It took thirteen years after my first visit to India to finally explore the north of the country and to Ma Ganga (the river Ganges). I’d been longing to see it, but no time ever seemed like the right time as I was busy travelling the south and immersing myself in study. So in 2019 I took the plunge and led a group of people just like you to the holy places of the north. We weren’t disappointed! We bathed in Ma Ganga, spent a day at the largest festival in the world, Kumbla Mehla, attended the International Yoga Festival, admired and cried as we saw the beautiful Taj Mahal. I had yearned to see the Taj for so long, having grown up seeing black and white photos taken of my parents there during their travels.

It took thirteen years after my first visit to India to finally explore the north of the country and to Ma Ganga (the river Ganges). I’d been longing to see it, but no time ever seemed like the right time as I was busy travelling the south and immersing myself in study. So in 2019 I took the plunge and led a group of people just like you to the holy places of the north. We weren’t disappointed! We bathed in Ma Ganga, spent a day at the largest festival in the world, Kumbla Mehla, attended the International Yoga Festival, admired and cried as we saw the beautiful Taj Mahal. I had yearned to see the Taj for so long, having grown up seeing black and white photos taken of my parents there during their travels.
In Hardiwar I met two amazing women who, like me, regularly open their home for the purpose of teaching Yoga and Ayurveda. They showered us with flowers (literally), shared their love of Ayurvedic cooking and introduced me to a Jyotish who recommended the stones malas needed to support our Vedic astrology chart. The beautiful home of these two women will be the base for our study retreat from October 13th – 25th, set in a quiet residential area lined with older buildings. Bougainvilleas flower welcomingly over the gates.

From there, it’s a short stroll to Ma Ganga where an evening Aarti service takes place (ghee lamp ceremony). It’s a beautiful place to sit and contemplate, enjoy some conversations with curious locals and watch the holy river flow by. We will practice yoga on the rooftop overlooking the holy city.

Haridwar is often called the gateway to the Hindu pilgrimage sites of the ‘Char Dhams’ (pilgrimage site) and attracts a huge number of tourists due to its amazing mountains, rivers and ancient temples. Propitiously located at the point where the Ganges River emerges from the Himalaya, Haridwar (also called Hardwar) is Uttarakhand’s holiest Hindu city, and pilgrims arrive here in droves to bathe in the fast-flowing Ganges. Masses of people frequent Haridwar every year to pay their respects to the holy river Ganga. The bustling lanes of Haridwar will have you roaming for a long time because there’s a unique sight to see at every corner of the town!

“We are so fortunate to learn the ancient sciences by living and it is our passion to share the benefit of the healthy practices we grew up with.” – Seem Agarwai

Our host in Haridwar is Seema Agarwal, the daughter of Shri Harish who was considered one of the most highly respected spiritual teachers of India in contemporary times. Harish Johari (also known as Dada) was a noted scholar adept in Ayurveda, paintings, sculptures, numerology, yoga and chakras. He authored more than 30 books on diverse subjects and gave lectures on Hindu philosophy, Ayurveda and Tantra. His Guru was Swamiji Narayan Rishi from whom he learnt the art of linking the whole eco-system that surrounds us. He was a true believer that knowledge grows by sharing and we get to know what we don’t know when knowledge changes hands. His students continue his lineage and work all over the world and in India, including the Johari House in Haridwar, the Gateway to Rishikesh. Seema and her daughter Anushree have made it their life’s work to honour their creative and spiritual ancestry by hosting spiritual vacations in India and abroad. Because they are from the family that holds the tradition of the teachings of Harish Johari, they didn’t learn the teachings through lectures or books, but from being in his presence.

Seema Johari is a leading Spiritual Vacation and Travel company founded by Seeema in 2000. She is a qualified trainer with first hand experience and learning from Harish Johari Seema and holds a Masters in Philosophy and Bachelors in Human Psychology. Her quality of empathy and balance ensures that the retreats and workshops she conducts are of utmost quality. She is an expert in Ayurveda and healthy cooking, chanting, Nav Graha, Numerology and the Gods and Goddesses of India. Anushree, the grand daughter of Harish Johari, is a determined and inspiring lady who believes in excelling in the tasks that she takes upon herself. Anushree’s canvas is most definitely the kitchen; the spice cabinet is her palette! She mastered the art of cooking at the tender age of 9 and will teach us the benefits of Indian cooking for the human body through ideal use of spices in various cuisines.

Our retreat takes place at the auspicious time of Navaratri. Navaratri is a nine night, ten-day festival in honour of the divine feminine. We will celebrate Durga’s victory over evil by infusing our retreat with prayers, puja (fire ceremonies) stories and mantra. A ghee lamp will be installed in the local houses and kept alight for the nine nights to symbolise the universe and the uninterrupted light of the divine feminine, Durga Devi. We will observe the food rituals as this is traditionally a time of feasting. We’ll be immersed in the culture, celebration and enjoy cultivating and experiencing the Shakti energy that Navaratri brings. We will reflect on the symbolic nature of this festival, enquiring into the nature of our Dharma and the divine feminine. We will do this through the full spectrum of rituals and practices and by learning specific mantras to connect us to Durga’s energy of strength, resilience and fearlessness.

Our retreat study will focus on mantra, yoga sutras and Ayurvedic cooking and feature twice-daily practices and lectures. Yoga teachers will receive 50 hours of training over the retreat.

 

Activities whilst in Haridwar

• Two Ayurvedic cooking sessions with Anushree

• Yogic lectures/ study• Twice daily yoga practices

• Rituals and ceremonies to celebrate Navartri

• Food, feasts and twin share accommodation

• Two trips to holy sites/temples• A trip to local markets and shopping

 

Inclusions

• Airport transfers

• Twin share accommodation

• All transport costs whilst in India (1 night in Delhi, 7 nights in Hardiwar, 2 nights in the mountains)

• Activities as listed above

• 3 vegetarian meals daily