FEBRUARY 10-27, 2024
The Spirit and Cultureof South India
WITH STACEY ROSENBERG
A Yoga Adventure to Tamil Naduand Kerala with Stacey and Swami
Have you dreamed of visiting India? Well, now is the time. The often-requested trip to India with Stacey and Swami has become a reality! We are thrilled to offer this journey and hope you will join us on this experience of a lifetime.
Our adventure to South India will begin in Chennai, a city built by the British next to 2,000-year-old Tamil communities. We will visit the temples Tamil Nadu is famous for and immerse ourselves in the culture. Then we move on to Kerala, slowing down to enjoy time in nature and soak in its relaxed vibe. The experience culminates with a yoga and Ayurveda retreat at a beautiful resort on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
On the first part of this trip, you will visit the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, rarely frequented by westerners. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in rituals that have evolved over centuries, spend time with the people of Tamil Nadu to get a taste of village life, and visit artisans using centuries-old techniques to make their handicrafts.
We will move on to Kerala, where you will experience the best of the region. Hike in the hills overlooking the renowned tea and spice plantations that first brought Westerners to India and enjoy a night’s stay aboard a houseboat on the tranquil backwaters in Alleppey. Visit the historic city of Cochin, which has blended Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish traditions over the centuries. Complete this incredible journey with a few days of Yoga and Ayurvedic treatments at a gorgeous beach resort on the Arabian Sea.
Everywhere you go, you will be immersed in Indian culture and learn how history and tradition meld with modernity in this rapidly changing and yet ancient nation. You will experience dance and music performances, cooking lessons, storytelling, and, of course, yoga practices with Stacey.
Stacey and Swami (a Tamilian from Kerala) have organized this trip based on their personal experiences with the people and places of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and have arranged for the most sought-after guide in India to facilitate this incredible adventure. The trip is planned for February when the weather in South India is at its best. On this spectacular tour of South India, we’ll have VIP service on our air-conditioned bus. We will take care of everything for you so you can immerse yourself in the experience.
We will lead two preparation meetings on Zoom to ensure you know everything you need to know before you travel.
- Make a deeply respectful pilgrimage to some of the most sacred temples of Tamil Nadu
- Visit the Chidambaram temple, home of the Nataraja, the dancing Shiva
- Connect with friendly local communities and get a taste of village life
- Visit the tea plantations in rural Kerala and trek in the beautiful, lush hills
- Stay overnight on a houseboat on Kerala’s tranquil backwaters
- Rejuvenate on the beach with yoga and Ayurvedic treatments
- Enjoy yoga sessions, discussion, and storytelling with Stacey and Swami
- Travel with a South Indian guide who speaks seven languages and has over 20 years experience
- Immerse yourself in an authentic experience of one of the planet’s longest living cultures
- Enjoy a traditional dance performance
- Take part in an Indian cooking class
- Visit during the most temperate weather of the year in South India
- 17 nights accommodations in 4 star hotels and resorts
- Airport transfer upon arrival
- Departure transfer with group to Kochi Airport on final day
- Daily breakfast and either lunch or dinner depending on the program
- All transfers, excursions and sightseeing tours on our air conditioned bus
- English speaking guide services in each city locally
- Entrance fees at the monuments
- Yoga practices with Stacey per itinerary
- One Ayurvedic massage each day at the Ayurvedic resort
- Access to filtered water to refill your water bottle at the hotel and on the bus
- The prices include the government GST, road taxes, parking fees, fuel charges, interstate taxes, boat ride + rickshaw ride
- Two preparation meetings on Zoom–one about logistics and the other about what to expect and how to be respectful of the culture
DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International Airfare
- Travelers Insurance, which is highly recommended
- Visa: United States citizens need a tourist visa to enter India
- Personal expenses, such as laundry, telephone calls, alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages
- Camera/video camera fees at monuments
- Medical expenses
- Special Ayurvedic treatments at the final destination resort
- Tips for driver, guide, and other helpers or hotel staff
- Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions
Fly into Chennai (MAA) and out of Kochi (COK)
Note: Many airlines, including Air India, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, also offer flights into Chennai and out of Kochi.
February 10 or early morning Feb 11.
This means you will likely depart the afternoon or night of Feb 8 to arrive in India on Feb 9 or early on Feb 10.
LEAVE ON OR AFTER:
If you need to leave sooner we can make arrangements.
Please check with the CDC or the U.S. Embassy in Delhi for the vaccinations recommended for travel to India.
RETREAT DETAILS + PRICING
$6345 - Single Occupancy
$5195 - Double Occupancy
If you are joining us solo and would prefer a roommate, we will do our best to find you a match.
Deposit and Payments:
$750 is required to secure your spot. Payment plans are available.
Half the remainder is due September 10, 2023. And the trip must be paid in full by December 10, 2023.
A check, Venmo, or Zelle is preferable. A fee will be added for credit card payments.
All deposits are non-refundable. If you cancel 90 days or more prior to the retreat start date, you will be issued a refund, less your $750 non-refundable deposit. We cannot offer any refunds, transfers, credits or cancellations for any reason within 90 days of the retreat start date. Full payment is due 60 days prior to the start of the retreat.
Thank you for consideration with this policy as so much time and heart goes into planning retreats for you!
