Sacred Sounds of South India: A Two-Week Journey of Ecstasy and Heart-Opening Exploration
February 26, 2024 - March 13, 2024
We are excited to announce an upcoming collaboration between Sajida Bentzur and Yuval Ron. Seven years after our unforgettable journey of sacred music in the Rajasthan desert, we are thrilled to share with you another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: an exploration of the rich cultural traditions of South India.
Join us on a two-week journey of spiritual and emotional elevation as we immerse ourselves in the magic of sacred and ritual music. Led by Sajida Ben Tzur, an entrepreneur and owner of Sajida’s Boutique Travels, and Yuval Ron, a renowned Grammy-nominated musician and educator with a remarkable voice in cross-cultural projects around the world.
We invite you to experience the spirit of India through an unforgettable voyage. During our journey, we will have the opportunity to meet living masters and scholars and to witness Yuval Ron in an exclusive intimate musical and verbal dialogues with the master musicians of India. We will indulge in the breathtaking natural beauty of Kerala, visit traditional South Indian dance schools, drummers, and experts of their trade, who will open a gateway for us into ancient cultures that have been passed down through oral traditions for over 1000 years. On our journey we will also benefit from exclusive Ayurvedic and Nada Yoga chanting meditations workshops with Yuval Ron, as well as Yoga and Ayurvedic massage sessions with expert local teachers and therapists.
Apart from visiting historical temples, Sufi shrines, and sacred places of worship, we will also travel to natural spice farms and enjoy the exquisite cuisine of Kerala. We will take some relaxed time to sail and stay in a houseboat to explore the backwater riverside of some of the most beautiful landscapes in Southeast Asia. While our tour is stimulating and full of adventurous experiences, we will be staying in 4-5 star hotels and resorts.
This is an invitation to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey of spiritual exploration, cultural practices, and music. Two weeks of ecstasy, heart-opening experiences, and unforgettable memories. There are only 40 seats available on our bus! To reserve your place, please fill out the form below to receive the entire tour itinerary and costs. We are looking forward to having you with us on this upcoming extraordinary experience.
With love and regards,
Sajida Ben Tzur and Yuval Ron.
Sacred Sounds Of South India – Tour Itinerary:
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” – Rumi
Day 1: Sufi Culture in Mumbai.
After landing in Mumbai and settling into our hotel, we’ll take some time to rest before beginning our journey. We’ll then head to the Haji Ali Dargah, a stunning Sufi Shrine located in the middle of the Arabian Sea, and a symbol of faith and architectural brilliance. Here, we’ll have the privilege of meeting traditional Qawwal singers and hearing them perform Qawwali music, a devotional genre of music that originated from the Sufi tradition. Our guide, Sajida, will provide us with insights into the Sufi culture and the Chishti order of Sufis, to which Saint Haji Ali belonged. We’ll return to our hotel in the evening for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 2: Mumbai and the Dhrupad Music Experience
After breakfast, we’ll explore some of Mumbai’s iconic sites before heading to the Gurukul of Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, a true master of the Rudra Vina and an important figure in the special Dhrupad school of music. Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, comes from a long lineage of musicians and is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of Dhrupad. Here, we’ll have the privilege of learning about the ancient musical instrument, the Vina, and the Dhrupad music tradition from Ustad Bahauddin Dagar himself, and may witness a rare duet for Vina and Oud performed for us exclusively by Ustad Dagar and Yuval Ron. We’ll return to our hotel in the evening for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 3: A glimpse into the Carnatic music of Madurai.
After having breakfast, we will take a local flight to Madurai. Once we arrive and check-in at the hotel, we will meet and interact with Carnatic musicians in the afternoon. We will learn about the traditional South Indian classical music form, which dates back over 2,000 years, and listen to some of this ancient music. Afterwards, we will return to the hotel for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 4: The Art and Heritage of Thanjavur.
After breakfast, we’ll take a local drive to Thanjavur. Our first stop will be at a workshop of a Carnatic Vina maker, where we’ll get to see how these beautiful string instruments are made. We’ll then visit the Brihadeeswara Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest temples in India. Here, we’ll be accompanied by Kombai S Anwar, a renowned scholar and writer in the field of Tamil literature and Islamic studies, who will provide us with insights into the temple’s history and significance. We’ll then return to the hotel in Thanjavur for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 5: The Spiritual Traditions of Meenakshi Temple.
After breakfast, we’ll drive back to Madurai, where we’ll have the opportunity to meet and interact with Odhuvar singers. These singers are an integral part of the temple rituals and perform devotional songs in praise of the deities. We’ll learn about their traditions and listen to their mesmerizing renditions. After lunch, we’ll visit the Meenakshi Amman Temple, a stunning example of Dravidian architecture and one of the most important temples in South India. We’ll be accompanied by the temple singers, who will perform during our visit. Kombai S Anwar will also join us to share some of the secrets and history of this ancient place. We’ll then return to the hotel in Madurai for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 6: Nature Walk and Spice Exploration in Periyar National Park.
