Arriving: The retreat begins in New Delhi on Sunday, 11th March with an evening meal. On Monday we’ll be touring the city. We recommend you arrive into Delhi on Sunday, 11th March during the day. (It would also work to arrive early morning on Monday, 12th March.)
Departing: The retreat ends on Friday, 23rd March. You will be catching the train back from Rishikesh to New Delhi that evening. We’ll be booking your train tickets to and from Delhi and the cost is included in your retreat fee.
Here is the timetable for return travel on Friday, 23rd March:
Departure from Haridwar train station @ 18.15 // Arrival New Delhi @ 22.55.
Many flights depart from New Delhi in the very early hours of the morning. In this case, it is best to go straight from the train station to the airport. If not, you will need a hotel in Delhi. Transfers to the airport and hotel rooms are arranged with our travel agent (see below).
It is also possible to take a domestic flight back to Delhi in order to arrive earlier. We can help you organise these options through our travel agent in India.
We will be catching the train, early on Tuesday 13th March from New Delhi station. This is a fascinating journey through the countryside – approximately 5.5 hours northwest to Haridwar Station. In Haridwar we will take cars through the forests of the Himalayan foothills to the ashram in Rishikesh (a drive of about one hour). We will be taking care of all these domestic travel arrangements and the costs are included in your retreat fee.
You will not need much money for general living expenses while in Rishikesh.
Some special group meals are included in the cost of your retreat. Daily meals at the Ashram and in local restaurants are paid separately by you. You will want to enjoy food (and chai!) at the local cafes and restaurants.
You will also need spending money for clothes shopping and buying gifts. Approximate costs are in the range of £50-£75 ($75-$100) for some basic clothes and then £15-£20 ($20-$30) per day for meals. It is possible to get cash from ATMs in Rishikesh and we recommend you change a small amount of money in New Delhi Airport.
Don’t bring too much. We’ll be shopping in Delhi and Rishikesh for comfortable and appropriate Indian-style clothing.
It is going to be warm. The temperature will be very pleasant, however it can get quite hot in the afternoons (20-35 Celsius/ 68-95 Fahrenheit). You may wish to have a warm under-layer e.g. a thermal top and bottoms plus socks for the cooler evenings. It will also be good to have a pashmina/ shawl for meditating. You can get some good quality shawls and blankets in Delhi and Rishikesh. There are plenty of shops for westerners to buy the latest in back-packing-style cotton tops, skirts, and trousers. These are cheap and just fine for keeping covered up.
We’re staying in an ashram and we’re sensitive to the local customs of not baring too much flesh in public. For women, this means long sleeves, trousers, and skirts. You can buy these is Delhi and Rishikesh. Most of the guys in our group opt for the traditional dhoti and kurta (they look like pajamas and are very comfortable). Again these can be purchased in Delhi and Rishikesh. We recommend you bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. We’ll also be doing some simple yoga stretches, so bring clothes for this.
When out and about each day you will need a bag for carrying money, notebooks, camera, sun-block, etc. There are plenty of cheap options in Rishikesh — long handled bags that you can sling over your shoulder.
For guys it is pretty straightforward – you simply need shorts. However for women it’s a bit more of an issue. Women should be covered up as much as possible. We recommend you wear your swimsuit underneath and then buy some cheap cotton tops and long pants in Rishikesh that can be worn over the top.
You do not need to bring bedding or towels for the Ashram, however you will need at least one towel for swimming which you can buy in Rishikesh. If you forget to bring any of your toiletries there is a wide selection available in the shops near the Ashram.
Accommodation at the ashram is very basic but comfortable. There are western style beds and each room has it’s own bathroom with toilet and shower.
For a very good overview of customs and travel tips for India, we recommend “Enjoying India”. It was written by a meditator friend who has been living in India for many years. She knows the ropes and writes in a very accessible way for Westerners.