Date(s) - 25/04/2023 - 05/05/2023
Ram Yoga House
Mindful Movement & Meditation in Incredible India!
10-day Tai Chi & Yoga Retreat 25th April- 5th May 2023 in Delhi, Agra and Dharamsala.
“India is the beating-heart of the world and the Himalayas are the heavens of that heart!” – Michelle Gupta!
Retreat fee: €957pp – see below for what this includes.
All welcome – no experience necessary!
I am delighted and excited to invite you to join me ‘on top of the world’ for the trip of a lifetime to incredible India!
Our magical, 10-day Indian holistic holiday includes 3 nights in Delhi and Agra visiting one of the stunning seven wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal – and the ancient site of Fatehpur Sikri. Followed by 7 nights in Himalayan Dharamsala – home of the Dalai Lama – where we’ll enjoy mindful movement and mediation, ancient spiritual cultures, nutritious and delicious food, majestic scenery and mingle with monks and monkeys!
I have Indian heritage – I’m a ‘Gupta’ ! and my Dad’s family are Bengalis from Assam so I have a deeply personal connection with this amazing country. Around 25 years ago I made my first visit to India and was instantly hooked by this vibrant, multi-cultural and spiritual country. I have since been back many times and, during my 6th visit, at the end of 2016, I stayed in Mcleodganj nr Dharamsala for the first time. Having engaged with Buddhist practices for the last 10 years, I was keen to visit the home of HH the Dalai Lama for the last 60 years. Little did I know that I would be so utterly captivated by this very special, welcoming town, its people and its unique spiritual heritage plus Ram’s guesthouse – not to mention the majestic Himalayan mountains from every angle!
Subsequently, I took a group to Mcleodganj in October 2019 and it was a life-changing experience for my guests and a dream come true for me! I am beside myself with excitment to not only be able to plan a return trip to ‘the roof of the world’ but also to include visits to the Taj Mahal and the ancient site Fatehpur Sikri.
See below for all the delicious details of what’s included, our locations, classes and exciting daytrips, travel info and much more! And to read my recent Blog featuring all my overseas retreats in Greece, India and Portugal, click here >> “Thelma & Louise, Tai Chi and Me – Why I LOVE hosting holistic holidays”
All of this is included in the retreat fee €957pp >>>
- Delhi to Agra tour incl Taj Mahal x3 days – includes airport transfers, 3 nights accommodation in a single occupancy room in 3* and 4* hotels/ breakfast/ private bathroom, tour transport, entrance tickets and our tour guide.
- Our tour will be guided by Agra-based Pioneer Holidays (5-star rating on Trip Advisor) and I have visited the breathtaking Taj Mahal twice before over the last 25 years and cannot wait to see this monument to love and one of the seven wonders of the world again!
- Detailed itinerary:
- Day 1: Tues 25th April – Arrive Delhi airport – Myself and the Pioneer rep will meet you and we will all transfer to a 4-star hotel in Delhi. Stay overnight in Delhi.
- Day 2: Delhi to Agra. After breakfast/ check-out, our group will drive to Agra (air-con mini-bus 3 1/2 -4 hours with comfort stops) and check-in to our 3-star hotel w/swimming pool. Visit Agra Fort, Itimad-Ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) and Mehtab Bagh (Sunset point to view the Taj!) also known as moon garden. Stay overnight in Agra
- Day 3: Agra to Delhi. Early morning visit Taj Mahal at sunrise. After breakfast / check-out drive to Fatehpur Sikri (app 1-hour)- a perfectly preserved red stone fort, which was the estranged capital of Mughal emperor Akbar, built in 1569 A.D. It is also known as “Ghost City”. I have visited this beautiful site twice! Then drive back to Delhi by around 6pm. Check-in to hotel and stay overnight in Delhi. Hopefully we will have time to visit Connaught Square and a night-market.
- Day 4: Fri 28th April – Travel Delhi to Dharamsala – After breakfast/ checkout we will be taken to Delhi airport to catch our flight to Dharamsala with Spicejet (flights not included see TRAVEL & TRANSFERS below)
The Taj Mahal – one of the ancient wonders of the world
Fatehpur Sikri – dating back to 156
Followed by 7-days in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala- shared twin (or double) en-suite room with mountain-view balcony.
