We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
A transformative Yoga and Trekking Journey 3 - 14 May 2015
India! Come and join me for an unforgettable journey off the beaten track through West Bengal. We will trek and practice Yoga amongst the stunning mountain setting of the Lower Himalayan Range. India is the home of Yoga and the mountains have always been a place of retreat and reflection for many of the ancient Yogis, Gurus and Mystics. Visiting this spiritually infused sacred region of India allows us to learn and grow as we immerse ourselves in the teachings and practice living our Yoga. This personalised 12 day journey starts in the quaint hill station of Darjeeling and then a challenging four day trek weaving in and out of Nepal following an ancient trade route, the Singali Ridge. We will summit a peak at 3657m. The surrounding views of the mountain range at the peak and throughout the duration of the trek are spectacular and truly majestic. We will then spend 5 days in the Darjeeling Hills at a tranquil personalised farm stay. Our shala for Yoga lessons overlooks the valley, surrounded by pristine nature and breathtaking views. Throughout the 12 day duration Lara will lead all Yoga and Meditation lessons, tailoring the practice to enrich your experience. Please understand that this is NOT a Yoga Retreat, rather it is an adventure, as you will be challenged physically and required to step out of your comfort zone. Accommodation is modest but very comfortable. As you discover India, you will consequently discover yourself a little more and how you view the world will forever be changed.
Investment $2600 per person. Places are limited; to secure your spot a $600 deposit is required. Remaining payment is due January 31, 2015.
Investment of $2600 includes
- Transfers from Bagdogra Airport on arrival day and from farm stay to airport or Darjeeling once tour concludes
- All travel throughout tour duration
- 3 meals per day (with the exception of two breakfasts and one lunch in Darjeeling)
- All accommodation
- Trekking, tour guides and porters
- All Yoga, lectures and meditation lessons, lead by Lara.
The $2600 does not include
- International flights to India and domestic flight costs to Bagdogra (airport closest to Darjeeling)
- Visa, passport and insurance costs
- Tipping for guides
Please email Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0408290987 if you have any questions regarding this adventure. Payment details to hold your booking will be emailed to you once you have applied.
India is one of my most favorite places to travel to. The scenic diversity, rich embedded culture and sensory overload has kept me returning to the country numerous times over the past 10 years. Throughout my experience of traveling India, I have always loved the Northern region of the country. There is just something so majestic about the mountains, the gentle local Indian, Tibetan and Nepali culture, trails marked with prayer flags, warming tea and breathtaking scenery. Traveling India is about surrendering yourself to the unknown, nothing can prepare you for what you are about to see. Rather than just tourism, this trip will be a chance for you to learn and grow. The trekking part of the journey is spectacular, if the conditions are clear we can see four of the five highest peaks in the world with the main view being of Kanchendzonga (sleeping Buddha). We will be ascending to a higher altitude (around 3657m) and it will be challenging for our fitness and stamina. We will dive deep into our Yoga practice and explore various meditation techniques to enrich our journey. Other highlights along the way include visiting monasteries and witnessing sacred prayer and ritual practices, observing daily life in such a remote part of the country and interacting with the villagers we meet along the way. I must stress that this is not a luxury holiday as I do not wish to mislead you, our accommodation will be comfortable but basic and the journey will be physically demanding. We will be exposed to very cold temperatures (0-10deg in the evening) at our summit but as we descend towards our farm stay, the weather will be comfortably warm. We will be nourished by delicious vegetarian meals and of course, lots of chai!
Because in the end, you wont remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that God damn mountain.
May 3 - Arrival Day. Bagdogra Airport. On arrival you will be met by our driver and guide once you exit the airport. You will then take a 4 - 5 hour jeep drive to Darjeeling. I will be waiting for you once you arrive at our hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we will meet for evening class and then head out for our first group Dinner.
May 4 - Day in Darjeeling. Morning practice followed by breakfast and and a day of exploration lead by our guide and Lara. We head to the local monastery in the evening to witness evening prayer ceremony. This is a great privilege see and take in and observe such ancient ritual and practice.
May 5 - Morning meditation followed by breakfast and then departure in our jeeps as we drive to the starting point of our trek. Drive is 2 hours to Mane Bhanjang and then a challenging 4 hour climb through lower forest to Tumling. Alt 2743m. Distance covered will be around 11km. Once we arrive at our huts for the night we’ll gather for practice, meditation and evening meal.
