India 2018: January 1 – January 17 (with possible extension)

 TRIP REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: South India January 2018 Nature and Nurture!
Namaste,
I’m so excited to announce the next Breathe Deep India tour! This time we will experience the lush, green, natural, wild-life-filled region of South India. I’m calling this trip Nature and Nurture – within and without, as you will marvel at the beauty of India, while taking time to really experience each destination, immersing yourself in the rich treasures of the natural world, and sitting back to take it all in. This is India at a relaxed pace — yet you will still see and experience the culture, the diversity, the spirituality and the unexpected serendipitous moments that abound in this magical land. 
 I’ve designed this trip to allow you time to reflect and relax – to let each site sink in so that you can really feel the experience. This will include time to unwind after long drives, at our beautiful hotels, resorts and eco-villages along the way. If you have always wanted to visit India but were put off by the hustle and bustle, crowds of tourists, moving from one destination to another with hardly a break in between – this is the trip for you! Along the way you can enjoy nature hikes and walks, yoga with local teachers, boat trips, wildlife, jungle flowers, ancient trees, and some amazing temples. In the itinerary below you can follow many links to see more about the places we will visit. 
 
My last trip to India – just a month ago – sold out months before we traveled. So please, if you are considering this trip, contact me ASAP. The trip is limited to 15 people. Three spaces are already filled – so that means I have room for just 12 more. (Update: As of April 7, we have SIX people signed up. We have NINE spaces left) 
 The tour will be followed by an optional week at an Ayurvedic Village where you will have a consult with an Ayurvedic doctor who will determine your personal plan. Even if you are in perfect health, you can receive treatments to enhance and boost your well-being.  I am still finalizing those details and will send out that information in the next few days. 
 Just a note about traveling in India – it’s not for everyone.
While the country has “Westernized” by leaps and bounds, even since my first trip there in 2006, it can still be a challenge for those not used to this part of the world.
 Travel times are “suggestions.” We never know when a bridge might be out, cows are blocking the road, or obstacles I can’t even imagine. Roads are not always the best. The ride can be bumpy and slow, or fast and unnerving. The sites and scenes can be mesmerizing and alluring, colorful and heartbreaking. 
 At times you may be uncomfortable and irritable, at other times you will be awed
 and humbled. It’s such a crazy intense mix of sights, sounds, smells, humanity and even inhumanity – the emotions that arise in India can be extreme. The beauty, astounding. Getting there can be a chore, but arriving is a blessing so deep and profound. 
 Also, it’s hot. It’s exotic. The insects and wildlife (think monkeys and bugs I don’t have names for) are unusual. With nearly a billion and half people in India, some areas feel like they have all gathered together at once. 
 My advice – if you want to travel to India, leave your expectations at home. Be open to all experiences and treat them as adventures, surprises, delights. Love everyone you meet. Only come to India if you are ready to find beauty in everything that awaits you! 
 So if this interests you, take some time to read through the details below. Feel free to call or email anytime to talk about it.      
Namaste,
 
Susan and Larry
 P.S. You can call me anytime at 410-979-2096.

South India January 1 – January 17, 2018
with Susan Weis-Bohlen and Larry Bohlen
Nature and Nurture: A spiritual exploration of the natural world in Kerala
 
DAY 01 ARRIVE BANGALORE
Welcome to India! We will be met at the airport by our dedicated Royal Indian Voyages travel guide, and transported to the hotel. Since we will be arriving in the middle of the night we will take the day at leisure with some site-seeing in Bangalore the late afternoon. There are plenty of amenities at the hotel to help us ease into India! Bangalore, or Bengaluru as it is officially known since 2006, is the capital of the 
state of Karnataka in Southern India. Being India’s 3rd largest city with a population of 8.4 million, it has a reputation of nightlife and green spaces.The British came in 1799 and you can still see its influence today in some of the historical buildings. Bangalore Palace has many similarities to Windsor Castle in England. Bengaluru is also known as the “Silicon Valley of India”. It is famous for information technology. The arts are also well represented through fashion, technology, film making and the museum of Modern Art. Overnight at the hotel: 
 
DAY 02 IN BANGALORE
After breakfast, we will embark on a sightseeing tour of Bangalore  - the Garden City of India  - visiting La Bagh, which has a variety of very old, amazing trees, fountains, lotus pools, terraces and an assortment of tropical and subtropical herbs. We will also visit the Maharaja’s Palace and Moodabidri with its 18 

temples. The most famous among them is the Thousand Pillars temple. In the evening we will visit one of the modern shopping malls, which is a great way to see the bustling Indian middle class (and not to mention shop at some of the best stores like FabindaBiba and Soch!), and enjoy an optional dinner in town or back at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel, The Paul.

