Kanchipuram - Program Outline

The morning program

We begin our day between 7 and 8 AM with Rudra Abishekam. Each participant will assist with the performance of the yagya by pouring water, milk, etc. over the Shiva lingam. Because this is a "Maharudra Yagya", rudra abishekam is repeated 11 times each morning, so there is ample time for each participant to participate fully.

After a break, the pujas continue for Ganesha, Varuna, and the deity and planet of the day. Then we continuewith a full Rudra homam (fire yagya).

At the conclusion of the yagyas, a delicious home-cooked lunch will be served.

The afternoon
After lunch we will generally return to the hotel for siesta and meditation time. At 4 PM, those who wish to, will return to the yagya facility for puja and chanting instruction for two hours, followed by temple visits and dinner in the restaurant. For a more detailed explanation of the puja training, please see the section below.
The evening program
Kanchipuram is known for its temples and there are innumerable temples in the area that are worth visiting. Each evening we will visit 2-3 temples to enjoy darshan and aarti (short pujas). It a relaxed and enjoyable experience made all the better by the presence of our priests as guides. For a list of temples we will visit, please see the temple section below.
Shivaratri (day)
The last day of the 11 day series features a more elaborate series of yagyas with more ingredients compared to the previous 10 days. The day's yagyas will run from 8 AM all the way through to 4 PM.
Shivaratri (night)
After some rest and dinner, the group will join in an evening of temple visits in the company of the priests. For those who want to, these visit continue all night long, concluding around 6 AM.

One of the great advantages of this program is that we are guided by the priests and pundits, most of whom are from the Kanchipuram area. Not only will we benefit from easier access to the temples; the priests will arrange for pujas and aarti for us, and provide explanations of the deities and temple history.

We have the added benefit of being able to visit many of the great temples in the area that are not in a typical guidebook and would be unknown to most visitors.

Optional Puja Class

In the west, we are familiar with the benefits and value of meditation, mantra japa, and other spiritual practices. But, due to a lack of adequate instruction most individuals are not trained to perform a simple daily puja.

For those who wish to learn, our Chief Priest, Seetharam, will provide puja instruction each afternoon for about 2 hours. Participants will begin by learning the same "puja template" that typical students learn in India. Then you will learn how to adapt that template to different deities (Ganesha, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Shiva, Navagraha, etc). Don't worry it is not difficult even if you have never done this before. The emphasis is on fun...and it is a lot of fun!

Vedic chanting is a part of the puja process, and both a pleasure and surprisingly easy to learn even if Sanskrit is unknown to you. Students will learn simple slokas, as well as vedic mantras such as Sri Suktam, and Ganesha Upanishad. You won't be leaving India a trained pundit...but you will know some slokas and experience the unique and deep spiritual joy that comes from them.

Participants will receive a compelte puja and deity set as well as a detailed book of instructions and slokas, plus a CD with all the slokas being chanted both slowly and at normal speed. These are yours to keep and take home with you.

Of course, participation in the part of the program is optional and can be adapted to match your level of interest. You can do a little or a lot depending on what you want to do.

Spiritual Practices
Participants in our program come from a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds and practices. We will make sure that you have whatever time and facilities you need to maintian those practices while you are in India. Just let us know what your requirements are.
Please click here to view some comments from past participants.