I was fortunate to travel to India in early 2014 with Portland-based yoga teacher Sarah Joy Marsh of the Daya Foundation and her travel group. The trip was organized by Redback Travels.
My favorite photos from India are posted at Flickr here:
Here was our itinerary (pdf):
I’ve noted the hotels we stayed at with notes in case you are considering those locations. I will probably write in more detail about India in general as time goes on.
Delhi. Spent a day in Delhi before leaving for Agra and a day after Agra before leaving for Varanasi. (Best Western Taurus Airport: not recommended, staff not very friendly or organized – repeated mistakes with our reservations).
Agra / Taj Mahal. A few of us met before the group trip began to visit the Taj Mahal. Spent a night in Agra to visit the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. (Wyndham Grand: luxurious)
Varanasi. View clip of concert with Pandit Shivnath Mishra & Deobrat Mishra. Visiting with Deobrat Mishra at Academy of Indian Classical Music. (Palace on the Ganges, Assighat)
Here’s what is was like driving in Varanasi:
Tiruvannamalai. Home of spiritual mountain Arunachala and the temple of enlightened sage Sri Ramana Maharshi. Visited the children at Terre des hommes core. Highly recommend The Dreaming Tree restaurant. (Sparsa Eco Resort, nice vegetarian resort).
Pondicherry. Southern India town with French colonial heritage – similar architecture to New Orleans.
Chennai. Four days of study with wonderful yoga teacher Saraswati Vasudevan. (MGM Beach Resort, desk staff intermittently unhelpful, swimming prohibited at beach).
Bangalore. (Two stopovers at Goldfynch Retreat Hotel near the airport, nice facilities – some difficulties with front desk staff on each visit).
After this, I traveled on my own in Kerala:
Kovalam. Stayed at the Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Resort. This place has amazing food – much of it vegetarian. They recommend you stay for two weeks for a full ayurvedic cleanse – which sometimes includes blood letting. The beach here was quite nice but also tricky surf. Staff was super friendly and helpful. Highly recommend.
Houseboat Tour in Alleppey. (Elite Houseboats, recommended / excellent food)
Varkala. (Palm Tree Heritage, staff tried to be helpful but had several problems with the room. Nice quiet location on the beach.)
Fort Kochi. (Arches Fort Cochin, nice central accommodations, staff super helpful – touristy area).
Wow – great photos! Feel like you have a distinct gift for capturing photos of non-humans (cats, dogs, cows, etc.). Thank you.
The Kerala Houseboats have all the creature comforts of a good hotel including
furnished bedrooms. Each of the rooms is
appointed with every comfort which accords to International standards. The other mystifying
backwaters that one can visit in the Houseboats are Vembanad, Alappuzha,
Astamudi Lake, Kottayam and Karakoram.