India is vibrant, colourful and and diverse country; from snow capped mountain ranges to temples and ashrams. Its landscape and culture provide an abundance of possibilities for the spiritual traveller. India is a developing country; which means it is continuously evolving and adapting to its new circumstances and environmental changes. India’s charm and spiritual nature of acceptance for these changes is what we, as visitors need to respect by accommodating to any changes should they arise.


How much yoga experience do I need to attend?

This trip is suitable for those at all levels of yoga experience. Ideally you have been practicing regularly for at least 6 months.


What is the level of fitness required?

A moderate level of fitness is required. This is mostly an Ayurvedic resort based Yoga Retreat, so there isn’t anything too challenging when it comes to walking. Two yoga/meditation classes and Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) are offered on most days. The Ayurvedic treatment can be a little challenging at times however you are supported and cared for completely.


How many participants will be on the retreat?

Yoga for the Soul Retreats is accepting a minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 participants for the India Yoga Retreat. A nice number for a resort based retreat, which allows individualised attention during the yoga sessions. Not to forget a more fun and relaxed environment to get to know your fellow travellers.


What time does the retreat start?

The retreat starts at 10am on Day 1.  Most flights arrive after this time. It is recommended that you fly in the day prior and spend one night.

Fort Kochi Hotels: Pre and Post Accommodation

When you finalise your booking you will receive a list of recommended hotels with a varied price range.

 
What is the accommodation like?

Chetana has handpicked the Fort Kochi hotel based on its exquisitely designed guest rooms - both elegant and spacious, quiet location and outdoor facilities to assure your comfort and overall enjoyment is maximised. The rooms at the Ayurvedic Resort are more simple, yet very comfortable and clean with a lovely outlook. The houseboat has its own authentic charm.


Am I able to request a single room?

Yes, however, it is based on availability, so get in early.

Am I able to request a twin room if travelling alone?

Yes, we will do our best to pair you with someone of the same sex. However if we can’t there will be the single supplement to be paid.

PLEASE NOTE: As the Ayurveda Resort doesn’t have twin rooms you will have a single room whilst there. You will share a room at the Fort Kochi hotel and on the houseboat.

  • Couples can opt to share a room and choose the pricing named: Couple in a Queen Bed.


Can I choose who I share with?

If you are travelling with a friend then, yes, you are able to share with your friend. Please state this on the registration form. If you are travelling alone and happy to share your room with someone, we will endeavour to do so with someone of the same sex. You’ll be put in contact to have a chat prior.


How do I get to India?

Several airlines offer services to Cochin International Airport in Kerela.

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Michelle Walsh who owns Cruise and Rail Travel and a mobile travel agent with itravel can take care of all your travel arrangements, offering competitive pricing on airfares and travel arrangements to India and beyond.

Email Michelle at michelle@cruiseandrailtravel.com.au, call on 0449 790 108.


A 15% Discount on Travel Insurance - is offered to all Yoga for the Soul Retreats  participants when purchasing through Cruise and Rail Travel.  



How do I get from the airport to my pre retreat accommodation in Fort Kochi?

You will be picked up at Cochin International Airport the day of your arrival and be transferred to the Fort Kochi Hotel, approximately a 1.5hour drive. If you choose to stay at an alternative hotel the night prior you will be dropped there. However you will need to make your own way to the hotel where the retreat starts at 10am. The reception at your hotel can organise this very easily for you and Fort Kochi isn’t to big.


What will the food be like in India?

Yummy! You’ll enjoy wholesome vegetarian food. It will be a mix of traditional Southern India flavours and spices (mild options always available) whilst in Fort Kochi and a more sattvic simple nutritious diet when having Ayurvedic treatment.

Then when you’re on the houseboat they will still cater for our newly detoxed digestive tracks. Perhaps with just a touch more of the classic Kerala flavours though!

Dietary requirements are catered for, so please clearly state any requirements on your registration form and we will endeavour to do our best.


Am I required to bring my own yoga mat and cushion?

Yes. An inflatable meditation cushion is highly recommended. These are light and easy to deflate and carry, and you won’t regret it.

You can order an inflatable cushion through the online shop.

  • Mobile Meditator Inflatable Cushion: AUD$48

  • A 6mm Eco friendly mat AUD$55

 

 

 

What will the weather be like in October?

October is when the weather begins to transition from monsoon into the dry season. You can expect a mixture of overcast and sunny days, with a showers of rain to be expected. The average high is 27°C / 80°F, while the average low is 24°C / 75°F. Humidity can still be a little high this time of year; however, the rain helps to cool you off.


What clothes do I need to bring, do I have to cover up?

Southern India is more progressive than Northern India however we do advise to respect the local traditions and therefore make an effort to dress more conservatively than we would in the west. It is advised to have arms, shoulders and legs covered, and not to wear tight fitting or see through clothing.

For women, longer tops |dresses covering the buttocks with a short or long sleeve worn over pants or a long skirt. A light cotton scarf is always good to have on hand for modesty.

At the Ayurvedic Resort you can be more relaxed however sleeveless tops and shorts are not appropriate. Loose cotton pants and tops, clothing that you don’t mind getting oil on ins’t a bad idea. A kaftan is always a comfortable option.

Normal yoga attire is fine for our practice.

On final payment you will receive a "what to bring list".

