Vajapeya Somayag, November 24 to December 10, 2012
1. CURRENCY AND LEGAL ASPECTS
in India is the Indian Rupee. It is illegal to take Indian Rupees out of India. Therefore you have to change money on arrival at the airport, hotel or money changers. Before you leave India you should again change the remaining Indian Rupees into your own currency as Rupee has no value outside of India. It is easy to change money in Mumbai or the big cities but very difficult in remote places like Maheshwar. Travelers cheques and bank cards are acceptable. There are ATMs in Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Mandaleshwar and Maheshwar. Many local Indian banks support the Maestro/Cirrus system for international credit/debit cards.
One can withdraw a maximum of Rs 10,000 at a time from an ATM, but repeated withdrawals are possible (up to the daily limit which your bank allows). We recommend ATM cards as a convenient way to obtain cash as and when required.
is required for India.
Travel Insurance -
is advisable before commencing trip.
Medical matters -
There are no statutory vaccinations for India. However, please ask your GP or local travel clinic for advice on vaccinations for your trip. Please let us know if you have any allergies. A first aid kit is a good idea to bring along.
2. CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
India has a strong traditional and religious culture especially in the backward and rural areas where Maheshwar is situated. As guests we must respect this and respond sensitively.
Tips on how to show respect
- Clothing should be modest at all times; for ladies, no shorts, clothes should be worn below the knee, no low cut and tight fitting tops, shoulders should be well covered. Long skirts and trousers are OK. When taking a swim in the river Narmada one must be totally covered and avoid see-through clingy fabrics.
- Please remove shoes when entering yajnya shala, temples or Indian homes.
- Begging is a reality of life in India. It is better to give food than money if you wish to give. Regarding tipping, on Maheshwar Goshala we request you not to give tips to the staff. At this stage they do not expect tips, and they interact and do their work in the spirit of service. We ask you to please help us maintain such nice relationship by not tipping them.
- Certain code of behaviour, between men and women, whether married or not, is observed strictly in areas, such as Maheshwar. We ask you to please observe this decorum. The impression of Shree’s devotees remains long after you leave. In the presence of the many Pandits who will be residing with us, this respect for their accepted cultural practices is even more important. Even when greeting people after a long time, please express joy at meeting in a more restrained way, unless in total privacy. High Government officials are expected to come. They should leave the place with a good impression of our work here.
- The energy field here is extremely powerful and will probably tend to encourage your “sadhana” (spiritual journey), so if you experience some difficulties during your stay, best would be to try to remain calm, quiet and embrace the opportunity to develop or strengthen patience. Sense of humour is also a great asset to have during your stay. Just as Liz Gilbert—as played by Julia Roberts—experienced some of the realities of India and disciplines of an ashram-like atmosphere, while learning of the joys of the experience, in “Eat, Pray, Love”, so do we encourage you to enjoy this spiritual experience.
3. WOMEN IN PERIOD
Very important -
Please remember, women on menstrual period should not come to the Somayag or be present on Goshala land. On FIFTH day of period, women can take full shower, put on clean clothes not touched during period, and come. Please inform Anne Godfrey or Karin Heschl should you have any further questions about this. We appreciate the understanding and respect for this discipline. We have made nice arrangements for all women in period to stay together in a hotel in Maheshwar. From this hotel, there is easy access to all the sights of Maheshwar and shopping opportunities. This option has worked very well in the past, that the women share a common space and have an opportunity to make close contact with each other. Please note, this applies to women who are staying on Shree’s land and those who are staying in hotel accommodation with others in the same room. For new people, this may be little unusual at the beginning but there will be other women around to help follow this discipline, and in the end we are sure you will enjoy this new experience. This discipline is essential for such an event like Somayag.
4. AIRLINE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE INFO
Important information for airline baggage allowance:
Commonly international baggage weight allowance is 23kg. However, please note that domestic airlines in India allow only 20 kg. On showing the international flight ticket they may or may not allow 23 kgs. They can be very strict and charge overweight. Please keep this in mind while packing and also cross check the weight limit on your domestic flight ticket.
5. REGISTRATION & INDORE PICK UP SERVICE
Indore pick up service: If you have registered on the Somayag website with your travel details, you will automatically be on the pickup list. In case your travel information like dates, flights etc has changed please amend the same in your registration form. On arrival look out for your name or the name of someone in your group. Taxi has to be paid by the travelers.
Please note: If you have not registered, you will not be on the pick up list ! Separate emails for pick-up are not accepted.
6. FOOD ALLERGIES
If you have allergies to rice, wheat, sugar, peanuts, or anything else, PLEASE LET SUWINDI KNOW ASAP. She is the in-charge for western kitchen. You can contact her directly on email@example.com. You may have to bring or arrange alternatives.
7. WEATHER CONDITIONS
During this season, nights are cool (approx 6-10 degree Celsius) and day time is warm (approx 25-30 degree Celsius). It may also rain during this month and cold breezes come from the river. Therefore it is recommended to bring a pair of warm socks, sleeping bag, sweater or jacket, shawl etc. especially for those accommodated in tents.
8. WHAT TO BRING
- Passport , copies of passport main pages (containing personal and visa information) and some passport-sized photos.
- Day pack to carry camera and other daily essentials
- Money belt
- Torch and batteries
- Padlock/Combination lock for luggage and door
- A reusable water bottle for filling from our purified water stations.
- Alarm clock
- Camera and film
- Blanket or sleeping bag (recommeded)
- Bedsheet (recommeded)
- Jacket, woollen hat, shawl
- Sunhat, sunglasses and sun block
- White cotton garments are recommended when doing the Fires
- Running shoes or flat sandals
- Toiletries (if possible natural and bio-degradable please)
- Tissue papers/Toilet paper
- Bug/mosquito repellent
- Mosquito Net
- Ear plugs for light sleepers
- Any alternative teas, sweeteners, herbs you may prefer over Chai.
- Snack foods or speciality items which you prefer to have
- If you have percussion instruments or you play a musical instrument, bring it for music nights.
Medical kit – (recommended)
- An analgesic such as Panadol or Ibuprofen
- Imodium for diarrhoea
- Wound care eg band aids, crepe bandages, antiseptic cream
- Malaria tablets (homoeopathic are excellent)
- A broad spectrum anti-biotic
Please ask your doctor for advice.
A local GP provides both Ayurvedic and Allopathic treatment if necessary while in Maheshwar.
- Agnihotra kit: If you wish to personally perform Agnihotra we advise you bring an Agnihotra Pyramid as we cannot promise there will be enough pyramids for everyone. Also good if you can bring some brown rice. Cow dung will be provided. Ghee will be available to buy.
If you don’t wish to pack a kit, you can purchase one at the Goshala.
9. OTHER POINTS
Laundry service -
There is a laundry service available (local hand washing method).
Please note –
- Carry money and passport always on person underneath your clothes/money bags or give it to Ulrich for safe keeping.
- Do not leave your bags unattended. We cannot afford to be responsible for any losses.
Never drink water from taps or use it to brush teeth. Always use bottled water which is cheap and easy to obtain. We have Bisleri water available on the land. It is strongly advised not to eat salads or fruits which you cannot peel outside as they are often washed in contaminated water.