Varanasi

"The creation of Kashi is the most phenomenal effort in building structures of consciousness ever made on the planet – it is immensely elaborate and scientifically perfect."- Sadhguru
 

Varanasi

Overview
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About Varanasi
 
A city as old as time. A city that has seen the world turn, tides change and generations of humans be born and die. Varanasi or Kashi, which has been standing the tests of time for over 5,000 years, is said to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. In Mark Twain's words, "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
What draws millions of pilgrims from all over the world to the city of Varanasi is the fact that it is one of the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism. Called the spiritual capital of India, this magnificent city of learning radiates endless energy. Despite being witness to ancient civilizations that have come and gone over the centuries, Varanasi is still alive, unabashedly colourful, vibrant, and wonderfully rich in history and legends.
Varanasi Sacred Walks, a program by Isha Sacred Walks, offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of embarking on a journey to experience this holiest of cities. Here are seven reasons you should not miss the chance to be a part of this incredible experience:
  • Varanasi, the holy "City of Light" shines bright, both physically and metaphorically. It is believed that a single dip in the holy waters of the Ganga can wash away a lifetime of sins.
  • According to legend, Varanasi was founded by Shiva himself and was his favourite abode. In one verse of the ancient religious text Skanda Purana, Shiva says, "The three worlds form one city of mine, and Kāśī is my royal palace therein."
  • In Varanasi, the most natural and inevitable cycle of life and death is celebrated and revered with much gusto. Also known as "Mahasmashana" or "The Great Cremation Ground", the holy city humbles you by making you realize how narrow the line is between life and death.
  • A boat ride across the sacred Ganga perfectly captures the spirit of Varanasi. Countless candlelit paper boats with flowers carrying people’s prayers, float their way across the waters. Countless pilgrims take a holy dip in the waters, others meditate in solitude and the rest bow their heads in prayer along the Ghats. As the sun goes down, the evening ritual of worship, called the Ganga Arati, unfolds.
  • Varanasi was the original hub of art, culture, spirituality and music. Many prominent Indian saints, philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians live or have lived in Varanasi. Several major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas.
  • Varanasi is home to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most important places of worship in the country. It is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and holds great significance in the spiritual history of India.
  • Near Varanasi is the 1500-year-old Mahabodhi Temple marking the spot of the legendary Bodhi tree, under which Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment. Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, near Varanasi, thereby giving birth to Buddhism.
For all this and more, a journey to this city with the Varanasi Sacred Walks is an intensely spiritual experience, complete with the inclusion of meditation sessions, satsangs, spiritual processes and much more. The five-day trip will take you through the Kalabhairava Temple, Mahamrityunjaya Temple, Vishalakshi Temple, Manikarnika Ghat and includes a boat ride on the Ganga, Mangala Arati at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the free time to explore Varanasi, its streets, its ancient marketplaces and other cultural delights. The journey also includes visits to the sacred Buddhist destinations Bodhgaya and Sarnath. The Varanasi Sacred Walks is not like any other pilgrimage, it’s a chance to transform yourself and soak in the essence of the spiritual capital of India.
With our team of highly skilled, trained and dedicated teachers and volunteers ever ready to help you with every step you take on this memorable journey, you will be enveloped in a sense of endless energy, tranquility and oneness.
Come be a part of this beautiful and enlightening journey with us.
Dates & Registration
 
Dates / Registration
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Group Arrive/Depart at Varanasi Communication Language Registration Status
A1 / S1

21st Sept to 24th Sept, 2018

English Open
A2 / S2

22nd Sept to 25th Sept, 2018

English Open
B

19th Sept to 26th Sept, 2018
(3rd A/C train travel)

English Open
  • The given dates are to and from Varanasi, India.
  • Registration closes on 15th October, 2017. However, if all places are filled, registration may close earlier.
Registration Process
  1. When you are ready to register, please submit the Application Form here here or feel free to contact us so we can further assist you with your registration.
  2. Applications are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  3. We will send you a confirmation of your registration within two weeks of receiving your registration form and required documents.
Program Itinerary
 
