This blog post is the continuation of Ana’s previous blog post about my holidays in India last Christmas. You can read it here.
After the wedding in Chandigarh, in North- West India we took a flight a Goa to spend 4 days at a yoga retreat. I found this yoga retreat surfing in the Internet so I had no idea what to expect.
Well, all I can say is that it was one of the best holidays I have ever had. Even Geoff who is not crazy about yoga as I am, loved it too. The retreat is in the south of the State, not far from Palolem, in the secluded Little Cove Beach. When I say secluded, I mean secluded. The driver who took us there could barely find his way into this place.
We stayed at a basic yet comfortable beach hut overlooking the Arabian ocean. It was wonderful sleeping with the sound of the waves and waking up among coconut trees.
Every day we had a similar schedule. We were woken up at 7:30am with a gentle knock at the door and a tea left for us at the balcony. I would jump out of bed, put some clothes on and enjoy the tea and the magnificent view. On the days I meditate, I try transporting myself back to that specific moment.
Then there was a 2 hour yoga class in the shala built on the beach. The classes were long but they incorporated lots of breathing exercises, meditation and a bit of yoga philosophy. The teachers were Pardeshi (owner of the retreat) and Ravi. Both are yoga masters, incredibly skillful and knowledgeable. They have trained for years in classical yoga at Rishikesh and you could ask them anything about yoga and they would have the perfect answer for it.
After each class I felt I was floating, feeling relaxed, calm and stronger.At the end of the class we had a big fruit platter by the beach and another cup of tea.
Lunch was by 11am, and consisted of different salads, vegetarian curries and stews that were delicious. We all sit together in the shala and it was a great time to bond with other fellow yogis.
Then it was free time until 5pm when there was a meditation by the ocean or another yoga class.
Below, Ravi meditating. That photo had no filters, see how beautiful the colour of the sky was.
Me at the beginning of the class
Dinner was similar to lunch, but sitting in a communal area under the stars, lit up by candles. Great quality food, all organic and cooked following Ayurveda principles. No one got sick.
Although we usually like visiting different places and touristing around, we did not leave Little Cove in 4 days. We had forgotten how it feels not having anything to do, without Internet reception, with all the time in the world to read, write, nap, swim in the ocean and do yoga. I got a couple of Ayurvedic massages and we made new friends from other continents.
If you want to learn more about Little Cove Yoga retreat, check out their website.
After this blissful experience we went back to Panjim, the capital of Goa. Goa was a Portuguese colony until 1961. It was the last State to annex India. Because of the Portuguese influence, being in Goa was like being back home. I could pronounce the names of the streets, there were Hindu temples mixed with white Catholic chapels and Nativities everywhere. It is a funky town with nice cafes, old bookshops and cute little textile and jewellery shops.
And oh the food… so tasty and spicy and fresh… We ate lots of fish and crispy dosas. Coming from Australia where everything is so expensive, it was a luxury to have fresh seafood everyday.
After Panjim, we stopped in Vagator, North Goa (aka party Goa) for just a couple of days on our way to the Konkan Coast. Although it is more developed than other coastal towns, the concept of “urban development” in India is relative. It is still pretty raw and very, very hippie . We stayed at a lovely hostel attached to a vegan cafe. My favourite spot was Artjuna (featured in the video below) which is a space that has a beautiful open cafe, a second hand library, a yoga space and a beautiful jewellery and clothes shop. All in the same space, my dream come true. We also had dinner one night at Antares, the restaurant run by Sarah Todd, Australia Masterchef runner up. We had watched the series My Restaurant in Goa for weeks and we just happened to be around that area one of the days, so we checked it out and she was there. That’s my selfie moment with her! Lovely girl by the way. And super super pretty.
From there we spent a few days travelling through the Konkan Coast in the State of Maharashtra up to Mumbai. This coast is way quieter than Goa and we enjoyed breathtaking sunsets.
Women carrying fish at the Konkan Coast
Finally in Mumbai we experienced the real hectic-ness of India. Gosh, how intense Mumbai is! Colours, sounds, people, honks, day and night. It is pure contrast, the light and the dark. Majestic buildings and heart breaking poverty. Luxurious hotels and goats and cows living around the corner.
At some point I had a transcendental experience. A few times in my life it has happened to me that being in front of something particularly beautiful, I break in tears. This happened to me in front of Picasso’s Guernica or snorkelling in the Great Ocean Reef and also in the middle of chaos in Mumbai. If you are reading this, you must think I am crazy (and yes, I am bit crazy :-)) Could you picture me in a random street of Mumbai, at peak hour, crying because of the beauty of chaos? Yep, that’s me sometimes. It wasn’t anxiety, it was just like a sensation overwhelm, in a nice way.
I tried to capture my holidays in India as best as I could with my vlogging camera, but it is obvious I need to improve A LOT my videography skills. However, I hope it gives a glimpse of what India feels like.
Just so know, I would go back to India any day. And I will.
PS. If you haven’t seen the Holidays in India Youtube clip recorded with my camera, here you have:
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