See below details of our host, Ram, and his guesthouse RAM YOGA HOUSE and a list of some of the exciting, optional local daytrips and cultural events available to you! See DHARAMSALA DAYTRIPS & EVENTS
- While in Dharamsala, Tai Chi & Chi Kung classes and guided Meditations with me are included as well as Yoga sessions every other day with a local instructor – all held on-site overlooking the Himalayan mountains.
- An Ayurvedic cookery experience is also included – where you’ll learn about Ayurvedic nutrition principles with a local Ayurvedic doctor, Dr Divya, and Ram’s chef Rajesh. You’ll help to prepare and cook – and of course eat – an Indian vegetarian meal! Dr Divya can also give you a personalised Ayurvedic consultation (for a very small extra fee approx €5-10pp).
- 4x airport transfers (From and back to Delhi and Dharamsala airports) – see TRAVEL & TRANSFERS below.
Heavenly Himalayan view from the rooms at Ram Yoga House.
What’s not included?
- All flights (see below for TRAVEL & TRANSFERS)
- All meals/drinks – except for 3x breakfasts in Delhi & Agra and the meal cooked during our cookery class.
- One night’s accommodation Fri 5th May the night before leaving Delhi on your international flight home
- Optional excursions and events in Dharamsala – see below.
- Personal expenses
BOOKING AND PAYMENTS –
All that’s needed now is a deposit of €257pp to secure your place! And the full balance isn’t due until 1st MARCH 2023!
- Deposit – A non-refundable deposit** of €257 pp will secure your place. PLACES ARE LIMITED to maximum 14 guests and are subject to availability of accommodation so please pay your deposit ASAP to avoid disappointment! You can do this online below or contact me on Whatsapp to pay by card over the phone +353 86 878 5212.
- Full retreat balance €700pp is payable no later than 1st March 2023. This should be lodged directly into my AIB business bank account or if you would like to pay by card a 2% fee will be added (+€15).
- Single occupancy room for the whole trip – A single-occupancy room is included for our first 3 nights in Delhi/Agra then it’s a large shared twin (or double if you’re a couple!) for x7 nights in Dharamsala. There are a VERY limited number of single-occupancy rooms (all en-suite) available for the 7 nights in Dharamsala at an extra cost of +€280pp (+€40 per night) = total retreat fee €1237pp. NB. The Himalayan views from the single rooms are not as good as those from the much larger, shared-twin rooms. If you are interested in a single room please let me know when booking thx!
- CANCELLATION POLICY – see below for all T&C’s
RAM YOGA HOUSE and MCLEOD GANJ – introducing our host and venue in Mcleodganj, Dharamsala.
Following our 3-day trip to Delhi and Agra, we’ll be based in the holy and historic town of Mcleod Ganj, near Dharamsala, India – home for the past 60 years to HH The Dalai Lama. It’s a magical melting-pot of ancient cultures where you can mingle with monks, Indian locals, and Tibetans who live in harmony and who practice and protect ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
There’ll be plenty of time to visit the local temples, cultural centres and museums, shops, Western, Indian and Tibetan restaurants and there will also be a choice of optional, free and paid excursions eg. to the Dalai Lama’s Temple complex, a forest and lake walk, visit to a historical fort and ruins, a night-time fire ceremony, a visit to a Tibetan cultural and crafts centre.
Our base and sanctuary for the week – guesthouse ‘Ram Yoga House’ – with its own rooftop yoga studio overlooking the Himalayas and a lovely cafe serving fabulous Indian and Western/European breakfasts, lunches and evening meals – is just a 5 minute walk from the amazing atmosphere, sights and smells of this holy, Himalayan town. Here, we’ll soak up the breathtaking mountain views from our balconies and the rooftop Yoga studio during our daily Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Yoga and Meditation classes. An Ayurvedic cooking experience is also included in your fee. No experience is necessary and you can take all our classes at your own pace as you’ll have a whole week to immerse yourself in this special environment.
