Visitng the spiritual India - yoga, hiking

July 27, 2011

Anyone have travel tips for India or suggestions of ashrams to go to? Interested in yoga & hiking. Solo. Start October 1 for 3-6 weeks. Want to go to south India. Thanks! I'm based in Ames, IA

World  •  India
July 28, 2011


A trip involving yoga and hiking sounds absolutely magical! Yoga in India has been practiced for several centuries which is why it has a lot to offer! As for hiking goes, the diverse topography of the region makes it a hiker’s delight! Below I will provide you some of the best places for yoga and hiking in India and a few tips on how you can make the most of it.

 (Source: Abby Lanes) 

Ashrams in South India

From in-depth classes to flexible sessions, different forms of yoga and asanas -there is a wide range of things to choose from.

 (Source: Nina) 

1. Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (Chennai) (Recommended)

Run by the famous grandfather of modern yoga Krishnamacharya's son, this Ashram in addition to curing illnesses, also offers holistic healing. Popular among international yoga devotees, the center's teachings and approach are flexible, making it easier for people to learn.

Here's some more information on the session-

They offer on e on classes and every student has an initial consultation with a teacher, who will responsible for making case history mainly of physical and mental ailments. The same report is directed to one of the 348 teachers who will train you the necessary asanas. The classes are held once a week or more often if required. The cost of first consultation is Rs. 350 and of subsequent classes is Rs.250 each. Beside this they also offer weekly classes for children every Saturday 4

 (Source: Health Aid India.com)

Here's what a fellow yoga learner had to share-

I'm finally learning yoga thanks to this place and with good reason - it's known worldwide for its teaching style. There were a lot of Westerners here to either learn yoga or to get the Mandiram. Located in a quiet area of Chennai (yes, there is one), the Mandiram features a lush garden and marble exterior. At the busy reception area, you fill out an application and then have an ‘assessment’ with a yoga instructor in a private room. The instructor discusses your medical history and yoga needs and then crafts a personalized yoga plan for you.


Address: New No.31 (Old #13), Fourth Cross Street, R K Nagar, Chennai.
Phone: (91 44) 2493-7998

Website: kym.org. You can also fix an appointment, by visiting the website.

Course Duration: Two to four weeks. 

Cost: $1,200 for Heart of Yoga. $900 for Pranayama. $500 for Vedic Chanting.

2. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram (Kerala) (Recommended)

The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta offers several courses in yoga for beginners, intermediate and the advanced practitioners. Founded in 1987, this ashram is a non-profit organisation which follows the ancient discipline of yoga followed by Swami Vishudevananda. 

Incense Meditation Timer (Source: Todd Petit) 

Here's some information on the kind of teachings practiced at the Ashram:

Swami Vishnudevananda synthesized the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles that could easily be incorporated into one's daily lifestyle to provide the foundation for healthy living. The teachings at the centre are based around these 'Five Points of Yoga'.

The Five Points of Yoga include:
Proper Exercise - asana
Proper Breathing - pranayama
Proper Relaxation - savasana
Proper Diet - vegetarian
Positive Thinking and Meditation - Vedanta and Dhyana

 (Source: www.yoga.in) 

This is what a fellow traveler had to say-

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. You could meet other people like you, who want to learn yoga and Indian culture and those interested in global spirituality.For people interested to learn yoga and spend time in a natural community based setting and spend time in personally progressive ways, I think this place would be a good bet. Good luck

 (Source: TripAdvisor) 

Tip: Free workshops every second and fourth Sunday at 1600 hours

Address: T.C. 37/1927 (5), Airport Road, P.O., Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Phone: +91.471.227.3093 / +91.471.227.2703 | Mobile (General enquiries / Yoga Vacation): +91.94.9563.0951

Website: sivananda.org/ndam

Cost: Accommodation prices will range from US$ 9.06 to US$33.96 per day depending on the kind of arrangement you choose.

3. Santhi School Of Yoga And Vedanta Studies (Cochin)

The Santhi School of Yoga believes in living yoga. Apart from one month extensive classes, they also provide daily classes in the morning and evening. 

(Source: daz smith) 

Here's what their website had to say:

Daily Yoga Asana classes are scheduled on drop in basis. Both beginners and advanced Yoga practitioners are welcome; each person will be assessed and trained according to their individual means.

Sattvic Nutrition : We also offer complimentary breakfast and dinner after each class. All our meals are home cooked and served in the traditional yoga form. Sattvic food or the yogic diet has been defined as quality outstanding in purity and goodness.

