::: Frequently Asked Questions : SATELLITE MAP linked below :::
When you arrive say “Narmade Har!” – we recognize that all Sacred Rivers are connected.
THE BAN ON COMMERCIAL TOURISM FLIGHTS IS EXTENDED TIL 31 JANUARY 2022. The gov .in website for e-visas online is now open so you may plan ahead. Maximum stay granted is 30 days & these VISAS ARE FREE. This fresh visa plus a negative virus test 24 hours before boarding are required by airlines. SwAr Ashram does not make or enforce these requirements, nor do we have judgements about your choices, nor are we able to amend the requirements. As our Guest, we are here to assist your journey in time & space with ease & safety. As a Yogi, the rEvolution is within. Our purpose is to facilitate that inner journey for you – online or on location.— admin staff @ SwAr Ashram
: health concerns :
Should i get vaccinations, take tablets? This is entirely up to you and your beliefs about vaccines and perhaps western medicines in general. Be guided by your own choice & if it is required by your own gov, the Indian gov or the airline. The current situation is on the visa online webpage. At the moment of writing this, vaccines are not mandated. a negative test is required. Some people choose to vax based on their doctor’s recommendation. Some people do not believe in vaccines. 80% locals are vaxxed. Some guests are and some are not. Some take anti-malaria tablets and some do not.
When masks are required in public, we wear them. We are Yogi-s and so behave with care for others. During Yoga, if regulations require, we observe distance between mats and so can go without masks. We spray our mats with neem disinfectant.
: location & nearest airport :
Devi Ahilyabai Indore International Airport, INDORE (Madhya Pradesh) is the final destination, nearest airport. This is a small airport, they fly limited International. Unless you originate from UAE, you will fly from your country to Mumbai or Delhi then, your final destination is INDORE.
: transportation BY AIR :
INTERNATIONAL: Two airlines fly non-stop from New York to India. AirIndia & United Airlines (some guests have paid $850). There are numerous 1-2 stop flights for $100-200 less. The Middle-Eastern airlines often have the most competitive rates. Since there are so many options, including Delhi vs Mumbai, some people opt for a travel agent. A good NYC based Indian Travel Agent is Suma Travel. They have been specializing in India trips for 4 generations and can do online or phone bookings. Remember, you also need to take a domestic flight to Indore.
DOMESTIC: The 1 hour flight to Indore runs practically every hour from sunrise to sunset and priced between $40- $100. vs $200 on average via travel agent. Planning ahead saves most. The best prices are booked on the Indian domestic airlines’ websites. INDIGO . AIR INDIA . VISTARA are popular examples. SCROLL DOWN FOR HOW TO GET TO SWAR ASHRAM FROM INDORE.
: visa & laNding cards :
Which type of visa should i apply for?
TOURIST. do not apply for student visa – this is for gov recognized university accredited institutions. do not apply for volunteer employment – this is for full time of a one year duration and is required for the institution to apply on your behalf.
This is the OFFICIAL SECURE SITE for a TOURIST VISA. It is done entirely online. Each country of origin has varying rules as to how long it will issue the visa. You print out your own visa and carry it along with your passport. Since the pandemic, the site is updated clearly & upfront with new regulations as they occur. go forth bravely in these times!
What is the destination address for my visa and landing card?
The place where you will sleep at night is what the visa & landing card needs on record. We offer 2 choices of affiliate lodgings – ON & OFF ASHRAM CAMPUS. You will be paying your room deposits to them directly as linked on the respective page for the Ashram Guests.
When you are applying for the visa and again much later, filling out the landing card on the plane, you will need the info below :
ON ASHRAM CAMPUS : Akashdeep Annex, Jai Raj Rajeshwari Chowk, Maheshvar, Madhya Pradesh 451224 INDIA Manager Ashwin Mehta 91.942.533.4138 (this is attached to our Ashram garden in what is essentially our campus, but we do not own or manage it)
OFF ASHRAM CAMPUS : Labboo’z Cafe & Lodge, Ahilyawada Gate, Maheshvar, Madhya Pradesh 451224 INDIA – Manager Arif Khan 91.777.100.4818 (this is a 3 minute walk along the Fort wall owned by the same landlord as our Ashram)
: lodging :
Stay with us in charming heritage accommodation either on or off campus. In the previous question, you will see the addresses for ON & OFF CAMPUS, this is our affiliate lodging.