Meet Ram Bhardwaj – Guesthouse owner “Ram Yoga House”, Ayurvedic Teacher and Thai Yoga Massage Therapist :
Ram was born in a village near Dharamsala and has been an Ayurvedic and Yoga practitioner and Massage therapist for many years having trained and taught workshops and courses all over the world, as well as in his hometown.
Ram Yoga House: Our retreat venue is Ram’s award-winning guesthouse, the winner of the booking.com 2018 Guest Review award with a review score of 8.3! In addition to facilities mentioned above there is free wifi. All towels and bedding are also provided in your en-suite room.
There will be DAILY TAI CHI, YOGA AND MEDITATION classes all held in the rooftop yoga studio with its breathtaking Himalayan backdrop.
Our Yoga classes: Ram has practiced Yoga from an early age and employs a highly experienced Yoga Instructor at his fully-equipped roof-top studio. He offers classes all year round and as India is, after all, the original home of Yoga and we’ll be in very good hands! Rest assured that Ram will ensure our classes are suitable for beginners so you can take it at your own pace and build on your experience during the week.
Ayurveda – Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of health and wellness and includes the principles of diet, exercise (Yoga) and spiritual practice such as meditation. Ayur means “knowledge” / veda means “life”. Our Ayurvedic cooking experience : Dr Divya and Rajesh – the cook at Ram Yoga House – will run an Ayurvedic cookery class with us (included in retreat fee) where you’ll learn to cook traditional Indian vegetarian meals – and enjoy eating them afterwards! NB. There will be opportunities to have one-to-one Thai Yoga Massage sessions with Ram and Ayurvedic health consultations with Dr Divya and he’ll be happy to advise prices and book appointments with you during the week.
Here’s a 50 second video made by our guesthouse owner, Ram, in Jan 2019 highlighting what you can see from his guesthouse, our venue for the week – including the Himalayas, the Dalai Lama’s home and the rooftop-hopping monkeys! Plus a video of myself doimg Tai Chi when in the Himalayas near Sikkim in 2016!
DHARAMSALA DAYTRIPS & EVENTS – exploring the local sights and culture. All of these events are optional and some are at extra cost. Above are photos from our trip in 2019 where we enjoyed all of the following events!
– Visit to the Dalai Lama’s temple and grounds – free / 15 mins walk / museum has a small fee.
– local temple – free/ 10 mins walk
– Daytrip with Ram to Kangra Fort, ancient rock temple, views of the river , a dip in hot springs. Approx €25pp including lunch and transport.
– Visit to Norbulingka – Tibetan Buddhist cultural centre, gardens, temple, master-craftsman workshops, shop and cafe. Approx €10pp incl transport.
– Folk Music show at Tibet World – approx €7pp – 15 mins walk
– Tibetan Singing Bowls healing ‘sound bath’ – approx €7pp – held at Ram’s
– visit to ‘Sunset point’ viewing spot and cafe – taxi fare only
-there are a number of excellent and experienced massage therapists in the local area that I can recommend prices are approx €20 per hour.
TRAVEL & TRANSFERS :
Info last updated September 2022: Here are the basics regarding dates and visas. There will be more flight details to come as I plan to book my own flights approx 5 months in advance (no lagter than end Nov 2022). Do go ahead and book your international flights as soon as you wish but please hold off on booking your domestic flights from Delhi to Dharamsala (return) with Spicejet until a bit closer to the time.
Flight prices – Just to give you an idea…..In the past I’ve flown with BA (via Heathrow) and most of my group in 2019 flew with Virgin (via Heathrow). Naturally, these vary depending on departure date, how far ahead you book and your outbound location etc. Current prices are approx €1200 total – I have just booked very last minute flights to Delhi from Dublin with Qatar for travel this October 2022 and they were €950 return and my domestic flights with Spicejet were around €200 return (Spicejet flights don’t vary much in price). All flights include check-in and cabin bags.
