Nature,scenic places in Kerala and Pondicherry with Yoga centres.

September 17, 2011

I will be in Bangalore on business for a week, and then would like to travel in India for a week afterwards. i'd love to hike in the himalayas, but i'm not sure if a week is enough time. Kerala has been suggested, and seems close to Bangalore. I will be traveling by myself, so i'm thinking some type of tour might be easiest. I also like the idea of yoga/ visiting an ashram, but a week may also be...

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September 18, 2011

First of all apologies for the delay,moving ahead ...I have suggested some great getaways from Bangalore combined with Yoga centres ,that will make your trip to India truly memorable and spiritual one.So read on to find out ...

(Source: Nishanth Jois) 

Things to See in Kerala

With an abundance of spectacular natural attractions right from  of lush green  hills ,to charming backwaters to the rich eco diversity parks and stunning coastlines makes Kerala one of the top holiday destinations in India.But with so much to see and do,I am going to list out my top picks,so have a read and make your selections...

 (Source: kathakali) 

1. Kumarakom backwaters

Kumarakom is a small yet, magnificent town in Kerala. Also known as the rice bowl of Kerala,Kumarakom boasts of  cluster of beautiful islands making it a favorite destination for backwater boat rides. The best and of course the most preferred way of exploring the Kerala Backwaters is by taking a boat ride on these water canals. 

 (Source: Christian Haugen) 

This beautiful city has numerous small fishing skiffs throughout the town. With both salt water and fresh water surrounding Kumarakom, it makes sense that there are numerous varieties of fish that are fit for consumption that can be found there. Excellent marine and freshwater fish including tasty karimeen (also known as pearl spotted fish), shrimp, and prawns are available in the area.
Experiencing the backwater and ayurvedic massage are two other reasons that countless tourists flock to Kumarakom.

 (Source: KUMARAKOM Travel Guide) 

2. Banasurasagar Dam

One of the largest earth dam in India and also the most awe inspiring locations in Wayanad ,the Banasura Sagar Dam is a stunning reservoir with amazing surroundings.A hike or trek up the Dam takes you to the scenic Banasura hills ,from where one can enjoy the spectacular views of the island.The Banasura hills is known for its breathtaking scenery and is definetely worth a visit when in Wayanad.Also a must is the speed boat ride,that gives a whole trip around the reservoir...and trust me ,this is going to be one thrilling joy ride.

 (Source: Raj) 

Reviews of other travelers:

Wayanad is one of the beautiful places I have visited in Kerala, India. The place is known for natural beauty. We had a visit to Wayanad last week, which turned to be one of the most memorable trips I have made.

 (Source: TripAdvisor) 

Location: Wayanad, Kerala, India

3. Thenmala

Thenmala, literally transalated as "honey hills" is the first ecotourism destination in India. It is a small village located at the foothills of the Western ghats. You can walk along the Thenmala dam, go boating on the Thenmala reservoir, take a ride on the rare Metre gauge railway, watch the musical dancing fountains and take pictures at the beautiful sculpture gardens.

 (Source: Kerala Tourism) 

Thenmala is in Kerala in India. It is is a scenic place known for its natural beauty. It is the location of the first eco tourism project in Kerala. The Thenmala dam is a big attraction and is mainly used for irrigation purposes.

 (Source: Wikitravel) 

To get there:Thenmala is 72 km north of Thiruvananthapuram. A short distance from Courtallam Falls in Tamil Nadu.It lies on the northernmost end of Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve

Call :0475-2344800, 0471-2329770

4. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram

One of the best yoga centres in the country ,the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram is nested in the lush and scenic foothills of the western ghats in Kerala.People from all around the globe flock to this spiritual retreat for a chance to attain inner peace and learn the ancient yoga techniques.

 (Source: stephanie carter) 

Sivananda ashram set in a natural setting is an amazing place to spend time in self development an immerse in Indian culture. Located in the outskirts of Trivandrum atop a hill and beside a lake it is a scenic and heavenly place.

 (Source:  TripAdvisor) 

Just before Neyyar Dam, this superbly located ashram, established in 1978, is renowned for its hatha yoga courses. Courses start on the 1st and 16th of each month, run for a minimum of two weeks and cost Rs600 per day for accommodation in a double room (Rs450 in dormitories). Low season (May to September) rates are Rs100 less. There is an exacting schedule (5.30am to 10pm) of yoga practice, meditation and chanting; and students rave about the food (included in the rates). Bookings are required. Month-long yoga-teacher training and ayurvedic massage courses are also available.

(Source:  Lonely Planet) 

Here is an interesting article on the Ashram

Location:  Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram,Neyyar Dam ,Thiruvananthapuram Dist (Trivandrum)

Call: +91.471.227.3093 / +91.471.227.2703

Fax: +91.471.227.2093
e-mail: guestindia@sivananda.org

Note:Book ahead to join the specified courses and classes

Things to See in pondicherry

I f you are looking for peace,you will find it here,looking for stunning natural beauty ,you will find that too,this is why people from all over the world come to Pondicherry.A quaint little city that provides a travellers a mix of traditional Indian and charming French influence in both its culture and way of living.

 (Source: Nishanth Jois) 

1. Auroville Yoga Centre

You can find a lot of ashrams ,some small and big all over the South,but one ashram with a universal appeal is Auroville. Though situated in Pondicherry, this is a place you must definitely visit if you are looking for some divinity, some peace and rejuvenation.

Planned as an international experimental township, Auroville was inspired by the evolutionary vision of Sri Aurobindo and founded by Mirra Alfassa, known as the Mother.

