11 Days/10 Nights Retreat to
Kerala India:
Cochin – Marari – Alleppey
March 15–25, 2018
with Yogiraj Mona Anand

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March 15 – 18 Cochin / Brunton Boat Yard

Cochin, the capital of Kerala, has one of the best natural harbors in the world. From time immemorial the Arabs, the Dutch, the Chinese, the English and the voyagers from Portugal have followed then sea – routes to Cochin and left their imprint on the town.

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March 18 – 24th  Marari Beach

 

Marari Beach Resort is a celebration of Kerala’s coastal fishing villages. Marari Beach sprawls across 55 acres of lawns, far-flung lotus ponds and whispering coconut groves, all threaded through with stone-flagged pathways.

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March 24 – 25th Houseboat on Backwaters

 

Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.

Join Yogiraj Mona Anand for 11 blissful days of yoga and meditation in Kerala, India.

I am so excited to once again teach a retreat, this time in beautiful Kerala, India. Below is the daily itinerary which includes two yoga classes a day.  

Sample Yoga Program - Marari Beach

  • Morning Asana Practice – Meditation/Yoga Nidra
    (Cochin will have a two hour morning practice and no evening practice)
  • Breakfast
  • Free Time – optional scheduled activities / beach/ pool/ spa treatments*
  • Lunch 
  • Afternoon - free time by the pool or beach / Ayurvedic treatments*
  • Evening Yoga Session 
  • Specialty Workshops with ISHTA Teachers
  • Restorative /Yoga Nidra Practice
  • Dinner
  • Book Club one evening
  • 2 Chakras chats and one Ayurveda workshop will be scheduled after lunch or dinner during your time in Marari. These one hour discussion groups will give you the opportunity to understand the chakras and Ayurveda better and how to recognize and correct your own chakra and dosha imbalances.

*Ayurvedic, Spa Treatments ( additional cost)

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Day 1: Cochin – "The Queen of the Arabian Sea"      

The Cochin harbour is one of the best natural harbors in the world. Cochin, as we will discover, is also believed to be the oldest European settlement in India. It is a cluster of islands hugging the coast. To this day the old harbor - front of Cochin looks straight out of an ancient book - Arab dhows in the foreground and behind, the elongated tree - shaded buildings of the spice traders and coconut merchants, the descendants of the families who sold gold, ivory, timber and peacocks to King Solomon nineteen centuries ago! From time immemorial the Arabs, the Dutch, the Chinese, the English and the voyagers from Portugal have followed the sea-routes to Cochin and left their imprint on the town.

Upon our arrival in Cochin, we are transferred to our hotel Brunton Boatyard.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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     Brunton Boatyard   This restored period building that is our hotel sits well with its colonial era surroundings and counterparts - the great trading houses of British India when pepper from Kerala was considered as precious as gold. Like the cultures they celebrate and display, Brunton Boatyard is a five star hotel whose interiors reflect an eclectic but tasteful blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences as seen in its high ceilings, hanging fans and a plethora of artifacts and curios from a great mercantile age known for its pomp and glamour. The scent of colonial history is all around you as you take a tour of the historic Fort Cochin area where the hotel stands. Though little remains of the fort itself there are legacies of its proud history to be seen everywhere.

Brunton Boatyard

This restored period building that is our hotel sits well with its colonial era surroundings and counterparts - the great trading houses of British India when pepper from Kerala was considered as precious as gold. Like the cultures they celebrate and display, Brunton Boatyard is a five star hotel whose interiors reflect an eclectic but tasteful blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences as seen in its high ceilings, hanging fans and a plethora of artifacts and curios from a great mercantile age known for its pomp and glamour. The scent of colonial history is all around you as you take a tour of the historic Fort Cochin area where the hotel stands. Though little remains of the fort itself there are legacies of its proud history to be seen everywhere.

Brunton Boat Yard

Moored on a historic stretch of Kochi's famed harbour, The Brunton Boatyard Hotel was resurrected from the remains of a Victorian shipyard. Today, it gives the modern traveller a unique opportunity to dwell amidst the shadow plays of 19th century history.

For what is essentially a small and intimate city hotel, The Brunton Boatyard possesses a remarkable sense of scale, evident the moment we turn into the tiled forecourt. The lobby is a vault of sunlight and air, framed by arches and overhung with punkhas, enormous, old-fashioned fans of Indo-Portuguese origin.

The hotel's nautical past seems to follow us around. On one wall, Old Dutch maps, on another, a small navigation device, in the courtyard lawns, an ancient anchor. Walk further, turn a corner and we find us outside the Armoury Bar with old Portuguese breastplates and musketry for company.

