10 Dawns at “Portal to Gods”: Private (3 Participants Only) Spiritual Retreat, Haridwar India

DATES

10 nights, 11 days

23 December 2019 to 02 January 2020

This retreat has ten editions between 01 December 2019 and 30 June 2020. Other dates are given at the bottom of this page.

SUMMARY

The Invite to three participants. To be at the “Portal to Gods” – Haridwar for 10 nights and 11 days. Upon the hallowed banks of mother Ganges and foothills of the majestic Himalayas. In India.

A unique personalized approach featuring combinations of gems of Yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and astrology immersed in authentic spiritual & cultural context.

  • Have a ritual dip – at the Brahma-Kund, the most sacred spot in Ganges which retains the kiss of a drop of Amrit, the ambrosia that got dropped here, eons ago.
  • Have a spi-ritual sip – at original fountain of meditation at Haridwar, where it all began millennia ago.
  • Have a per-spi-ritual flip – at the authentic sessions of Yoga of Surya Namaskar.

O Rose-eaters (for dessert of rose-petals will be served), dis-engage from your lotus postures; re-imagined Soma, the holy-grail of Ayurveda, is ready for you!

The retreat accepts not more than three participants. Daily private sessions.

 

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BENEFITS

  • The ideal opportunity to slow down and have an overall detox
  • Let river, mountains, and nature work on you
  • Be rejuvenated
  • Discover and tap the inner reservoir of peace
  • Re-discover the default peaceful nature of life
  • Recover from stress related to personal, social, and professional aspects of life
  • Suspend your routine contacts and develop new connects
  • Have a spiritual vacation and relaxation
  • Learn specific relaxation, cooling, and sleeping techniques
  • Spiritual Tool-kit – prepare and carry back a very personalised and perennial spiritual tool-kit comprising of –
    • customized hatha Yoga of Sun Salutations
    • breathing sequences
    • accurate mantra chanting
    • a fire-ritual
    • a proprietary technique of ‘My Green Picture’ to induce self-soothing & healing

What’s included

  • Pre-visit & post-visit reading materials — for orientation, assignments, and remote follow-ups
  • Training on breath-work– calibration & practice – each morning
  • Training on AUM chanting – detailed training on three part chanting – each morning.
  • Training on Sun Salutationes Yoga – refinement – each morning
  • Training to develop ‘My Green Picture’ – developing a personalized healing / soothing / tool – each morning.
  • Learning accurate mantra chanting – by the end of the retreat, every participant is able to chant a specific healing mantra – each morning
  • Identification, articulation, and working to achieve a desirable resolve – participant specific – each morning
  • Private life-sessions each day – remember the number of participants is restricted to three.
  • Discussions – on topics carefully curated by us, and selected by you, each day in a unique setting that can’t be easily found or reproduced elsewhere – each day
  • Proprietary work-books
  • Free airport pick-up and drop – even this will not be routine, weather permitting
  • Local transport and entry tickets to the places we will go to within Haridwar
  • En-suite shared room (with the same gender) furnished with (plastics / synthetics free) hand-made bed, bedding, furniture, drapery etc
  • Meals – daily 3 vegetarian / vegan / gluten-free meals and 2 refreshments – locally sourced materials and freshly cooked on premises using no packaged ingredients.
  • Ashram – comfortable, although not luxurious, ashram-like settings, located 100 metres away from Ganges inside a 100 year old cluster
  • Kurta – bespoke and personalized satvic kurta (long-shirt)  made up of hand-spun, hand-loom, and, hand stitched pure cotton fabrics – tailor/designer visiting the center.
  • Accessory – hand-made from mountain-wool / cotton
  • Silver jewelry – set of kundals (ear-rings) akin to Shiva’s Natraja posture, and alluding to Kundalini Yoga – custom-made
  • Post-cards – 3 postage-paid artistic post-cards
  • Horoscope – ancient astrology based personal horoscope chart artistically drawn on paper hand-made in Haridwar
  • Ayurveda doctor – 2 consultations with Ayurveda doctor
  • Panchkarma massage – 3 sessions of Ayurveda Panchkarma massage
  • Name – a new astrology-determined Yogic name for you
  • Clay lamp, freshly pressed oil, and raw cotton –  you will be shown how to bring these together and invoke blessings of the aspiration of light.
  • Mechanical hand-winding wrist-watch – wind it every morning – we like to abstain from chemical batteries; even our lap-tops are defanged of batteries!
  • Conch –  let your conch find you  – we have a selection, and you will be trained in up-cycling your breath in to the primordial sound of the conch.
  • Personalized Mala –  made of Rudraksha grown in a powerful ancient place in Haridwar – as an anchor & companion for chanting
  • Tranquil hand-bell – for invoking soulful vibrations
  • Small basket of fresh flowers each day – arrange them your way
  • Chunk of incense – you will be shown how to roll and light it
  • Audio cues recording – a special protocol designed and recorded for an individual
  • Future – online remote support for 30 days, for follow-ups and further refinement.
  • A life-long relationship