ON ASHRAM CAMPUS : We have freshly restored these modest heritage rooms circa 18th century, each housing 2 single beds, Ashram style. You may have a room-mate, unless you opt to pay the private room fee. These are authentic heritage housing adjacent to SwAr Ashram’s garden, just steps away from Narmada River, our Library and our Yogic teaching grounds. (there are only 4 of these simple rooms, so particularly if you wish to stay here without sharing a room, book early.)
OFF-CAMPUS : These 6 exclusive authentic heritage rooms are hidden inside the actual ancient 9th c. stone walls of the Gatehouse to Maheshvar Fort’s Palace, 3 minutes walk along the Fort wall to SwAr Ashram, (also part of the Fort) located on Maheshvar Ghat. Royal heritage furnishings in lodging built into the beautifully restored Palace Gatehouse. (there are only 6 rooms of this quality & one of those is a very large super deluxe room with double rate of occupancy.)
How do I calculate my total cost according to choice of lodging & pay my deposit for a retreat or private visit? EMAIL US
: transportation from indore to SwAr Ashram :
How do i get to SwAr Ashram from the Indore Airport?
Maheshvar is 2.25 hours drive from the Indore Airport. We pick you up in a large luxury 6 seat A/C vehicle for each small group arriving and departing. Factored into your ‘all-inclusive’ price are group airport transfers. Private car transfers are arranged if you are travelling at your own schedule. This is the safest, most hassle-free and comfortable option by far. We send our charming Guest Ambassador, Lali to meet you with our trusty Driver, Pintu, (photo w/ sign). Private car is approx $54- that’s rs4000-. paid to Pintu. For a shared car, the cost is shared up to 4 guests.
What is the nearest Bus Station from Indore to Maheshvar? There is no bus which can accommodate luggage all the way to here. REDBUS is the site to book an A/C bus with space for luggage but it goes only as far as Dhamnod. Take a prepaid taxi from the airport to the Bus Station. In about 3 hours, the A/C bus will drop you 15 kms from Maheshvar at a large bus stop in Dhamnod. Call us to send you a rickshaw from here to pick you up – a Dhamnod rickshaw will charge double. Unless you frequently take busses in India, i would not recommend this option.
: timing flights & pickups :
Most International flights arrive in the wee hours of the AM. 3-4:00am. Transferring to a domestic Indore flight at between 7-9:00am will give you enough time to go thru customs, shift to the other end of the terminal to the domestic side. You can plan to board your pre-booked domestic flight anytime between 7:00 and 9:00AM without feeling stressed. Most guests arrive in Indore between 8:00 and 10:00AM. If you are able to use this common schedule when booking flights, then none of our guests are waiting too long for the others. With rare exception, in cases of flights delayed or other hangups, just keep your communication open with us, we will catch you when you land. If your flight is relatively on time, you have just enough time to sample the Coffee & Snack shops in the Indore waiting area where you can easily spot your fellow SwAr Ashram guests as they arrive. Whatsapp, IG or fB will help connect you on the free wifi with Lali or Pintu who will be greeting you. This system has worked flawlessly for us.
: what if i prefer to take the train? :
Indore has the nearest Train Station. From the airport, take a pre-paid taxi to Nizmuddin or Pahar Ganj where you will need to book a hotel and stay a night or 2 to wait for a Tat-Kal tourist ticket. This is an involved process that means sitting in the Train Station office all day to book the next available seat, an archaic system to travel on short notice, within 24-48 hours. or else you would have to book months in advance online. If you must travel by train please opt for one of the First Class AC or Business Sleeper cars, if they are available, worth every rupee for your comfort & safety. Pintu will also pick you up at the Train if that is your mode of transport, however, unless you are experienced on trains in India, this is such a complicated and long process, (20 hours on average train & 2 days in arranging it vs 1 hour in the air) i do not recommend this travel option.
: security :
The off-campus gatehouse is guarded and the outer gate is locked at night. It is the actual Gatehouse to Maheshvar Palace and so the safest place in town. Very secure.
