Rishikesh (Uttarakhand): Ganga Aarti, lamps floating in the river, streets lined with architectural temples, foreigners dressed in Indian wear - one gets to see all this on the way to the Sanskriti Vedic Retreat, a resort that provides yoga and meditation services to spiritual lovers.
The Kairali Ayurvedic Group has brought authentic ayurveda from Kerala to the pious wharfs of Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganga river in the foothills of the Himalayas.
A unique feature of the property is the promise of serving the best of ancient Indian traditions - ayurveda, yoga, meditation and spirituality - offering a joyful aliveness and spirituality to both locals and foreigners alike.
"Yoga and meditation are the processes of inward journey to attain the highest goal of life. The present-day yoga is very popular in its physical form (asanas) but very few follow yoga as the philosophy of mind. That yoga brings the stillness of the mind which is free of conflict inside," yoga teacher Bhola Shankar Dabral told IANS.
The resort has six rooms that have been named after famous holy destinations: Rishikesh, Varanasi, Allahabad, Haridwar, Devpraayg and Kolkata, all facing the holy Ganga. Most of the visitors at the property are from countries like the US, Canada and South Africa. For them, the most fascinating thing about the retreat is how it provides age-old Indian services as a modern day utility.
The resort scores high on providing comfort and a personal touch to all its guests. From fashioning individual diets to attendants available all day long to take care of their every need, it knows how to make visitors happy.
What better way can there be to perform yoga and meditate along with taking a glimpse of the Ganga? Yes, the yoga studio is located in a such a way that it overlooks the river for a soulful rendition of life and humainty.
One can learn yoga from qualified and experienced teachers. The 28-day course helps in experiencing one's true self and through which one can learn about Indian philosophy, Sanskrit and Vedanta. The retreat also offers weekly yoga and meditation workshops that help discover the mystical secrets of life and creation.
The most common practices of yoga that most foreigners try to learn here include Hatha yoga, Astanga yoga, Kundalini yoga, Raja yoga and Mantra yoga.
"There are also Gyan (Jaan) yoga, Bhakti yoga, Laya yoga and Swara yoga that have been popular from ancient time," said Dabral.
Last but not the least, there is the completely vegetarian food. Alcohol is a strict no no. Among the popular dishes are Indian thali, rice noodles with sesame ginger vegetables, veggie wraps, brown rice pulao, khichdi, pumpkin soup, rainbow herb salad, yogi masala chai, yogi coffee amd cashew and date balls.
So, take a dip in the Ganga during your stay at the resort and also visit some of the nearby popular places like Ram Jhula, Geeta Bhawan, Parmarth Niketan and Lakshman Jhula.
* Accomodation charges (inclusive of breakfast):
Single occupancy - Rs. 6,000/- + 17.42 percent tax
Double occupancy - Rs. 7,500/- + 17.42 percent tax.
* How to get there:
By air - Rishikesh is connected through Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport, 22 km from the retreat.
By rail - Haridwar is the nearest railway station, 30 km from the retreat.
By road - The nearest bus station is two kilometres from the retreat.