 

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What’s not included

  • Flight tickets, to and from Dehradun airport near Haridwar
  • Visa fee
  • Insurance / medical expenses

What’s special 

  • Highly customized – The retreat accepts not more than three participants and is highly customized to your needs and preferences.
  • Spiritual tool-kit – The retreat will equip you with a spiritual-tool kit that will last the whole life. And beyond.
  • Private sessions – You will have ten private sessions that will help you re-orient and re-set. Detailed information will be sent later.

For whom

  • The retreat is for those who have recently experienced or anticipate in near future a change in their status pertaining to personal, social, or professional aspects of life.
  • Those who consider Yoga & meditation as a great physical exercise, or a spiritual practice, or have deeper faith in it — all are equally and warmly welcomed.
  • Persons with backgrounds in activities relating to creativity, corporates, and, mindfulness will find the retreat even more useful.

 

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Full Description

“Portal to Gods” – both ways

Hari-dwar, like Babylon, means ‘God’s-Door’ or ‘Portal to Gods’. Actually, the portal is both ways.

To heavens – Ashes of the deceased are brought to be immersed in Ganges at Kushavrat Ghat in Haridwar. This makes the soul go to and unite with the heavens.

From heavens – ‘Har-ki-paidi’, means ‘God’s-Stairs’. One can see, in a non-descript temple, marks of the steps of Lord Vishnu who came to Ganges here from his world.

The retreat takes inspiration from this portal. And we will approach to comprehend the deeper meanings and implications.

3 participants only!

We are as much eager to find three most appropriate participants as you are to find your dream-retreat. Typically, less than 15% of all those who express initial interests with us are able to finally participate and complete our programs. This does not necessarily mean that we offer the best programs in the world. But, it, at least, reflects upon our keenness.

Mutual natural-selection

We determine mutual-suitability of views via exchange of messages. The process is also designed to help you understand if we are a fit to what you are looking for. This usually takes about a week’s time.

Nom de guerre

For the duration of the retreat, you will have an additional Yogini / Yogi name. You can choose from a set of 3-4 names individually determined for you through the processes of ancient Indian astrology. We will need your birth details – time, place, and date. More here.

Reading and other materials

To help you make the best use of this unique life reincarnation retreat, we will send you some materials that are easy to read, view, and listen to. Yet, it is expected that the participants will have good working knowledge of English language.

Authentic Meditation

The knowledge of Yoga and meditation was passed on by Lord Shiva to Sapta-Rishi, the Seven Sages (who became the 7-star-constellation known as ‘plough’ or ‘Big Dipper’ in modern astronomy) who lived on the banks of Ganges in Haridwar. When Ganges descended from heavens, near Haridwar, it voluntarily got forded into seven parts around the sages.

Yoga, meditation, and Tantra techniques were experimented with, and further developed by groups of ascetics.

We teach and practice authentic ‘no-prefix-no-frills’ Yoga & meditation.

Wake up with the chant of Mantras

You will wake up with the chants of the Gayatri Mantra from the fire-ceremonies in the congregations around our place.

After a few glasses of energized water, you will wind your personal wrist-watch, light oil lamps, roll and burn dhoop – kind of frankincense, and begin the morning session. We start with invocation mantra, conch blowing, and pranayam – the breath-work protocols. Soon after, the 3-part AUM chanting starts using mala customized for each participant.

