This page is designed to provide all of the information you will need to have an easeful, beautiful journey into the sacred landscapes of Southern India. If you have further questions, please contact Melissa: firstname.lastname@example.org
India is a living, breathing experience of spontaneity. The cultural relationship to time and planning is very different. Rest assured, every day you will be provided with food, water, yoga, safe transportation and access to incredible sacred sites. The Travel schedule is set and you will never have to worry about transportation between destinations. You will never be left behind but you may not always know where you’re going.
What we encourage you to do is to be prepared to go with the flow and let the adventure unfold. It can be easy to want to know where we are going what is coming next but this is a very western way to think about it. The invitation is to frame the flow of India as an opportunity to be open and present for what really wants to happen. Let your wonderful and capable guides worry about the details.
What to pack: Clothing
Its culturally appropriate and respectful to cover your body. So please don't wear tank tops, short shorts, leggings or super skimpy things outside of the hotel/resort unless you have a shawl to cover yourself. We recommend clothing that is comfortable for temperatures in the 70s (F).
Temple Clothes: If you already have a Sari or Punjabi (women) or Kurta (men), please bring it. Those who do not own temple clothes will be able to purchase them in India before our first temple stop.
Shawl(s) ~ temperatures could drop to the 50s at night
Rain jacket (rain is unlikely but possible)
Shoes that are easy to slip off and on. You will be leaving them outside of temples so please bring shoes that are not highly valuable.
sunhat, sunglasses, quick dry travel clothes
What to pack Continued
Bug spray (make sure it contains DEET if you want it to work - though deep is a toxic chemical it is perfectly safe to use for short periods of time)
Sunscreen/preferred method of sun protection
Yoga mat and strap
Any Health Aids that your body resonates with to prevent illness. We especially recommend Immune bolstering supplements because there is new bacteria in the air and food. More information on this in the 'Health' section of this page.
Zippered Bag: You will be able to leave things safely on the bus, which will be parked near each stop. We suggest a sidebag or fanny pack with a zipper to keep your money and water in during temple trips. In general in India there's a warning about pickpockets but if you keep your money close and on the front of your body there is no need to worry. Yusuf, Hareesh and you guides will have their eyes out to ensure safety at all times.
Please purchase a Steripen water purification device to use on tap water in your hotel room. This will reduce our consumption of bottled water. Plastic trash is a huge problem in India! However, if you are not able to purchase a Steripen there will be bottled water in the Hotel rooms and on the bus.
Optional: Chennai is very smoggy, so bring a kerchief or facemask to cover your nose and mouth if you are particularly sensitive to air quality.
Earplugs and eye mask (especially for people who have roommates).
PLEASE NOTE: Our first stop in Chennai is a developing City so if you forget any necessities please know you will be able to pick things up on the way.
Meals and fruit snacks are included as part of the trip. You will always have 3 meals a day but you are of course welcome to bring snacks from home. This is especially important for people who have a constitution that requires food every few hours. We suggest quick and easy to carry things like nuts, bars, trail mix, etc.
You willl always have access to vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. However, there is really no way to ensure that there will be zero cross contamination. If you have a severe allergy to gluten or nightshades I suggest bringing as much supportive food and supplements as you need to keep your body healthy. Melissa has celic and has traveled in India before so if you are concerned about how to navigate your health in India please reach out for more support and helpful tips.
There is truly a different environment in India with different bacteria and germs that your body will not be used to. Please consult whatever form of healthcare provider you trust to assist in supporting your body for this new environment. If you would like more in depth information about vaccinations please read this article. We have never had someone get severely ill in eight years of India trips, but sensitive people do experience upset stomachs at times. We recommend these general health aids:
Immune boosting- We recommend you start taking whatever immune boosters your body likes before the trip and continue to take them throughout the trip.
Nourishing Vitamins- Many people like to bring electrolytes, especially with vitamin c and other vitamins as the heat can be depleting for some folks.
Garlic - If you are the type of person that mosquitos love you can start taking garlic capsules 2 weeks before and during the trip to prevent bites.
Digestive Support- Your belly will be adjusting to the food so support your digestive system with digestive herbs, tinctures, and/or probiotics. We suggest activated charcoal, Herbal Zap and Mo' Better Belly.
Allergies & Sinus Support- There are a few stops on our Pilgrimage to areas with high air pollution. Please bring lung support supplements and a scarf to cover your face if you are sensitive to air quality. There is also a completely different array of plant life in India to which some people with allergies have a response.
PLEASE NOTE: The area of India we are visiting is statistically almost Malaria free so if you’d like to bring Malaria meditation just in case you are free to but it is not required.
How to stay connected
We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to be fully immersed in the experience of India. To the extent that it is possible for you, tie up any loose ends before the trip so that your are not engaging in your every day level of habitual electronic communication. Try to reduce or eliminate checking texts or emails, engaging with social media, or following the news. We recommend that you set up an email vacation responder with an end date 3-5 days after your return home to provide a gentle transition after India.
Most phone carriers allow you to set up travel data ahead of time. Most people can send text messages and access the internet on their data plan. Some carriers can also make phone calls on data. Check with your carrier for specifics. But please note that all the hotels will have wifi, so you don't actually need an international data plan! (Most hotels will have free wifi, occasionally they will have only paid wifi.)
Sim cards are difficult to attain in India so if you plan to buy a Sim card in India please allot time for that before our tour together begins. Our guide, Yusuf, will not be able to facilitate the purchase of a Sim card for you. We highly recommend getting a plan through your provider instead of a Sim card.
Money: Exchange and how much to bring
Hareesh recommends using ATMs in India to exchange money as they have the best exchange rate. If you would like to arrive with Rupees in hand, we suggest exchanging money at home before you travel. Just keep in mind that any money you want to exchange back to US dollars will be done at a loss. So try to exchange only what you will spend.
Note: since everything essential is included in the price of the trip, you only need petty cash for shopping and gifts. Often people don’t spend more than 100-200 dollars. If you plan on buying more expensive items such as statues (mūrtis), sārīs, or other items, those shops almost always accept credit cards.
Tips for Hotel staff are include as part of the trip.
It is customary to tip our tour guide Yusuf, the bus driver and the bus driver's assistant. The usual range is $5-20 per day for all three of them, with $10-15 being the average per day (for ALL of the staff). Tips will be collected by Melissa at the end of the pilgrimage & are part of Yusuf’s livelihood.
You can also make cash offerings at temples, these are not usually large sums of money (as little as 10 rupees) but you can give as much as your heart is called to.