What all things to keep in mind for a solo travel in India

‘I love to travel but have to wait for my friends to get free time which would match mine’

‘I love to travel but want to experience a solo trip but am too scared about it’

‘I love to travel and want to travel solo but don’t know where to start from and how to do it’

Sounds familiar?

Most of us want to travel, rather love travelling. But when those friends and family are not available when you are available to go then you keep postponing the dates as per their availability.

Sometimes, you just want to have the experience of ‘solo’ travelling but somehow never started off.

So what are the things that you need to know before stepping out for travelling solo?

Here are some important pointers based on my own experiences which you would find useful while travelling solo in India –

Know your place

A little bit pre-researched information about the place where you are going is always helpful. Example, the kind of weather conditions, culture, dressing sense, food, transport availability, etc.

Transport

All places in India are mostly connected by trains and bus. So after you have selected the place you want to go, see the rental options of four wheeler and two wheeler if you want to avoid public transport.

For trains it is better to book beforehand. For the bus transport check for the State run transport first as it is much faster and budget friendly.

If you are moving from one destination to another then check the connectivity. For example, when I went to Rajasthan, I rented two wheeler at Jaipur and covered all the nearby places with that.

Food

Best way to enjoy the foods and have the hygiene factor covered is by having the local authentic foods. You get the fresh fruits and vegetables and also the processed items intake would be less when you are tasting the local delicacies. And given India is majorly a vegetarian country, you would get all types of food at almost all states.

Take your own reusable bottle with a filter attached (although it’s a bit expensive). This will help you to have pure drinking water. Buying water every time if you are on a long trip would weigh down on the budget.

Clothes

India is a vast country with tropical climate. Whatever destination you travel to, better to check the weather conditions prior to that. Especially the clothes you will require at the Northern India is different from Southern India.

However, it is good to have interchangeable clothes and light multi-purpose jackets which you can mix and match and wear anytime.

Another important thing is to wear clothes which does not attract unnecessary attention (especially for women travelers). Prefer to wear clothes covering more than 70% of the body. Not all places are same but just to be on the safer side you would like to take this into consideration.

Also keep in mind, while visiting most of the religious places, wear a fully covered dress and better to cover the head.

Be a Responsible Traveler

Traveling is not just about fun. It’s also about experiences and learning. Wherever you go ensure that you respect not just the people and culture but also the place. Do NOT litter around even if you find litter lying here and there. It will not only help you have a satisfied journey but also you might inspire and encourage others to follow the same, you never know!

Hacks & Tips

Ladies, it is a good idea to fake a ring on your finger! It works most of the time. This peculiar trick keeps away unwanted men most of the time.

Keep a whistle, key, spray(any deodorant will also do) and torch handy always for safety purpose.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Local police and hospital details should always be with you wherever you are traveling to.

While India is a diverse country with a diverse culture, it is always advisable to respect and be humble and empathetic while traveling towards the locals and the fellow travelers.

If you have some other tips and experience do share it in the comments below. Would love to hear.

Happy traveling 🙂

New Year. New Mindset. New Action.

A surprisingly weird thing happened. Of course positive. Recently I noticed that whenever I open YouTube I search for videos which are useful for my growth. In other words fertilizer for the brain. Example, videos from Dan Lok, Jay Shetty, Dev Gadhvi, Oprah Winfrey and others.

Earlier whenever I opened YouTube, only movies and web series were being searched on priority. Now, I don’t feel like watching things unnecessarily which is not serving any positive purpose in my life. Some other shifts that have happened are there are only positive and like-minded people in my circles. Toxic people have been cut off. Brainstorming, discussion and continuous brewing of fresh ideas small or big are being discussed.

Story telling has been a major experience or learning you may say. It is a way you can express your most complicated thoughts.

In the last couple of days, hundreds of people have taken thousands of resolutions. Many will fulfill while some will forget in the hustle and bustle of life. Few of my friends have taken a new resolution of reading positive books for their mental and overall growth. They asked me to suggest some of the books to start off with.

Here are some of the books which they along with you all who want to nurture their minds and souls can go through.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

80% Mindset 20% Skills by Dev Gadhvi

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Attitude is Everything by Jeff Keller

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Crush It by Gary Vay Ner Chuk

Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

And many more…

There are lots of things you can do in this new year to see yourself at a much better position in the upcoming days. However, there is a small price you need to pay. That is, you need to take that first step.

