Monday 31 March 2008

Time to Rest

Hi to all of you still reading. Iain is doing a great job getting the blog up to date.
I hope you are all getting ready for yoga when we get back in April. We are mising you all and bringing back some goodies!

Stay Happy, Healthy and Peaceful.

Om Shanti

Sunday 30 March 2008


The drive - rutted road, many roadworks, endless bends and switchbacks - wonderous views
as the rugged crags gave way to vistas with snow-capped mountains !
We were blesses with not too much traffic.
The flora and the fauna - amazing, wonderous birds of paradise - colourful long-tailed, crested,
Eagles, crows, sparrows too. Rhododendrons ( lovely sweet juice) roses, iris, wildflowers
so abundant.
The beautiful Ganges river, ever-flowing ever-winding, emerald green. Tamed only by the Dams. Tehri Dam took thirty years in construction and has alength of 38kms.
Our trip ttook us through to the market town of Chamba and on to Dhanolti - a sleepy one street village with a few hotels.We visited a wool shop with a working loom just behind the counter!
We ate dinner and breakfast overlooking the pine trees. After a cool night we ventured across
to Mussourie - a hillside town with along high street and panoramic views down to Dehra Dun.
We found a nice hotel with home-cooked food . We visited Kempty Falls but it was too touristy for us - a nice vantage point. Shopping in the rain. We returned to our hotel and even enjoyed a movie for the first time in months.
The folowing day we drove back the same route via Dhanolti and out across the Teri Dam
towards Chinilyalisod. We stayed at a Government run tourist house it was located in a lovely delta usually submerged by water that revealed a temple! We walked over to it and took some photos as this will be gone forever under thw water!
The birdlife was wonferful and we ad sparrows chirruping under our eaves. The birds are so colourful and unafraid it was ajoy to watch them late into the night and early next morning.
After another home-cooked meal and breakfast on the verandah we headed off towards Uttarkashi.
We arranged to stay at a small Ashram to the north of Utttarkashi alongside the Ganges , with a temple next door .
It seemed like the 'Garden of Eden' - Swami Premananda Saraswati gave a talk in the garden
for two hours on the Vasistas. life and death and all that. It was interspersed with hot sweet chai
and ended with an alfresco lunch. He has much knowledge and a long history with Sivananda Divine Light.

Swami Gopalananda was full of fun, great laugh, dance and chants/bhajans on the harmonium.
Jyoti cooked up some tasty food to aid our recovery.
We stayed here two nights - laying on our backs on rocks in the middle of the river in the hot sunshine relaxing ahead of our trip to Dharali and hopefuly Gangotri.


Uttarakhand the 'Land of Celestial Beauty' became the 27th state of the Indian Union on the 9th Nov 2000. The charming hilly top State carved out of Uttar Pradesh, comprises of two regions - Garwhal in the west and Kumoan in the east. Both the regions are endowed with the awesome natural beauty and calm serenity of the majestic Himalayas. The State is studded with stunning snow coveed peaks , glorious glaciers, alpine meadows, crystal clear lakes, holy rivers and exotic flora and fauna.
Uttarakhand is also called 'Devi Bhoomi' or the abode of the gods, as it is the land of great pilgrimagesand has attracted pilgrms and seekers of spiritual fulfillmentfrom world over since time immemorial. Pilgrimage to the sacred Char Dham - Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath is adream for every devout Hindu while the Sikhs consider Hemkund, Lokpal, Nanakmatta, Meetha Reetha,Sahib and Pran Kaliyar very sacred.
Ganga and Yamouna the two holiest rivers in of Hindu mythology originate in the mountains of this State.
The State is also a treasure house of exotic flora and fauna and is an ideal location for eco-tourism, as well as wildlife tourism. It is the perfect holiday destination to relax and unwind.
This was reprinted and edited without permission from the Uttarakhand Road Atlas.
Thanks to them!

Friday 28 March 2008


Hi Folks,
Just to say we have arrived back in Rishikesh and are staying in the sivananda Divine Life AShram. I will mention a few things about Ashram life a future blog.
We originally set out on a ten day touring adventure with plans to get to Dharali or Gangotri -
and we succeeded with both....we'll tell you later just how ...we had a car and driver .. but unfortunately our car had a front wheel problem and we had to curtail our trip five days into our trip. Not to be disrupted we with the help of Pratham and his cousin we hired a four-wheeled truck to take us on what would be an unpassable road and had a most wonderful experience!
It cost us with colds but any time you ask me I'll say it was worth it!

Yesterday hopefully Pratham's wife gave birth to their first child and just when we had heard of the loss of a friend (Gloria) and work colleague - our prayers go out to both families and friends.

