopal Diety and is the home of the Vallabhacharya lineage (many know Shyama Das was connected too). The temple viewings are always crowded, exciting and fun. But we won't be long. Just enough to sing, see, snack and onward to the famous Pushkara the holy city of Lord Brahma, the creator of  the material universe who was born from Vishnu's navel. This is an ancient city visited by great sages (Vishvamrita had an ashram here and it was also visited by Arjuna's elder brother Yudhistir on pilgrimage)  This is also famous for the only Brahma temple which Raghu will take you too and tell you the story behind. It is quite ancient. Some of the oldest books in the world speak of this place and this temple. After begging for blessings from Brahma-ji we will sit by the lake and sing kirtan and Raghu will lead a sat sangha (spiritual discourse) with this amazing back drop.  This lake is considered mystical and has more fascinating histories which Raghu will tell us about. 
In the morning we will climb a big hill to visit the the Saraswati Temple which is refreshing fun and and an incredible view of the village and sunrise. Great way to start your day. Hotel is fantastic built in classical Rajasthani style, and the food again is fantastic.
2/6  Drive to Jaipur After yoga and sat sangha, we eat breakfast and hit the road for Jaipur. We will visit the famous Govinda-ji Temple, as well as a few others. Jaipur was considered the Paris of the east in the early part of the 1900s. It's congested but attractive, and has powerful holy temples. Beautiful forts, and more incredible shopping especially, jewels, fabric, and marble.  Much to do but not much time because we get their in the evening, have one full day there (after yoga of course) and leave the next morning after our yoga to.....
February 8-10  Drive to Vrindavan: this is the land of bhakti and kirtan. It said to have over 5000 Krishna temples and is a powerful holy spot (dham) visited by pilgrims all over the world. We will witness the  evening kirtans at Krishna Balaram temple, one of the most famous temples there founded by Srila Prabhupad, (founder of the Hare Krishna's) which is mind blowing and gorgeous. Raghu will lead us through this holy village visiting famous temples, sadhu's, and an incredible charitable school a good friend has set up for the poor children of the area. It's quite impressive. Vrindavan is special and has the ability to change your life when you see the devotion and here the songs of the pilgrims.
there will be an option for some to go to Agra (1.5 hours away) for a 1/2 day trip to the Taj Mahal. this is not part of the itinerary but it can be arranged at a minimal fee. Raghunath doesn't go but he sends a guide. 
2/10 depart New Delhi  Finish up your shopping. say your goodbyes. roll in the sacred dust and fly back to home-and wonder...."what just happened to me".


 

INVESTMENT

$2750 USD (includes a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot; this trip will sell out!)

The $2750 includes: 

 • Pick up & drop off from/ to New Delhi Airport (DEL).
 • All internal travel 
 • 3 meals a day
 • Hotel/lodging
 • All classes and white water rafting (weather permitting) in the Ganga 
 • All yoga sessions & classes given by Raghunath.

 

The $2750 does  NOT include:


•International airfare
•Spending money
•Rickshaw rides in Vrindavan (however these are inexpensive)
•Your visa or passport. A tip is appreciated by my Indian assistant if you'd like his help; not mandatory.

If you're interested and have questions contact me immediately at: lotuslike@mac.com.

 

CODES OF A YOGIC PILGRIMAGE:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM RAGHUNATH

On this trip, everyone is expected follow the codes of a yogic pilgrimage.
Everyone is expected to eat exclusively vegetarian or vegan. No meat, fish or eggs. There is no consuming of alcohol, smoking of any kind or any drugs. None of that is welcome and we reserve the right to ask anyone to leave without any refund for breaking any of these codes of conduct. We take this very seriously on a pilgrimage.
There are many trips to India where you can sightsee and be a tourist. This is NOT one of them. I say this repeatedly , so as to not mislead anyone. We will practice asana, pranayam, meditation, do a lot of kirtan, tell the stories of ancient India, chant mantras and sing our hearts out aloof to public opinion. jai. If this is not the trip for you, that is ok. If this sounds like what you've looking for please read on-as it's quite wonderful.

TESTIMONIALS

“The trip to India with Raghu was amazing. As a first time visitor I felt completely at home. And with Raghu as our guide we were true yoga pilgrims! It was a real treat to have Raghu share his wealth of knowledge with us. Our bus trips were filled with lively discussions and readings from holy books. We saw and experienced a lot. I definitely recommend going to India with Raghu”.   

-Peter Barnett, Yoga Teacher and owner of BLACK DOG YOGA, Sherman Oaks,Ca.


"Raghu is an awesomely inspiring guide who makes this trip a true pilgrimage-a deep, uplifting, spiritual, life-changing experience."
-Molly Davidson, Yoga Teacher,Laughing Lotus NYC
"Raghunath brings India to life for anyone who hasn't been there. He goes past the superficial and helps you understand the nuances of the spirit, the culture and the people.  If you're even contemplating going-GO!"
 -Beverly F. Los Angeles, CA

ITINERARY

The itinerary is left slightly flexible because in India sometimes I choose to change plans if there some -thing/festival/or holy person that we may run into unexpectedly. This is the mood of a pilgrimage. We are seeking experience and I will not be too tightly bound by an itinerary.







Click Here to see the video of our last trip!

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
THIS IS A PILGRIMAGE. NOT A TOUR. Come in the mood of a pilgrim. This is a 3rd world country. Please do not expect ANYTHING to be up to American standards. If sitting on the floor offends you-this may not be the trip for you. (if you need a chair due to health issues it can be arranged.) If you have issues with people wearing robes, going to Hare Krishna temples, ashrams, having non-stop kirtan/ chanting singing going - this may not be the trip for you.We will not tolerate complainers. If you want to find fault with india there's plenty of things to find fault in. Better you not come on this trip. If you are in the mood of learning, principles of Bhakti, kirtan, yoga philosophy, history of Indian culture as taught by the sages, meditation techniques, japa yoga, and you have a completely open mind and open heart then this trip is truly magical, transformative and life changing!
for questions or registration contact us:
Raghu.pilgrimage@gmail.com

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ready to register? contact: me asap!!
Raghu.pilgrimage@gmail.com


F.- Los Angeles Ca.