India is our second destination of The Beddha Holistic Travel Guide.
Why India? Well, it's hard to find a place on earth that is more spiritual than India, the birth place of many religions and spiritual practices like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism. A reach spiritual country where a varied and divers range of beliefs and traditions are practised. A place for spiritual seekers and, despite its cliché, for soul searches. A place where you can recharge. A place known for its hospitality and generosity, for its temples and for its food.
And it's the birthplace of yoga and Ayurveda!
If you want to travel or start you own pilgrimage, here are some spiritual places you might find interesting.
Varanasi, known as The Spiritual Capital of India, because it is said to be founded by the Lord Shiva, the god of creation and destruction. A place of spiritual power.
Declared by the Indian Prime Minister as the country Spiritual Capital, Bodhgaya is the place that marked the beginning of Buddhism, therefore a pilgrimage site for all Buddhists from around the world.
Mathura, Lord Krishna's birthplace and therefore a place that host a large community of Hare Krishna movement practitioners.
There are places where you can practice yoga with emphasis on meditation, breathing and cleansing techniques. Since yoga is considered a lifestyle, you might also experience some community service (like cooking, gardening, cleaning), in some places over others. The question before selecting any is, what type of yoga and what type of accommodation you are looking for. Located in different parts of India, these places offer retreats that follow different practices, from Hatha yoga to Ashtanga to Bio-Energy retreat to find your aura.
Rishikesh, known as the Yoga Capital of the World. One of the holiest places in India for Hindus, it sits in the foothills of the Himalayas. A place where yogis from all over the world come to learn yoga and meditate without distractions.
An excellent place for vegetarians. Due to its religious practice, the city is strictly vegetarian and alcohol is not permitted.
There are spiritual retreats located here, where you can find possibly the most authentic Ayurvedic wellness destination in India, for soul, body and mind, immersed in nature.
Other places for radical self-love and healing rituals seekers are placed in Goa, an ideal place to chill out for many thanks to its colourful beaches. The location is home to different types of retreats. The majority are more resort style than traditional Indian ashram.
Of all the retreats you can find, one is probably worth mentioning as The Guardian listed it as one of the best in all India. And this place is Purple Valley, Assagao. Along with Ashtanga yoga, the retreat is known for its fabulous Ayurveda treatments.
India is not for everyone, so do your research, trust your intuition, honour your boundaries, switch to Indian-time, and get as much information as you can before leaving. Unfortunately it has been home to various scandals and disputes.
In case you just contemplate the journey from home, like me, no need to worry then.
✒ BY MARGHERITA ANTINORI