So, we hope to update you with lots more photos and stories from the mountains, about Ashrams, people we have met, experiences we have had - Most of all this is to say taht so far we have survived every bend from here to Gangotri and back- over 200 miles!
Love to you all, OM Iain and Sammi / Narayan & Narayani

Tuesday 11 March 2008


We were interviewing prospective drivers who spoke English to take us on a tour of the mountains.
One man came in and we were discussing the car and the route ..... when asked his name he replied Ambassa ....... Sammi said " hello Ambassa my names Sammi " at which point two men were laughing out loud when they realised that there was a misunderstanding and that the name of his car was Ambassador !!!! We thought that maybe this candidate was not the one we wanted.
We have found a suitable driver now and we are looking forward to some beautiful views,
interesting places, temples, lakes and forests a plenty and wonderful wildlife.
You know how we love our walks in the park so here in all this glorious nature we will be in our
Again we have met some very interesting people - we'll tell you more about them later........

Ten Days in Tehri Garhwal District

We are off tomorrow aiming for the high mountains and the apple orchards of Harsil. The first apple tree was planted by an englishman and harvesting them is now a way of life for some of the mountain dwellers, one of whom is our friend from the ashram..Partham and his family. Phones are not working up there so we are just going to turn up and surprise them!

Iain had the great idea to plant some trees for our yogis and to have this link with these beautiful people who live amongst the Gods.

If you are looking up the places on the web like Rod then check out Gangotri, Gangnai and the hot springs, Sat Tal or seven lakes , Maneri and Nachiketa Tal.

Om Tat Sat

Uttarakhand - The Abode of the Gods

Friday 7 March 2008


So we survived Delhi by staying in a lovely homestay place and avoiding the city. A mad taxi ride to old Delhi station with a wonderful commentary by our driver
Abu so we saw all the old monuments on the way.
The train station was a scene from a medieval movie..people everywhere and no signs to where to catch our train..panic..not us...breathe....let go...panic!!!!!!

We got on board and the calm of a sleeper compartment was heaven.

Haridwar int he morning jsut to glimpse the pilgrims celebrating Sivaratri and then on the Rishikesh bus.

Met some great people and arrived at Lakshman Jhula and got a room iwith a view over the ganges. Sat and watched the world go by. Very noisy with the celebrations but worth the view.

Next to a book shop and a music shop and good eatery........what more could you ask for..oh yes.. a yoga hall!

Iain has started Tabla lessons and I am continuing with the harmonium with an excellent teacher called ...Hari Krishna!

We also walked to the Sivananda Divine Light Ashram one day and chanted the Hari Krishna mantra in a lovely temple where it is chanted continuously by a succession of disciples through out the day and night! It was amazing.

Today we had the privilege to see new life born on the bridge over the sacred ganges. A cow just lay down and gave birth in the seering heat, oblivious to the crowds around who also appeared for the most part unperturbed by this miracle.
This matches the pony we saw born last year in Dartmoor for heart rendering affirmation of life.

Enjoy every moment!

Rishikesh Arrival

Sunday 2 March 2008

Farewell Beach Hello mountains


Au revoir Kerala

Well it has suddenly arrived at the eve of our departure for the Himalayas. Time is such a strange phenomenon. When you are waiting for something it never seems to come quick enough and when you are enjoying something it seems to go too fast. Or does it?

They say that you go to Rishikesh to discover your past and end up finding your future. The Beatles did not do too badly so let's see what happens to us.

Farewell to all our lovely helpers at Sagara Beach.....Shibu did well with the meditation and yoga flows..keep it up until we get back. Sagi was so good getting us juices and coconuts..thank you.
Sisu welcomes us back in April with a sea view promise....ahhhh. All the beautiful women in their saris floating by so serenely with that ever ready smile and all the waiters....thank you all for making the last few weeks at the beach so pleasant.

Lenic was amazing again with the travel arrangements and tea and chats. Love to you and the family and Shilo . Cosmic rate in town for money exchange!

Hotel Orion was again a magic place to sit and meet interesting people. Isaac was so kind dispensing ayurvedic magic for sore heads, knees and tummies. Vivek made the soothing dahls and curries and George and mum welcomed us all.

See you all in April... God (In India.. Gods) willing.

Saturday 1 March 2008


Some of you may have heard about laughter yoga - It's being used great effect with prisoners and depression to aid mood...... Well, we certainly experienced laughter yoga the other day...
We visited our favourite tailor Binu to get kitted out with our little white ensembles..pure cotton, trousers and long-sleeved tunic - Sammi's fashions ! This does have a purpose behind it - White is the best colour for meditation.....and for peace...So, we collected our purchases and came back to our room and excitedly tried them on.
.....Sammi put hers on first and asked me how it looked- oh, I said I'll put mine on and show you. Once I had dressed we looked at one another in our bleached white outfits and suddenly visions of 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest' came through as we both fell about laughing with fits of the giggles exacerbated by my Tommy Cooper impressions of someone in a straight-jacket.

We will be exhibiting these items on a spontaneous basis - all orders are welcome !!?