After departing Mysore (see web-update here) on October 1, Yogini Kaliji and the tour group journeyed to North India for a tour of Haridwar, Rishikesh and the Himalayan foothills. The group was greeted at Dehradun airport with a small ceremony and much excitement, then traveled by jeep to Rishikesh.
The trip opened with a special event—Yogini Kaliji as an opening presenter and honored guest at the 4th International Festival on Yog, Culture and Spirituality at Dev Sanskrit University in Shantikunj, Haridwar—the largest yoga conference in the world. Kaliji’s presentation on mudrā can be seen here
TriYoga’s Dr. Miguel Rivera (Dr. G) was also onstage during the opening ceremony, and was a presenter at the conference the following day.
The tour was very lucky to enjoy the services of Rishikesh local organizer Deepak. Deepak and his brother Krishna are from a prominent family in Rishikesh, and own well known clothing and jewelry shops there. Krishna is even the mayor of Rishikesh!
Deepak (left) and Krishna (right) are long-time admirers of Yogini Kaliji, having met years before when Kaliji visited their shop “Hanumant Gems”—Kailji’s favorite mālas are all from their shop. They have offered many times to arrange a North India tour for TriYoga, and they created a wonderful program for the visit. Deepak took great care of everyone and demonstrated amazing integrity, skill, and friendship.
The day of the conference also included a full schedule of sightseeing—a morning walk to the River Ganga in Rishikesh and a ferry ride across the river, then (after the conference) the famous evening arati on the ghats along the Ganga in Haridwar.
The second day began with a morning of free sightseeing in Rishikesh, where all were free to explore both sides of the river—endless opportunities for shopping for spiritual items on one side, and the ashramas and sadhus on the other.
In the late afternoon, the tour departed by bus and jeep for Devaprayag in the Himalayan foothills, where the River Ganga is born at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. The bus ride with Yogini Kaliji was great fun, with Kaliji, Hari and students leading chants while driving along cliffs with stunning views of the River Ganga below.
After settling into the cliffside hotel overlooking the Ganga and the “sangam” (site of the confluence of the rivers), Yogini Kaliji led prana vidya and chanting sessions with the sound of the rivers in the background.
After rising in the early morning quiet, Yogini Kaliji and the group walked from the hotel to the sangam, passing over a very narrow and fun foot bridge and through the tiny village of Devaprayag. At the sangam there are safety chains which lead down the steps and into the exact meeting place of the rivers, just a few feet from the powerful currents. Many tour members chose to wade or dip into the cool water, considered a very auspicious act!
Hari, the last to depart the Sangam! Special thanks to Hari, TYI Secretary, for his tireless coordination, organization, and support which made the tour possible.
In the afternoon, the tour group returned by bus to Deharadun for the departing flight to Delhi. At sunset, the bus stopped at a beautiful hotel in Rishikesh where Deepak had arranged refreshments.
The final leg of the bus journey included some excitement! The final day of the Navaratri holiday included two large traffic jams on the narrow road to Dheradun, and without help the group would have missed the flight. Luckily Deepak was there to save the day! Like a superhero, he jumped out of the bus into the Indian night and ran through traffic until he disappeared. Minutes later, the traffic began to flow thanks to Deepak who had singlehandedly directed traffic and released the jam. Then, just 5 minutes later, it happened a second time! Again the bus stopped, and again Deepak ran to the source of the jam (at a narrow bridge) and held up oncoming traffic until the tour group had passed. Thanks to his quick thinking everyone made the flight!
The tour concluded with a farewell in the Delhi airport, with full hearts and wonderful memories.
The Delhi airport presented a number of fun photo opportunities!