There is a person who comes the gym near my place. He might be some VIP since there is a person who holds his bottle and towel, there is another guard standing beside him always while he works out. But ultimately after so many external help, he has to do the push-ups himself.

So let this new year bring a breath of fresh air and all this time the tasks you have been postponing and avoiding, start taking action for those. Take small steps. See the change in you. Be the better version of yourself.

Right time or right pace?

Have this thought ever crossed your mind at least once in life that you are too late to achieve success or anything that you want in life whereas others are way ahead of you in life? If yes, then congratulations! You are on the right track!

Confused? Let me explain.

Heard about Julia Child? She worked in advertising and media till her golden jubilee age in life. At 50, she launched her own cookbook and started her new desired career as a Celebrity Chef at the age of 51!

Sounds crazy? Here’s another real life example. Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing with the encouragement of her daughter at the age of 43. Her first and remaining several attempts were rejected numerous times. She went on improving herself at that skill for several years until at the age of 65, the famous ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ was published! She wrote the other series of ‘Little House’ of which the last one was published at the age of 76!

So if any thought crossed your mind that you are ‘too late’ in life even though you are struggling too much, just pause for a moment and realize the fact that ‘nothing is too late ever’. It is only a relative term, ‘late’, when you compare yourself with others. BUT our biggest competitor is just ‘us’.

If you feel like putting more effort in whatever you are doing, simply put more effort. If you feel like you need to pace up in whatever you are doing, then simply speed up, but because you want to achieve it and NOT because someone else is ahead of you in that genre.

Everyone is unique. So are the struggles and achievements.

Happy Life 🙂

Baggage with no benefit

When I first listened to these conversations, I was forced to think about it from a different angle. The event happened like this. My friend (a friend’s friend), Riya (name changed) and her roommate Sanaya (name changed) stay together in a sharing apartment. Just like any other sharing responsibilities, they had their designated set of works to do daily.

Since last few days Sanaya had been quiet all of a sudden. She recently had a break up hence was upset about it. Riya on the other hand tried to comfort her and change her mood in some way or the other. However, Sanaya was getting depressed day by day. Although she wanted to move on and be happy yet, she pulled herself back in some way or the other which only affected herself.

During that week, Riya had the responsibility of keeping the garbage/trash out of home for that particular week every morning. Instead of doing that, she kept piling up the trash in the same dustbin bag every day!

First day crossed, everything was as usual. Second day, third day crossed, everything same. Fourth day – Sanaya got up to a rotten smell in the entire house. She went to the dustbin and saw a huge pile of trash in huge quantity. She simply went to Riya and asked her-

Sanaya: Are you getting that rotten smell coming out of that trash?

Riya: Yes of course! My nose is very sharp 😉

Sanaya (confused): Then why are you so relaxed? You were to throw that garbage outside in the morning right? So why are you piling it up?

Riya (calmly): Yes I know. But why is that bothering you so much? Even though it’s trash and useless garbage, what’s the harm in keeping it inside?

Sanaya (more confused and now a bit irritated): Are you kidding me!? If we keep the garbage inside, only we are going to suffer and not the people outside or even the neighbours!

Riya(smiling): Exactly my point! How can you stay happy with so much garbage (burden) inside you? How can you move on smoothly and swiftly by carrying the useless baggage unnecessarily which is only imparting the rotten feeling within you?

Sanaya was stunned. Stood there for a few minutes without saying a word. She was absorbed in those simple words of her roommate. It took her no further time to understand the reality and basis of her life. With a huge smile she hugged Riya and thanked for clearing her mind off from all the unnecessary stuffs.

A simple yet a powerful message. Whether it’s a breakup, sack from job, losing a close one, business loss or any kind of failure under the Sun is a baggage which we carry from the past into our present and future. Although the context of this baggage remains the same, yet the weight of this baggage increases to become a burden which is in no way good for us mentally, emotionally or physical and also for the people around us.

So always leave or at least try to leave your unnecessary baggage in the past. Simply bring in the learning from the baggage into the present and future.