DAY 03 BANGALORE- SHARAVANABELGOLA- HASSAN
After breakfast, we will drive to Hassan en route visiting Sharavanabelgola,

143 km (88 miles) from Bangalore, a monolithic statue of Lord Gomatehwara, a Jain saint, which is 17 meters high and is said to be one of the tallest monolithic statues in the world. It was created in the year 983 AD by Chamundaraya during King Ramamatta’s period.   
 
 
Afternoon Day 03 visit the extraordinary Belur & Halebid Temples.
Hassan is a town famous for its exquisite temples. It is also known as Dakshina Varanasi. King Vishnuvardhana built the Channakeshwara temple in 1117 AD to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism. The star-shaped architectural beauty is raised on a platform and carved in black stone with 650 charging elephants that are different from each other. Inside the temple dome, four famous figures of Shantala Devi’s voluptuous beauty, queen of King Vishnuvardhana, are marvelous.  
 
Halebid is 30 km (18.6 miles) from Hassan. It is also known as Dwara Samudra, the wealthy capital of Hoysalas. The Hoysaleshwara temple stands on a platform like a casket in shining black stone carved with variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancers. There is a museum on the lawns with 12th century sculptures and gold coins in use at that time. One km from Halebid is Jain Basti hill, built in the 8th century, surrounded by gleaming carved black stone pillars. Overnight at the hotel Ashok: http://www.hassanashok.com/
 
 DAY 04 HASSAN- MYSORE
After breakfast, depart by surface to Mysore, approx 120 Kms (75 miles). Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and we will take some time to rest and relax. Enjoy the hotel pool and amenities. In the early evening we’ll visit Vrindavan Garden. Overnight at the Windflower Hotel: www.thewindflower.com 
 
 
DAY 05 IN MYSORE
Early Morning Yoga with a local teacher in the hotel garden.
After breakfast, we will have a city tour of Mysore, visiting the bustling marketplace, and the Palace of the Maharaja built in 1911-12 which is a harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and Saracenic style of architecture with archways, dome turrets, colonnades and sculptures, which are magnificent.  We’ll also visit the Art Gallery, and drive up to Chamundi Hill to see the Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore.  On your way back, see the Nandi Bull. Overnight at the hotel The Windflower
 
DAY 06 MYSORE- WAYANAD
After breakfast, depart by surface to Wayanad, approx 135 Kms (83 miles). Upon arrival, check in at the hotel. Wayanad, located amidst the mesmerizing jungles of Western Ghat in the state of Kerala, is one of the best and most visited hill stations in South India, attracting tourists from all over the country and the world. There are myriads of Wayanad tourist places, which are extremely beautiful including hiking trails, waterfalls and ancient ruins. Afternoon free at leisure to enjoy this magnificent resort, Vythiri Heaven, www.vythiriresort.com.              
 
DAY 07 IN WAYANAD
After breakfast, we’ll visit the paddy fields. The name Wayanad comes from two Malayalam Words – VAYAL- means paddy and NAADU means Land. VAYAL NAADU means Land of Paddy Fields —  Wayanad.
Afternoon free to take advantage of the resort amenities. Overnight at the Vythiri Resort.
 
 
DAY 08 IN WAYANAD
After breakfast, we are off for a half-day trek in Chembra Peak (optional). Chembra is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m (6,890 ft) above sea level. It is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tami Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode 
district in Kerala.  
Afternoon is free with option to take a nature walk inside the Resort, which is spread across 124 acres of land. Overnight at the resort.
 
DAY 09 WAYANAD -KOCHI
After breakfast we drive to Kochi (approx 286 kms (177 miles). This will be one of our longest rides, so bring along an Ipod for some music, and enjoy watching the beautiful scenery of India pass by. En-route we will visit the Elephant orphanage at Guruvayoor Calicut, where a more urban street life begins. The Elephant Orphanage is under the Temple Authorities. They house elephants of various ages being well-treated, fed and looked after. 
Guruvayoor has the World’s 2nd richest Lord Krishna Temple, which can be seen only from outside as foreigners are not allowed inside. We can take a walk around and learn about the riches within. Overnight at the hotel: The Casino: www.cghearth.com/casino 
 
DAY 10 IN KOCHI
Early morning yoga with local instructor poolside at the hotel.
Our sightseeing tour of Kochi (Cochin) begins with a walk down its winding streets and a visit to the beach to see the amazing sites. Cochin is an important port city that had a famous Portuguese Jewish settlement. We will visit the Synagogue, the Dutch Palace, the Chinese Fishing Nets, the Church of St. Francis and the Tomb of Vasco da Gama.
 
