Mountain Paths

by Tessa Dummett, United Kingdom

Sharing with you a poem that one of our potential guests (a poetess) wrote anticipating this morning her visit to our part of the Himalayas

Chunnu ran through the hills

pockmarked with the tingling of Tibetan bells

Her feet brushing the sounds of the crickets lying dormant

in the morning mist before their wake up morning calls.

My alarm shrills inside my head

and the mountains invite me to unknown territory.

Chunnu assures me I will be happy there

and I clutch on to the fading morning mist

as London sultry morning breaks

whilst I frame it with visions of Tankas,

Tibetan monks chanting,

temples echoing mantras side by side,

Tibetan jade jewellery glinting in the morning light

wards off the evil eyes, surrounds the crumbling

Mughal window frames,

pillared houses of white and bronze coloured stone

lattice work windows, wooden shutters.

mountain flowers, winding roads

some mish mash of images rise up

and comfort me as hot tears flow incessantly

of broken dreams once forged in love and passion

of lovers gone by, now I will merge into Chunnu's

vision, as life has slipped through my fingers like fast falling sand

and after all, the mountains seem to be calling me once again.

The Golden Simplicity of Friendship

By Navjot Randhawa

I was invited on 19th June by radio presenters Mary Flavelle and Geoff Motley of Marlow FM 97.5 (Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom) to talk about The Mirage. Geoff & Mary have never been to India but Geoff had once seen a program about Jaipur & was so touched by the love & respect of the Indian people that he wanted to pack his bags, sell everything & set sail to India with his wife right away. It is indeed the kindness and warmth of the village folk in Andretta that makes our village so special. Witnessing the beautiful chemistry between the urban artists and the rural folk is an experience that is undoubtedly special.

You can listen to the full interview here…

The radio show is called Mid-Morning Matters (9:30 am). I am introduced at the 38th minute..

Excerpts & photos below..

Mid-morning Matters, 19th June, 2019, 10 am, Marlow FM, 97.5, UK

Geoff: “We’ve got some guests...”

Mary: We have got guests..Are you going to try & do the introduction ?

Geoff: No, you are.

Geoff: I’ve had a go & I made a mess of it.

G: The young lady is now handing me a leaflet.

MF: She has given me a leaflet as well..

This is my name & this is how you pronounce it.

G: And she is going to tell us how we can retreat to the Himalayas.

MF: This is "Navjot"

N: Oooh, that was perfect. 

Geoff: Say it again, say it again.

MF: Navjot.

N: Perfect.

MF: You see..

N: I was at a party last night & 10 people tried to pronounce it. And I just gave up. I said "Just call me Nivvy".

G: Nivvy.

G: She is looking at me with these enormous eyes.

MF: I know, she has got beautiful eyes. 

G: And I am totally embarrassed now. And a little Intimidated.

N: Uh oh.

G: However..


G: Go on, ask her a question.

MF: Oh you are finished..I thought you were gonna ask her..

MF: Navjot, you're gonna tell us why you are here. Because you've got an amazing story to tell us. First of all, what you've got, why have you got it? And you've got a retreat...

Navjot: Yes

MF: We've all got retreats. Have you got a retreat?

Jeff: Well, they are chocolate covered, aren't they? Oh treat, treat, no retreat, ah I got you. 

N: I am already very conscious of my English. You are getting me even more conscious. 

MF: Listen, don't..Who is banging the desk?

G: Not me..Why are you looking at me?

MF: Navjot, tell us about this retreat you've got..We're dying to hear about this.

N: Well actually it's not very different from where I am in Cookham right now. It kind of feels the same but it's the Himalayas. 

MF: You know I get that

G: There is a similarity.

MF: I can understand 

G: But this is Cookham & they are the Himalayas. 

MF: we are not going to take you very seriously from now on, you know that? 

Navjot: Well they are covered with snow. they are very beautiful &...I live there. So

MF: You live there?!!

Jeff: You live there now?

N: Yes

MF: She is just passing through at the moment. 

G: Oh wow, I can only say wow. Do you have a beautiful view?

N. Yes I actually have exactly the same view as on the cover of the leaflet you are holding.

G: Is this the view?

What Marlow FM peeps don't know is that we are looking at a leaflet with a beautiful beautiful picture of the mountains.

MF: Oh my God. 

Geoff: Snow-covered mountains.

MF: Is that the view from your place?

N: From the verandah, yeah.

Geoff: This is the view from the verandah...It's a better view than from my back window..that of a broken fence..

MF: It's like a view from a plane.

Geoff: It is gorgeous..And is the weather...

N: perfect.

Geoff: is it always perfect?

N: Except maybe 1 month when there is just too much rain.

But if you enjoy the rain & if you can just sit back..

MF: Oh no, we don’t do damp.

N: well you can be assured that its not like the London rain. it’s beautiful monsoon rain with the smell of the earth. 

Geoff: Well, we’ve had that for the last week here. 

Mary, phone the travel agent.

Geoff: Have you always lived there?

N: No, i first went there to conduct a theatre workshop & I fell in love with the place. Just like you fell in love just now..

We have a swimming pool now !

By Navjot Randhawa

Water is one of the five elements we are made of . And water is very scarce nowadays. They say the next world war, if it happens, will be for water. Don’t know about that but we surely must take a lot of care of keeping ourselves hydrated, especially in this searing summer.