Trip insurance is highly recommended so you can protect your investment.
Day 1: Arrive Chennai - February 10, 2024
You will be greeted at the airport by one of our representatives and taken to our hotel to rest. Check-in begins at 2PM. Spend the night in Chennai.
We will spend the first week or so of the trip visiting Tamil Nadu’s famous temples and experiencing South Indian food and culture.
Day 2: Chennai - Mahabalipuram 2/11/24
After breakfast, check out of the hotel. We will take you shopping to get all the Indian clothing you need and desire for the trip. Proceed to Mahabalipuram to check in to the hotel. We’ll have an evening yoga practice so you can get back into your body after the international flight. Stay overnight in Mahabalipuram.
Day 3: Mahabalipuram 2/12/24
Take an early morning walking tour of the spectacular shore temple at Mahabalipuram and visit the cave sculptures. After breakfast, visit the shore and Ratha (chariot) temples. Enjoy an evening yoga practice at the hotel. Stay overnight in Mahabalipuram.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry 2/13/24
Check out in the morning and drive to Pondicherry. See the beautiful French colony and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Auroville. Spend the night in Pondicherry.
Day 5: Chidambaram 2/14/24
Enjoy a morning Yoga practice before proceeding to Chidambaram, home of the famous 10th Century Thillai Nataraja Temple, which celebrates Shiva’s Cosmic Dance. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Embark on an evening visit to the Nataraja Temple. Spend the night in Chidambaram.
Day 6: Chidambaram – Kumbakonam 2/15/24
After breakfast, drive to Kumbakonam, one of India’s most famous temple towns, located on the banks of two rivers. On the way, we will visit the Goddess Kali’s temple on the edge of town. Stop for lunch at a local village. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and spend the night in Kumbakonam.
Day 7: Kumbakonam 2/16/24
Morning visit to the Thiruvalanchuzhi Sri Swetha Binayagara temple that honors Ganesha–the elephant-faced god and remover of obstacles. Proceed to the famous Swamimalai Bronze-making workshop to see the old technique of making amazing murthis (statues of deities). Return to the hotel for some free time and a late afternoon yoga practice. Enjoy an evening visit to the Ganesha Patteeswaram Vanadurga temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga-The Divine Mother. Stay the night at Kumbakonam.
Day 8: Kumbakonam – Madurai 2/17/24
Depart in the morning for Madurai. Enroute, visit a Ganesha temple, a village temple, and explore the Chettinadu mansions. On arrival in Madurai, check in to the hotel, relax and freshen up for an evening yoga practice. Spend the night in Madurai.
Day 9: Madurai 2/18/24
Wake up refreshed and ready to hit the mat for an energizing practice. Visit the colorful Madurai Meenakshi Temple, which dates back to the 7th century and is dedicated to the feminine energy of Shakti. Visit the Thiruparankundram cave temple in the afternoon. Stay the night in Madurai.
After Madurai, we will head over the hills to the neighboring state of Kerala (“Land of the Coconut Trees”), known for its beaches, spice plantations, coconut-infused seafood cuisine, and a rich culture that combines Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and even Jewish traditions.
Day 10: Madurai – Munnar 2/19/24
Start the day with a morning yoga practice and breakfast. Check out of the hotel and drive to Munnar, Kerala. Located in the hills above Cochin, Munnar is famous for the spice and tea plantations that first brought Westerners to India. Relax, surrounded by nature. Stay overnight in Munnar.
Day 11: Munnar 2/20/24
Hit the mat for a morning yoga practice. After breakfast, visit the Munnar tea museum and trek (hike) in the tea plantation. Enjoy a relaxing evening and spend the night in Munnar.
Day 12: Munnar – Houseboat 2/21/24
Drive to Alleppey to board a beautiful, luxurious houseboat on Kerala's scenic backwaters – the system of canals along paddy fields, coconut palms, and villages. Take in the landscape, delight in the delicious cuisine, and soak up the tranquility of this magical place. Spend the night on a boat.
Day 13: Houseboat – Kochi 2/22/24
In the morning, after breakfast, disembark from the boat and drive to Cochin, one of India’s most ancient cities, which has had Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities living alongside and in harmony with Hindus for nearly two thousand years. On arrival, visit the Palace Museum and Jewish synagogue. Delight in an evening performance of the beautiful Kathakali (traditional Kerala classical dance). Spend the night in Kochi.
Day 14: Kochi – Thrissur 2/23/24
After breakfast, depart to an Ayurvedic beach resort on the beach at Thrissur. On arrival, check-in, settle, and plan your relaxing time. Enjoy an evening yoga practice and spend the night at the Ayurvedic resort.
Day 15 -17: Thrissur February 24-26, 2024
Bookend each of your relaxing days here with morning and evening yoga practices. Lay by the pool, in a hammock, or at the beach. Enjoy your daily massage included with the tour, or book additional Ayurvedic treatments. Participate in an Indian cooking class and enjoy the meal as one of our dinners.
Day 18: Tour Ends - February 27
February 27 - Tour ends and we head back to Kochi as a group to fly home or onward to your next destination.
As you can see this trip has many moving parts. The itinerary is subject to change based on unforeseen circumstances. We ask for your flexibility and understanding – it's all part of the adventure.