In the evening we will see a Kathakali performance, an age old traditional classical dance drama based on the stories from Indian epics such as Ramayana or Mahabarata & Kalaripayittu performances. Overnight at The Casino 
 
 
 
DAY 11 KOCHI-THEKKADY
After breakfast, depart by surface to (approx 170 Kms/105 miles) en-route visiting the Spice plantation. Thekkady is famous for its rich plantations and thick jungles filled with wildlife. Evening visit the Kumily Spice and local market. Overnight at the Spice Village: www.cghearth.com/spice-village  See a video of the resort here
 
DAY 12 THEKKADY-KUMARAKOM
Early morning yoga at the resort.
After breakfast we will take a trip to see wildlife from a viewing boat ride on Periyar Lake, where you can witness various wildlife, including wild elephants. Among the 62 species of mammals, many are rare, endemic and endangered. Periyar is prime elephant country and large herds are often sighted at the lake fringes. There is an estimated population of 900-1000 animals which is likely to overlap with the population in the adjoining forest areas.
Afternoon depart by surface to Kumarakom (approx 140 Kms (86 miles). Upon arrival, check in at the Coconut Lagoon:  www.cghearth.com/coconut-lagoon. Overnight at the resort. See a video here. 
 
DAY 13 IN KUMARAKOM
Early morning yoga at the resort.
Breakfast at the resort, an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields, and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world, you will come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes. Day free with plenty of activities if you are so inclined! Overnight at the Coconut Lagoon.
 
DAY 14 KUMARAKOM-ALLEPPEY (HOUSEBOAT)
Early morning yoga at the resort. Our last full day in India will be traveling on the gently flowing Backwaters in a beautiful houseboat – one final tribute to the beauty of South India. 
After breakfast we will board a houseboat at Coconut Lagoon to embark on an overnight cruise through the Backwater of God’s own Country – Kerala, Alappuzha, a city on the Laccadive Sea. Voyaging in the narrow canals between the wide range of green rice paddies and the peaceful villages, we will be surrounded by the quiet, natural beauty of thehouseboat kerala region, bordered by coconut trees. We will see the flashes of toddy tapping (natural soma), traditional techniques of shellfish gathering, a village walk, and flocks of cormorant, egret, herons, four species of moor hens, water ducks, purple herons, seagulls, teals, and the different types of king fishers. Overnight aboard The AC Deluxe Houseboat, www.lakeslagoons.com
DAY 15 ALLEPPEY-KOCHI DEPART
Morning after breakfast, disembark from the House Boat at Alleppey and transfer to Kochi airport to board your flight back home, or continue on to Somatheeram Ayurvedic Resort for the trip extension – see below.
 
Cost: $3995 for shared room; $5150 for single room 
Price includes:
  • Accommodation in twin room (or single with supplement) bed and breakfast basis for 14 nights at the hotels below.
  • Tips and gratuities for city tour guides, driver and helper (with exception of dedicated tour escort).
  • Kathakali Dance Drama & Kalaripayittu Performance show in Cochin.
  • 02 bottles of mineral water during each sightseeing day.
  • All currently applicable Govt. Taxes.
  • 03 overnights at Vythiri Resort/Wayanad will be Full Board.
  • 01 overnight on board Houseboat will be Full Board.
  • Assistance on arrival/departure at airport/hotels by our representatives.
  • All transportation using one air-conditioned Coach.  
  • All currently applicable entrance fees to the monuments covered.
  • Services of a locally appointed English-speaking guide for sightseeing tours.
  • Accompanying escort from Day 01 to Day 15 (excluding tip)
  • One game viewing boat ride on Lake Periyar.
  • Paddy Fields & Chembra Peak Trek/ Wayanad.
 Rates do not include:
  • Meals other than breakfast and as specified above.
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tip for dedicated Royal Indian Voyage Escort.
  • Camera fees at the monuments.
  • Medical & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, telephone calls etc.
  • Any other services not listed above.
To reserve your place on the trip, please send a $600 deposit to Breathe Ayurveda, 20 Clarks Lane, Reisterstown, MD 21136. Once the initial deposit is made, the balance can be paid in increments, if desired. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure, November 1, 2017. A final invoice will be sent to you, by email, shortly before the due date. Checks or cash are preferred. Credit Card and PayPal payments are possible, with an additional 3% service fee. 
Cancellation Policy
Cancellation fees come into effect at time of deposit. I recommend that you consider purchasing cancellation insurance. This will cover you if you need to cancel unexpectedly. Please note that insurance companies may differ in what they consider a insurable risk. I recommend Insure My Trip . 
If you cancel your booking, it will result in the following charges:
  • More than 90 days prior to departure: $200
  • 61 – 89 days prior to departure: Full deposit
  • 60 – 30 days prior to departure: 50% of total price
  • Less than 30 days prior to departure: 100% of total price
HOTELS FORESEEN:
CITYHOTELS NIGHTS
BangaloreThe Paul (Studio Suite)www.thepaulbangalore.in02
HassanThe Ashhok (Deluxe Room)www.hassanashok.com01
MysoreThe Windflower (Standard Room)www.thewindflower.com02
WayanadVythiri Resort (Vythiri Heaven)www.vythiriresort.com03
KochiThe Casino (Superior Room)www.cghearth.com/casino02
ThekkadyThe Spice Village (Standard Villa)www.cghearth.com/spice-village 01
KumarakomCoconut Lagoon (Heritage Bungalowwww.cghearth.com/coconut-lagoon02
AlleppeyAC Deluxe Houseboatwww.lakeslagoons.com01
 
