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    Image Credit: bluemangoretreats.com

    For centuries, travellers have always turned to India for their share of self-discovery and spiritual wisdom. Be it meditation, yoga or even ancient practices that promise to rejuvenate your mind and soul, India has redefined the concept of spiritual travel. There are a number of places in India that can help you as you go on a journey of inner peace.

    10 destinations for a spiritual retreat in India:

    1. Yoga Vidya, Karnataka

    Image credits: Oleg Klementiev

    The programmes vary based on the level of experience the participants have with yoga and consist of a beginner and advanced level. The beginner level consists of a two week long Yoga Immersion Retreat where participants are taught the theory of yoga as well as given detailed instructions and demonstrations.

    It provides a spiritual background to the practise of yoga that can help the participants with their spiritual experience. They also teach the basics of Ayurveda and Patanjali Yoga sutras.

    There is also an intensive advanced programme that is for experienced individuals. Although the advanced programme is currently discontinued, it might resume in the coming year. Yoga Vidya also has a meditation retreat that combines yoga with art and its one among the top spiritual retreats in India.

    2. Lotus of the Desert Retreat, Rajasthan

     

    This particular retreat is conducted only for women and focuses on feminine divinity in each of them. Travelling through the state of Rajasthan, the retreat focuses on the inner journey of each of the participants as they experience the colour and vibrant beauty of the state.

    It provides everyone a chance to experience the peaceful nature of a yoga retreat as you meditate and practise yoga in the sacred city of Pushkar,Ajmer.

    Other activities include hiking to temples on top of the mountains during sunrise and sunset. The retreat also lets participants visit some of the most spiritual places in Rajasthan.

    The retreat also includes exploring the beautiful cities as they make their way through them which includes the city of Jodhpur. It also provides the opportunity to go on a camel safari in the Jaisalmer desert experiencing the beauty of the desert landscape. The beauty and spiritual aspects of the city of Delhi are also explored and experienced.

    3. Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

    Located in Northern India in the hills, the centre is known for the study and practice of Buddhism. Although not a retreat in the traditional sense, the centre offers an excellent environment to learn and practise the teachings of Buddhism.

    The centre offers 10 day introductory courses in Buddhism. The centre also has personal retreats for experienced individuals that focuses highly on discipline and meditation in silence.

    This ‘Silent retreat’ is a rare opportunity to be completely cut off from the outside world and focus solely on the task of meditation that can help participants discover the inner self.

    4. Satvik Sadan, Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

    Popular as a Vedic wellness retreat, Satvik Sadan is a yoga retreat that focuses on the power of yoga. Apart from teaching the participants about the power of Ayurveda in daily living, it also seeks to give lifestyle management counselling so as to impart the principle objectives in life that helps bring balance to one’s living.

    Image Credits: .efuturelg.com

    The retreat also offers Ayurvedic massages for an invigorating experience. Located close to the Kumaon region which is believed to be the birthplace of Yoga, this is one of those spiritual retreats in India which seeks to impart the wisdom of the ancient practice of Yoga not just through postures but by setting participants off on a spiritual travel.

    5. Chakra Activation and Balancing Retreat, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

    Chakras are believed to be energy centres in the body where positive energy flows in and negative energy flows out. Ensuring that they are open can result in the release of negative energy from the body and can create harmony and balance in the mind and soul.

    Having said that, this is one of the few spiritual retreats in India that organises a seven-day retreat at their Manali centre that will educate you on the aspects of each chakra and help you strengthen those chakras that are weak and calm those that are hyperactive which will result in a balanced life.

    The programme also ensures that you have a rich spiritual experience and a lot of time for personal reflection. The programme which includes Yogic breathing and meditation also has a separate five-day advanced session.

    6. Blue Mango Retreats, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

    The Blue Mango Retreats in the beautiful Lahaul-Spiti is the world’s highest meditation and spiritual retreat. This is one of the types of spiritual retreats in India which is especially suited for those who seek solitude and peace among the Himalayas. Apart from the beautiful scenery, the area is known for its Buddhist culture.

    One of the few places where participants can experience peace and tranquillity, the Blue Mango retreat offers a six day spiritual and meditation retreat that promises to rejuvenate your mind and offers lessons on ways to tackle one’s life in a better way.The program also offers the chance to experience the local culture and also interact and learn from the locals.

    The retreat promises to take you on a spiritual travel that will help in emotional and mental healing, deepen your spiritual understanding and strengthen your spiritual development.