 (Source: www.santhijoga.in) 

This is what another traveler had to tell us:

If you are planning to practice yoga, while in Kochi, you should definitely Sajee out. I recommend Sajee Yoga teacher in Kochi at Santhi School of Yoga and Vedanta in Fort Kochi, Kerala. In his Yoga class I discovered a glimpse of the "Truth"; dimension of Yoga I had not been aware of before.

 (Source: TripAdvisor) 

Address: Arackal House No 1/1790, Chirattapalam, Fort Cochin, Kerala-682001,
Phone +91 9846273982/ 0484 2216718

Website: santhiyoga.in

Prices: At the Santhi Yoga, they strongly believe in providing a service instead of running a business. They accept a minimum donation of US$5.66 per class which includes food.

Things to See and Do

South India has a very rich culture and while you are there, you could also explore and check out the places of interest in and around.

1. Chennai (Recommended)

If you are interested in trekking around Chennai, don't miss out on contacting the Chennai Trekking Club who organize regular trekking expeditions. You can visit their blog here.


 (Source: B Balaji) 

For starters, you can visit the Cholamandal Artists' Village which houses some of the best art products in the region. Located in a village around 9 kilometers from Chennai, this place has several resident painters and sculptors who produce works for the place.

Visiting Hours: 10 am - 5 pm

(Source: Kara) 

Some more information about the place-

The village houses a number of art galleries, museums, and an open-air theatre on the site also houses dance and theatre performances. Established in 1966, is the largest artists' commune in India, whose artists are credited for the Madras Movement of Art (1950s–1980s), which brought modernism to art in the South India.

(Source: Wikipedia) 

 (Source: Srinivasan G) 

For an added dose of serenity, you can head to The Ramakrishna Temple. 300 years old, this temple was built by Swami Vivekananda and has architectural elements that represent the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian culture. 

2. Neyyar Dam, Kerala (Recommended)

The Neyyar dam is considered a paradise for all nature lovers! Housing a wildlife sanctuary, this place has mountaineering facilities and has a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Hiking in the area is a very popular activity.

 (Source: Martin Maravattickal) 

Here are some more things the place has to offer-

Neyyar dam affords a panoramic view of the the mountains and the lake. The Safari Park (Lion Safari) is a major attraction. Another major attraction of the place is a Crocodile Park which is one of the biggest crocodile farms in India.

The reservoir also offers boating facilities through the mighty, beautiful Neyyar River. The lake formed by the dam across the Neyyar river is the bluest of blue, making boating irresistible for tourists. The Neyyar Dam offers facilities for boating and mountaineering for the travelers. Other attractions in the place are Deer Park and Watch Tower.

 (Source: India travel solutions.com) 

 (Source: Karunakar Rayker) 

There is also the Agastyarkoodam Peak located in the Thiruvananthapuram district which is at a height of 1868 meters and a popular hike destination for adventure seekers.

If it is hiking you are looking for, this would be a great place.

The Agastyarkoodam Peak is accessible only by foot and it would take around 32 kms from Neyyar dam to trek to this peak. Neelakurinji which is a flower that blooms once in twelve years is found in this peak.
It is a two day trek and in order to trek in this peak, the trekkers have to get a pass from the Warden of the Forest Department in Thiruvananthapuram.
In order to enter the jungle, you have to walk around 25 minutes from Bonacaud which is the nearest village up to where vehicle reaches. The entrance to the jungle is the forest office. You are requested to provide all your details, which are registered and the permit passes are checked. In a single season around 200 to 500 passes are issued by the forest officials.


3. Kochi

If you are in Kochi, don't forget to check out the Greenix Village. Situated in Fort Kochi, this village was built with an aim to showcase the arts and culture of Kerala. And while you wait to watch a performance here, head to the solar cafe for a strong cup of coffee to stir you up!

 (Source: Appaiah) 

The village covers an area of 45000 square feet dedicated to presenting various facets of Kerala's culture. A cultural multiplex, it comprises 2 large theatres for dance performances, a cultural museum, an Art Gallery restaurant, a Curio Shop, a Book Shop and 7 rooms, built specifically for long stay guests interested in researching and learning Kerala's art forms.

 (Source: expresstravelworld.com) 

Tip: Make sure you try out their rejuvenating massages at just Rupees 600 per hour!

Address: Kalvathy road, Fort - Kochi - 682 001., Ph.No.: 91-484-2217000 / 2217100

I hope the information provided proves helpful. Please also do check out this link here to know more about traveling in South India. 

There are lots of other destinations you can explore. Do let me know if you'd like me to look into them. I wish you a lovely rejuvenating trip! And if you need any further details on travel or accommodation, please feel free to write in!



Answered by Traveling to me means understanding the world a little better, and rediscovering myself! Prarthana Banikya

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