South India: Tamil Nadu, 2020

Planetary Temple Tour and Astrology Focused Retreat

Tentative Itinerary:

Jan 20: Arrive Madurai; you might arrange your round trip ticket to Chennai, Mumbai, or Delhi and then get a domestic flight to Madurai. We’ll visit Meenakshi Goddess Temple, one of the most powerful and famous goddess temples in all of India.

Jan 21-27: Go to Kodaikanal for a retreat in the clouds.  The property has a shrine by a waterfall. It’s a peaceful and serene landscape, a delightfully quiet pear orchard up in the clouds with little cottages and wood burning stoves.  A fantastic cook named Kali will be taking care of us during our stay. The emphasis will be on quiet convening in nature, meditation, chanting, and diving into astrology in a relaxed way. 

Jan 27: On the way to Tiruchirappalli we will stop to see Palani Temple, a famous Mars Temple.   By the end of the day we'll be at Srirangam, perhaps the most famous Vishnu Temple in all of India and the place where Ramanuja’s samadhi  shrine resides.

Jan 28-Feb 3: On the way to  Vaitheshvarar we will see the samadhi shrine of Tyagaraja, a famous South Indian Musician and Composer.  From a base in  Vaitheshvarar we’ll visit one of each planetary temple in the area.  This is also where you’ll each go for your Nadi Astrology reading.

Feb 3: On the way to Chennai, we’ll visit Chidambaram, the brilliant Ether Temple and Ardra Nakshatra Temple.

Feb 4: End of Tour.  Depart from Chennai or choose to adventure further in India on your own.

Total Cost: $2,100

Includes Food, Hotels, Land Travel, Vedic Astrology session, and perhaps a rare Nadi Palm Leaf Astrology session

To Register:

1. Contact Allison to introduce yourself, ask questions, and be sent the Booking Forms and India Tips document.

2. Pay deposit of $900 before November 1 and submit a signed Booking Form. Pay in full after November 1.

January 20 – February 4, 2020

“There is nothing that could have really prepared me for the temple tour! I studied religion and spirituality in college, I’ve practiced yoga for 8 years, and I had been to India once before – and this trip to South India temples moved my spirit, grew my heart, and expanded everything I once knew about devotion, about God, and about the reverence of being alive. There are no words to describe being a part of a sea of people moving just for a glimpse of God at the temple. There are few words to describe how loud devotion really is when it’s experienced – how unafraid, how direct, how beautiful, how reassuring, how welcoming. 

If you want to grow your heart, steep yourself in the beauty that is lived devotion, take your most prized adventure yet, and try eating with your hands for two weeks, go to India with Allison! And let your life, and the song of your heart, be taken up a notch.” – Katie Breen


Retreat - Week One

On a pear orchard in the Mountains of Tamil Nadu, outside the town of Kodaikanal, we will settle in to India in a relaxed way.  The days will be filled with nourishing food, kirtan sessions, story telling, meditation, astrology readings and wandering about the nearby countryside.    

Tentative Daily Schedule: 

7:00 – personal asana practice

8:00 – group silent meditation

8:30 – tea and breakfast

9:30 – kirtan and satsang

11:00 – solo time or your session with Allison

12:30 – lunch

2:00 – stories about planets and stars

3:30 – solo time or your session with Allison

6:30 – dinner

8:00 – meditation and kirtan by the fire

Pilgrimage - Week Two

This week will include a visit to each of the planetary temples in addition to a Nadi Palm Leaf Astrology reading.  

I intend to travel with my portable harmonium so we can have a daily kirtan, but there will not be dedicated time for asana or meditation practice.   The schedule will essentially be broken into two parts of each day, morning and evening. During one part of the day we’ll visit a few temples and during the other part of the day I’ll be taking a few of you to see if they can find your palm leaf scroll.  Others will be free to explore, rest, or practice.  

About the Nadi Palm Leaf Reading:

Sages meditated and received information about beings that had yet to be born but would be seeking Indian wisdom and guidance in the future. These sages recorded what they heard by writing it on palm leafs.  They have information about our past lives, this life, our health, future, and purpose.  It is often possible to ask a couple of specific questions as well.   We are not guaranteed a session but they will meet with each of us and determine if its auspicious for a reading at that time.