IMPORTANT FLIGHT INFO: You will need to allow ONE WHOLE DAY AND NIGHT for travel to and from India at each end of the holiday…….
- OUTWARD to Delhi – Arrival day in Delhi is Tuesday 25th April 2023 – please note that the majority of international flights from UK/Ireland/Europe to India fly overnight and arrive the DAY AFTER DEPARTURE so you will most likely need to depart from home on Monday 24th April.
- DOMESTIC FLIGHTS – from Delhi to Dharamsala return with Spicejet. Dates will be Delhi-Dharamsala Fri 28th April / Dharamsala – Delhi Friday 5th May.
- RETURN: You will need to book your international flight home to depart either very late on Friday 5th May or on Saturday 6th May. Our retreat ends on Friday 5th May and you will fly from Dharamsala to Delhi on this day. It is usually too tight for time to then catch your international flight home on the same day from Delhi. Based on personal experience (and on the fact that Indian flights are VERY often delayed!) I never aim to get my domestic and international flights on the same day and always have a night in Delhi the day beforehand.
- VISA & PASSPORT – you will need a tourist visa to visit India. These are usually valid for 12 months and from the date of issue (NOT from date of travel). I recommend waiting until a few weeks before your trip to apply for the visa as an e-visa only takes around 48-72 hours to be issued and a paper-visa takes around 10-15 working days.
- European passport holders – This is an E-visa and takes a few days to process online. The visa will be sent to you via email and you’ll need to print it off and bring with you when travelling.
- UK passport holders – currently India is not longer uissuing e-viasa so you will need to apply for a paper visa. I can give you all the links as I have just had to do this myself (I’m based in cork and used the Indian Embassy in Dublin)
- NB. You must have a minimum of 6 months remaining on your passport AFTER your return date to your home country from India eg. Ireland or UK. This link to Trailfinders Visa service has lots of useful information about E-visa applications.
Costs vary according to the country of origin of your passport. Here also is a link to the Indian E-Visa website:
Spicejet Website: https://www.spicejet.com/
- Transfers from Delhi and Dharamsala airports – These are included in your retreat fee. More details to follow.
TRAVEL INSURANCE, HEALTH & WEATHER :
- You will need to arrange your own travel insurance in advance of travelling to India – see T&C’s below.
- Malaria – it’s not generally deemed necessary to take anti-malarial tablets in the Northern Indian region we’re staying in. However, we advise that you bring mosquito repellent for use after dusk (see below my all-natural, tried and tested recipe for homemade mozzie spray!) if in doubt, see the India Malaria map below and contact your local travel-health clinic. >
- Other immunisations – you may wish to consult your local travel-health clinic to check if you need any immunisations / jabs before travelling to Northern India.
- Weather – temperatures around end April/early May should be a very pleasant average of 20 degrees, possibly as high as 25 degrees and down to 12-15 degrees at night. As mentioned below – layers are the key when packing clothing! Little or no rain is expected as it will be well before the rainy season.
- Drinking water – You must never EVER drink the tap water- not even to bruish your teeth!! All water is bottled and must be used for all consumption and cleaning teeth etc
WHAT TO BRING & FAQ’S
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but here are our suggestions to help make this an amazing and comfortable experience for everyone –
- Cash is handy to have in Euros, GBP or USD. Exchange rate as of Feb 2019 is €1 = 80 INR (Indian Rupees). It is usually not possible to obtain INR outside India but there are plenty of exchange bureaus and cash machines at Delhi airport and also some in Mcleod Ganj. Not many local restaurants or cafes will take card payments but a number of shops will. NB. Personal expenses and food/drinks are not included in your retreat fee. Nor are paid, optional excursions. A daily budget of €25-30 is suggested for food and drinks and should be more than ample.
- Sunscreen / sunhat
- A torch
- Mosquito repellent and bite cream / antihistamines. Here’s my recipe for homemade, tried and tested mozzie spray that is totally natural and kind to your skin: Mix the following in a spray bottle and shake well before use: Per 100ml = 50ml pre-boiled water, 25ml witch hazel, 1tsp liquid oil eg. Jojoba. Essential oils : Citronella x40 drops / Tea tree x10 drops / Lavender x10 drops. You can also add Lemongrass OR Eucalyptus x10 drops.
