Kerala

God’s Own Country

January 16th through January 26th, 2018

This tour is a sacred pilgrimage through the most important holy sites of southern India. We’ll also enjoy some time on beautiful beaches, a gorgeous day in the green hills of Munnar, and have plenty of free time for shopping, massages and enjoying the pools and facilities of the great hotels we’ve chosen. After arriving in Trivandrum, our first stop will be beautiful Kovalam Beach, where we’ll stay in an ayurvedic spa and meditate by the ocean – the perfect way to let that jetlag go! Our next stop will be Kanyakumari, where we’ll receive the blessings of the Goddess in the Amman Kumari Temple, and then take a boat out to the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial. The next stop in our journey is Amritapuri, the ashram of Amma, India’s world-famous “Hugging Saint.” After two full days there, we’ll drive to Alleppey to enjoy a ride in a houseboat on the famous Kerala backwaters. We’ll spend the next day at Kumarakom, a resort on the famous Kerala Backwaters. From there we will head up to gorgeous Munnar, and enjoy the cool mountain air and vast vistas of tea plantations in the verdant hills, where anyone who so desires may ride an elephant! Your departure to your home country will be from Cochin International Airport.

 

The tour also includes guided meditations, laughter yoga classes, devotional singing, and classes about Hindu philosophy. In the excellent 4-star hotels we have selected in each location, exquisite food of many kinds will entice and delight you, and you can retreat into cool comfort each evening. In short, this tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is truly not to be missed!

 

Dates:

January 16th through January 26th, 2018

Places we will visit:

Trivandrum, Kovalam Beach, Kanyakumari, Amritapuri, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Munnar and Cochin.

Where and When the Tour Begins

Trivandrum

Return flight

Cochin

Guides:

Tarini Ma Dagnino, Ram-Das Batchelder

Languages spoken during the tour:

English & Spanish.

 

 

Your International Flights

Your incoming international flight should arrive in Trivandrum International Airport on anytime on January 16, 2017. Your departing flight should leave from Cochin on January 26th (in the late morning, afternoon or evening).  If you wish to buy a round-trip ticket from your home country to and from a single city, we can book a connecting flight for you from Trivandrum to Cochin for the 26th, or a flight from Cochin to Trivandrum on the 16th. Let us know!

 

 

Daily Itinerary

 

Day 1: January 16th:

Upon your arrival at Trivandrum International Airport, you will be met by our representatives and escorted to our 4-star ayurvedic resort in Kovalam Beach, where your room will be available after 2 pm. You can bathe in the sea, and enjoy special massages and health treatments steeped in the great tradition of Kerala’s ayurvedic experts. The perfect way to let that jetlag go!

A class on Hindu philosophy will be offered in the late afternoon for those who wish to attend.

Early evening kirtan and meditation with Tarini Ma and Ram Das.

Dinner in the resort accompanied by a Kerala cultural program.

Night at our resort in Kovalam Beach.

 

 

Day 2: January 17th: Kovalam

Another full day for relaxation, shopping, and activities such as cooking classes or massages.

A class on Hindu philosophy will be offered in the late afternoon for those who wish to attend.

Early evening kirtan and meditation with Tarini Ma and Ram Das.

Dinner in the resort accompanied by a Kerala cultural program.

Night at our resort in Kovalam Beach.

 

Day 3: January 18th: Drive from Kovalam to Kanyakumari (approx. 2hrs)

After breakfast, we will drive south to gorgeous Kanyakumari.

 

In addition to being celebrated for its special role in the life of Swami Vivekananda, Kanyakumari is also one of India’s most well-known honeymoon spots. It is located at the southernmost tip of India, where three oceans meet. You just can’t get any further south — or find sunsets more beautiful!

 

After checking into our hotel we will enjoy sightseeing, including the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, reached by a short ferry ride, the Kumari Amman temple, and the Vivekananda Kendra, where there is an excellent museum about the life of Swami Vivekananda and a beautiful garden where we may be able to view an awesome sunset.

In the evening Ram Das will give a class about the life of Swami Vivekananda and his great Guru, Sri Ramakrishna.

Dinner at the hotel.

Night in Kanyakumari.

 

Day 4: January 19th: Kanyakumari to Amritapuri:

After breakfast, we will drive to the railway station and take a 4-hour train ride to Amritapuri, the ashram of Amma, the world-famous “Hugging Saint.” After checking into our rooms, we will watch a video about Amma’s extraordinary life and charitable mission.  Afterwards we will attend the evening bhajans (devotional singing) before enjoying dinner at the Western Café.