Training with Sun Salutation Yoga is next. Even in cold winter, the Yoga-Shala becomes warm due to intense movements.

The hour-long session culminates in a special mantra. The session is customized for each participant and we are able to compress it in 25 minutes by the end of the retreat. This becomes a ritual that you can carry back.

Mantras

You will be trained with chanting of specific mantras. Sanskrit language, like German, uses compound words, and many sounds / alphabets have no Western equivalents. Some Mantras, for example the Beej (Seed) Mantras are sacred sounds not having specific dictionary meanings.

It looks difficult in the beginning, but by the end of the retreat, every single participant is able to memorize well and is able to chant in the most accurate way. More here.

A sumptuous power-breakfast will get you ready for the day.

Discussions

Breakfast leads to brief-talks followed by discussions. The topics are curated by us, and you will have choices.

Private sessions

Each participant receives a private session of engagement, lasting almost an hour each day, on areas relating to his / her personal / social / professional life. Any recent or anticipated changes in the status, as chosen by the participant is a focus. Ganges flows about 100 metres away and most mornings, we will have a visit.

Specific details on the sessions will be shared and arranged later.

Semi-private sessions

You will have several hours of face-time with the retreat-leader each day. These will be semi-private sessions involving up to 2 more participants, besides yourself.

Each day, a new power-experience

After lunch, we head to a new mystic venue each day, possible examples being –

Har-ki-paidi (Steps-to-God) – the most mesmerizing evening prayer with thousands of devotees, and hundreds of lights floating in little boats in Ganges

Brahma-kund — having a ritual dip in Ambrosia

Rajaji Tiger Reserve – open jeep, and suspended in watch-tower

Chandi Devi – going up in Gondola to the ferocious-goddess, and climbing down the hill on foot.

Neeldhara Bird Sanctuary – Horizon-to-horizon view, just near the ashram having the memorial containing last remains of the Guru of the Guru of the author of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’

Maya-puri (Sanskrit: Mystical-place) temple – the most ancient temple of the entire region; Maya-puri is the ancient name for Haridwar.

Mrityu-njay (Sanskrit: Death-victory) temple – Lord Shiva stayed here. Celebrities & dignitaries come here often.

Daksheshwar temple & Sati-kund – World’s first wedding happened here. Sati / Parvati self-immolated at the latter.

Cremation-grounds – walk past and understand the difference between death and salvation. (“Despite being God of death, why is Lord Shiva loved the most?”)

Narayani Shila Temple – for ancestors’ prayer. Genealogy registers are maintained by hundreds of hereditary priests in Haridwar. Digital copies are maintained at the Mormons’ center in Utah, USA.

Arya Fire Temple – Arya Samaj is the only branch of Hinduism that considers fire-prayer as the only form of worship and uses no idols. Their ghat (embankment upon river) is the only ghat in the entire region that has no idols and is off the tourist / pilgrim grid.

Walking the bazaar – getting customized on-the-spot hand dyed scarves, savouring Indian sweet-dishes at a place, featured by CNN, where a family of priests has been preparing prasada on slow coal fire, for 5 generations. Get henna embroidered on palms.

Many of these are at a walking distance away.

Non-tourists

We approach our expeditions in the spirit of pilgrimage rather than touristic sight-seeing. These places are back-drops to our ongoing learnings. Each visit has a core learning module that is delivered in situ.

Evenings

You will learn a specific meditation technique that will be practiced in the evenings.

Night-cap

Dinner ends with an extended session using elements of Shav-asana, the corpse-posture.

Food

It is prohibited by law to trade in non-vegetarian food in Haridwar. All meals are cooked on premises using the freshest vegetables, grains, spices, and materials.

Breakfast 

Breakfast, like other meals, is freshly cooked on premises. Nutritious and tasty food complimented with nuts, dried fruits, and fresh fruits is a good start of the cuisines-experience. You will be surprised how hungry you are – most participants realize that they seldom eat so much! And all foreign food!!

Vegetarian

Almost all of the ingredients are produced in Haridwar and no packaged materials are used.