- A wrap / layers for the evenings as it can get chilly at night
- Your own preferred teabags and snacks etc
- Sturdy shoes/runners
- Plug adaptor for India
- Immodium and Dioralyte incase you get an upset tummy!
- Women are advised to bring their own tampons as required as they are not readily available in India.
DISABLED FACILITIES: Due to the location and landscape, this retreat is not suitable for those in wheelchairs or who are immobile.
TERMS & CONDITIONS OF BOOKING & CANCELLATION POLICY
Tai Chi holiday in Delhi, Agra and Ram Yoga House in Dharamsala, India – facilitated by Michelle Gupta, Pioneer Holidays and venue owner, Ram Bhardwaj.
Dates: Tuesday 25th April – Friday 5th May 2023
By booking your place on this holiday from you are agreeing to abide by the following terms and conditions and confirm that you have read and understand all the information below. Paying your deposit and subsequent full-fees for the holiday forms the contract between me – Michelle Gupta, the retreat facilitator – and yourself.
1) Travel Insurance – as per the TRAVEL & TRANSFERS section above, it is essential that ensure yourself and any parties you may be attending with have adequate travel insurance for your trip. We cannot accept any participants who are not insured to travel.
2) **Deposits – The deposit €257 pp paid to confirm your place and chosen room is completely non-refundable** (See Cancellation policy below).
3) All balance payments must be paid in full by 1st March 2023 and you confirm that you will adhere to this payment date. . All balance payments must be made via online banking or lodged directly into my business account. If you wish to pay by card over the phone then a card fee of 2% will be added.
NB. If booking your place on or after 1st March 2023 then the full-fee is payable when booking your place.
4) Complaints procedure – in the unlikely event that a participant is unhappy about an aspect of the holiday, please put your complaints to me in writing no later than 7 days from the end of the trip (by 13th October 2022).
5) Force majeur – excluding Covid 19 – if the retreat cannot take place due to any event beyond reasonable control of myself or the venue owners and that which is unavoidable notwithstanding the care of the affected parties, each situation will be assessed at the time and all attempts will be made to re-schedule the event for a later date.
6) Covid 19 – Worldwide travel has opened up considerably in 2022 and it is looking highly unlikely that Covid will cause any travel issues to India in 2023
a) If there is a government mandated lockdown and travel ban made by the Indian authorities during 25th April-5th May2023 that causes a cancellation of the event (because travel to and from India is not possible) any deposits and amounts paid will be valid for a rescheduled, future retreat with me – Michelle Gupta – at the same venue, valid for 12 months after restrictions are lifted.
b) If you choose not to travel but travel to India is still permitted Ie. In the case that the authorities of your country of origin are stating that travel to Spain is not is advised or recommended but there is not an actual ban on travel -if you make a personal choice not to travel, no deposits or amounts paid will be refunded. Nor will any payments be transferable to a future event.
c) Quarantine: in India – Before the retreat starts (before 25th April 2023) in the case of a quarantine period imposed by the Indian government for the dates of the retreat 25th April-5th May – if it is longer than the length of the retreat ie. More than 10 days – then the amounts paid will be transferable to a future event as above. If the quarantine time is 10 days or less, then the event will go ahead. In your home country – If the government in your country of origin impose a quarantine on your return from India, then the event will also be transferable as above.
- The deposit €257pp is entirely non-refundable**
- Any cancellations made 4 weeks or more prior to the event – before 1st September 2022 – will receive a refund of 50% of the full retreat fee minus €247 deposit deposit which will not be refunded.
- Any cancellations made less than 4 weeks prior to the event – on or after 28th March 2023 will be charged at 100% of the retreat fee and no refunds will be made.
- If you cannot attend and you have someone else who would like attend the retreat in your place, I will try wherever possible to transfer your place to them.
- ** If the event is cancelled by the venue owners or myself, the retreat facilitator, then you will receive a FULL refund including your deposit.