A short saunter down the corridor brings us to a little doorway. Pass through and suddenly, the whole vista of Kochi harbour opens up beyond the pool's inviting waters. This is the spot to read a historical novel, take in the sun and watch the ships sail by, so close we can almost reach out and touch them. Crane our neck a bit and we can spot a serried rank of Kochi's famed fishing nets. They first made their appearance in 1350 A.D. and their much-photographed preying-mantis shapes form one of the city's most enduring images.

Day 2: Echoes from the Past – Discovering Fort Cochin  

Cochin harbour, one of the best natural harbors in the world. We drive past the giant Chinese fishing nets; ingeniously constructed these nets are used throughout the year except during the monsoons.

From time immemorial the Arabs, the Dutch, the Chinese, the English and the voyagers from Portugal have followed then sea – routes to Cochin and left their imprint on the town.

We walk to the Chinese Fishing nets which were introduced by the traders from the court of Kublai Khan. The nets are mainly used at high tide, requiring at least four men to operate their system of counterweights.

We visit the St. Francis Church is a granite church set on quiet lawns amidst the bustle of Fort Cochin.  Originally named as Santo Antonio, this protestant church was originally built by the Europeans in India & was the first church to have been built in the new

Following our visit of the Chinese Fishing nets and St. Francis’ Church, we proceed by Auto Rickshaws (tuk tuks) for our visit to the Dutch Palace.

Built in oriental style and one of the oldest buildings Mattancherry Palace or the Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays), situated in Ernakulam district of Kerala was originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the king of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma, in the year 1555 AD. It was later taken over by the Dutch who improved it through extensions and repairs in 1663 AD.

The best in Antique Shopping We walk to the Jewish Synagogue built in 1568, is the oldest in the Commonwealth. Only a handful of Jewish families remain in Jew Town today.   A couple of hours of leisure time to shop at the antique shops in Jew Town where you could spend a few hours and strike a good bargain.

Day 3: Afternoon:

We drive to Marari (Approx. 2 hours). Upon arrival in Marari, we check-in to our hotel Marari Beach Resort. 

Days 4 – 9: 

Welcome to Mararikulam The village of Maraikulam lies on the Malabar coast, where the Indian Ocean finally becomes the Arabian Sea.

Marari Beach Resort is a celebration of Kerala's coastal fishing villages. Inspired by this ancient way of life, we sought to capture its essence and create a new experience in sensitive travel for the modern-day visitor.

Marari Beach sprawls across 55 acres of lawns, far-flung lotus ponds and whispering coconut groves, all threaded through with stone- flagged pathways. A windbreak of palms runs the length of the property. And beyond is a milk-and-azure ocean, fringed by a beach more ochre than yellow, a sand-meets-sea combination we're not likely to find anywhere else.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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   Marari Beach Resort   The sea-side village experience set on 30 acres with coconut groves, lily ponds, fruit trees and a large organic farm.  Our seaside resort, Marari beach in Mararikulam, is a tribute to the fisherfolk of this region who populate it's spirit in obvious and subtle ways. Our guest cottages echo their dwellings in style and character while our cuisine reflects the culinary subtleties of these people whose sensibilities and culture have been influenced by the charms and challenges of the oceans.

Marari Beach Resort

The sea-side village experience set on 30 acres with coconut groves, lily ponds, fruit trees and a large organic farm.

Our seaside resort, Marari beach in Mararikulam, is a tribute to the fisherfolk of this region who populate it's spirit in obvious and subtle ways. Our guest cottages echo their dwellings in style and character while our cuisine reflects the culinary subtleties of these people whose sensibilities and culture have been influenced by the charms and challenges of the oceans.

Trips at Marari

  • Explore The Butterfly Garden Spend some time in our butterfly garden and enter a dancing, flitting new realm of nature.
  • Naturalist Led Walks Marari is a nature lover's paradise and a morning stroll with one of our naturalists in tow is a fine way to introduce yourself to the Malabar coasts unique ecosystem and explore its myriad charms. Just to give you a taste, you can expect to find 97 species of butterflies, more than 350 species of endemic plants, 3 varieties of turtles, and even 10 kinds of frogs. As for the birds, there are too many to even name.
  • Enriching Village Visits Life in the fishing villages around Marari Beach Resort is both fascinating and endearing. Spend some time on your holiday exploring these villages and the ways of life they represent. You can choose to walk, cycle or cruise to any of these villages. We have a visit itinerary that is immersive and inspiring.
  • Fish-Landing Take an early morning walk with our naturalist to the fish-landing harbor. Fresh catch being brought in from the sea, middlemen bargaining for their stock, to a sea of baskets being hurried away inland with the freshest of fish, a visit to the harbor will give you the pulse of this small fishing hamlet.
  • Cooking Up A Storm! The chef at the hotel will give us a cooking demonstration on how to cook typical Kerala dishes – let’s try our hand at a fish Moily or an appam! 
  • Bird Watching The lakes, canals and paddy fields near coconut lagoon are very good birding places. You can spot birds like Magpie Robin, Red Vented Bulbul etc.