Our on-campus rooms also have an outer gate to the garden which is lockable. Amma has lived here 14 years alone and not an incident. So, we feel it is safe & secure here. This is the first year we will be having the Ashram campus rooms, it is all within the same gated garden.
Should i get travel insurance?
This is up to you & your valuables as well as comfort level with travelling. Although we do everything in our power to house, feed and transport you in the safest humanly ways possible, (and we have never had an incident) but things do happen. it is recommended to insure valuabes, but of course not necessary.
: food :
SwAr Ashram is Vegan (Ahimnsa local dairy is sometimes available). The Cafe is Indian pure veg that includes other sourced dairy if you order it. We offer a marvelous variety of tasty & healthy Indian & Indo-Manchurian foods made with fresh local ingredients. Most of the meals are pre-fix & all prefix is Vegan by default. There are times we are in cafes and order off menus.
FYI : here is no meat nor alcohol served in our entire town or any of the places we visit on excursions. This is an Indian Gov regulation among all the Sacred Sites of Hindus. If you really need a chicken dinner or a beer, a private rickshaw can be hired and you can go on your own, (at your own cost), a few kms outside town. There is no cow slaughter in our entire State of MP.
Can you cater to special dietary needs? Yes for allergies & intolerances, just let us know upon Registering so that we may prepare for you.
Most meals will be at SwAr Ashram where you can participate & learn Indian cooking sometimes on an outdoor Chulha (a small camp-type brick fire set-up). Here we will sit on the floor, eat with our (washed!) hands off of fresh hygienic banana leaves as plates. This is an Ayurvedic practice which assists in healthier digestion. Guests always remark that these are their favorite meal-time experiences.
: yoga :
SwAr Ashram Yoga & Library, Madhya Pradesh INDIA , a Narmada Riverfront location. SwAr Ashram is a Teaching Facility for Yoga & we have an Advaitic Yog Vedant Library on site.
SwAr ASHRAM HAS A RIVER FRONT YOGA TEACHING FACILITY, CLASSROOM & LIBRARY AS WELL AS 2 MANDIRS, ALL SET IN PICTURESQUE PRIMITIVE PARTIAL RUINS. YOU WILL STAY AT BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED HERITAGE LODGING (below) VERY NEAR SWAR ASHRAM, IN OUR SAME FORT or on Ashram campus in one of the 4 simple RESTORED HERITAGE ROOMS ADJACENT TO OUR ASHRAM GARDEN.
Once you have paid your Registration Deposit, we send you a detailed PDF. all of this info is on the website in its appropriate places. the pdf is for your travel convenience to have it all in one handy place.
: experiences :
What is included/ not included in the cost of Retreat Packages such as YOGA of VOICE or YOGA & YAJNA or CONSCIOUS YOGA – innerYatra Esoteric Yogic Experiences, Teachings, Technologies, Therapies & Ancient India Experiencial Tours Package?
- Group (large vehicle) pick-up /drop-off at the Indore Airport between designated times.
- AM & PM daily Hatha Yoga & Meditation Programs inside & in front of SwAr Ashram on the banks of Narmada.
- Yoga Nidra grounding on your first evening.
- Agnihotra Sandhya Sadhana with full educational module about this ancient pyro-dynamic healing. (steel boxed copper kunda & kit is optional to purchase to take home)
- Aarti and Pujas including education & experiences.
- Circle Satsang gatherings on the Ghat in front of SwAr Ashram.
- EITHER 7 half-days Yoga of Voice workshop by world class Indian classical musician, vocalist & Acharya, Deepak Kumar Pareek. Planned & spontaneous performances thru the 11 days.
- OR 7 half-days of innerEvolution Conscious Yoga for Trauma Survivors workshop by Niradhara Amma.
- innerYatra : every day there will be a module of Esoteric Yogic Experience Tours, created, curated, produced & guided by Niradhara Amma.
- 2 Boat Yatras on Narmada to Baneshwar (Ancient Stargate Temple) with ceremonies
- Shabdha Snan (sound bath).
- Kirtan on the boat, in Ashram & Temples..
- Boat on Narmada to Shalivan Ashram & Naodotia Village.