Mid morning tea, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner progress with new dishes and cuisines. The food is simple and yet delicious.

Every morning, the chai-tea has a different flavor as a new in freshly ground spice is used each day. One who guesses the right spice, gets an extra cup!

You would not have tasted quite a few of these before!

Almost all of the food can be considered as vegan as hardly any dairy products are used.

Gluten-free meals are possible.

Simpler boiled meals with raw ingredients are made available with prior arrangements.

Water

Unlimited supply of good-brand of bottled water will be available on tap.

Dietary supplements

Although, the meals are wholesome, you may like to bring along your own vegan / other dietary supplements.

Caution

The most common causes of upset stomach in India are – inappropriate drinking water, consuming milk & curd (hard boiled milk in chai-tea and Indian sweets are fine). And unclean serving utensils. The bed-rooms should be cleaned and mopped every day. Hands should be washed nicely before eating. We will take care of these with you.

Eating out

Although we serve five times a day, we create occasions to eat out, two of them are mentioned here – a place of street food, featured in the Lonely Planet guidebook, and the other the finest of dining available in Haridwar, besides Ganges, with live musical hymns, in an old building. We may also carry our own packed food and have it over discussions at a century old private building near Har-ki-paidi that isn’t accessible to all. It has its own ghat and you may have holy dips in the Ganges, here as well, in complete privacy.

Learning how to make an Indian dish

If you are desirous of learning a dish or two, our cook is there for help. We can share our past experiences of the dishes that were learnt by the earlier participants. Induction stoves and non-availability of appropriate Indian ingredients create limitations in some of the Western countries.

LOCATION

Haridwar is a town, but not a city, by Indian standards. There are almost 200 cities in India having population more than that of Haridwar.

Haridwar is situated on the hallowed banks of Ganges and foothills of the majestic Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The area of the state is larger than that of many other Indian states like Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, etc. But the total population of the entire state of Uttarakhand is less than half that of metro-cities like Delhi.

In Uttarakhand, India shares international boundaries with Tibet (China) and Nepal.

Cluster

We are a part of a cluster that was seeded more than a hundred years ago by a disciple of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Hinduism has many scriptures. The oldest and foundational ones are the four Vedas, which like others, were in Sanskrit language. Swamiji translated them into Hindi language and till that time they were not available in any Indian language other than Sanskrit which common folks did not understand well. Translations were available in Latin, German, and some other European languages hundreds of years earlier to the Hindi one.

Gurukul

In ancient times, learning was imparted in a ‘Guru-kul’ (Sanskrit: Teacher-home) format. The Gurukul Kangri University was the first element of the cluster. It has a large sprawling campus having several teaching departments and student hostels.

Museum of art & architecture – Gurukul also has 3 museums. The museum for art and architecture has a large collection of idols and artifacts excavated in Haridwar.

Museum of Fire-prayer – The museum of Homa, the elaborate system of fire-prayers, operates out of the premises of the old convocation hall. It looks straight out of a Hollywood movie-set!

Museum of Ayurveda – The museum of Ayurveda also houses remains of many animals found in Haridwar. Fossils of dinosaurs, giant tortoise, etc. were excavated in / near Haridwar during the canal works over hundred years ago.

Travellers

Chinese, middle-eastern, and European travelers have been coming to Haridwar since historical times. They have written extensively about Haridwar.  Two examples are given below.

“The scenery around Hurdwar affords some of the most splendid landscapes which are to be found on the bright and beautiful river whose majestic course is diversified by so many interesting objects. The stands at the base of a steep mountain, on the verge of a slip of a land reclaimed from the forest, and surrounded on all sides by thick jungle…. The locality about Hurdwar has for ages been held in high veneration by the worshippers of Vishnu, and the town itself is one of the most frequented resorts of Hindoo pilgrims…”

‘The Indian Empire Illustrated’ by Robert Montgomery Martin and Emma Roberts, 1858.

“The appellation of Nemessoura-Caori, or Cavadi, is given to women who make a vow to carry water from the Ganges to Nemessourin, a celebrated pagoda at Cape Comorin, dedicated to Sheeva. This penance is considered as one of the most efficacious for the remission of sins.”

