SPIRITUALITY & WELLNESS

Top 10 Spiritual Retreats in India

Uma Krishanwal, Travel Writer, India

16 February 2018

India, encumbered with spiritual ethos- the more you will traverse, the more you will fall in love with it. Probe deeper into India and you will find a land more than the physical territory, a land that lets you explore yourself! The spiritual places in India are as diverse as its culture. Yoga, as an integral part of Hinduism has been practiced in India for centuries as a way of freeing yourself from the dissonance of life. You will find an array of courses and treatments in India to heal your mind, body and spirit.  So, whether you are seeking a guru, enlightenment or just a really good stretch, there is always an “ashram” for you.

OSHO INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION CENTRE, PUNE

A garden with tall trees, plenty of black marble and wide open spaces. Against this stark vista of green and black, spend your mornings in deliciously relaxing one-hour drop-in sessions of Tai Chi, Chi Gong and Zen archery. There are 10 meditation sessions every day. There’s an Olympic-size pool, spa, gym, cyber café, tennis courts and three dining areas with everything from Asian mains to coffees and pastries. As night falls, the place comes alive with meditations under the full moon, music performances and movie screenings.

AUROVILLE, PONDICHERRY

Based on the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s dual vision of an ideal, multicultural township. It hosts about 2,400 people from close to 50 countries, who contribute to its welfare and help build a sustainable community. At its centre is the iconic Matrimandir, a giant gold-plated orb surrounded by 12 parks, which symbolises the birth of a new consciousness. This is not so much a place for meditation, but for silent concentration to become aware of your own consciousness. It has an inner chamber too.

THE ART OF LIVING INTERNATIONAL CENTRE, BENGALURU

Centered around the grand Vishalakshi Mantap, the meditation hall, 65 acres unfold in the Panchagiri Hills. The setting is meant to promote the main theme of stress management. Life here begins with yoga and meditation, followed by breakfast and voluntary service. The idea is to overcome personal barriers and live with no expectations. In the evening, everyone gathers for the satsang, where people meditate and celebrate with song and dance.

CHAKRA ACTIVATION AND BALANCING RETREAT

It will educate you on the aspects of each chakra and help you strengthen those chakras that are weak and calm and those that are hyperactive which will result in a balanced life. The program also ensures that you have a rich spiritual experience and a lot of time for personal reflection. The program which includes Yogic breathing and meditation also has a separate five-day advanced session.

SHREYA’S RETREAT, BANGALORE

The centre provides spiritual meditation retreats that aims to create a balance in mind, body and spirit through Yoga. The centre also gives silent retreats that are a way of calming the mind and re-prioritizing one’s life goals. For those looking to relax, the centre offers a number of Ayurveda massages that can help to remove the negative energy that has been accumulated over time using  several techniques including Shirodhara Ayurveda.

PARMARTH NIKETAN, RISHIKESH

The daily activities at Parmarth Niketan include morning universal prayers, daily yoga and meditation classes, daily sat sang and lecture programs, kirtan, the world-renowned Ganga Aarti at sunset, as well as Nature Cure and Ayurvedic treatment. There are frequently special cultural and spiritual programs given by visiting revered saints, acclaimed musicians, spiritual, social leaders and others.

BLUE MANGO RETREATS, HIMACHAL PRADESH

The Blue Mango Retreats in the beautiful Lahaul-Spiti is the world’s highest meditation and spiritual retreat. This is one of the types of spiritual retreats in India which is especially suited for those who seek solitude and peace among the Himalayas. Apart from the beautiful scenery, the area is known for its Buddhist culture. One of the few places where participants can experience peace and tranquility. The retreat promises to take you on a spiritual travel that will help in emotional and mental healing, deepen your spiritual understanding and strengthen your spiritual development.

SIVANANDA, KERALA

Located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram is set in a beautiful environment, inclusive of the lush greenery and gentle waters that are synonymous with Kerala. Everyone is expected to stay silent from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm and to attend morning and evening satsangs.

VIPASSANA INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY, MAHARASHTRA

Vipassana meditation is the essence of what the Buddha practiced and taught. It is a simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and to lead a happy useful life. Vipassana means ‘to see things as they really are’. To learn Vipassana, there are three steps to the training- First, students practice Sila, students practise Anapana meditation as their second step and lastly, purifying the mind of underlying negativities.

ROOT INSTITUTE, BIHAR

Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a beautiful oasis of tranquility. Root Institute is a unique place for practice, contemplation and blessings. Many other sites where the Buddha meditated, taught, and resided are found throughout the local landscape, making Bodhgaya the most blessed place in the Buddhist world. Their mission is to create a harmonious and

compassionate spiritual environment to live and work together in.