- Trek along the banks of Narmada to Saptamatrika (Pleaidean Mothers) Temple
- Car journey to Omkareshwar, east on Narmada, Darshan of the Jyotir Lingams, picnic & shopping for spiritual, altar and gift items.
- Car journey to Sahastradhara, (rapids) with Special Kundalini Kriya Experience
- Satsangs incl. Mandukyopanishad, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, secrets of Vedic herbs, plants & stones, Paradigm Shift MC & the Goddess, Gauraksha (cow protection)
- Sanskrit Naming Ceremony for those who wish it
- Walking tour of the Ghats, Fort, Temples and charitable works
- Traditional Indian cooking (and eating) class
- Hygienic RO water, refill bottles
- Tasty, Vegan or Vegetarian meals prepared with love, local mostly organic food 3 times a day
- Attend a Shakti Girls Yoga Camp & MC Satsang for Amma’s girl students to educate about their bodies & Amma’s students get a designer stitched pad set with comic book, to encourage them to stay in school during their Moon Cycles.
- Mehndi & Rangoli Party! Amma’s girl students are masterful at henna designs and the amazing rangoli kolams that are drawn on the floor with colored sands pinched between tiny fingers, these artistic young ladies share their art with you.
- wi-fi at the Lodging and Ashram.
- Access Pass to SwAr Ashram Library (use our laptops if needed).
- Drop in, see our Yoga, English & Library students – teach a class (optional).
- Experience Local Veg Market on Tuesday.
- Very Special Metta Meditation.
- Opening and Closing ceremonies.
- Welcome Bag filled with local gifts to make your stay even more wonderous!
- Spiral Bound support materials book by Amma.
- 1 Ayurvedic massage, facial or Reflexology, (more at very low cost is optional).
- YACEP credits with certificate for existing Yoga Teachers.
- 11 nights exclusive accommodation in the beautifully restored Gatehouse to our Palace, incl. A/C, wi-fi, RO water refills.
- Surprises, Prasadam, Love, Deep Caring, Sat Cit Anand!
- Basically, everything is incl EXCLUDING AIR FARE AND SHOPPING CASH.
- Slide gallery of some guest events. SEE ALL OF OUR SLIDE GALLERIES HERE>
: Is the teacher Yoga Alliance Accredited? :
Yes. if you are an RYT we can give you (x) number of CEUs depending on the workshop, retreat, private time – for the time spent learning under Amma Niradhara.
Will i get a Certificate? as a YACEP provider, we will issue you an e-cert as well as a laminated hard copy with a beautiful ceremony at the end of your program if you are a Registered Yoga Teacher with YA – please notify us in advance if you are seeking this.
: wi-fi :
SwAr Ashram, the Lodge & Cafe have wi-fi. You are supplied with passwords & SwAr Ashram will issue you a Temporary Guest Library Pass where you may use our laptops, printer & wi-fi as well as borrow from Guruji’s collection of Advaitic Yog Vedant books (must be returned before departure).
There are no free open wi-fi signals on the road or about town. There are no internet cafes in these areas. If you need an urgent use of wi-fi when we are touring, Amma has a portable wifi device with a limited GB data usage, which she will carry on all outings.
: Can I participate with your charities? :
Yes. An informal interaction with our NGO’s programs or observation of them is encouraged but not required. You are welcome to participate as a cultural immersion experience that is also part of your Yoga Sadhana – this is also known as Karma Yoga and often called Seva. Visiting an NGO as a casual observer or lending a spontaneous hand, is not ‘volunteer work’ by gov standards. THIS ARTICLE addresses some of the facts about the various forms of visas. Formal full-time volunteerism is not an option here. Our small NGO can not bear expenses to host a full time, year-long volunteer with a work visa. We are not internationally funded, we are funded by teaching Yoga to you, the Tourists. It is economically illogical for our situation to consider the expense of a work-visa, accommodation and food for a foreign volunteer vs simply hiring a local. SEE OUR SLIDE GALLERY. ASK AMMA if you have further questions.
What type of charitable work may I observe?