‘The World In Miniature: Hindoostan Vol II’ Frederic Shoberl, 1827.

ACCOMMODATION

Our premises and systems provide an authentic experience of kind of an ashram-life. Extraordinary care has been taken not to use plastics / synthetics and chemical-batteries. Natural products like wood instead of particle-board planks have been used. All drapery, curtains, upholstery, bedding, bed etc have used hand-spun hand-loom fabrics, made mostly by rural women. Most of the materials are made by local artisans within Haridwar.

Bed-rooms, studios, and common facilities are all present under one roof at AZIMVTH.

Furnished bed-rooms and lodging facilities are available within AZIMVTH. There are other common facilities like lounge-area, small library shelves containing curated author signed books, laundry facility, refrigerator, cooking facility, etc.

The accommodation is on twin-share basis.

Internet

Participants are expected to have a detox from social-media, internet, and mobile-devices. Free internet is made available for any urgent / important need.

Discover ‘Sleep-tight’

A bedroom has 2 separate beds. with no board / plank. Instead a single length (dozens of feet-long 2 inch wide) of strong cotton strip manually arranged in warp and weft making a sort of strong flat hammock. In the West, during old times, a bed mattress was supported on ropes. At bed-time, Mums would tighten the ropes making the mattress and bed firm and comfy. Discover this and many other Western things far away in India!

The accommodation is not a hired commercial hotel. Extraordinary care has been taken to practice what we preach. Spirituality reverberates across the manifestations of our thoughts. Basic comforts for the body are provided. Luxury of spirit remains a focus with us.

TEACHER

Tarun Kumar - A polymath of the two realmsTarun Kumar – A polymath of the two realms

Like one of his parents, grand-parents, and fore-fathers, Tarun Kumar was born in Haridwar. On the day of his birth, the family astrologer visited and after making the horoscope predicted that he will make significant contributions to both of the realms of the material world and the spiritual one.

The personality and teachings of his grand-father had a lasting impact on young Tarun. He has been learning and practicing Yoga since an early age.

Even before he was ten years old, he took to 2 years long extra-curricular and deep studies of Bhagvad-Gita and Ramayana, two scriptures most revered in India. He formally studied Sanskrit language for 4 years till the age of 16. Much later, he was tutored in German language by a native German.

After formal schooling, Tarun did not pay much attention to formal studies. Being a voracious reader, he was seen more in libraries than lecture-theatres. Still, he earned master of sciences and later masters in international trade from the topmost Indian institute. For the latter, he was awarded a medal of overall merit by the then Union Commerce Minister of India.

Tarun started his working life at a time when Berlin wall, European Bank, Soviet Union, Apartheid Act, World Wide Web project became household words.

He is a British Chevening Scholar, Fellow of 21st Century Trust, England and Fellow of Salzburg Seminar, Austria.

In his last assignment, he was managing director, India of a listed British high technology company.

Tarun’s name has been quoted dozens of times by several leading Indian journals and newspapers like The Economic Times, Business Standard, etc. and a few times by newspapers in some other countries too.

He sits on weekly meetings of a technology cluster of Silicon Valley, USA that works toward funding of women led ventures, some of which are also related to mindfulness.

The crux of his learnings and teachings is explained through discussions of nine contradictions after which one stumbles upon the gem that opposites are actually alikes. And hence there are no reasons for disharmony in the world.

A focus of his present life is on bridging the chasms between the two realms of material & spiritual worlds, East and West, and ancient & modern.

Tarun has traveled to over two dozen countries, at times as a member of official bilateral delegations. He doesn’t travel abroad for the past ten years.

Tarun has been teaching Yoga and meditation, on a non-commercial basis, for the past many years. He has been accepting seekers who come purely through recommendations.

For the past few years, he has also been accepting complete strangers who become friends soon.

CENTER

The retreat is venued at the AZIMVTH Ashram, Haridwar India.

AZIMVTH Ashram is located on the banks of Ganges and foothills of Himalayas at Haridwar, India. It aims to improve shared futures using the ancient heritage as catalysts. It caters to customised spiritual pursuits.