Happy Life 🙂

EatStreet at Brisbane. Food paradise in Australia

When you are in a new country, the first thing you look for is food, be it your native food or the local food. But when you have the option of pampering your taste buds with not just your native food but also local foods and delicacies from all over the world, what do you do? Yes you are in the Food Heaven!

In brief – EatStreet is a place at North Shore Hamilton, Brisbane where there is a food festival on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the year. From food, beverages to live performances at more than 2 stages, you can enjoy your time and dine by the Brisbane River watching the mesmerizing sunset.

On the occasion of the 5 years anniversary of the EatStreet, here are some of the moments captured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another of my Moon shot 🙂

If you are at Brisbane, definitely visit EatStreet for some mouth watering experience!! Happy travelling 🙂

 

 

How to travel frequently having a full time job

How many of us wish to travel often but are pulled down due to our full time jobs? We all have at least one friend who fits in the above scenario. Or rather, some of us are the exact ones. Just imagine if you get the trick to travel frequently even with a full time job, how brilliant does that sound? Amazing right!

I have been working in a full time job since few years now, but the urge to go and visit new places, meet new people and most importantly try out amazing delicacies, has always kept a fire burning in my heart since a long time. In simple terms, explore the amazing World given to us by Mother Nature! In most of my travel stories shared with you all in my blog, maximum have been done during weekends, be it with family/friends or solo. You can check out all those with budget and itinerary!

Trips with friends and family are always welcome, but the problem comes when the time adjustment as per their availability does not match with mine and vice-versa.

Hence, I decided to take the plunge and raft with the flow. But the entire planning authority and freedom is mine for these trips and it gives an amazing sense of accomplishment and freedom!

So, most of us have 5 days job. But few even have Saturdays working. So what you can do is –

  1. First, look for long weekends where you can combine 1 or 2 days extra along with Saturday and Sunday for your trip, if not even then it’s fine
  2. List down all the nearby destinations from your location (you can always include the far off destinations with one night journey if you feel like)
  3. Check the train/bus/flight availability

If you are on a budget, then better to take train/bus. Some good websites to book online – IRCTC (I guess foreigners without user id cannot book from here, but there are other options) 

Yatra (some good offers are available round the year, just keep an eye on it)

MakeMyTrip (again look out for offers and discounts from time to time)

Goibibo (good discounts especially during the festive seasons)

Easemytrip (they don’t charge for the convenience fee)

4. Do some research about the place – Now this will be according to your taste and likeness which means if you are an adventure seeker, look out for what you can do in that place or if you are going with your family then what all options are available to explore

5. Set your budget for the entire trip including tickets

6. Calculate your travel time. If you are at a place say for example, Mumbai or Delhi and after office hours if you have to catch the train/bus at Friday night, then how many hours will be taken to reach your destination next day morning. I would suggest not to waste time beyond morning of the next day (Saturday), then you can utilize the max amount of time in the destination

7. If you are more of an explorer like me instead of a tourist, then checkout for hosts/travelers in Couchsurfing . The locals give you the better information about places and activities that tourists don’t get easily

Check out sites like TripAdvisor , LonelyPlanet, Tripoto . There are forums where you can even post your queries and get answers from genuine travelers.

8. If you are fine with not booking in advance for your accommodation, that’s okay but only if that’s a non-peak season. It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance especially if you are traveling in peak season

Booking.com (this is amazing to book good accommodations including homestay, hotel, resorts with excellent deals and you can even book without any advance booking fee and can cancel anytime before a specified timeline!)

My travel is mostly – start friday night, reach Saturday morning, Sunday again start for the return journey and Monday morning back to base. But if there are some mondays or fridays that can be taken as leave or clubbed with any National holidays, it’s more beneficial!

If you need any help or brainstorming regarding any place/trip, do get in touch with me. Always ready to help 🙂

Happy traveling 🙂

 

Why Travel? 11 Benefits when you start traveling

“Not all those who wander are lost. “

— JRR Tolkein

Why travel? Why do people travel? Why do you travel or want to travel? There are different kinds of answers to these questions by all of us. But the fact remains same that traveling open the doors of our brain, mind and soul. It channelizes our energy to understand deeply about things that we otherwise fail to understand.