 

We cannot guarantee that Amma will be in the ashram during our stay, but if she is, you’ll be able to receive one of her divine hugs, hear her sing, and meditate in her presence. This will be one of the tour’s greatest treasures. If there are 10 people in our group who are interested, we can request a 2-day course in Amma’s “I AM” Meditation technique.

 

Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, is frequently referred to as “the Hugging Saint” because she spends the majority of her time giving hugs and motherly guidance to all who come to her. Due to her vast network of highly successful charitable projects, she is revered as one of the world’s greatest humanitarians. She is also the spiritual Guru to hundreds of thousands of devotees around the world.

 

We will have dinner in the ashram’s Western Café.

Night in the accommodations of Amma’s ashram.

 

Day 5: January 20th: Amritapuri

A day full of ashram activities and meditation. Those who wish can rise for the 5 am chanting of the Lalita Sahasranamam (the Thousand Names of the Divine Mother), or attend the impressive 5 am homa (fire ceremony). After breakfast those who wish will begin the “I Am Meditation” course. Others can join us for a lovely nature walk in the surrounding village, and some “seva” (selfless service) in the ashram, such as chopping vegetables. If Amma is in the ashram we will be able to receive her embrace and meditate in her presence.

Bhajans (devotional singing) will be at 6:30 pm.

Dinner in the ashram’s Western Café. Night in Amma’s ashram.

 

Day 6: January 21st: Amritapuri

A day full of ashram activities and meditation. Those who are participating in the “I Am Meditation” course will spend the full day in class. For those not taking the class, we can take another morning nature walk, and participate in chanting or seva activities. In the afternoon Ram Das will be offering a class on aspects of Hinduism. If Amma is in the ashram we may be able to receive her embrace and meditate in her presence.

Bhajans (devotional singing) will be at 6:30 pm.

Dinner in the ashram’s Western Café. Night in Amma’s ashram.

 

Day 7: January 22nd:Amritapuri – Alleppey – Kumarakom.

After breakfast, we will drive to Alleppey (approx. 2 hours). There we will enjoy a 6-hour cruise in a houseboat on the famous Kerala backwaters, with lunch included.

 

Kerala is blessed with a unique feature called the backwaters, a series of interlocking inland waterways which open up into large lakes and also connect to the ocean. The best way to enjoy the Kerala backwaters is to take a cruise on a houseboat, and witness the delightful scenes of Kerala life unfolding on the shore as you cruise by in the comfort of your boat, being waited on by our onboard master chef!

 

After the cruise we will take the short drive to a beautiful resort in Kumarakom. Those who wish may enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

Dinner at the hotel.

Night in Kumarakom.

 

Day 8: January 23rd: Kumarakom

Today we have the day at leisure to just relax in our gorgeous resort. The day is yours to enjoy in any way you wish.

An afternoon class on Hindu philosophy will be offered by Ram Das, followed by a laughter yoga class and meditation.

Dinner at the hotel.

Night in Kumarakom.

 

Day 9: January 24th: Kumarakom-Munnar

After breakfast, departure for Munnar.

 

Munnar is a beautiful area set high in the Kerala hills and surrounded by tea plantations. A favorite spot for tourists due to its cool climate and panoramic views, a day in Munnar is a delightful dip in the fragrant beauty of nature. Situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala, Munnar is 1,600 meters above sea level; it was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British Government in South India. Munnar is home to many species of rare butterflies, animals and birds, and also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 meters.

 

Evening laughter yoga or philosophy class will be offered along with meditation and devotional singing.

Dinner at the hotel.

Night in Munnar.

 

Day 10: January 25th: Munnar

Today we will take a hike through the countryside, and tour a tea plantation. We will be taking a pack lunch with us, and may be able to see wild elephants. Elephant rides can be arranged.

Farewell dinner at the hotel.

Night in Munnar.

 

 

Day 11: January 26th: Munnar-Cochin-Home

After breakfast, our drivers will be available to take you to the Cochin airport, where everyone will take their flight back home.

 

End of the tour.

 

Extensions of the trip are available upon prior request. Such extensions can be prior to the starting date of the tour, or after the final day of the tour. Please note on our website that there are also two 10-day versions of this tour available, one focusing on Tamil Nadu, and the second focused on Kerala. Let us know what you’d like; we will be happy to accommodate you!

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