There are daily English lessons and a computer class in our Library. A Girl’s Yoga Camp with Moon Cycle Awareness Satsang is run by Amma, scheduled 4 times per year, with Health, Safety & Hygiene education MC Desi Shakti Pad Program. Each of our innerYatra Retreats have one of these Yoga Camps included as a scheduled day of interaction for you with our Community based charitable initiatives. We have various holiday and field trip programs throughout the year for our local Students including a visit to an Organic Farm with solar power and Agnihotra Goshala which you may attend if you are here.
when you VISIT Swar Ashram for support with your own sadhana WHEN YOU ARE IN INDIA, you also support local girl’s access to yoga & to continuing their education : contact AMMA.
: what to pack :
- Comfy walking shoes that can easily slip off for Temples, Shops & homes. There is probably never a time you will prefer a full enclosed shoe except at the airports.
- Modest dress is not an option – required in such a small Hindu non-tourist town.
- A long scarf (dupetta) is worn to cover heads in Temples. Available here for as little as $1.
- A modest bathing/ swimming outfit & towel if you want to swim or take a holy bath in the Narmada. Indian women wear full length skirt & choli blouse. You can wear any non-transparent clothes, leggings & huge T-shirt to cover your butt works. Men can wear swim shorts & T-shirt. Annoyingly unfair, but not the time & place to be a rebel. burkini? … sorry.
- Layers & socks. Winter mornings, sweater or hoodie at the start of Sadhana. It’s T-shirt weather by middle of Yoga in the morning.
- Loose fitting white cotton clothes is what local people wear in India for Yoga. These sets are in the market for approx $10. or can be tailored. Not required at all. Do pack your T-shirts, drawstring baggy pants, any Yoga clothes that are modest.
- Many of our guests bring an empty suitcase to have beautiful tailor-made Indian clothes sewn. Not required! This place is a treasure trove of gorgeous textiles and tailoring is very moderately priced. Tailors are great at copying, if you have an old fav…
- Your comfort snack. If you crave certain snacks or sweets, go ahead and pack them, the chocolate is very low quality, most snacks are very spicy & street food is not hygienic.
- A foot pumice. Surprising what feet look like at the end of the day in India wearing flip flops.
- A flashlight comes in handy.
- A pocket size notebook.
- Cross body bags are handy during walkabouts, for layers, impromptu shopping.
- A secret stash compartment that you can wear, to hold extra cash, ATM card & visa copies.
: what to leave home :
- Towels and sheets for the room. They are provided for use in the rooms.
- Valuables. Why risk it? No one wears fancy jewelry here.
- Skimpy, sexy Yoga (or other) clothes & bathing suits. See above for what to pack for River bathing. Inside our Ashram i have never asked anyone to change or cover up their Yoga clothes, however, if you are on the Ghat for Yoga, i am required to. This ‘not’ list includes tank & crop tops, typical western style yoga or gym pants which cling to your butt and legs. (men too) Walkabout clothes must also be modest. Again, sorry. This is the culture. It matters.
- Any Auyrvedic product is available locally. Many guests stock up a year of their fav Ayurvedic supplements & products for the price of just one of it at home.
- If you are booked for a Retreat, you will receive a Welcome bag that includes a copper water bottle and nice assortment of Ayurvedic toiletries including a foot scrubber – you will need it.
FREE 1 HOUR INITIATION AT YOUR OWN SANDHYA TIME WITH PURCHASE OF ANY KIT OR KUNDA
GET YOUR e-Book, KUNDA OR FULL KIT HERE the Phyr-O-Sutras : Praying with Fire : Agnhotra e-book is FREE with the Kund or Kit purchase.
REGISTER HERE for the FREE LIVE e-lesson OFFERING FIRE TO THE SUN & Initiation.
FREE PRAYER REQUESTS
Your request will we entered in the next available Sandhya Time Agnihotra. Specify the duration of times you would wish to keep your Request Active.
༺🔥༻FREE –Live e-lesson (OFFERING FIRE TO THE SUN) & instant download Phyr-o-Sutras : printable e-book – PDF when you order ANY KUNDA KIT
नर्मदे हर NARMADE HAR! ༺🔥༻ – is a regional greeting in and around the Narmada River route among locals, parikramavasi-s and tourists. When we say this we recognize the Divinity of Narmada in you.