We all have come across many articles, stories, videos and blogs on people of various culture, different age groups who travel the world for their own desires and thirst for exploration. Some do it for fun, some for the adventure while rest to get the experience of a lifetime.

Let me tell you why traveling is so important and why everyone should be doing this more often. (Am talking about traveling for self – not the compulsory work/business travel that the respective people get frustrated and fed up with 😦 )

  1. Travel teaches us problem solving skills in any situation
  2. Travel teaches us to be more compassionate towards fellow human beings and animals
  3. Travel allows us to be friends with amazing people, some for lifetime
  4. Travel shows that there are more good people everywhere than what we see on TVs and virtual world
  5. Travel teaches us to be punctual, disciplined and responsible
  6. Travel makes us more creative
  7. Travel boosts happiness and satisfaction
  8. Travel makes us happy which in turn help in lowering depression
  9. Travel makes us more smarter
  10. Travel teaches us to be reflective upon the situations we come across, thereby helping in making wise decisions
  11. Travel helps us to be independent when we think we cannot!

Whatever and to what extent the benefits are, we should always keep in mind to respect Nature by not littering any places or misusing the resources that are provided to us by Nature for our own existence. Happy traveling 🙂

 

10 ways to get paid to travel the World

‘I need a break! Let’s go somewhere.’

‘I wish I could travel 365 days without worrying about paying rent!’

Sounds familiar? We, who simply love travelling but are pulled sometimes due to the burden of the routine life and expenses, often wonder as to how can we simply travel and earn at the same time. Today, in the 21st century there are lots of ways to get paid to travel the world. Thanks to the internet ofcourse! For those who seriously want to travel and earn simultaneously, here are the options to choose from. Have a look.

Blogging (Travel Stories/Food Reviews/Offbeat Places etc)

If you are a good writer and can express well about your travel stories, then travel blogs are a way to earn. Have your own blog and pen down whatever information you got with your experiences. Uniqueness and originality is preferred since people can connect with the same. But in this case, it takes quite some time to get established fully into it.

Freelance

Online freelancing is the most flexible option. If you are good in any particular field you can charge on hourly basis based on the work. It can be anything starting from content writing to consultancy. You might want to check this out for freelance options.

Local part time jobs (specific to different countries)

Now, this is interesting and sometimes fun activity too which might pay you good amount at certain cases. The place where you are traveling, you can checkout for some activities which need a helping hand, like organic farming, gardening, poultry, minor construction etc. This is also a good way to have new experiences at certain jobs that you never thought might do in life!

Speak good English

If you are reading this article then obviously you know English. But go a step further and if you have a good grip on Grammar and command over this language then you can get the opportunity to teach at various places and countries where people look forward to learn English. Hence, you can earn on the go.

Helping Hand

If you are good in helping others, then there are options where you can offer to help and get paid in return. These include – helping someone in their homestays, day to day routine works, handling guests at their farmhouse, helping in surveys of any kind and many more. Generally the timing varies 4-5 hours a day as per the requirement and those people want travellers who could offer a helping hand too. Since, it’s not a permanent thing and the flexibility is also good enough along with the pay.

Tour Guide

Most simple, become a tour guide. If you have good knowledge about the place, history and culture, you can share the same knowledge with other travellers and tourists. This brings in good amount of money too.

WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

Volunteers are offered food and accommodation. Many people volunteer for the opportunities and flexible terms of WWOOF. It is not exactly an earning, but an excellent way to travel without much affecting your bank account. Also you get to meet a lot of like-minded travellers.

Airline

Bea flight attendant. Most of the places would be covered wherever the route takes you. It’s an excellent way of earning who can manage the long hours in the air.

Cruise

Work for a cruise line. You will get to visit some of the most exotic locations along with all facilities provided to crew members with all expenses paid for you.

Destination wedding photographer

This is for the artistic group of people who have special interest in photography. Needless to say this requires a bit of skill and should be a professional or exceptionally good photographer. The clients want beautiful and exotic locations mostly and all expenses paid for you along with a handsome earning.

Along with all these there are some sites which provide stay options and cultural exchange through meeting with the travellers across the globe – Couch-surfing , Workaway , etc. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next destination. Happy travelling!