    The retreat offers the flexibility of either a group retreat or an individual retreat. An individual retreat may be more beneficial as the participant can customise his retreat and can receive focused attention.

    8. Yoga Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

    One of the well-known yoga retreats in India Yoga Ashram Rishikesh provides a number of yoga retreats as well as a variety of wellness packages that are aimed at revitalising the soul. Apart from a large number of spiritual treks, the centre also offers a number of spiritual retreats. It has a comprehensive Yoga travel programme that takes the participant through a number of spiritual retreats in India.

    It also includes a tailor-made retreat where participants can customise a retreat to suit their individual needs. It also provides a yoga and spa retreat in addition to a body rebalancing retreat that focuses on those individuals that need to reinvigorate a tired body, mind and soul.

    Their ‘Ayurvedic Indian’ retreat offers a complete detoxification for a healthy body and a clear mind. For those individuals who haven’t yet experienced the healing powers of Yoga, it includes a foundation course where they can experience and also learn about the benefits and origins of yoga.

    The centre boasts of a variety of places where the participants can experience their yoga retreat that include the beaches of Goa and the Western Ghats.

    9. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Centre, Kerala and Karnataka

    Located in both Mysore in Karnataka and Varkala in Kerala, the centre has a variety of spiritual retreat programmes that aid in the spiritual development of the participants.

    Apart from having a Yoga retreat taught by experienced instructors, the centre also features a number of meditation classes that can help the participants in their spiritual travels. The centre conducts yoga retreats on the beaches of Varkala that will help the participants focus on their inner self.

    [Enjoy a Kalari Massage with natural healing in Kerala]

    As a meditation retreat the centre also offers Osho’s meditation classes that offer different kinds of Osho’s meditations. The centre also includes a three-week intensive course on Pranayama that is based on the power of breathing and focuses on controlling of the breathing as a means of calming the agitated mind and body.

    It teaches the different forms of breathing that allow the individual to purify and revitalise his body and thus enhancing his mental energy.

    10. Shreyas Retreat, Bangalore, Karnataka

    This is another one of the popular spiritual retreats in India that offers its participants Ashtanga Yoga sessions which are normally for experienced practitioners that focus on a series of postures moving in a certain flow. Breathing is focused on as a way of facilitating the removal of toxins.

    [Relax with yoga classes and meditation sessions at Shreyas Retreat, Bangalore]

    The centre also offers Hatha Yoga which aims to purify and harmonise the body by using it as an instrument to master the mind and hence attain higher levels of consciousness.

    The centre provides spiritual meditation retreats that aims to create a balance in mind, body and spirit through Yoga. The centre also gives silent retreats that are a way of calming the mind and re-prioritising one’s life goals.

    For those looking to relax, the centre offers a number of Ayurveda massages that can help to remove the negative energy that has been accumulated over time using a several techniques including Shirodhara Ayurveda massage that involves pouring a continuous stream of warm oil on the forehead and also Choorna Pinda Sweda Massage that consists of using herbs to massage the body that have the effect of calming the muscles.

    [Contact us for more details and similar tours]


Attractions

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Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is one of the most important places to visit in Chittorgarh. This historical fort is the pride of the Rajasthani town as it stands imposingly upon the top of a hill, looking down protectively over the city. Nearly all of Chittorgarh’s attractions are housed inside the fort. 

The Chittorgarh Fort is a massive structure which was first built in the 7th century and covers an area of approximately 700 acres. There are several grand sights to be seen inside the fort itself apart from the commanding views that can be seen of the environs of Chittorgarh.

The fort, which is also known as Water Fort, contained 84 water bodies inside its grounds, of which 22 exist today. The Vijay Stambh, Kirti Stambh, Rana Kumbha Palace, Meera mandir and other consequential structures are also housed inside the formidable fort. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: Rs. 10 for Indians; Rs. 100 for foreigners 
Location: Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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Bala Quila Fort

Also known as the Alwar Fort, the BalaQuila Fort is one of the most historic destinations in Alwar, and is one of the tourist attractions in Alwar that should not be missed when you are in the Rajasthani city. Extending over an area of 5 kilometres, the fort stands stern and forbidding at a height of 1000 feet with 15 large and 51 small towers and 446 openings for musketry.

It was first built by Hasan Khan Mewati in 1550, but has since seen various dynasties rule over it as Alwar passed into the hands of Khanzadas, Mughals, Pathans and Jats. The fort still stands as imposing as ever, and is a great place to visit during an evening in the city. 