According to Ayurveda (both Tibetan & Indian), if your dominant element is water, your energy comes from the hips and your walk has a flowing/swaying motion. Then when your element is active, you are full of love, generosity, you avoid conflict, you are creative, you are empathetic. In other words, you ARE the Creator. That’s your archetype. When energies are balanced in you, you are friendly, adaptable, responsive. You are what a friend or lover is imagined to be. When you are receptive, you are sensitive, graceful, gentle and embody everything that a disciple should/does. When there is a distortion, you have emotional swings, you are overly responsive and are easily misled.

So if you are water dominant and are looking to balance your energies, being in water can definitely help. But even otherwise, if you are in need of balancing your sensitive & practical side, a dip in a water body is suggested. And of course it is a great physical exercise as well !

We at The Mirage are proud to announce the inauguration of our swimming pool this month. The spring water in our 9 metres by 4 metres pool is the same that you drink out of the taps. You also have a lovely view of the yoga shala to keep your eyes relaxed when you are just sitting by the pool chilling. We have already had our first pool party which was a super-hit ! We also had a weeklong yoga retreat here recently where the yogis and yoginis experienced the benefits of diving in the pool after intense yoga sessions…

The next retreat is in July (all details in Our Retreats section). So come join us or else just come whenever your city gets too much to bear..We will be so happy to help you re-charge yourself..

Q & As about bringing a yoga group to The Mirage: Part 1

by Navjot Randhawa

I’ve been in the UK talking to a lot of yoga teachers figuring out if they’d be interested in bringing a yoga retreat to The Mirage. 
And while I sense a lot of interest, I also sense quite a lot of apprehension. Most yoga teachers seem to feel that even though they’ve taken their students to a lot of retreats across Europe, taking them for a retreat to India requires special preparation.
Well, it does. But in a good way. Hearts need to be opened. Who knows what is waiting to enter your heart in that far away land ?
As for the practical things, we’ll take care of everything.
I’ll address the 3 main things that came up :
1. Climate : Best time to bring your students here is March to May, September-October. Even if you face hot days, the mud cottages will keep you cool. And if you face cold days, we have wood burning stoves that keep the mud cottages warm. And if you decide to come off-peak season, like in the monsoons, it still is very beautiful around here if you are happy just being in the space, doing yoga in the yoga shala & taking walks when the rain stops. The greenery during the monsoons is indescribable.
2. Travel : You can fly from anywhere in the world to us in the Himalayas, if you take Air India. The nearest airport to us is the Dharamshala airport. Air India will check in your luggage till Dharamshala. Otherwise you can fly whichever airline suits you till Delhi & then take either Spice Jet flight or Air India. We can also send private buses/taxis to pick you up from Delhi international airport (at an extra cost). We have a trustworthy transport partner since 10 years.
3. Food: Our cooks are trained to make both Western & Indian food (both vegetarian & non-vegetarian). They make excellent local Himachali dishes. We also have many vegan options. We also have just acquired a little farm to grow our own veggies. So we are ready to welcome you with authentic organic food !

Hope this post answers some of your questions. If not, please feel free to drop us as many questions as you like on our e-mail address:

P.S. The heart knows all the answers..

10 tips to make the most out of your Mirage Yoga Retreat

By Navjot Randhawa

1) Do a little research on in & around:

What makes Mirage unique is its location. Though many of our guests like to just spend time at The Mirage unwinding, during a Yoga Retreat it would be a good idea to do some research about the history of the area, looking into its sacred & spiritual value. There are quite a few monasteries & nunneries, caves & temples nearby.

2) Allow yourself to be spoilt !

We have trained our staff to put the needs of our guests above everything else. They are happy to be at your service. So ask for whatever your heart, body, spirit desires & they will try to make it available.

3) Bring out your rustic side !

We are situated in the Indian country side & there are plenty of opportunities to feel the authentic Indian country-side experience. So get yourself ready to put your hands in the mud, milk a few cows or roll in the grass..

4) Spend some quiet time in the library

We are proud to have a great collection of books, including some really good books on Yoga. We have a reading room in the White House & encourage you to take some quiet time relaxing with a book.

5) Fit in the Spa & Swimming Pool

We have a cosy spa down the stairs from the Yoga shala & a swimming pool right in front of it. We recommend you give yourself a lot of love by keeping time daily for a little of each.

6) Sit & stare at the mighty Dhauladhars

We have one of the best views of the Dhauladhar range in Himachal Pradesh. Please do sit for as long as you like in the patio sipping a cup of tea looking at the snow-covered peaks (depending on the season, they could also be bare but mighty nevertheless). They will give you answers.

7) Bird-watch !

We are home to 550 species of birds. Take time for a walk in the jungle out back & listen to their songs.

8) Visit the Sobha Singh Art Gallery

Down the road from us, this is my personal favourite. There is something about the energy of this very unique art gallery.

9) Make a pot !

Andretta Pottery & shop is open everyday except Sundays. It is really a lot of fun & a truly meditative experience to spend some time at the wheel under the able guidance of the instructors there. The Terracotta Museum is also a very peaceful place to spend some time at.

10) Go your own way (& come back to us !)

Sometimes it’s nice to break away from the group & go for your own little explorations in the village. And if you keep a diary, I am sure you will have a lot of interesting things to read at the end of your retreat..

Here are a few recent photographs to help you visualize..

Amongst other things, a couple of pix of a guy tapping a pine tree for its sap that is used for manufacturing turpentine…A guest on the swing…A father & 2 kids preparing a Mother’s Day card for mum who is still asleep..Also, Jacarandas are in season !