Monday, September 15, 2014

Spiritual Holiday In India

In a way, all travel changes your life a little, simply by exposing you to new ideas, places and cultures. However, traveling to India and its spiritual holiday set out to change a major part of you, a transformation and deep understanding of multifarious cultural connotation that includes spiritual and religious retreat. If you’ve got a desire to change more than just your socks while you’re traveling to Indian subcontinent, here a few ideas to help you on your way.

Spiritual Travel in India

If the words spiritual retreats summon up images of crystals and hippies, think again. More and more everyday Westerners are coming to India for spiritual aspiration (meditation, yoga etc.) because of its ancient and eternal spiritual treasures amidst poverty, cultural diversity and conservatism. It’s not often that you get to spend time with just yourself away from mobile phones, computers and a mountain of paper work, and you might just find that a visit to a retreat is the start of a great personal and life-changing journey. At the very least, you’re going to come out feeling a lot more calm and relaxed than when you went in!

Ashrams in India

Ashrams, the majority of which are in India, have long been popular places for Westerners of all ages to head when they’re in need of spiritual enlightenment, to heal, trying to find out the meaning of life or simply curious to live in a completely different culture.

There are hundreds of different types of Ashrams in India, but overall their aim is to teach residents the art of living, by being spiritually aware and contributing to the social good. Some Ashrams have a live-in guru, while others continue to teach the work of a guru that’s passed away.

Most Ashrams are reliant on volunteer work and donations, and charge very little money for food and accommodation, which is usually in a same-sex shared room. Don’t go expecting to be living in a hotel; it’s not. Accommodation is pretty basic in most places, with shared bathrooms and dining. However, this shouldn’t be viewed simply as a cheap way to travel around India’ most people that go are intent on finding out more about Indian philosophy and the art of living, and you’ll quickly tire of classes and volunteer work if your heart’s not in it. You’ll be expected to cover up in loose clothing, although each Ashram has its own dress code.

Travel Tip – Perhaps the most famous Ashram among Westerners is Amritapuri in Kerala, where live-in guru Amma is known for hugging during a darshan (meeting her devotees), sometimes up to a thousand in a day!

Buddhist Retreat in India

Buddhism, a set of beliefs and practices based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, is popular throughout Asia and the world, with an estimated 250 million plus devotees. There are Buddhist retreats around India, and the best part is you don’t have to be a Buddhist to spend time at them. The reason a trip to a retreat can be life changing is that as well as learning about the philosophy, you’re encouraged to find be, but it’s a really fantastic, and healing, travel experience particularly if you’re stressed, burnt out or just need a new way of looking at the world.

This isn't a spa-like experience. Much like an Ashram, you’ll often be expected to pull your weight while you’re there, taking part in everyday chores and sharing a room. If you’re staying in a Buddhist monastery, it’s also likely that you’ll have to take part in the rituals, which can be before dawn; this is hardcore stuff, and not for those that just fancy a bit of a relaxing breaks.

Health and well-being

As well as good mental health, it’s also important to be in good physical health, and people are increasingly using travel to merge the two, sorting out everything from being overweight to relaxation and lowering blood pressure. It’s one of the fastest growing areas in travel today, and for good reason; who doesn't want to come back from holiday glowing with health and with a new regime for living?


Okay, checking into a spa doesn't sound life changing. However, I am not talking about having a facial and manicure a couple of times, I am talking serious, life-enhancing getaways that aim to change the way you look after yourself as well as the way you look.

Ayurveda spas, which are extremely common in India and Asia, can be found around the world. Ayurveda, is a 5000 year old practice, means science of life, and is holistic practice, which means that the whole body is considered when treating a specific ailment or problem. For example, if you are having trouble sleeping, an Ayurvedic ,doctor won’t give you a sleeping pill, they will look at what you eat, your daily routine and exercise.

Some spas, or well-being retreats, offer life coaching, which is ideal if  you are at a stage in life where you are feeling confused under too much pressure, are in a transition period or just want to gain a deeper understanding of what you want from life. Life coaching trips tent to consist of daily activities, plus individual sessions with a life coach to discuss most aspects of your life, including health, diet, setting goals and managing pressure. The idea is that when you leave, you will be able to cope better with what life has to throw at you.


You don’t have to be bendy as a piece of rubber to take part in a yoga holiday, in fact you don’t even need to have been practicing for years to join in. what you do need is commitment and ideally use it to carry on with what you have learnt back home. Yoga, which in the West we know as a series of often physically demanding positions, is actually a way of life, including body, mind and inner spirit, which has been practiced in the East for thousands of years.

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  • Culture Holidays says:
    October 5, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Hi thank you for the information. i was searching for the same thing your post is very useful to me.taj mahal tours.

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