Saturdays with Haridwar: Embodied Experiences of the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and Kumbh-Mela Kinds


8 hours long programme combining a walk and workshop, starting and ending at Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh on Saturday afternoon. Involves visit to Haridwar, shared car-rides both ways, sampling tiger-reserve and bird sanctuary, creating mala and artwork and a short memoir, guided meditation and walk, evening Ganga prayer, sumptuous dinner, carrying back Ganga water. This programme is for persons interested in spirituality. It is not necessary to have any specific expertise in Yoga, fine-arts, or any creative discipline.

Starts 1:30 pm at Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh. Ends after about 8 hours, at 9:45 pm Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh.

22 February 2020, Saturday

And, every Saturday

It is meant for those who are visiting and staying at a place within a radius of 50 km of Haridwar. For example Rishikesh, Dehradun, Roorkee.

This is a new programme launched on 21st February 2020, the auspicious occasion of Maha Shiva Ratri, the great night of Shiva.


  • Efficient utilisation of SaturdayLord Shiva (Shiv) Statue on Ganges in Haridwar
  • Sample experiences of safari – Rajaji Tiger Reserve and Neeldhara Bird Sanctuary
  • Participate with the majestic evening Ganga prayer at Har-ki-paidi
  • Guided meditation at the shakti-peeth (energy centre) of Lahiri Mahashaya, the Guru of Guru of Swami Paramhansa Yogananda of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’
  • Listen to meditation tips in his original voice.
  • Make a memorable spiritual-art
  • Culinary delight – one of the most memorable dinner


The cash-contribution made by a participant includes all of the following.

  • Car ride from Rishikesh to Haridwar and back Mahipalpur, Delhi_krishanu_photography - edited
  • Entry charges to forest-road
  • Snacks, sanitiser
  • Authentic Indian dinner at a heritage property upon Ganga
  • Guided meditation
  • Guided walk
  • Divine materials – Rudraksh grown in Haridwar, sandalwood beads
  • Divine sphatik – natural rock quartz semi-precious gem-stone sold by weight
  • Art supplies – paper, pen, colours, brushes
  • Ganga ceremony – flower boat
  • New container to collect Ganga water from Brahma-kund, the most auspicious spot of Ganga to which the Kumbh festival is related
  • Cash-donation of a token amount, on ghat
  • USB pen drive containing – complete audio book (mp3) and pdf of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, original voice of Paramhansa Yogananda, other chants
  • Hardcover print edition – ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’


  • Completion of journey to India
  • A divine / spiritual embodied-experience that will last life-long
  • A rudraksh mala of 2 rudraksh and sandalwood beads, made by self at an energy centre and blessed at Ganga prayer
  • 2 sphatik natural quartz crystals – make a mala / pendant / amulet later
  • Water colour spiritual art
  • A short memoir
  • Discover and carry back a new identity of self.

Fine print

  • There is no actual safari involved. That requires a special ticket and a lot of time.
  • Minimum 2 participants are required. Maximum 8.
  • The meals are vegetarian, yet most of the food is vegan as well. We try to accommodate requests for all vegan and gluten-free food. Please specify clearly if these are necessary for you to join.
  • Please check with your place-of-stay in Rishikesh if returning back at about 9:45 pm at Lakshman Jhula is appropriate. Most ashrams close at 10:00 pm.
  • The information and itinerary on this page is by way of example and subject to change. Up-to-date details will be provided to each interested participant.
  • Participants are accepted at our own discretion.


Itinerary - Saturdays with Haridwar

Autobiography of a Yogi

Autobiography of a Yogi is the autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952) first published in 1946.

Over four million copies of the book, in fifty languages, have been sold since then.

In 1966, Ravi Shankar gave a copy of the book to George Harrison (the Beatles). Shankar says, “that was where his interest in Vedic culture and Indian-ness began. Gary Wright writes in book ‘Dream Weaver: A Memoir; Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison’ – “In 1972, my friend George Harrison invited me to accompany him on a trip to India. A few days before we left, he gave me a copy of the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Needless to say the book inspired me deeply, and I became totally fascinated with Indian culture and philosophy. My trip was an experience I will never forget.”

Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) read this book several times and left a copy as his last gift for each of the persons who came for his memorial service. Shown below is video of Marc Benioff, CEO of, a USD 2 billion company, recounting his experience. He refers to Jobs as a ‘spiritual Guru’.


Haridwar & Autobiography of a Yogi

The book has several connections with Haridwar. One, young Yogananda ran away from his home in east India to Haridwar. He writes about this in his book.

Steve Jobs also came to Haridwar and it is mentioned in his official biography.