Program Itinerary
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Day
1
Varanasi
  • Arrive and check-in at the hotel in Varanasi by 12 noon. We start the day with a visit to Sarnath, where Gautama the Buddha gave his first sermon. This momentous and historic event has been depicted through exquisite sculptures of the Buddha and other monuments at Sarnath.
Day
2
Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Manikarnika Ghat
  • The day starts early with Mangala Arati at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple – one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, said to have been consecrated by Shiva himself. After the Arati, we will venture to the Annapoorni Temple and the Vishalakshi Temple, which is one of the Shakti Sthalas. Later in the day, we will visit the Manikarnika Ghat – the most sacred cremation spot in Varanasi, which is at the core of the spiritual process that thrives in the city. A boat ride on the sacred Ganga followed by participation in the evening arati from the boat, are some of the highlights of the day.
Day
3
Kalabhairava Temple
  • We will visit places of tremendous spiritual significance including Kalabhairava Temple – the powerful guardian deity of Varanasi and Mahamrityunjaya Temple – where it is believed that one can conquer death. After that, the day is free to explore the city on your own and visit its various temples, ghats and market places. Varanasi features a variety of cultural delights including exquisite silk weaves and unique cuisine. We will be happy to suggest a number of interesting places you can visit. While arrangements will be made for your breakfast and dinner, you can explore and enjoy the unique Varanasi cuisine for lunch on your own.
Day
4
Journey to Bodhgaya
  • We journey to Bodhgaya, also known as Gaya. Since that glorious full-moon night of Gautama’s enlightenment 2500 years ago, Bodhgaya has been visited by countless seekers to imbibe the essence of this space. Bodhgaya is famous for the 1500-year-old Mahabodhi Temple. It stands next to the legendary Bodhi tree and the Vajrasana or Diamond Throne, which marks the exact spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Day
5
Gaya
  • The program culminates in Gaya with Guru Pooja – an offering of gratitude to the great beings of the past who have made this powerful possibility of self-transformation available to all.
  • The program culmination starts at 6 a.m and the hotel check-out time is 11:00 a.m.
Conveniences Offered
 
Conveniences Offered
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Conveniences Offered

The entire sojourn is conducted and managed by a dedicated Isha team, which includes a qualified and well-equipped doctor who will accompany the group throughout the journey. Comfortable A/C accommodation, A/C bus travel, wholesome vegetarian food and mineral water, and the entrance fee at every place on the itinerary will be provided throughout the trip. A/C train travel will be provided based on your choice of travel plan.

To make it possible for you to take this mystical journey back home, Isha offers a collection of high-resolution photos after the sojourn.

Note: Please plan for costs towards personal expenses, souvenirs and other expenditures not mentioned here. Accommodation arrangements can also be made if you wish to come a day early.

Prerequisites
 
Prerequisites
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Participants should have undergone an Isha Yoga program before taking part in Varanasi Sacred Walks. Since we will be travelling to powerful spaces of great possibility and energy, doing your Isha Yoga practices every day will help you become more receptive to the grace of these places.

Program Guide
 
Program Guide
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Preparation
  • Please carry a valid government photo ID card (Voter ID, Driving License, Passport, Pan Card, etc.) as it may be required while travelling in the train or at the hotel.
  • Smoking and/or drinking alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited for the entire duration of the journey.
Packing

Most of the sojourn involves bus travel, so it is advisable to pack as light as possible. Due to space constraints, all items must be packed in one suitcase or bag. Inside the bus, you can carry one trekking bag with items required for daily use. It is advisable to bring bags that are water-resistant and durable.

We recommend the following items:

  • Personal clothing
  • Woolen shawl or jacket
  • Two to three pairs of socks
  • A woolen cap
  • Toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mosquito repellent spray/cream
  • General footwear
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight
  • Umbrella
  • Camera (optional)
Weather

The temperature at Varanasi in November can vary between 10 to 30oC. Please bring appropriate woolens and warm clothing.

  • Woolen shawl or jacket
  • Two to three pairs of socks
  • A woolen cap
Precautions

*Please note that video cameras are not permitted.

Please carry a personal medical kit with electrolyte packs, pain killers, muscle relaxant cream, band aids, Vaseline, medicines for fever, common cold, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion and any other medication necessary.

Contact Us
 
Contact Us
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"Isha Sacred Walks"
Thannerpandal, Velliangiri Foot Hills,
Ishana Vihar Post,
Coimbatore – 641 114
Tamil Nadu, India
Overseas Registration Contact:

USA and CANADA

 

+1 612-562-9330
usa@sacredwalks.org

 

UK and EUROPE

 

+44 7920 774615 (7pm-10pm UK time)
uk@sacredwalks.org

 

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA and AUSTRALIA

 

+65 9062 2704
sg@sacredwalks.org

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

+961 3972159
lb@sacredwalks.org

 

India Registration Contact:

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Kerala

 

+91 9488 111 333
tn@sacredwalks.org

 

Andhrapradesh/Telangana

 

+91 8885 000 333
hyd@sacredwalks.org

 

Rest of India

 

+91 9488 111 555 / +91 9488 123 555
india@sacredwalks.org