Forget holidays in exotic locales like China and Alaska. The latest travel trend among upwardly mobile middle-class India has a spiritual twist.
This summer, high-profile yoga guru Baba Ramdev will accompany 950 devotees on a five-night cruise touching China and Vietnam. And when participants are not sightseeing or shopping, they’ll attend Ramdev’s yoga classes and samadhans (question and answer sessions).
“Until now, people on cruises haven’t achieved anything. This time, they’ll come back filled with peace and serenity,” said Ramdev. “It’s an effort to bridge the gap between the spiritual and material worlds.” The cruise will cost anywhere between Rs 67,500 and Rs 1.37 lakh per person.
Later this year, Ramesh Bhai Oza, known as Bhaishri, will go on a cruise on which he will give kathas (religious story telling). According to Sumit Banerji, senior manager (sales and marketing), this is a growing trend for the cruise industry. “We had a group of 250 that cruised from Singapore with their guru last year, and another religious organisation has chartered a ship this year”.
“This year, a lot of people went with Gurudev to Africa. There will be evening satsangs (singing of devotional songs) and they are free to do what they want the rest of the time,” says Maulik Shah, a devotee of Jain guru Rakeshbhai Jhaveri.