Ready to Go?
All right! The next step is filling out this registration form. Either email it or mail it to me. 
Remember that you must have a valid passport and that the expiration date is several months beyond the trip dates. 
 Next you will need to apply for your Visa to India. We use the agency called Travisa. They are based in Washington DC and process Visa applications for India. The cost will be around $125 for a tourist visa and the associated fees. It can be a time consuming process to fill out the online forms, but the staff is very friendly and can help you -and so can I! 
 
I will advise you on the airline tickets. The round trip price range is usually around $900 to $1400 for coach, $2500 + for business class. I will email you flight details and suggestions and you will purchase your own ticket. The flight, with one stop, is usually around 20 hours total travel time. 
LINKS: 
As we get closer to the trip I will advise on packing, offer travel tips and arrange a get-together for those of us in the area, so we can meet before we travel together! 
Call or email me any time: susan@breatheayurveda.com or 410-979-2096. 
 
TRIP EXTENSION TO SOMATHEERAM AYURVEDIC HEALTH RESORT

Upon disembarking from the houseboat, those who are continuing on to Somatheeram will be transferred to the resort. For those ending their trip here, you will be transferred to the Kochi airport for your flight to Banglalore and then on to your final destination.     Somatheeram Ayurvedic Healing Resort/Kerala Trip Extension 

*One week and two week Somatheeram Rejuvenation Therapy Packages include the following services for the duration of stay:
      
  • Accommodation as per the category of booking (see below or the chart here)       
  • Daily Ayurveda Rejuvenation/Body Purification treatments
  • Ayurveda vegetarian full board meals
  • Initial, daily and final consultation by the doctor
  • Free medicines during the treatment period
  • Composition of an individual Ayurveda diet menu
  • All applicable taxes 
  • Daily session of Yoga and Mediation
  • Airport transfer from Thiruvananthapuram Airport 
  • One half a day local backwater boat cruise (applicable for bookings of 14 nights and more)
  • Weekly Ayurveda cooking demonstration
  • Weekly Ayurveda lecture class
  • Daily meeting with Susan Weis-Bohlen, to assess your treatment, offer individualized/Westernized Ayurvedic advice, continuing education and to attend to any personal needs of members of the group 
 
Cost: You can view the rooms here
 Standard Room single: 7 nights – $1560; double: $2420. 14 nights – $3130/$4840
 
Garden Cottage single: 7 nights – $1680; double: $2550. 14 nights – $3360/$5100
 
Special Cottage single: 7 nights – $1930; double: $2820. 14 nights – $3850/$5650
 
Kerala House Standard  single: 7 nights – $2330; double: $3270. 14 nights – $4660/$6540
 
Keral House Delux with a/c  single: 7 nights – $2860; double: $3870. 14 nights – $5730/$7740
 
Kerala Delux Suite with a/c: single: 7 nights – $3370; double: $4430. 14 nights – $6730/$8860
See  Somatheeram Room Rate Chart HERE
 
*Longer stays can be arranged
                                                                                      Photo Gallery 

     

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Here are some things members of the previous India  group had to say about their trip 
 
“Wonderful memories!” J.B.
 
“Thinking about how much I enjoyed the trip. I will never forget it and have so many tales to tell.” J.C.
 
“I’m grateful for the entire experience, and of embracing the beautiful spirit of new friends.” G.C.
 
“I am grateful for the journey and would not trade the memories for anything.” S.C.
“I would love to take this moment on behalf of my husband and myself to tell you all what a great privilege it was to share this very special experience with each one of you. You were all our teachers….along with India!” R.R.