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm 
Location: Bala Quila   Rd, Near Nikumbha Mahal Palace, Alwar, Rajasthan 301001
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Bhangarh fort

If you are looking for some thrills in Alwar, visiting its “most haunted place” is the best way to fulfil the desire. Bhangarh Fort, on the border of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, has long held its spooky reputation. Though it is a well-preserved fort, the ‘supernatural’ occurrences that seem to occur within its premises tend to ward off many people.

If you are eager to explore Alwar in all its facets, haunted and otherwise, a visit to this fort is a must. Do it while the light lasts, since ghosts are said to hang out here at night. Though spooky, Bhangarh Fort is one of the best places to visit in Alwar for some unique memories.  

Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Location: Gola ka baas, Rajgarh Tehsil, Alwar, Bhangarh, Rajasthan 301410
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Tower of Fame (Kirti Stambh)

The Kirti Stambha is a one of the lovely tourist attractions of Chittorgarh. Housed inside the massive Chittorgarh Fort, this 12th century tower stands as a monument to Adinathji, the 1st Jain Teerthankar.

It is decorated with the naked figures of the Digambars, and reflects the cultural beliefs of the Digambars comprehensively. There are seven storeys in the tower, and a narrow and steep staircase leads to the top from where views of the Chittorgarh environs can be taken in. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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The Palace Museum

The Palace Museum, also known as the Government Museum, is a worthwhile place to visit when in the city. There is a wonderful range of artefacts that are displayed in the museum that speak of the history of Rajasthan, and of Alwar in particular.

The entire collection of the museum comes from the Royal families reserves and consists of 234 sculptures, 11 inscriptions, 9702 coins, 35 metal objects, 2565 paintings & manuscripts, 2270 arms & weapons and 1809 objects of local art, crafts and musical instruments. Spending a couple of hours in the museum is a good way to initiate yourself into the history of Alwar and take back memories of its unique culture and tradition. 

Timings:10 am to 5 pm
Location: City Palace, Alwar, India
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Vijay Stambha (Victory tower)

The Vijay Stambha stands tall and mighty in the premises of the Chittorgarh Fort. Built in 1440 AD by Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohamed Khilji, this 9-storyed tower is adorned by sculptures of Hindu deities around and reflects the historical traditions of its age quite successfully.

The view from the top of the structure is breathtaking- there are steep steps that lead to the top of the tower, from where the whole town is revealed in all its glory. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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Siliserh Lake Palace

Siliserh Lake Palace is an erstwhile royal palace and hunting lodge located on the banks of the Siliserh Lake that has now been converted into a heritage hotel which is run by RTDC. The hotel makes for a perfect dropback to a romantic holiday because of the beauty of its exteriors and the simple elegance of its interiors.

The lake is perfect for fishing, sailing and boating. It is also a wonderful budget option for those who wish to enjoy luxury but do not wish to burn a hole in their pocket for the experience. The in-house restaurant offers a great range of Indian and Continental cuisines that are soul-satisfying and filling. 

Price: 2000- 3000 INR/ 50- 80 USD per night approx.
Location:Siliserh Circle, Alwar 301001, India
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Padmini's Palace

Loacted inside the Chittorgarh Fort, the Padmani Palace has a unique history attached to it making it one of the must-visit attractions in Chittorgarh fort. This palace was the reason for the battle betweenAla-ud-din Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh. Padmini Palace was the very legendary palace from where Ala-ud-din Khilji was permitted to obtain a glimpse of Padmini in a mirror placed in the main hall.

Allured by her beauty, Ala-ud-din Khilji fought a fierce battle with Rana Ratan Singh, husband of Rani Padmini. A visit to this palace gives one an insight not only into the history of Chittorgarh but also into human passions. The palace overlooks a lovely pool, and the views from inside are delightful.
 
Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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Rana Kumbha Palace

Rana Kumbha Palace is one of the most interesting places to visit in Chittorgarh fort. The massive proportions of the ruined edifice of the palace reveal what an imposing structure it was in the height of its glory. Rana Kumbha Palace is the largest monument in the Chittorgarh Fort and has a grand history attached to it. It has been the residence to people like Bappa Rawal, Maharana Kumbha, rani Padmani, Princess Meera Bai among others.

