Tag: India

7 Reasons To Take A Sacred Tour of South India

Southern India is the perfect place to go if you’re embarking on a spiritual journey. It has stunning landscapes, vibrant cultures, ancient temples, and amazing people, all of which create the perfect atmosphere for inner and outer exploration.

Even the land is sacred here. This particular area of the world is known for having given birth to many saints and sages, all of whom have impregnated the country with their sacredness.

And while you could jump on a plane and head to India on your own spiritual pilgrimage, a tour is often a better option, especially for the first time visitor to India.

Here are 7 great reasons to take a spiritual tour of South India.

1. You Can Focus On Your Spiritual Journey

statue of shiva on location in South India

Getting around in India, especially for the first time traveller, can be challenging and confronting. While some people love the adventure of navigating in an unknown land, other’s find it extremely stressful.

If you are going to India to experience the rich spirituality, culture, and history, you don’t need to be worrying about the details of where to go, and how to get there.

A reputable tour company has trusted vendors, so you won’t have to question where you are staying, what you are eating, what attractions to see, and how you’ll get there.

2. Your Journey Of India Is Guided

Andrew Harvey Leading A Tour in India

A guide brings your trip alive with their intimate knowledge of the sites and areas you’ll visit.

There is no guide to Southern India like Andrew Harvey.

At Sacred Earth Journeys, we are honored to be working with Andrew for this wonderful journey and are continuously amazed at his wonderful teachings and passion about India.

Born in South India and educated at Oxford, Andrew began his own spiritual journey in the late 1970s. He knows the ins and outs of this sacred land like the palm of his hands and has studied with a number of Indian saints and sages over the past four decades.

Andrew is an award-winning author, activist, and documentarian. This is will be his third, “Shiva Dancing” group tour to South India, and as always, he’ll use his years of training and knowledge of the land to take pilgrims on a journey in the footsteps of great mystics like Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and Father Bede Griffiths.

Throughout the journey through Southern India, Andrew will not only share his knowledge of the land, he’ll also be bringing you the teachings and initiations needed for your own internal transformation, giving you the tools to spread the revolution of the divine human across the world.

3. Dive deeply into the mystical world of Indian Saivism

Andrew Harvey Savism

To this day, Saivism remains one of India’s best kept sacred secrets.

This mystical branch of Hinduism has very rarely been studied in the Western world, which is why travelling with Andrew is truly unique. His 40-year journey into Hindu mysticism gives him the knowledge and experience needed to guide pilgrims through an unbelievable experience of self discovery that draws its lessons from the astounding vision of God the dancer.

By going on this incredible pilgrimage with Andrew, you’ll be able to learn about the teachings and spirituality of Shiva, dive deeply into the evolutionary vision of Sri Aurobindo, and explore the expansive universal vision of Christ consciousness that Father Bede Griffiths, the greatest Christian mystic of the 20th century, gave to the world.

It is truly unique and transformational.

4. You’ll see the majestic Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram through new eyes

Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram, India

Mahabalipuram, the first stop on this incredible journey, is famous for its Shore Temple. It was also the second capital and a bustling seaport during the time of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram. Ravaged by wind and sea, the temple complex, built in 700-728AD by the Pallava Dynasty, retains its alluring beauty and is a must-see site for pilgrims and travellers.

Complete with intricate rock carvings and monuments such as the Descent of the Ganges and the Arjuna’s Penance relief, depicting animals, deities, and other semi-divine creatures, Mahabalipuram is one of those places that conserve a deep kind of sacredness, which will be tapped into thanks to Andrew’s knowledge and experience.

5. Have we mentioned Indian food yet?

indian food

We could spend hours talking about the amazing tastes of Southern India.

Some of the foods you’ll experience in South India include:

  • Dosas – a thin crispy crepe made of fermented rice and lentil offered with a variety of fillings (try the masala dosa) and served with sambar (soup) and coconut chutney.
  • Biryani – rice, meat, veggies, and spices.
  • Appams and ishtu – thin crepes made of fermented rice flour and coconut milk served with an Indian stew.

The meals you’ll have with a tour will be at restaurants that we know are good. The best part, of course, will be the stimulating conversation, which is often the highlight of these tours.

6. You’ll experience the once-in-a-lifetime night walk in Arunachala

Arunachala

Seekers come to Arunachala with the intention of realizing the Self.

Arunachala is the place where Sri Ramana Maharshi lived his life in the twentieth century. It is alive with the presence of Shiva and is one of the most sacred places you’ll get to experience.

7. You’ll find inner peace at the Shantivanam Ashram

inner peace

Father Bede first stayed at the Ashram in the late 50s and took over stewardship in 1968. Under his leadership, Shantivanam became an internationally known centre of dialogue and renewal. The aim of Shantivanam has always been to bring the riches of Indian spirituality into Christian life, to share in that profound experience of God that originated in the Vedas, was developed in the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, and has come down to us today through a continual succession of sages and holy men and women.

Accommodation at the ashram is humble and basic: pilgrims sit on the floor and eat vegetarian meals with their hands. This brings a change of pace that fosters reflection and spiritual connection.

Last Call To Join Shiva Dancing: Sacred South India with Andrew Harvey

Join author and teacher Andrew Harvey on a pilgrimage in honour of Lord Shiva to the great temple sites and spiritual power places of South India.

Our tour will allow you to experience this sacredness firsthand, as it weaves through Southern India’s shrines, temples, and natural monuments. It is, as our guests tell us, an experience of a lifetime.