10 Best Places in India for Solo Female Travelers – Budget Friendly

With a full time job and only few weekends to spend for myself in a year, it’s a little bit of extra work of planning for a solo trip. Although there are lots of places in India to visit solo(for everyone irrespective of men or women), here are the top most as per budget, food and traveler friendly.

Source : Mumbai

Trip Duration (each) : 2-4 days (over the weekend)

Budget : Within INR 7000

Accomodation : Through makemytrip.combooking.com (these offer some really good budget-friendly deals) and Couchsurfing(the worldwide common platform for cultural exchange with travel experiences and hospitality- the best out of all the options!).

Budget : Pocket friendly (All prices might vary from season to season and person to person. These are the ones I completed my trips within).

1. Hampi – Paradise for all backpackers

Approx trip cost – INR 2000

The land of monuments and the Tungabhadra River, Hampi is more than just scenic beauty and an ideal place for backpackers, it is an experience with best of ancient touch and the warm and mordern gestures of the locals. The ancient temples, monuments and the giant rocks and boulders of Hampi will leave you amazed. The locals there speak fluent English so language is not a problem for anyone communicating in English.

Definitely take the Coracle ride once to cross the river. It’s really fun! And it is very well within the pocket-friendly budget. Have delicious foods at Mango Tree cafe with unlimited access to wifi and great ambiance.

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Tip : Take enough cash as there is no facility of card swipe at most of the places. The only ATM is at Hospet, 10 km from Hampi.

For detailed info, check here.

2. Goa – Indian travel hotspot year round for all kinds of travelers

Approx trip cost – INR 4000

The most happening place for solo traveling. Parties, serene beauty, water sports, adventure or just chilling out – Goa offers everything and is most frequented by solo travelers. You can visit Goa at any time of the year except the Summer season(it’s too hot!) During Monsoons only the water activities are closed due to high tides, otherwise every place can be explored and it’s a scenic beauty treat to the eyes during monsoon.

Try out the local cuisines and rent a two-wheeler (rent options available almost everywhere) for an ultimate enjoyable experience.

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Tip : Take good amount of sunscreen whichever month it be. Try out all kinds of booze at cheap rates than any other state.

3. Sikkim : The abode of natural beauty

Approx trip cost – INR 7000

Known as the most disciplined state, Sikkim is the abode of natural beauty and peace. You can never get enough of its serenity. The food, shopping and people are simply amazing. Definitely visit the Monastery, Phelling, Tsangu Lake. Gorge on yummiest momos and soups!

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Tip : Take a light jacket for the night in off winter season and definitely the woolens during winter.

4. Varanasi – Essence of Indian culture

Approx trip cost – INR 4500

As the saying goes ‘Varanasi is not just a place, it’s an experience’ is very true and you can experience this once you visit here. The Ganges, the Ghats, the Ganga Aarti , the innumerous diyas at the bank of the River – India’s culture reflects in every corner of Varanasi. At least once in life you must pay a visit. In the evening take a ride in the boat along the Assi Ghats and watch and immerse in the essence of Ganga Aarti.

Tip : Take proper care of not to get trapped by the ‘pandas’ at the temples.

5. Udaipur – The City of Lakes

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Rajasthan has always attracted people from all over the world due to its rich history, culture and architecture. One of the safest destination for women travelers. The people are very friendly and helpful. The City of Lakes – Udaipur . The vintage car museum, the City Palace, the stroll near the banks of the lakes and getting immersed in the golden hue of sunset are just some of the many things you should do in Udaipur.

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Tip : Sit by the lakes (especially Lake Pichola) by the evening to enjoy the picturesque beauty and soothing breeze and try out the German Bakery stuffs over there!

6. Jaipur – The Pink City

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Enjoy the Forts, palaces and vintage museums of the Pink City – Jaipur with delicious traditional foods that the city has to offer. The largest physical sun dial is located here at Jantar Mantar. It’s thrilling how the astronomy and engineering was so perfect at the ancient era in India!

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Tip : If you love walking, then can explore most the city by walking only.

For detailed info check here.

7. Jodhpur – Rajasthan treasures

Approx trip cost – INR 2500

The Blue City – Jodhpur is famous for the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the biggest in India and the Golden City. Along with that the world’s largest Royal residential heritage hotel – Umaid Bhavan Palace is located here.