Legend of Panna Dhai, who saved infant Udai Singh with the heart-breaking sacrifice of her infant son, is also associated with this palace. The dungeons of this palace are also supposed to be the place where Rani Padmani and the other women of the palace committed Johar. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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Hill Fort Kesroli

Ancient fort turned heritage hotel, Hill Fort Kesroli is a magnificent place to indulge yourself in when on vacation in Alwar. It is a beautiful structure to look upon, and just as gorgeous to inhabit. The décor is in keeping with the traditional image of the fort, and history still has a presence in the long glossy halls of the hotel.

A stay in this fort allows you to escape the everyday bustle of Alwar while letting you immerse yourself in its culture and tradition as you rest your body in relaxation. 

Price: 5000- 8000 INR/ 70- 100 USD per night approx. 
Location: Near M.I.A Post Office-Bahala, District Alwar, Kesroli
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Sariska Palace

This luxurious resort near the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary offers you the indulgence of a luxury hotel at the rate of a budget accommodation. Staying in this Palace during your stay in Alwar will allow you to experience the best of Alwar’s wild scenery, decadent luxury, and gracious courtesy.

The palace is located close to the sanctuary and the haunted fort, thereby offering its guests some of the best sights and sounds to be had in Alwar. 

Price: 1500- 2000 INR/ 30- 50 USD per night approx. 
Location: Near Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Alwar, Sariska, Rajasthan 301022
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Kalika Mata Temple

Built originally in the 8th century, this serene temple was dedicated to the worship of the sun god before it was converted into a shrine for Kalika, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, in the 14th century. This temple is one of the most important pilgrimage attractions in Chittorgarh, and should not be missed when touring the grounds of the Chittorgarh fort.

The architecture of the temple reflects the devotion of its builders- a lot of hard work has been put into the intricate carvings and embellishments that adorn the ancient walls of the temple. Even though it is partially in ruins now, the beauty of the temple still shines through. 

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort 
Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001
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City Palace Alwar

The City Palace of Alwar is actually a fort that is located right below the Alwar Fort in the foothills of the Aravalli ranges.  Built in the 18th century, this fort reflects its rich cultural heritage in its blend of the Mughal and Rajput architectural styles.

Though it mainly houses government offices today; the City palace is one of the best places to visit in Alwar. The Palace houses an artificial lake inside its premises as well as a museum that is one of the best in the state. A visit to the City palace will allow you to experience the best of Alwar in a comprehensive way. 

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
Location: City Palace, Alwar
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Sanwariaji Temple

Sanwariaji Temple is one of the most renowned places to visit in Chittorgarh. The massive temple complex is considered second in religious importance only to the Krishna Temple in Nathdwara, and is a popular pilgrimage shrine in Rajasthan. Located approximately 40 kilometres away from Chittorgarh, this temple is a lovely place to spend a couple of pious hours in.

Serenity and positivity enrich the ambience of the temple, and the sacrosanct halls make for a peaceful place to mediate and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Visiting the temple as soon as dawn breaks is a pleasant way to experience the solitude and quiet that the temple offers.
 
Timings: 5 am to 12 pm; 2.30 pm to 11 pm
Price: Free entry 
Location: Bhadsoda and Mandphiya village, Dist. Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, Bhadsora, Rajasthan 312024
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Sathis Deori Temple

Located inside the Chittorgarh fort, close to Fateh Prakash Palace, this temple is one of the best sacred places to visit in Chittorgarh fort. The temple forms a part of the Jain temple complex, and is the largest amongst them. This massive Shwetamber Jain Temple was built in the 11th century and celebrates the life and virtues of Bhagawan Adinatha. 


The name of the temple signifies that at some point in history, there were twenty-seven temples inside this temple alone. Though no trace of these monuments remains, the SathisDeori Temple is a grand sight to behold in and of itself. The architecture is to be marvelled at for its intricate detailing and awe-inspiring domes. Sitting quietly in the temple allows you to immerse yourself in its ancient solitude.

Timings: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm

Price: You only need to pay the entry price for the fort

Location: Chittorgarh Fort Village, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan 312001

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Vijay Mandir Palce

One of the most famous tourist attractions in Alwar, the Vijay Mandir Palace is one destination you simply cannot miss while touring the city. It is located 10 kilometres away from the main city and is spread over a vast area of land.

The imposing structure attracts the eye from far off, and reflects its grandeur in the best possible way. The picturesque image is magnified in beauty by the reflection which sparkles in the lake below. An hour spent roaming the halls and grounds of this Palace will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated, and you will return to Alwar armed with many Instagram-worthy images too. 

Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Price: Free 
Location: Alwar District, Near Vijay Sagar Lake, Alwar, India

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