Southern Sacred Walks

"The ancient South Indian temples were built based on an intricate science. These are not places for prayer but to simply sit and charge yourself with a powerful energy that enhances life in a phenomenal way."- Sadhguru
 

Southern Sacred Walks

Overview
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About Southern Sacred Walks
 
Breathtaking Dravidian masterpieces in stone that date back to the 3rd century. Towering gopurams that will stun you with their beauty. Brightly-coloured sculptures in exquisite detail. Ancient engravings that tell stories of gods, demons and mortals. Southern Indian temples are a rich treasure trove of not just stunning architecture and colourful mythological tales, but are of great spiritual significance for pilgrims who travel from far and wide to lay their eyes on these timeless marvels. Home to some of the most unique and beautiful temples, which are not just powerful, but are architectural marvels in themselves, the Southern Peninsula draws millions of pilgrims throughout the year.
Southern Sacred Walks, a program by Isha Sacred Walks, offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embark on this journey to some of the most stunning temples down South. Most of these sacred spots were not just created to be places of worship – they are energized spaces that leave a lasting impression and impact on everyone who has visited them. Here are seven reasons why you should not miss the chance to be a part of Southern Sacred Walks.
  • Southern India is home to thousands of temples, the majority of which can be found in Tamil Nadu. Known as the Land of Temples, the state is home to nearly 33,000 ancient temples, some as old as 800 to 1,200 years old.
  • Temples in the South are characterised by towering gopurams, majestic pillar structures, sprawling temple complexes and ornate, embellished entrances. Boasting of complex architecture, variety of sculptures, and rich inscriptions, the temples remain the very essence of the culture and heritage of Southern India with historical records dating back to at least 3,000 years.
  • While a majority of the temples venerate Shiva and his fierce Bhairava avatar, many of the great places of worship in Southern India are dedicated to Vishnu, apart from Murugan, Hanuman and Amman. Each temple is rich in stories, legends, architectural styles and awe-inspiring legacies.
  • Many temples in Tamil Nadu are nothing short of marvels. Over a 1,000 years old, the Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur, better known as Periya Kovil (Big Temple), is considered the greatest glory of Chola architecture with its imposing 216 feet-high central tower, one of the tallest in the world. This incredible temple tower is capped by a single stone weighing 100 tons, an unbelievable feat even by today's standards.
  • Each of these sacred spaces leave you feeling enriched. The Arunachaleshwarar temple, also known as the Annamalaiyar Temple, is said to be a spiritual space home to saints and sages for thousands of years. The temple is built for the element of fire and is one of the Pancha Bhuta temples, the ancient shrines built for sadhana (spiritual practices) pertaining to each of the five elements — earth, water, fire, air, and space.
  • The Jambukeshwarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval, dedicated to Shiva, embodies the element of water. It has an underground water spring that naturally fills the sanctum where the linga stands.
  • The stories of these temples leave every pilgrim in awe. The Ramanathaswamy Temple is known as the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The temple considered as the second holiest place for Hindus after Varanasi, is home to a legend that both Rama and Sita worshipped Shiva here after returning from Sri Lanka.
For all this and more, a journey with Southern Sacred Walks is an intensely spiritual experience, complete with the inclusion of meditation sessions, satsangs, spiritual processes and much more. The week-long trip will take you to the Isha Yoga Center, from where you will travel to the Arunachaleshwarar temple, Ramanashram and Virupakshi Malai caves, the Jambukeshwarar temple, Sadhguru Sri Brahma’s ashram at Trichy, Brihadeeswarar temple at Thanjavur, Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. The Southern Sacred Walks offers you an opportunity to admire in awe the brilliance of these sacred spaces, which were built by not mere men, but dedicated devotees. The sheer scale and magnificence of these marvelous structures reveals the absolute devotion and passion that went into making them.
With our team of highly skilled, trained and dedicated teachers and volunteers ever ready to help you with every step you take on this memorable journey, you will be enveloped in a sense of endless energy, tranquility and oneness.
Come be a part of this beautiful and enlightening journey with us.
Dates & Registration
 
Dates / Registration
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The program dates are 6th to 11th February, 2018.
These dates are to and from Isha Yoga Center.

Registrations are closed.

Registration Process

  1. When you are ready to register, please submit the Application Form or feel free to contact us, so we can further assist you with your registration.
  2. Applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis.
  3. We will send you a confirmation of your registration within two weeks of receiving your registration form and required documents.

Isha maintains the right to accept or reject any application without providing an explanation.

southern sacred

 

Program Itinerary
 
Program Itinerary
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Program Itinerary

Day
1
26th Feb

The journey begins at night from Isha Yoga Center, and we head to the first of our destinations, the town of Thiruvannamalai.

Day
2
27th Feb

We reach the town early in the morning, and make our way to the Arunachaleshwara temple, where many saints and sages have lived for thousands of years. In the last century, Ramana Maharshi spent many years in samadhi here. The temple is built for the element of fire and is one of the Pancha Bhuta temples, the ancient shrines built for sadhana for each of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space. The temple is located at the foot of the Arunachala hill, which is itself held as a sacred linga. There are many legends about Shiva associated with Arunachaleshwarar, one of which recounts how at this place, Shiva transformed himself into a towering column of fire touching heaven and earth.

The temple is well known for its 1000-pillar mandapam, its rajagopuram, which is among the tallest in the country, and the pathalalinga – the place where Ramana spent a few years in sadhana.

After the temple, we trek a short way up the Arunachala hill, to the Ramanashram and Virupakshi Malai caves, where Ramana Maharshi spent over a decade in meditation. It was while he was in these caves that many of his first devotees visited him, and he came to be known as Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi.