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Tip : Try walking up the road to the Fort through the narrow backstreet from where the view is breathtaking, especially early in the morning and late evening.

For detailed info, check here.

8. Pondicherry – Touch of French culture

Approx trip cost – INR 5000

The French Colony of India is a place which has something that most of the place has in scarcity – peace and serenity. The delectable French cuisines, the old buildings, the small clean beautiful lanes, the Aurobindo Ashram, the simple people leading their simple lives, the shops for some great shopping experience – you can enjoy all these at Pondicherry. Do spend the evening at the Ocean rocks, it’s a beautiful experience.

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Tip : Take the direct bus from Chennai if you are opting for public transport or better book a cab for more convenience.

9. Khajuraho – Ancient architecture of India

Approx trip cost – 5000

A bit surprised? Yes Khajuraho is one of the best places for female solo travelers to visit and explore. Ofcourse a little cautiousness is needed just like any other place, but once you get the idea you are good to go ahead. The temple is the biggest attraction here and two lakes are also present nearby.

Khajuraho railway station is located in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Along with that the Khajuraho airport is another option. By roadways, you can take buses which are available from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi, Delhi and few other.

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Tip : While buying souvenirs at the shops outside the temple, negotiate as much as you can as they don’t give up easily.

10. Jhansi and Orchha – History of bravery and valour

Approx trip cost – 4000

In Jhansi, the Fort is the only attraction but the Orchha Palace is something not to be missed. An official guide at this place would be helpful to understand the details.

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Tip : Take a shared tempo from Jhansi to Orchha and vice versa for a distance of around 10 kms. It is cheap and convenient too.

So step out and explore and enjoy the beauties of every part of India! This list of course is going to increase as days pass by. If you know any other places which should add up to this list, please do share in the comment section. Happy traveling 🙂

10-Day Vipassana Course, India

“The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live”

-Buddha

Before reading about this course, it is advisable to read ‘Vipassana – What? Why? How?‘ in order to understand more easily and clearly.

The 10 day Vipassana course is the beginner’s course taught at Dhamma GiriIgatpuri, Maharashtra, India. The registration can be done online and offline as well. My course was during the Monsoons and the best time in the Western Ghats of India. Picturesque breath taking views of Dhamma Giri and its surrounding areas is no less than a treat for the soul.

I came across it online and to my surprise it has been there for years without many people not even knowing about it! I decided to go for the beginner’s course to learn the actual technique and see for myself what exactly it is and how it works.

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At Dhamma Giri you need to reach one day before the course starts for the registration process. Hundreds of people from all over the World come and queue in for the course. Once the registration process is completed by approx 6:00 pm, everyone is given instructions for the upcoming 10 days.

Overview

You need to carry your own set of clothes and necessary items like medicines, toiletries, bedsheet, blankets etc. Although bedsheet and blankets are also provided for those who could not bring along. However, there are certain strict rules to be followed for the entire duration of the course :

  • No possession of any reading/writing material
  • No sacred/religious stuffs (for chanting, praying etc)
  • No music or any kind of electronic gadgets
  • No communication among fellow students (Noble Silence). However, you are allowed to speak to the Teachers for any query related to the technique and Dhamma workers(Sevak/Sevika) for any problems in accommodation
  • No eye contact with fellow students
  • No telling lies
  • No harming/killing (even insects!)
  • No sexual offence
  • No wasting food
  • No intervening in the opposite gender areas (Female and Male sections are entirely separated)

If you are able to follow these thoroughly only then you are allowed to be a part of the course. Moreover, there is also good reason about why noble silence is observed throughout the course. Will come to that later.

There is a huge gong that rings at the exact timings of the day (punctuality is nailed like anything!). The entire course is FREE of cost! Yes! The accommodation, facilities, food everything. The only fee/investment is that you have to be true to yourself. At the end of the course, if you feel benefited then you may donate something completely at your own will, if at all you feel like. The routine that needs to be followed for the complete course of 10 days –

4:00 am > Wake up Gong

4:30 am  – 6:30 am > Group Meditation

6:30 am – 8:00 am > Breakfast and Bath

8:00 am – 11:00 am > Meditation

11:00 am – 1:00 pm > Lunch and your personal time

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm > Meditation

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm > Tea

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm > Meditation

9:00 pm – 9:30 pm > Q&A with the Teachers

Looks a bit scary isn’t it? But to get the benefits and learn the technique in its pure form, discipline is a must.