AZIMVTH conducts primary research on subjects relating to spirituality, creativity, and Yoga, Ayurveda, and Astrology.

PROGRAM ITINERARY

Most of the features mentioned above and the program schedule are tentative and highly flexible. They are modified based upon the composition of participants.

Time

Activity
7.00 am Wake up & Energise
7.30 am to 8.30 am Yoga & Spiritual Practice
8.30 am to 9.00 am Breakfast
9.00 am to 9.30 am Personal time
9.30 am to 1.00 pm Visit to Ganges

Mid Morning Tea-Break

Private Sessions

1.00 pm to 1.30 pm Lunch
1.30 pm to 6.30 pm Field Visit & Applied Spirituality

Afternoon Tea-Break

7.00 pm to 7.30 pm Arrive Back, Freshen Up
7.30 pm to 8.00 pm Dinner
8.00 pm to 9.00 pm Evening / Tantra Meditation
9.00 pm to 10.00 pm Personal Time
10.00 pm

Lights Out, Sleep-tight

LOCAL INFORMATION

Detailed information will be sent to accepted applicants. We are situated near a middle-class locality. People are friendly.

Seasonal information

December / January is the coldest part of the year. The days are quite warm but the nights are quite cold. By the Western yard-stick, this is a very pleasant time.

Cultural sensitivity

One should cover the body properly. While visiting temples and holy places, one should appear more like a pilgrim than a curious tourist insisting upon clicking pictures from all angles!

Electricity and outlets

The electricity may go away few times in a day or night. Often this is for a few minutes only. Lanterns are provided to every participant. It looks odd in the beginning but later the applicants look forward to such sudden breaks and huddling around in the light of oil-lamps!

TRAVEL HELP

Detailed information will be sent to the participants later on.

Airport

New Delhi airport (known as Indira Gandhi International Airport) is the nearest international airport. New Delhi is about 250 km away from Haridwar. While booking your air-tickets, you should purchase it all the way up to Dehradun airport. Dehradun airport, earlier known as Jolly Grant airport, is the domestic airport (about 30 km away) nearest to Haridwar. This airport is shared by 3 towns — Dehradun, Rishikesh, and Haridwar — all of them being at a similar distance from the airport.

Visa

Everyone needs a Visa to come to India. Now, citizens of many countries, almost all in the West, can apply for and receive Indian Visa electronically.

What to bring

A detailed packing list will be sent later. Winter clothes are needed for the period November to mid March. There is no concept of an ‘outer’ wear in India. The period has pleasant weather.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you consider this retreat as a ‘project’ and prepare accordingly than you will get the maximum out of it. Identifying your needs and expectations in the beginning and reviewing them in the end will help in documenting and preserving this life-reincarnation experience.

The end of the retreat is actually the beginning of a new connection, not contact! We are available to support participants even after they have plugged back in to their respective lives and worlds.

FEE

Standard  –  USD 5250 per participant

Early Bird  –  USD 3950 per participant

DATES FOR 10 EDITIONS OF THIS RETREAT

  1. 16 December – 26 December 2019
    Last day to register – 15 December 2019
    Last day for early bird price – 11 December 2019
  2. 23 December 2019 – 02 January 2020
    Last day to register – 22 December 2019
    Last day for early bird price – 18 December 2019
  3. 30 December 2019 – 09 January 2020
    Last day to register – 29 December 2019
    Last day for early bird price – 25 December 2019
  4. 03 January 2020 – 13 January 2020
    Last day to register – 02 January 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 01 January 2020
  5. 16 January 2020 – 26 January 2020
    Last day to register – 15 January 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 02 January 2020
  6. 16 February 2020 – 26 February 2020
    Last day to register – 15 February 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 28 January 2020
  7. 03 March 2020 – 13 March 2020
    Last day to register – 02 March 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 14 February 2020
  8. 16 March 2020 – 26 March 2020
    Last day to register – 15 March 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 28 February 2020
  9. 03 April 2020 – 13 April 2020
    Last day to register – 02 April 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 14 March 2020
  10. 16 April 2020 – 26 April 2020
    Last day to register – 15 April 2020
    Last day for early bird price – 28 March 2020