Day
3
28th Feb

After our day at the Arunachaleshwara temple, we journey to the Jambukeshwarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval, built for the element of water. At the temple, an underground water spring fills the sanctum where the linga stands. Uniquely, the priests at the temple dress up as women before performing the afternoon rituals. The story behind this practice is that Parvati performed penance on this spot and created a linga from the waters of the nearby Cauvery River.

From the temple, we travel to Sadhguru Sri Brahma’s ashram at Trichy, a place where Sadhguru Sri Brahma sat in a state of samadhi for a certain period of time. This powerful place still reverberates with an energy that cannot be missed.

Day
4
1st March:

Early morning finds us at the Brihadeshwara Temple at Thanjavur. Though not a Pancha Bhuta temple, Brihadeshwara is one of India's most famous temples, known the world over. Over 1000 years old, it is sometimes simply referred to as the Periya Kovil or “big temple.” Considered the pinnacle of Chola architecture, its most famous architectural feature is the immense 66-meter tall shikhara or central tower, which is capped by a single stone weighing almost 100 tons. The interior of the shikhara is lined with steps, giving us the opportunity to climb up the tower and glimpse this audacious piece of engineering up close. Brihadeshwara is associated with Karurar, one of the siddhas in yogic lore, whose samadhi is situated within the temple compound.

From here, we travel to Rameshwaram, and stop at Ariyaman beach a few kilometers before the town. The pristine blue ocean and white sand make it a picture-perfect beach. The ocean here is very still, making it an ideal spot for swimming, even for the less experienced swimmers. The quiet beach is also a great place to relax and unwind.

Day
5
2nd March

At Rameshwaram, we visit the Ramanathan temple, the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The Jyotirlinga is one of many lingas at the temple, which include a linga made of salt, one of crystal, and one of sand. Legend has it that both Rama and Sita worshipped Shiva here, and Sita created the linga of sand after Rama defeated Ravana. The temple is also famous for its 22 teerthams or sacred water bodies, which were consecrated by none other than Patanjali – the father of modern yoga.

Each of the teerthams has a unique quality and a different temperature and feel to the water. The temple is also famous for its corridors, considered among the longest and most beautiful in the world. Their total length is over a kilometer and they are lined with over 4000 pillars. The corridors are so high that elephants walk through them during temple festivals.

We also travel a short distance to Dhanushkodi, one of the last points on the Indian mainland, immortalized in the Ramayana as the point where Rama’s bridge to Lanka begins. Dhanushkodi was once a bustling town, but it was completely destroyed half a century ago by a cyclone. All that is left today are a few remnants. Train tracks, a railway station, a school and a few other buildings stand amidst the shifting sands and winds of the beach, giving the place an other-worldly feel.

The program culminates with Guru Pooja – an offering of gratitude to the great beings of the past, who have made available the powerful possibility of self-transformation.

We begin the return journey to the Isha Yoga Center the same night, and arrive on 3rd morning.

Conveniences Offered
 
Conveniences Offered
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Conveniences Offered

Accommodation will be provided at the best hotels and resorts at each place. During the journey, a mix of Indian and continental vegetarian meals will be served. Comfortable travel in an air-conditioned vehicle, entrance fee at all places and mineral water are also part of the services offered. A doctor will accompany us on the sojourn. We also make special arrangements to meditate in the temple parikramas which are generally off-limits to overseas visitors.

Note: Please plan for costs towards personal expenses, souvenirs and other expenditures not mentioned here.

Isha is not a tour company – we offer this sojourn with the intention of providing you with the opportunity to experience these sacred places in their true depth and dimension. Imbibing the overwhelming power, energy and grace of these spaces opens one up to higher dimensions of life – more so when the guidance of a realized Master illuminates every step.

Prerequisites
 
Prerequisites
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Participants should have completed an Isha Yoga program.

  • Participants should be healthy and fit enough to undertake the journey.
Program Guide
 
Program Guide
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Preparation

Most of the sojourn involves bus travel, so it is advisable to pack as light as possible. Inside the bus, you can carry one trekking bag with items required for daily use. All other items must be packed in one suitcase or bag, which will be kept on the bus roof. It is advisable to bring bags that are water-resistant and durable.

We recommend the following items:

  • Personal clothing. It is advisable to bring clothing that fully covers the arms and legs. Please wear Indian-style clothing while entering the temples. At the beach, women are requested not to wear swimsuits but rather a T-shirt and tights/leggings, in keeping with the local culture.
  • Toiletries
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Shawl or jacket
  • Footwear
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight
  • Umbrella

Please carry a personal medical kit with electrolyte packs, medication for fever, common cold, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and any other medication necessary.

Contact Us
 
Contact Us
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"Isha Sacred Walks"
Thannerpandal, Velliangiri Foot Hills,
Ishana Vihar Post,
Coimbatore – 641 114
Tamil Nadu, India
Overseas Registration Contact:

USA and CANADA

 

+1 612-562-9330
usa@sacredwalks.org

 

UK and EUROPE

 

+44 7920 774615 (7pm-10pm UK time)
uk@sacredwalks.org

 

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA and AUSTRALIA

 

+65 9062 2704
sg@sacredwalks.org

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

+961 3972159
lb@sacredwalks.org

 

India Registration Contact:

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Kerala

 

+91 9488 111 333
tn@sacredwalks.org

 

Andhrapradesh/Telangana

 

+91 8885 000 333
hyd@sacredwalks.org

 

Rest of India

 

+91 9488 111 555 / +91 9488 123 555
india@sacredwalks.org

 

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