That India is a place of spiritual awakening, there can never be any doubt. As a melting pot of cultures and beliefs – each meriting spiritualism in their unique way – the country is full of amazing retreats where you become one with yourself and the universe.
From meditation to yoga to sermons to harmonious living, one can find the warm embrace of spiritualism in the far corners of India with ease. People come to these centers not only to experience the vibrant colours, rituals, sensory experiences, and food palettes but also to develop a new, harmonious outlook on life.
Planning to escape from the noise and go on a journey that makes your mind and soul travel far? Then check out a glimpse of the following five spiritual retreats that you must experience once in your lifetime:
1. Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh
Rishikesh – one of the most popular spiritual cities in India and often touted as the ‘Yoga Capital of World’ – had to be first on our list. Among its litany of offerings that provide solace to one’s spiritual self, Parmath Niketan is one that is often spoken about in high regard.
The ashram is located in the lush valleys of Himalayan foothills, right at the bank of the holy river Ganga. It is the largest ashram in Rishikesh and is thronged by foreigners and locals alike. Visitors practice various forms of yoga like Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and Yoga Nidra amid the gorgeous natural backdrop. The sight itself can humble you with its peaceful yet powerful energy, evoked by kirtans, satsangs, meditations, and the famous Ganga aarti.
The experience is wholesome and provides great mental peace, perfect weather, and fresh air. If you are someone living in the fast lane, visiting the Parmarth Niketan would be a much-needed break.
2. Isha Yoga Centre, Velliangiri Mountains
Isha Foundation has been founded by his holiness Sadhguru, who has millions of followers scattered all over the world. His Yoga centre 30 km west of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu is one of the 140+ centres. However, this centre is one of the most well-established ones.
If you are someone looking to embrace self-transformation, then Isha Yoga Centre is the place to be. Here you would learn that Yoga is not only limited to holding poses but is a comprehensive source of energy, action, devotion, and knowledge. This experience is unforgettable and you can feel the immediate change within yourself as the locus of power shifts within you.
3. Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore
Founded by his holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar, the world-famous Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore is a spiritual experience of a lifetime. The Art of Living concentrates on integrating age-old rituals with modern life and leaves you with a legacy of yoga, meditation, and the art of service.
The centre is located 21 km southwest of the city and is a part of rural Bangalore. Here, people are taught how to give selflessly and work selflessly for worldly good rather than their own gains. One can participate in a variety of spiritual courses such as the Sudarshan Kriya. This integration of practice and learning can change your worldview and help you inculcate a spiritual side to your everyday life. Satsang and seva are also an important part of the routine here.
4. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
The Khajuraho cluster of 23 temples in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh was built during the reign of the Chandela dynasty (10th-11th century CE.) It is rightly included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as it not only provides a glimpse into the erstwhile Nagara-style architecture but also ancient Hindu and Jain spiritual beliefs.
Living in Khajuraho is like travelling back in time to the age of spirituality, where beauty, sculpture, and art were used to elevate the mundane reality of life into something cosmic and beyond. Such an experience is enough to stir your spiritual side. Aside from that, if you get to stay at the famous 5 star hotel in Khajuraho – The LaLiT Temple View Khajuraho – you can venture out on heritage experiences where you will get to explore the temples from up close. You will also be able to revel in the beauty and mysticism of Chitrakoot and Ramghat – two locations in the middle of the forests that formed a big part of the epic Ramayana. Of course, you will also be able to savour the local cuisine at Panna – one of the best restaurants in Khajuraho.
5. Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamshala
Dharamshala has a mystic vibe of its own. The peace and tranquillity of the place are much more intense in the Tushita Meditation Centre.
People often go to Dharamshala for the incredible view, with many foreigners visiting the place as well. However, this hidden spiritual gem is something people often miss exploring. This Buddhist centre has a 10-day course in which they teach you all the vital learnings of Buddhism and how to use them in your life. This experience is a must, as when you get out, you are not only much more relaxed but wiser too!
After reading this listicle, it is perhaps time to pause and plan a much-need spiritual escape that will reconnect you to your inner self and the beauty of the world – both inside and outside. You can choose any of these places and revel in the wisdom of the ages, rejuvenating your mind, body, and soul to the fullest!