In today’s class we explored the 3 phases of the mind – the instinctive, intellectual and intuitive. Our study each day has been taking us deeply in to the understanding of the mind and to give us the necessary framework to begin successful meditation practice.

We looked closely at how to identify the instinctive, intellectual and intuitive phases of the mind.

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

 

Our day started early and by 7am we were in Periyar National Park ready to begin our 3-hour hike through this jungle. We were all eager to see wild life.

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Our first encounters were the Nilgiri Langur monkeys.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Then across the lake we spotted families of wild boar plus a few bison.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Our guide pulls a bamboo raft to shore so we can cross the lake.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The first team heads off across the lake…
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

…and into the jungle.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

82-year-old Anne and Dandapani make up team number 2 and it is our turn now to cross the lake. Anne is truly an inspiration. In our 3-hour hike she only took a 5-min break and kept up with the guide and me the entire time.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Our guide spots a tiger paw print which he says was made the previous night.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

We come across our first team in our hike.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

A colorful ginger flower.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The absolutely beautiful Giant Malabar Squirrels. At 3-feet long they are the world largest squirrels. They are maroonish in color with some baige around the bottom neck region. We also spotted Samba Deer (which were too fast for the camera), hornbills and many varieties of other birds.

 
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

83 year old Anne on an elephant. She has been an amazing spiritual adventurer on this trip and has kept up with the group in all the inner and outer adventures.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Our team is ready to ride off into the forest on elephants.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Katherine and Mandy.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Anne feeds one of the elephants a squash. It requires briefly putting your hand in the elephants’s mouth.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Now it’s Peter’s turn.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Posing with our elephants.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Anne and her son, Peter.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Mandy enjoys a moment with her new friend.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The mahouts or elephant caretakers pose with their elephants.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Upclose on an elephant’s eye.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

An elephant’s trunk.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

After the long ride our elephant is hot and sweaty and has requested a bath.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

After scrubbing her down she returns the favour. Mandy is first to get sprayed down.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Peter holding on to her tusk.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Katherine.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Dandapani enjoys a quiet moment with the elephant.

 

It is no wonder that the Europeans desperately seeked to find a sea route to India. And in Kerala they landed and discovered the amazing world of spices.

It’s day 4 of our Kerala Spiritual Adventure and our first full day in Periyar and we are enjoying being here in the Sahyadri Mountains. Our morning started with a class on Hinduism which I conducted. We learned about the 4 sects of Hinduism, about God and Gods, the Hindu temple and explored the foundations of Raja Yoga.

After class our friend and guide, Taj, took us on a wonderful tour of a spice garden. We tasted and smelled an array of exotic spices right off the tree, bush or vine. It was highly educational and fun. Taj is very entertaining and would have us identify each spice. 5 points if we got the answer right and minus 5 points if we got the answer wrong.

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Cardamom flower
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Wikipedia shares “Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India, they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds……read more about Cardamoms here.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Can anyone guess this spice?
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

A clove.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Taj shares that these chillies are super hot.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

More cloves.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Cocoa seed. Chocolate milk anyone?
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Red ants march across a wire in the spice garden.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Taj gifts Anne a beautiful white flower.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

A cinnamon tree. Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. Read more about Cinnamon on Wikipedia.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

King of Spices – Pepper. Pepper grows on a vine.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Taj demonstrates how to climb a bamboo ladder.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Close up of the bamboo ladder
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Our spice tour is interrupted and we step aside to let Mr. Elephant walk by. He seems undisturbed by our presence as he happily chews on leaves walking past our group.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

A very unusual looking eggplant. Small and red and on a thorny bush.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Tiny black tomatoes.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Yummm….jack fruit!
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Mandy browsing through Taj’s spice shop

 

Today we leave the ancient historic port city of Fort Kochi and head east, inland towards the Sahyadri Mountains,. It is a long but beautiful drive. It takes about 6 to 7 hours to drive up to the small town of Thekkady or Periyar and we took the less common route via Mavady Hills. This particular route is extremely scenic as we wind our way up the hills passing gorgeous valleys and waterfalls.

We make a stop to visit a friend of mine, Colonel Jose. Colonel runs a lovely retreat home in the Mavady Hills of Kerala. Hidden in the forest his home is perched on a small cliff with windows staring out onto the tree tops. Surrounding his home is a collection of tropical evergreen trees, a small rubber plantation and a gorgeous river with a crystal clear pool to dip in on a hot Indian summer’s day. If you are looking for a place to getaway you should seriously consider Colonel’s Retreat.

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Peter and his mother enjoy a glass of fresh home grown pineapple juice at Colonel’s Retreat.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Looking into the forest below from Colonel’s home.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Colonel Jose shares with our travelers a little history about the place.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Chris at the entrance to Colonel’s home.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Colonel takes us on a tour of his property.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The gorgeous river that flows part Colonel’s property.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Rubber has been tapped from trees on his property and made into sheets ready to be sold.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

One of the residents on the property.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Anne enjoys looking out of the window onto the tree tops seeing the variety of birds at eye level.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Peter and Chris pose with the stunning Mavady Hills in the backgorund.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

As we get closer to Thekkady the sceneray changes and the rolling hills are now covered with tea plantations.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The drive is breathtaking and perhaps the most beautiful in South India for sure.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

 

I spent most of last week in Rajasthan mainly in Jaipur and the villages surrounding Jodhpur. My morning and evening strolls through many villages brought many a curious stare. These were villages that seldom saw visitors. The local kids would follow me a good 10 feet behind as I walked around the village. Not a smile on their face. When I turned around and looked at them they stopped in their tracks. And when I smiled at them they gave the biggest smile you’ve seen on a child’s face followed by giggles. Here are a few photos that I took of these bright eyed kids with huge smiles.

I am also planning a spiritual adventure to Rajasthan in Oct/Nov of this year and if you are interested in joining this journey please feel free to email me. We’ll be visiting many of these villages plus attending one of India’s grandest celebrations, Diwali and the famed Pushkar Camel Fair. Visit our website for more details of this spiritual adventure to Northwestern India.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

Vedic Odyssey's next spiritual adventure takes you to the colorful state of Rajasthan in India on a 16 day meditation retreat.

 

Our Kerala spiritual adventure began on March 23rd and our first 2 days were spent in Fort Kochi, Kerala. It was a time to get to know one another and settle into life in India. It’s been quite humid here with slight rains in the evening which has been great as summer has already began and temperatures can get pretty high.

The first day we strolled the quiet streets of historic Fort Kochi and yesterday we explored the Dutch Palace, visited a local Hindu temple, a fruit market and Jew Town.

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Ancient Dutch cemetry
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

One of the locals
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

This artist has been drawing wonderful murals on the walls of the fort with colored chalks.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Mandy from the UK (left) and Katherine from New York
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

St. Francis church. The first church in India and this was also where the famed explorer Vasco da Gama was buried for 14 years before his body was taken back to Lisbon, Portugal.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Outside a large Hindu temple.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The temple elephant
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

A close up on an elephant’s foot
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Peter from New York
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The mahout of the elephant explains to us that this male elephant is in heat and therefore needs to chained as they can be very unpredictable during this time and can often get aggressive as well.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Chris from San Diego tries a delicious mango.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

It is the beginning of mango season now and we make the mandatory mango stop.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

The Dutch Palace contains some amazing paintings as well as murals.
Vedic Odyssey takes a group on a meditation retreat to Kerala, South India

Lunch at the beautiful Tea Bangalow