Written By Owen
We have just wrapped up our time in Rishikesh with a peaceful six day yoga retreat at the Phool Chatti Ashram which is located on the breathtaking banks of the Ganga river. Our week at the ashram was packed full of yoga asanas, nature walks, meditation, chanting, and delicious vegetarian meals. After we got used to the 5:30 am wake up time, the long days left us feeling refreshed and quite tranquil. Since we just passed the halfway mark on our time here in India, these six days were crucial to get the group fired up for the remainder of the trip. We also enjoyed a Holi celebration-an Indian holiday welcoming the arrival of spring with lots of colors.
We arrived in Jaipur at 4:30 am after a tiresome 12 hour train ride from Rishikesh. We were immediately greeted by our lovely contact; Rishi-Ji on the curb of the Jaipur train station. Rishi-Ji lead us to the hotel Om Niwas for a few hours of sleep before our long day ahead. At this time, we were just getting ready for the next portion of our trip; Homestays!
After much needed naps, hot showers, and a continental breakfast of all things Indian, we were ready to meet our host families for the coming week. Nervous excitement was in the air as we awaited our new families in the hotel lobby. The host families showed up one by one to take us home. Once we were settled into our new places, and enjoyed delicious Indian home-cooked meals, we were ready to reconvene. Once the Shanti group was all back together, we went to explore the Amber fort, one of the main historical landmarks of Jaipur.
After a long and exciting first day in Jaipur, we were now ready to strap in and begin our internships with local professionals. Rebecca, Amiah, and Zevi began the day with a blue pottery workshop, while Adam tye dyed a turban for his healthy head of hair. In the afternoon, Rebecca and Kari learned a kathak dance routine. Zevi learned to make toys with the best toymaker in all of Rajasthan. Then in the evening, Adam, Kari, Georgia and myself learned the Indian tabla drums, while Olivia played the sitar. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Amiah learned the ins and outs of classical vocals. The final class of the day consisted of Georgia, Charlotte, Olivia, and I learning traditional Rajasthani folk songs.
Needless to say, we are diving into Indian culture head first, and are having experiences that may only present themselves once in a lifetime. We are working together to solve problems, and help each other grow with immense patience and understanding. Plus, we always know when to share a good laugh XD
This has been Owen, the designated blogger of the week. Its been a pleasure sharing a bit of our experiences with you all!
Until next time!