Day 10: MARARI – ALLEPPEY

Noon: We drive to Alleppey Jetty (Approx. 1 hour).

Welcome to Alleppey!

Alappuzha – more romantically known as Alleppey – is the hub of Kerala's backwaters, home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. Step out – and Alleppey is graceful and greenery-fringed, disappearing into a watery world of villages, punted canoes, toddy shops and, of course, houseboats. Float along and gaze over paddy fields of succulent green, curvaceous rice barges and village life along the banks. This is one of Kerala’s most mesmerizingly beautiful and relaxing experiences.

Upon arrival at the jetty, we board the houseboat.

Kerala-backwaters.-Kerala-India.jpg

Backwaters of Kerala

The backwaters of Kerala offer an enchanting experience of fun and relaxation and a chance to see authentic local life; a world of coconut trees, shallow lakes, deep canals and long boats….

Lunch and Dinner is on board the Houseboat.

Overnight is on board the houseboat.

Day 11: ALLEPPEY – DEPART COCHIN

Breakfast on boat

Morning: We drive to Cochin airport (Approx. 2 hours) for our onward flight. 

RATES:

Early Bird Rates: Double $2,700; Single $3,900 – Ends Friday, December 22nd with $250 non-refundable deposit to hold your spot. 
After December 18th Double $3,000, Single $4,200

All Inclusive – hotel, all trips and activities on itinerary, meals and yoga program.

Registration: 

To register or for any logistical information please contact Donna Fillios at donna@ishtayoga.com.

For additional information on our yoga program:
Contact M
ona at monaanand_68@hotmail.com
 

01-Lakeside-view-of-The-City_Palace-Udaipur.jpg

6 Day / 5 India Night Sight Seeing Trip Extension

March 25th to 30th, 2018

 

 

March 25th – 28th
Welcome to Udaipur – A Vision in White

Udaipur is often called the "Venice of the East" and the most romantic city in the state of Rajasthan. Udaipur nestles like a gem in a valley surrounded by green hills, reflected smooth and white in the clear blue waters of Lake Pichola. The city is a kaleidoscope of narrow lanes flanked by bright stalls, gardens, lakes, palaces and temples. A city which nestles like a gem in a valley surrounded by the green Aravalli hills, reflected smooth and white in the clear Lake Pichola.

Upon arrival in Udaipur, we check-in to our hotel Trident.

March 26th: UDAIPUR

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Morning: We set off for our visit of Udaipur city with a visit to the City Palace complex which houses the private residence of the Maharana of Mewar (a title which means “king of kings”) who belongs to the oldest royal lineage in the country.  This palace complex consists of four major and several minor palaces forming a single breathtaking façade of almost 900meters in length overlooking the Pichola Lake.  Built by successive Maharanas, every addition was so flawlessly integrated in style and feeling with the existing structures, to make the whole seem one.

The southernmost part, the Shiv Niwas Palace is a Luxury hotel today. The central south eastern part of the complex houses the Shambhu Niwas, the private residence of the royal family. The third palace which lies on the western side towards the Lake Pichola is called Fateh Prakash Palace, and is converted into a hotel. The oldest part of the complex is the City Palace dating back to the 16th century.  We visit the City Palace within which are several architectural and artistic highlights known for its stunning peacock mosaics and a series of wall paintings. The City Palace was once the home of the Mewar rulers. Most of the Palace is converted into a museum.  It houses a huge collection of rare miniature paintings and beautiful decorative motives made with mirrors and colored glass. 

Afternoon: At leisure

Evening: Boat Ride on the serene Lake Nichola. We enjoy a relaxing boat ride along serene Lake Pichola.  We glide along the lake and enjoy the fantastic views of the legendry Lake Palace, the façade of the imposing City Palace as well as the magnificent Jag Mandir Island.