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Thekkady and take a stroll in nature around the picturesque Periyar Lake, where we’ll enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Periyar National Park, also referred to as Periyar Tiger Reserve, is located in the Western Ghats mountain range of southern India’s Kerala state. This wildlife sanctuary is home to a diverse range of animals, including tigers, elephants, Indian bison, rare lion-tailed macaques, leopards, and sambar deer.
Later in the day, we’ll visit the vibrant Spice Bazaar of Periyar, where we’ll get a glimpse into the world of exotic spices and their uses.
We’ll then return to the hotel in Thekkady for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 7: A Serene Unwinding in Kumarakom.
Following breakfast, we’ll drive to Kumarakom, an idyllic village nestled alongside the banks of Vembanad Lake in Kerala’s backwaters. Our accommodations at a stunning hotel will provide the perfect setting to unwind and bask in the peaceful ambiance. During the day, we’ll revel in the tranquility of the lake and the charming scenery. At evening we’ll enjoy a workshop with Yuval Ron on healing sound meditations from Ayurvedic medical tradition of India dinner at the hotel and retire for the night.
Day 8: Tranquil Houseboat Cruise in the Backwaters of Kerala.
After breakfast, we’ll embark on a magical houseboat cruise in a traditional and luxurious Kerala-style houseboat. We’ll spend the day cruising the backwaters of Kerala, enjoying the peaceful and scenic beauty of the surroundings. We’ll spend the night on board the houseboat, enjoying the calm and peaceful backwaters of Kerala. We’ll enjoy dinner and then an exclusive workshop with Yuval Ron focusing on Nada Yoga, the Yoga of Sound Meditation practice, after which we will retire to a restful sleep at the house boat for the night.
Day 9: Kochi’s Cultural and Historical Treasures.
Following breakfast on the houseboat, we’ll drive to Kochi. Kochi is a fascinating city that reflects the diverse history and culture of Kerala, with influences from Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonialism.
We’ll start our tour of Kochi by visiting the Old City and Jew Town, where we’ll be surrounded by a vibrant mix of cultures and religions. Here, we’ll see the beautiful architecture and bustling bazaars that showcase the rich history and culture of the region.
Next, we’ll visit the iconic Chinese fishing nets, which have become a symbol of Kochi. These unique fishing nets were introduced to India by Chinese traders in the 14th century and are still used today by local fishermen. We’ll also visit the Paradesi Synagogue, which is located in the heart of Jew Town. This beautiful synagogue dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. Finally, we’ll visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India, which dates back to the 16th century. After a full day of exploration, we’ll return to the hotel for dinner and a well-deserved rest.
Day 10: Thrissur’s Rich Heritage and Spirituality.
After breakfast, we will drive to Thrissur, a city located in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Known as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur has a rich cultural heritage and is home to historic landmarks.
We will explore the Vadakkunnathan Temple, one of the most prominent and ancient temples in Kerala. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate murals depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
Our visit will provide an opportunity to explore the temple complex and learn about its rich history and cultural significance.
In the evening, we will enjoy dinner and spend the night in Thrissur.
Day 11: Rural Life and Kathakali Dance in Palakkad.
After breakfast, we will embark on a scenic drive to Palakkad for an immersive rural experience. Our first stop will be a local farm where we will enjoy a plantation walk and get to taste various local rice varieties. We will then participate in an interactive cooking session where we will learn to prepare regional dishes using traditional ingredients.
We will also experience toddy tapping, a local tradition where the sap from Coconut Palm trees is fermented to produce a unique and famous beverage.
Later we will visit the Kathakali Village to witness and interact with the Kathakali dancers, who perform a traditional form of dance-drama that originated in Kerala.
Kathakali is a classical dance form known for its elaborate makeup, costumes, and facial expressions. The dance-drama typically narrates stories from Hindu mythology and is performed by male artists who are trained in the art form from a young age. The dancers use intricate hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to convey emotions and tell stories.
We will attend a lecture demonstration on Kathakali and witness a stunning performance. This will give us a deeper understanding of the art form and its cultural significance.
After a day of cultural exploration, we will return to our hotel for dinner and an overnight stay in Thrissur.
Day 12: Relaxing and Unwinding at Marari Beach.
After breakfast, we will drive to the stunning Marari Beach, famous for its pristine coastline in Kerala. This tranquil and serene destination is perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. We will spend the day at a beautiful retreat abode near the seashore, where we can unwind, connect with ourselves, and reflect on our journey. In the evening, we will gather for an enchanting and memorable farewell party with music by Yuval Ron, followed by dinner and an overnight stay at the Marari Resort.
Day 13: Yoga and Ayurvedic Massage at Marari Resort.
We will wake up to a relaxing yoga session at the beautiful Marari Beach.
Throughout the day, we will spend some peaceful time at a lavish resort, indulging in a nourishing Ayurvedic massage at a pampering Kerala-style spa.
In the evening, we will enjoy dinner before driving to Kochi airport for our flight back home.
Day 14: Final Farewell: Departing from Kochi Airport.
End of our journey, traveling back home.