May 6 - This is a big day! We’ll rise early for sunrise to see the glorious view of the snow capped mountain range that surrounds us. 6 - 7 hours trek to Sandakphu. We’ll cover about 21km today and arrive at one of the two highest peaks in West Bengal, alt. 3657m. The last part of the trek is around a 4 hour climb uphill to the summit. This is challenging, even if you are very fit as we are approaching higher altitude. Our accommodation and meal here is very basic as we are in a pretty remote part of the world, but you’ll be so tired you’ll appreciate being able to rest! Once at the summit, 4 of the 5 highest peaks in the world can be seen, providing we have good visibility. These being, Kanchendzonga (sleeping Buddha), Everest, Lhotse and Makalu.
May 7 - Visibility permitting we’ll rise at sunrise to take in the magnificent view of the mountain range. Following breakfast we’ll start making out way down. We descend fairly quickly to Shiri Khlola, 2133m which is a tiny village on the banks the Shiri Khola River. We walk around 17km today. We’ll stop here for the night to take in the beautiful warmth and scenery and an evening practice to nourish our weary bodies.
May 8 - 14 - After morning practice and breakfast we’ll take a small walk to explore our surroundings. We will be met by our transport (jeeps) which will take us to our final destination, Karmi Farm (about a 3 hour ride). Once at Karmi Farm our daily routine will involve twice daily Yoga and Meditation practice (morning and evening). The idea of this tour is to give you the tools to dive deeper in to your Yoga Practice. We’ll explore various meditation techniques, asana, chanting and how to apply the other limbs of Yoga and the theory to your personal practice. Of course, there will be plenty of storytelling derived from the ancient texts, mythology and scriptures to immerse ourselves in the culture surrounding us. Our practice shala overlooks magnificent views of the valley, a perfect setting for an inspirational practice. You will have the option to take various day treks lead by our host, Andrew. We’ll visit local monasteries, villages and families as Andrew is extremely well connected and highly regarded amongst the local villagers, which allows us to see life in the mountains which we otherwise may not have the opportunity to see. There will be ample time for you to sit back, drink copious amounts of tea lovingly made by the beautiful family and staff of Karmi Farm and settle in with a good book.
May 14 - Departure day. It is about a 5 hour jeep ride to Bagdogra airport to catch your flight onwards or a 3 hour ride to Darjeeling if you wish to return and spend a night or two further exploring the town. If you do plan on flying out on the 14th, please check with Lara your departure time before booking your flight so we can co ordinate departure times and ensure you have plenty of time to make it to the airport.
'Lara is a beautiful soul and to share this journey with her and a great group of like minded people was indeed special. First to note, this is not a retreat. There is no sipping of green juices around a pool at a five star resort (I'd like that too). So much more than that. This is a journey. At times uncomfortable and confronting. Mostly, though, a journey of great reward, great beauty, great fun.To experience a ceremony in the Buddhist temple at Darjeeling. To rise early on clear and crisp morning and view the breathtaking Kanchenjunga (Sleeping Buddha) mountains in the Indian Himalyayas. To walk in clouds. To meditate in the shala at Karmi Farm. Things that still bring me goosebumps. Have made my life just that bit better. Karmi Farm is wonderful. Andrew and 'family' great hosts. A lovely place to practice yoga, eat fabulous food, to read, relax, reflect, to laugh. This is a beautiful journey and I thank you Lara for dreaming it, making it real and allowing me the opportunity to share. A special place in my heart - always.’
Julie Jockel - Perth W.A
Exploring sacred India with Lara and the rest of the Sangha was a great experience and has deepened my appreciation of yoga. The contrast between the crazy streets of Darjeeling and the serenity of viewing the majestic sleeping Buddha (Kanchenjunga) in the early morning was amazing and I have many happy memories of the trip. Karmi farm was a beautiful, relaxing place to be and the food was great.
Martin Rice - Perth W.A
The trip to India organised by Lara was sublime. Everything was organised and planned to perfection. The Yoga and Meditation practice increased my understanding and capability five fold. The visit to Darjeeling and Karmi Farm stay was something I will look back on for many years to come and I will definitely be going back to India again.
Mark Theunissen - Perth W.A
Thank you to Jake Travers for the beautiful images of Sleeping Buddha Mountain, prayer flags and relaxing in the Shala.