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Travel to India – Coming to the Ashram

If you would like to make a trip to India and have never been in this country, you probably have a lot of questions of how to actually travel to India. In this page we try to answer as many of the most common questions as possible. If you are planning to come to one of our retreats in India, or to just come and visit our Ashram, you are of course welcome to send us an email with your personal and individual questions about your trip to India which we will happily answer!

Which time of year is the best for a trip to India?

India is big and all around the year at some part of India there is always good weather, no matter at what time of the year you actually travel to India.
If you ask about Vrindavan, though, the best time to come to Vrindavan is from October to March. The weather is pleasant and not as hot as in summer, when the temperatures can reach a maximum of 48 degrees centigrade in May and June. July, August and September are the Monsoon months for Vrindavan. Vrindavan’s winter and coldest time is in December and January. Temperatures can go down to a minimum of one or two degrees centigrade in nights but that only happens for about two weeks in the year. The winters are beautiful, too, especially when the sun shines during daytime and has temperatures of ten to 20 degrees centigrade.

At the Ashram we have visitors all around the year. Of course, during our retreats the Ashram is a bit busier but there are also people who enjoy travelling in summer. You are welcome at any time!

Which festivals, holidays or Indian celebration days could I integrate into my travel plans?

Festivals in India

The Indian calendar includes hundreds of bigger and smaller celebrations and holidays. Whether that is festivals like Navaratri, which spreads over more than a week of time, or single-day celebrations like the birthday of the God Ganesh, when you are in India, you can participate in the celebrations of many such special days throughout the year.

At the Ashram we invite you to join us for the main celebrations of the year. There is Radhashtami for example, the birthday of Goddess Radha and the day on which Swami Balendu entered the cave. This holiday usually is in the beginning of September. Later in the year, in the end of October or beginning of November, you can join the celebration of Diwali or Deepawali, which is the festival of light and similar to the Christian tradition of celebrating Christmas. And of course you are most welcome to join Holi, the festival of colours! Taking place in late February or early March, this is surely one of the jolliest and craziest celebrations you ever experienced and you will have memories of all those colours on clothes and body! As these holidays depend on the moon calendar, they are on different dates every year. If you wish to come to the Ashram for any of them, just write us and ask for the exact dates!

How long in advance do I have to book my flight if I want to travel to India?

A journey to India can be planned months before but can also be decided upon in the last minute. Of course the flight rates are usually higher the closer you get to your travel date. Two to three months in advance are generally a good guideline for booking your flights for your trip to India. Don’t let this guideline stop you from booking earlier or later, though, as many airlines have special early-bird and last-minute offers.

If I want to visit the Ashram, which airport should I fly to?

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the closest international airport and is approximately 150 kilometers from Vrindavan.

Which Visa do I need if I want to travel to India and how do I apply for it?

Citizens of most countries require a visa to enter India. Of course the kind of visa to apply for depends on the purpose of your travel and how long you want to stay. As a tourist and for visiting the Ashram or participating in Yoga retreats and Ayurveda holidays, you need a tourist visa, which is in general easy to obtain. The rules and regulations, the conditions and the different options from visas for six months to several years and from single to multiple entry visas are in constant change and you should always inform yourself at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate which will be the best visa for you.

The embassy or consulate will also be able to tell you how to apply. Many embassies use the service of an official visa agency and you can mostly download and sometimes fill the required form online from their webpage. Please note that the procedure can be different in every country.

Do I need vaccinations for a journey to India?

Vaccinations are a topic with very individual views and opinions. There are travellers who take a lot of vaccinations as precautions and others who don’t at all. It will be best for you to contact a doctor if you are concerned and consult with him.

Do I have to worry about Malaria and should I start taking tablets?

While there are areas in India which are at a high risk for Malaria, Vrindavan is in an area of low to no risk. So if you come only to our area, there is no need to take Malaria tablets in advance. If you have doubts, you can of course consult about this with your doctor, too. At the Ashram we have never had any visitor who had problems with Malaria.

What about money in India? Should I bring Euros or Dollars to change or rather take traveller cheques? Is there a possibility to use my credit card to get money in Vrindavan?

You can change both currencies, Euros and US-Dollars, at the airport, at foreign currency exchange points and in banks into Indian Rupees. If you come from Europe and have Euros, there is no need to change them into Dollars first. You will lose money with each conversion, so simply bring your Euros and exchange them directly into Rupees. To cash a traveller cheque you need to find a bank that offers this service. There are several ATMs in Vrindavan at which you can take out money with your credit card.

If you come for one of our retreats and still have to make a remaining payment or if you would like to make a donation for our charity projects, you can pay and donate in Euros or Dollars as well. You don't need to convert into Rupees for making a payment for a retreat or for making a donation.

What should I pack when I come to the Ashram? Do I need to bring a mosquito net, a towel or bed sheets?

Ashram rooms

When you are packing for your travel to India and planning on coming only to the Ashram, you only need your personal items and clothes. You don’t need to bring towels or bed sheets, we will provide them for you. A mosquito net is also not necessary, as we have insect repellents in all rooms.

Which clothes should I bring when travelling to India? Is there a dress code in the Ashram?

As far as clothes are concerned, you would of course need to pack according to the season you are planning your trip to India for. If you want to come while it is warm here, light cotton clothes are the right choice. When it is cooler, it is practical to have a woolen jacket to put over your shirt. In December and January it can get cold, so make sure you have warm pullovers and socks in your luggage, too!

Unlike other Ashrams, the Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan Ashram is free of regulations where your clothes are concerned. You don’t need to cover your head and if you want to wear shorts, it is allowed at the Ashram, too. Wear whatever you feel good with.

Is there any specific clothing recommended for women?

Women in general should consider how they want to dress when going out in India. Foreigners always get attention, especially in a small town like Vrindavan, but women with plunging necklines and short skirts will not only be stared at but will certainly also receive insinuating remarks at the least. For your own comfort we advise to dress reasonably in clothes that cover knees and shoulders and don’t allow for very deep insights.

Why would I choose to come to the Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan Ashram? What is special about this Ashram?

Ashram

The specialty of our Ashram is foremost its loving family atmosphere. Grandmother, parents, children and workers as well as visitors live together here in a way that makes everybody feel at home. At the same time however you are free to do whatever you wish. This freedom of any religious rules and any fixed schedule that one needs to attend gives the individual the chance to explore himself and his own feelings.

As it is a rather small Ashram, participants of retreats receive individual and personal attention and every Ayurvedic treatment or Yoga class is designed for those who take part. There are no standard procedures that you need to fit in!

Come and be with us, find it out for yourself!



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