This is Andrew’s 3rd “Shiva Dancing” group tour to South India! It is a journey in the footsteps of the great mystics Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo and Father Bede Griffiths whose lives were dedicated to and paved the way for the birth of the new human: the divine human.

This is the work Andrew Harvey is most dedicated to through his books, documentaries, and seminars and, of course, most potently through pilgrimages like this.

Andrew will be bringing you the teachings and initiations for your own internal transformation and to spread the revolution of the divine human across the world.

Find out more about this magical tour.

Craving rest and rejuvenation? Try Panchakarma!

Panchakarma, Sanskrit for ‘five actions’ or ‘five therapies’, is rapidly growing in popularity amongst Western travellers who seek detoxification and rejuvenation of their bodies, minds, and spirits.

Panchakarma is a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing that emphasizes prevention, balance, and self-awareness. Ayurveda is a way of life that deals not only with the body and mind, but also with the human spirit and consciousness. Ayurveda is the knowledge of life and longevity, and promotes balance within the body for optimum health and well-being.

When our digestive energies, known as agni (fire), are functioning optimally, our tissues are healthy, we eliminate waste products efficiently, and our bodies produce a subtle essence called ojas, which promotes physical strength and immunity. When agni is weakened, however, digestion is slowed and toxins become stored in the body. Continue reading

The Divine Love of India – Interview with Michele Labelle

I recently had the pleasure of sitting with Michele Labelle, my dear friend and yoga retreat leader, to discuss one of her favourite subjects – India! Over chai, we explored the topics of spirituality, healing, love, yoga, and Michele’s upcoming Sacred South India Yoga Adventure with Sacred Earth Journeys. Here’s just a fragment of our conversation, which fittingly took place on Valentine’s Day.

Michele doing cobra...with a cobra!
Michele doing cobra…with a cobra!

AA: What does India represent to you?  

ML: India is like a melting pot. Of course there is the spiritual aspect; that’s what has always attracted me. When I think of India, I think of the colours, I think of the people…and the children’s smiles. When the kids come up to you, you see their soul through their eyes. There’s a rawness there that wakes something up deep, deep inside of me.

And then you have the dichotomy of modernization. The young women in their jeans, the older women in their full traditional dress. And being able to still walk on dirt roads, with the cows and tuk-tuks everywhere. It’s starting to blend the modern with the old.
India can be a shock to the system for the first-time traveller. What words of wisdom would you give? 

Coming on this journey with us, there is the opportunity to feel safe, to be in a group setting. You sleep in a comfortable bed, and you are fed well. And you know, South Indian food, with all the different coconut curries — every single bite is so delicious! So that security, and having a tour guide who speaks the language, makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

Every single person has their own experience. So wherever you are in life, whatever meditation practices you have or not, whether you have your own spiritual guru or not…India wakes something up in every person I’ve ever met who has a calling to go.

And because I love India so much, I just want to share that love. It’s an invitation, like coming to a movie. It’s a whole different movie than you’ve ever seen in your life. And you’re a player in that movie.

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Top Sacred Journeys for 2015

Whether your yard is still buried deep under snow or those first buds of spring are starting to peek though, February is a perfect month to start your vacation planning.  Here we round up our 2015 sacred journeys: from a writer’s retreat in Ireland to an Ayurveda program in India, we’re sure to have something to nourish your spirit.

Women’s Spiritual Art Journey in Bali with Mooh Hood and Lori Goldberg: A Transformative Travel Gift to Yourself, March 12 – 23, 2015

Group-2Bin-2BBali

Women’s Spiritual Art Journey is a rare opportunity to participate with a small group of women to engage with the local Balinese, explore the lush landscapes, pray at the Mother Temple, immerse in the Holy Springs and tap into your creative process and create a daily art journal (no experience needed). You will be travelling with Bali expert Mooh Hood and artist Lori Goldberg on this journey of profound connection and discovery. Read the full journey details on our website. 

There are a couple of spots remaining on this life-changing journey – book now to secure your place! 

A Spiral Journey into the Heart of Ireland with Phil Cousineau: Explore the Mythology, Arts and Spirituality of the Ancient and Modern Celtic World, September 19 – 30, 2015 (with a Dublin Extension, Sep 30 – Oct 3)

Ireland_men

Join writer and filmmaker Phil Cousineau as he leads you on a journey that spirals into the heart and soul of one of the most unique cultures in the world seeking the presence of Ireland’s great trilogy of “myth, poetry and magic” through its incantatory storytelling, hypnotic music, and the sheer beauty of glorious countryside. The journey includes visits to the Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Yeats’ Tower, Galway, Croagh Patrick and Donegal Castle as well as the vibrant cities of Belfast and Dublin (extension). With special guest appearances by local writers scholars and cultural leaders, and dedicated time for daily discussions and journal writing, this is a culturally and spiritually rich tour not to be missed. Discover more here.

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India: Embracing my Discomfort Zone

For most of my life, the idea of travelling to India scared me. Though I am of Indian ancestry, I was born in Canada and had little desire to visit my mother country. India felt too uncomfortable and strange, and many questions plagued me: What if I got sick? What would the bathroom situation be like? What if the crowds and poverty were too confronting?

But a few years ago, something shifted. I began to practice Yoga and learn more about the Vedas, the spiritual texts of India. I started to appreciate aspects of my culture that I long took for granted and, for the first time, felt the inclination to just go.

India_sunrise-2Byoga
Practicing yoga on the beach at sunrise…ahhh

I believe that when one desires to visit India, there is an irresistible, magnetic pull to the country. Previous doubts and fears lose their grip, and circumstances seem to line up to make the journey happen. It’s as if Mother India knows we are coming!

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