Ganga Yatra 2008 :: Completed

COMPLETED :: APRIL 27 to MAY 12. 2008

The ancient puranas of India are huge volumes containing stories of the makings of the universe as well as thrilling tales of innumerable gods and goddesses. The geography of the puranas coincides with that of the entire Indian sub-continent. Their stories are honored in many ways, not least of which is the recognition of place. Countless places mentioned in these ancient texts are fully alive today and are important places of yatra (pilgrimage). Within their sanctums worship is performed daily to the resident devatas in a tradition that reaches back many hundreds of years. These places where the sacred stories happened are sometimes called tirthas. A tirtha is a place of crossing over and most literally refers to fords of rivers. It also refers to a spiritual crossing place, where the divine is more easily intuited, recognized or experienced.

The intention of the NAMARUPA GANGA YATRA is to go, as much as possible, as pilgrims to the sacred temples and to have darshan of the devatas. This will not be tourism. We will travel simply, lodge in comfortable Indian-style accommodations, eat vegetarian meals and dress and behave appropriately according to local custom. We will have time for practices such as yoga asanas and meditation, as well as discussions and explanations regarding our experiences. Local Swamijis will give discourses and chanting, and arrangements will also be made with priests for the performance of any rituals that we may wish to request. At some places we will have ample time for the usual sightseeing, shopping and exploring that travelers enjoy. The pace will be relaxed, but this being India, one can expect the unexpected. At the outset we will all meet in New Delhi and spend some time in preparation: purchasing the proper clothes for visiting temples and explaining various customs and the attitudes which will be helpful for a successful yatra. Traveling in India requires patience, flexibility and humor.