Day 1:

The first day was exciting and confusing with all kinds of mixed feelings. The instructions are given in Hindi and English. When settled in the group meditation hall, a sloka in Pali language greets you (by Acharya S.N. Goenka , the founder of the Vipassana Centre).

It is made clear at the beginning itself, that Vipassana is not a religious ritual/practice or dogma or cult or any kind of blind faith. It is a proven science and technique of mind and body. The first thing taught is to just ‘observe’ the breath. The natural free flowing breath, without regulating it or forcing in any way. As mentioned in my previous article, Vipassana is all about seeing things as it is. As Nature has provided. The Universal Law of Nature.

So the first thing is to just observe the breath. Within few minutes you will realize that your mind has already wandered away here and there instead of focusing on the breath. How irritating isn’t it? Your own mind doesn’t listen to you when you tell it to do something, it does its own free will. Your entire body starts to pain for sitting continuously in the same posture.

‘The mind controls us instead of we controlling the mind”

Within few hours you will come across all kinds of thoughts, memories and feelings coming out like a volcano from your inside. These are all the thoughts that have been there buried deep inside from the time you actually have gained sense since childhood.

At this time, some people get annoyed, some become overwhelmed, some cry when not able to take the charge of these thoughts that flow like a river. The solution is simple – you just have to accept and let go!

“Nothing is permanent. Everything arises and passes away – The Universal Law of Nature”

The thoughts, the feelings, the pain everything is impermanent. Towards the end of third day you will be able to focus and observe your breath in a much better way. You feel much relaxed not only at the surface level but from deep within.

Day 2, Day 3 : 

Continuous learning to just observe the breath in its natural free form. The duration increases where you can focus on your respiration without the mind wandering anywhere! That’s the first happy and victorious moment of your inner struggle.

Day 4:

Vipassana – the technique is taught. The focus on your entire body from head to toe. The sensations of all kind whether gross or subtle, slowly and steadily you feel every kinds of sensations in the body.

“The sensations are always present, every second in every cells of our body. We just don’t feel it until any kind of pain”

The focus on the free flow increases and with deeper concentration. The mind becomes calmer and much sharper than it used to be. The entire process is like a deep internal surgery to get all negativity like stress, tension, worry, agitation etc out from oneself. In short, to get out from all miseries.

Day 5 to Day 9:

The extreme pain, discomfort slowly fades away and finally you feel much happier and relaxed. Each day is a test and each reward is much sweeter than the previous day. You realize that you can sit in a single posture continuously for over an hour without even flinching an inch! Mentally and physically you become more aware, alert and calm.

Day 10:

The ultimate day when the vow of silence is finally over! You smile. The people around you smile. And that is the moment you connect and feel only love and compassion towards every being. Hatred, anger all gone! A 10 day retreat to a better version of oneself. To know oneself in a deeper way.

Above I have mentioned that noble silence is a must to learn this technique. This is because –

Firstly, when you communicate verbally new thoughts and actions get created every moment which comes in the way of concentration of the mind.

Secondly, every individual experiences different emotions and feelings. So once you start talking, as per the basic human nature you start comparing automatically – ‘oh, he/she is feeling such gross sensations while am feeling only subtle, that means am missing something‘. No! that is not the case. Everyone experiences certain things differently and so this kind of judgement hampers the process of learning this technique in the correct way.

This day Guruji (Acharya S.N. Goenka) explains how to utilize this technique in our day to day life. How to help and spread this awareness to others who really need this approach for his/her betterment.

There is no criteria or category to share knowledge, show kindness, love and compassion. Personally I feel like every individual whether they feel like they are the luckiest person on Earth or the saddest person, everyone should know and learn this technique for the betterment of oneself. Creating peace and harmony and showing love and compassion is never too much for anyone. There is no limit to it. A little gesture goes a long way.

“However many holy words you read, However many you speak, What good will they do you If you do not act on upon them?”

-Buddha

But just by reading and listening from others never help much. The truth needs to be experience yourself, only then it’s a truth for you at the experiential level.

“Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam”

Be Happy 🙂