(Images above (left to right): Art-work on Shiva, Mahavatar Babaji, Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri Mahashaya, Sri Sri Yogiraj Swami Keshavananda Brahmachari, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, Shri Steve Jobs. Featured image at the top of the page – credits – ananda dot org.)

AZIMVTH Ashram has an author-signed copy of the official biography ‘Steve Jobs’.

The last remains of Lahiri Mahashaya, the Guru of Guru of Yogananda are enshrined in an ashram in Haridwar making it a shakti-peeth or energy-centre. There is a reference to this also in the autobiography.

The programme envisages spending time at this energy-centre.

Some excerpts –

While our train stood in a station that night, and I was half asleep, Amar was awakened by another questioning official. He, too, fell a victim to the hybrid charms of “Thomas” and “Thompson.” The train bore us triumphantly into a dawn arrival at Hardwar. The majestic mountains loomed invitingly in the distance. …

Deeming it advisable to leave Hardwar at once, we bought tickets to proceed north…

“‘Come to me under yonder tree in three days and you will find me fully healed. Thus you will feel no remorse.’

“If we started a trek over such dangerous jungle land, we should finish, not in the city of saints, but in the stomachs of tigers!” …

Amar entered the conversation at this point to disclaim any intention of returning to Hardwar with me. He was enjoying the familial warmth. But I knew I would never abandon the quest for my guru….

A clever scheme had been prearranged by Ananta. Before seeing me at Hardwar, he had stopped in Benares to ask a certain scriptural authority to interview me later. Both the pundit and his son had promised to undertake my dissuasion from the path of a SANNYASI.

Years later, from the lips of Swami Keshabananda, an advanced disciple, I heard many wonderful details about the passing of Lahiri Mahasaya.

“A few days before my guru relinquished his body,” Keshabananda told me, “he materialized himself before me as I sat in my hermitage at Hardwar.

“When I returned to my isolated Hardwar hermitage,” Keshabananda went on, “I carried with me the sacred ashes of my guru. I know he has escaped the spatio-temporal cage; the bird of omnipresence is freed. Yet it comforted my heart to enshrine his sacred remains.”…

[Illustration: The woman yogi, Shankari Mai Jiew, only living disciple of the great Trailanga Swami. The turbaned figure seated directly beside her is Swami Benoyananda, a director of our Ranchi yoga school for boys in Bihar. The picture was taken at the Hardwar Kumbha Mela in 1938; the woman saint was then 112 years old.–see majiew.jpg]

Keshabananda made a gesture of humility. “There is little of external moment. Practically my whole life has been spent in the Himalayan solitudes, traveling on foot from one quiet cave to another. For a while I maintained a small ashram outside Hardwar, surrounded on all sides by a grove of tall trees. It was a peaceful spot little visited by travelers, owing to the ubiquitous presence of cobras.” Keshabananda chuckled. “Later a Ganges flood washed away the hermitage and cobras alike. My disciples then helped me to build this Brindaban ashram.”

Workshop – fashioning spiritual tool-kit

During the programme, we will create some spiritual arts at this above mentioned hermitage.

  • There is a rudraksha tree. Using rudrakshas and sandalwood beads, participants will make malas / amulet / bracelet.
  • Using Ganga water, participants will take various shades of blue colour and make abstract brush-strokes. The focus is on the experience and not on creating any visually appealing art. Thus, no background or inclination to fine-arts is needed.
  • Participants will also write a few lines by way of a memoir.

Forged at the energy centre and later blessed at Har-ki-paidi and Brahma-kund, these materials will become a tool-kit that will stay with participants forever. Some related information is available here.


Dining 2- Saturdays with ...Upon boarding the car at Rishikesh, each participant receives a snack-pack consisting of 2 pieces of each of these – fruits (with peels) – oranges, bananas; dry fruits -dates, apricots; nuts (Indian) musk-melon seeds, chironji; nuts (others) – almonds, walnuts, cashew, pine-nuts; candy – dried beil fruit; bottled mineral-water, serviette, hand-sanitiser.

The dinner is vegetarian and has multiple courses served in an old heritage building upon Ganga. It is one the best fine dining experience in the region. The details are best left as a surprise!


  • Each participant contributes USD 95.
  • When two participants register together, the combined contribution of the two is USD 180, saving USD 5 for each.


Each participant is suggested a new Yogic named based of the factors of birth — time, date, and place. More information on names is here. Complete horoscope is designed with a contribution of USD 100; more information is here. But for participants of this programme, suggestion of a spiritual name is complimentary.

Express interest

To express interest with this programme, please complete and submit the given below.


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