No TV, no newspaper, no gadgets, and simply no contact with the outside world -- That’s the plan for Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal till August 12, as he arrived here on Monday for a 10- day mindfulness and meditation course at a centre in Dharamkot near McLeodganj, about 12km from here.
He got a grand welcome amid cheers by supporters at the airport in Gaggal, 15km from here, where he landed in the regular SpiceJet flight at 1.10pm. As a ‘state guest’, he was received by Kangra deputy commissioner Ritesh Chauhan and Dharamshala sub-divisional magistrate Shrawan Manta, besides AAP leaders from Himachal.
“I am here just for meditation,” is all he said to the media.
Looking to recharge amid an increasingly gruelling poll campaign schedule in neighbouring Punjab and also Goa, he will stay at the Vipassana meditation centre in Dharamkot, a village less than two kilometres from McLeodganj, the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. It is also known as the ‘Tel Aviv of the Himachal hills’ for being a favourite destination among Israeli tourists. The 10-day course begins on Tuesday and ends on August 11, said centre in-charge Pawan Sharma. Kejriwal will go back to Delhi on August 12. AAP’s national organisation-building head Durgesh Pathak, who is a key figure in the party’s preparations in Punjab, will also participate in the course.
The Delhi CM (and others) will stay minus any personal staff at the centre located in a deodar forest with the majestic Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas in the backdrop, and will remain incommunicado to outside world, said Sharma. “Daily activities will start at 4am and continue till 9.30pm. Like others, Kejriwal will have to follow the strict schedule. All participants are not even allowed to interact with each other except with trainers at specific intervals.”
No participants will be allowed electronic gadgets like mobile phones, and not even newspaper or TV is allowed, as the camp rules are about completely cutting oneself from the outside world and finding time to introspect, Sharma added. The inmates get simple meals of rice and dal.
The centre was set up in the early 1990s by SN Goenka, and held its first 10-day course in April 1994. Two 10-day courses are held every month from April to November.
A PACKED DAY
4:00 am: Wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am: Meditation in the hall or in the room
6:30-8:00 am: Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am: Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am: Meditate in the hall or room allotted to the participants according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon: Lunch break
12 noon-1:00 pm: Rest and discussions with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm: Meditate in the hall or in the room
2:30-3:30 pm: Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm: Meditate in the hall or in room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm: Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm: Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm: Teachers’ discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm: Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm: Question time in the hall
9:30 pm: Retire to the room; lights out