 (Source: Andrea) 

There are a lot of activities in Auroville like Yoga, Tai-Chi, Watsu, different kinds of alternative healing and courses. The variety is wider during the visitors' season (December to March), such as attending the classical Indian dance performances of young virtuosos organized by Auroville Cultural Exchange. There are a plethora of social/economic/environmental/agricultural projects going on regularly. Many of them welcome tourists, and many tourists welcome the opportunity to spend a week or more volunteering to get a much more intimate look at what goes inside Auroville

(Source: Wikitravel) 

Location:Harmony (Auromodele), 605101 Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India


Call: +91(413) 2623332/ +91 9443085323

2. Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach or Plago Paradiso is approximately 8 Kms from the town along the Cuddalore Main Road. This stretch of pure sand can be accessed by a boat ride from the Chunnambar Resort . Flanked by an untouched creek and soft sand ,Paradise beach is great place for photo opts.

 (Source: Anuradha Sengupta) 

Read more about this beach here...

At Chunnambarm 8kms from the town, along Cuddalore Main Road, lies this stretch of tropical paradise. Flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cozy seaside tent for yourself. Tree-houses on the backwater banks provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.

A short, pleasant cruise into the sea from here could reward you with the memorable sight of playful dolphins in natural habitat.

 (Source: Beach) 

Note:Strong currents here,so swimming is not advisable

3. Botanical Garden

The Botanical Gardens of Pondicherry  is spread over an area of around 22 acres,this a great place to connect with nature. An ideal tropical retreat ,this garden boats of the rarest species of flowers and trees each distinctly labelled.

(Source: David Sessoms) 

Read more about the gardens and all they hold...

A visit to Pondicherry is incomplete without making a trip to the Botanical Gardens.The approach to the botanical gardens, which is in the heart of the city, is reminiscent of the French Architecture. The origin of the Botanical gardens dates back to 1826. A lot of exotic plant species were introduced by the French here and the garden itself is laid down in the French style. This place is bliss for nature lovers and is the best place to experience a lot of peace and calm.

 (Source: Botanical garden) 

Location :Ambedkar Nagar,Pondicherry

4. Serenity Beach

Serenity Beach is exactly as it is named, serene! It is also a cool 10 minute ride away north of the town. You could spend the whole day at the beach soaking in the sunshine or dipping your toes in the water.

 (Source: Meena Kadri) 

Here's more about this once historically significant beach.

Located to the north of the town, Serenity Beach, is a 1.5km long, rocky shoreline. Some of the bloodiest Anglo-French battles were fought on these sands. Today, however, this beach is ideal for a calm (or romantic) stroll. Or one can just sit on the parapet by the sea (or on one of the rocks) and gaze out at the rolling waves for hours and hours, or watch fishermen at work, or just enjoy the sea-spray. Goubert Avenue, which runs along the beach, is sprinkled with a number of monuments and memorials.

 (Source: Beaches of India) 

5. Aurobindo Ashram

A milestone of peace, this ashram is a large institution in the downtown area of Pondicherry.The Ashram's main building was the abode of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother during most of their stay in Pondicherry. In the inner courtyard is the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Ashram is open to all for Darshan during fixed hours every day. 

 (Source: r deangelo) 

"The way of Yoga followed here has a purpose different from others, - for its aim is not only to rise out of the ordinary ignorant world-consciousness into the divine consciousness, but to bring the supramental power of that divine consciousness down into the ignorance of mind, life and body, to transform them, to manifest the Divine here and create a divine life in Matter."

(Source: Sri Aurobindo Society) 

Location:7, Victor Asiamonel Street,, Puducherry, Pondicherry 605001


Yoga Centre in Bangalore

Although you mentioned the requirement for an ashram ,I couldn't help but recommend Shreyas Retreat to you.This place is definitely worth a visit ,as it combines the best in modern luxury with ancient and traditional Yoga beliefs.So have a read and decide for yourself...

 (Source: Umberto Salvagnin) 

1. Shreyas Retreat

Rated as one of the top yoga retreats in the world ,Shreyas is a spiritual retreat located in the outskirts of Bangalore.With a sprawling green campus ideal for a peaceful ,rejuvenating experience,Shreyas provides more than just traditional yoga classes,rather a more unique insight to this ancient practice.Guests here can even enjoy the luxury of spa facilities and the opportunity to farm in one of the retreats many organic gardens.

Here is video of the retreat from Youtube:

Here is why the visitors recommend :

I went to Shreyas alone for a time of peace and tranquility. What I got was that and so much more. A world-class resort with service like I have never seen before, Shreyas is perfection. 
Although I cannot imagine a better place to go for prayer and mediation, in addition to my solitude, I got an experience of a lifetime. I met fascinating people from all over the world. I took a cooking class from a world class chef. I learned about Ayurveda treatments, pranayama breathing and Indian culture. I would go back tomorrow if I could.

 (Source:  TripAdvisor) 

Enjoy the luxury of a high star resort, whilst deepening your spiritual yoga practice at one of the most highly acclaimed yoga retreat centers in India. Shreyas Yoga Retreat Center is located on a serene 25 acres of beautiful forested area in Bangalore, of Southern India. With an Infinity pool, a jacuzzi, gym, steam room, library, a home theater, and cricket nets all on site and open to all our guests, there is sure to be something to suit everyone.

 (Source: Shreyas Retreat - Bangalore, Karnataka, South India) 

Location: Santoshima Farm, Gollahalli Gate, Nelamangala-Doddaballapur Road
Bengaluru, Karnataka 562123

Call: 080 2773 710

For more information click here

Well I hope you liked my suggestions,if you need more information on maybe houseboat accommodation in Kerala or the best places to eat in any of the given  destinations,do write back to us.

Here is hoping you have an amazing spiritual journey!



Answered by From a crime reporter to a fashion correspondent and now a Travel writer. I am always looking for a new inspiration and a new experience !! Richa Devi

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