March 27th: UDAIPUR

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Start with a visit to the Spice & Vegetable Market.  Guests can then walk towards the Jagdish Temple area which is full of shops. Following the Jagdish Temple area, we will visit a Miniature painting shop and demonstration.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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   Trident, Udaipur      
  
   
  
    
  
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  Built over forty three acres on the banks of Lake Pichola, Trident, Udaipur is perfectly located to explore the famed sites of the city, such as the City Palace, the Crystal Gallery, the Monsoon Palace or the beautiful Jagmandir. After soaking in the sights of this historic city, return to your private sanctuary at Trident, Udaipur to unwind. Inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of Udaipur, all the rooms and are furnished in hues of muted beige and cream with traditional artefacts, reflecting elegance and charm. No royal hospitality is quite complete without a lavish feast. Our main restaurant, Aravalli, serves authentic dishes from the Kingdom of Mewar, known for its fine cuisine. 

Trident, Udaipur

Built over forty three acres on the banks of Lake Pichola, Trident, Udaipur is perfectly located to explore the famed sites of the city, such as the City Palace, the Crystal Gallery, the Monsoon Palace or the beautiful Jagmandir. After soaking in the sights of this historic city, return to your private sanctuary at Trident, Udaipur to unwind. Inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of Udaipur, all the rooms and are furnished in hues of muted beige and cream with traditional artefacts, reflecting elegance and charm. No royal hospitality is quite complete without a lavish feast. Our main restaurant, Aravalli, serves authentic dishes from the Kingdom of Mewar, known for its fine cuisine. 

The-Gateway-of-India.jpg

March 28th: UDAIPUR – Mumbai

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Morning: We are met and transferred to airport for flight to Bombay

Bombay – India’s City of Fortune; a City that never sleeps

Welcome to Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay)!  'A city which by god's decree is meant to be one of the most important ports....' was how the island city of Bombay was described by Gerald Aungier, the Director of the East India Company who had received it for a princely sum of 10 pounds sterling a year rent from the British Crown. That was the value rightly put for what he saw was a group of seven marshy swampy islands with a handful of fishing villages on the coastal areas. Today these fishing villages have become India's most modern and cosmopolitan city where the price of land per square foot, is the highest you could find in the world. 

Bombay is India’s commercial capital and city of fortune. The very name conjures up a host of vision. The vision of glamour and megastars, of industrialists and business houses, of multifarious futuristic lifestyle which is likely to become even more intense as Bombay moves closer and closer to it becoming the world’s largest metro after Tokyo by the year 2015. And all the while, Bombay – the largest, most cosmopolitan, richest and fastest growing of India’s metros, continues to maintain and add to its impressive portfolio. Just consider the following: the oldest Stock Exchange in India is located in Bombay where 75% of the nation’s financial business passes through daily scrip transactions that take place at the Bombay Stock Exchange, which has become an important indicator of national stability and the general “health” of the nation. Bombay is the base for prestigious financial institutions including the Reserve Bank of India. It is also in Bombay that the largest number of Merchant Bankers can be found. With the spirit of enterprise and an inspiration of dreams, Bombay’s attraction is the promise of a fortune that has become so intimately associated with its image over the years.  

Afternoon: Visit Mumbai city

Like any great and soulful city, Bombay is overwhelming. This city tour will introduce you to the complexities of India's second largest city, a city built at the height of the British Raj that later became home to the Indian freedom movement, a city of textile factories and fishing villages, Islamic mosques and Hindu temples, the elegance of Marine Drive and the shocking paucity of the slums.

Start with a drive along Marine Drive, the main boulevard on to Malabar Hill which is an exclusive residential area in Bombay city and one of the most expensive in India.

The Dabbawallahs of Bombay

I am standing near Mumbai's Churchgate Station in the commercial hub of the city. It is almost noon, and about five hundred yards away, I catch a glimpse of a man I have been waiting to see. He wears a loose white shirt, cotton pyjamas, and, the trade mark of his profession, a white "Nehru" cap.

His name is Naru Bhade and his fellow-workers are dabbawallahs ("dabba" translates as lunch 'box' or 'tiffin carrier'; "wallah" means a 'man'). In the next hour, he and his team, along with about 5,000 other dabbawallahs (emerging from other suburban railway stations) will deliver approximately 170,000 lunches from suburban households, to schools, colleges, mills and offices spread across the entire city and its environs. Their customers are middle-class citizens, who for reasons of economy, hygiene, caste and dietary restrictions-or simply because they prefer wholesome food from their own kitchens-rely on the dabbawallahs to deliver a home-cooked midday meal.

Visit to Dhobi Ghat, the local open-air laundry.