You will be more comfortable in loose, cotton clothing in the Indian climate.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are arriving a couple of days earlier you can visit my favourite shop Fab India. It sells beautiful 100% cotton clothing. A kurta is a dress that sits below the buttocks, have a look here.


Am I required to bring walking boots?

The most we will be walking is in Fort Kochi on paved streets (pot holes) so a sturdy pair of supportive and comfortable shoes are recommended. Or if you are confident in a sturdy pair of sport walking sandals they could also do the job – please note: twisted ankles occur more easily in this type of walking sandal, and I know because I did it myself. So choose what is best for you.


Should I bring a backpack or a suitcase?

A medium size suitcase will do the job. We advise that you bring a daypack or a small bag to carry water, camera, and any other items required on our outings.


Is the water safe to drink in India?

It is recommended to only drink bottled water. At the Ayurveda Resort you will be provided with your daily herbal infused water.


When we have spare time is it safe for woman to walk around alone?

This depends on the location and the time of day. Fort Kochi I personally have always felt very safe. It is best to use your common sense and instincts when venturing out. Safety in numbers is always a good call. India is a beautiful, vibrant country, but it is always better to be vigilant.


Are there ATM’s and where can I change money?

Yes, there is an ATM in Fort Kochi as well as the International Airport. At the International Airport you can also change money (they do charge a fee). Or if you are arriving a couple of days earlier you can visit the local bank in Fort Kochi where you will get a better rate and no fee to pay.

Travels cheques I DON’T recommend, visa and mastercard are widely accepted.

 
Is there WI-FI / Internet connections available?

Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the Fort Kochi Hotel and at reception and in your rooms at the Ayurvedic Resort. You’ll be relying on your mobile data on the Houseboat. Or you could just have a complete digital detox. 😲


Where are the yoga classes taught?

You will practice yoga|meditation in the elaborate conference room in Fort Kochi Hotel. In one of two venues; inside or an open air space whilst on your Ayurveda stay. And in large, open upper floor room of the delightful houseboat whilst floating down the backwaters of Kerela.


Will I be travelling in areas that are deemed unsafe?

Being mostly a resort based retreat we are tucked away on the outskirts of the Kerala backwaters around 2.5hrs SE of Fort Kochi, so we are at a very low risk of being in any area of concern. However, being a smart traveller is always advised by purchasing Travel Insurance and being attentive to your surroundings and belongings.  

 
Do I require any immunisation to travel to India?

It is the personal choice of the individual to choose whether to have immunisation or not. We do advise that you seek medical advise from your local doctor or travel clinic at least eight weeks before departure for the latest information. The Travel Vaccination Clinic link below has very good information which you should consider when discussing your own health and safety with your doctor.

Here are additional links to assist you.

PS: The most common issue facing travellers to India is Delhi Belly, relating to local hygiene, safe water and food preparations. As we are at Fort Kochi and the Ayurveda Resort, there is a very low risk of this occurring. However, you will receive a couple of tips on how to minimise this risk in your final documentation.


Do I require a visa to visit India?

Yes, the easiest way is to get your visa online, a 30day tourist visa. It costs approximately A$60. Make sure you purchase it through the government website otherwise you could be paying a lot more. Please refer to the following website for the latest information and visa requirements and application for India.

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html#parentHorizontalTab11


Am I able to opt out of any of the excursions?

Yes, you can participate as much or as little as you wish. However, your visit will be enriched all that more by participating in the wonderful outings organised and treatments on offer.


Can you please provide an outline of the overall expected costs and inclusions for the trip?

  • Upon booking a non-refundable deposit of AUD$600 is required, with the balance of either the Super Saver, Saver or regular fee to pay.

  • Each guest is required to purchase their own flight ticket, Travel Insurance, immunisations and any pre or post accommodation and activities.

The trip includes virtually everything from when you land with the exception pre and post accommodation and any beverages you may choose to have. The cost doesn’t include breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 14. Laundry, souvenirs and gifts, any phone calls and any other personal services you may choose to have that are not stated on the itinerary are at your own expense. A full list of what is and isn’t included is detailed at the bottom of the itinerary click here.


Are all food and beverages included in the pricing?

All meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 14 are included in the price. Beverages are at your own expense.

 

Upon arrival in India, are airport transfers included in the price?

Yes, airport transfers to/from Cochin International Airport in Kerela to our Fort Kochi Hotel are covered in the retreat.


Are gratuities covered in the trip costs?

No. In relation to the gratuities, it is at your personal discretion how much you wish to tip.

The Ayurveda Resort staff work tirelessly to assure your stay is enjoyable and there are as many people behind the scenes making sure this is achieved as up front.

A guide would be to allow for $10 a day ($140 in total). You’ll receive a tipping guide as part of your documentation.


I understand that I need to purchase travel insurance. Do you have a provider you have worked with and are comfortable with?

Yes, it is the responsibility of each participant to have his or her own travel insurance. We recommend you shop around and locate the best insurance to suit your needs. It can be purchased through a variety of channels from specialised insurance brokers, travel agents - Michelle Walsh who offers 15% off as well as banks.

I have used Southern Cross Insurance in recent years that I have been very happy with. However it is advised that you do your research to assure your needs are being met. Or take all the work out of it and let Michelle Walsh organise it for you.