After I finished up my work with our factory in Jaipur, I then ventured up north into the small Himalayan village of Mcleodganj in Dharamsala. I stayed in an Air BNB, on Kora Road, which was located just behind The Dalai Lama's compound & temple. To say this was surreal would definitely be an understatement. I spent a week in this small village, eating Tibetan food with Monks from the monastery, meditating 8000ft above sea level, visiting tea farms in Palampur, & sitting with the ancient snow capped Himalayan Mountains. There was also the odd giant monkey mandarin hijack also.
From Mcleodganj, I stayed at Parmarth Niketan Ashram for 9 days in Rishikesh, which is a sacred city located in the Himalayan valley, known as the 'Yoga Capital' of India. I immersed myself in a 6 day beginner intensive yoga course. The next 6 days were very challenging. My full, eight hours days consisted pranayama, Vedic chanting, yoga philosophy, mediation & asana; followed by Ganga Aarti on the Ganges & cleansing my hand & feet in Mother Ganga everyday. We were taught by an incredible Monk whose name was Mataji (respected mother) & Didi (respected sister). We developed great respect & adoration for these women, & I cannot wait return to Parmarth to soak in their wisdom & presence again. My experience at this Ashram is very difficult to put into words, it deepened my sense of self immensely & my spiritual practices & rituals. It truly was like nothing I've ever experienced & it will be somewhere I will visit each year. I attempted to put it into words here.
The way Indian people welcome you with their warm & loving arms is so moving. Foreigners are accepted so gracefully into their sacred rituals, faith & culture. It has taught me so much about community gathering & connection, which is something I feel Western cultured & societies can lack. I cannot wait to return to the Mother Land.