We flew from Colombo on the 26th March and had booked a handy hotel “The Orange Suites” which was only 15minutes from the airport in Bangalore. It was a good location for getting back to the airport to catch the Flybus to Mysore the next morning which took 4 hours. We headed to the quirky “Pai Vista” cave restaurant with waiters dressed in safari gear for a bite of good Indian food with our driver who then took us from Mysore to Udayagiri, another 3 hour trip. It was a better way to travel than the very winding roads
from Calicut up into the mountains.

The retreat had changed quite a lot with the addition since last year of two new blocks of six units each and a large new restaurant and yoga hall. These were all being completed while we were there.
We also had the addition of a rescued puppy named Julie and a mother dog with a few of her puppies.

When we arrived there were several French guests including a French Buddhist monk, an American who lived in France and several English and an Italian. Everyone was very friendly and supportive which
made for a great atmosphere while having the sometimes taxing treatments.

We stayed in one of the new units built last year which had wonderful views over the surrounding mountains and down to the plain below. The sounds of cicadas and birds of all kinds greeted us in the early mornings. Some of the smallest birds had the loudest voices and the woodpeckers seemed to start their tapping later in the day. There was the occassional sound of gas guns from the wildlife reserve below to deter the elephants from going too close to the villages.

The coffee trees looked very sad with their drooping leaves waiting for rain. The coffee had been harvested in January and February. We did get a quick couple of downpours and some of the coffee
trees below came into flower with a lovely subtle perfume. The trees pick up after the monsoon rains start in May/June.

There was no wifi available for the computers and the signal for the mobile phones was usually very weak so I was driven to a town about 1/2hour away to use the internet and Maurice continued on to
another town to the dentist to have his root canal treatment and full ceramic crown fitted. Again a gem of a find, recommended by the doctor at Udayagiri with the whole thing costing $160!

There were many more staff this year with many being trained to cope with the increase in guests to come. All the staff were helpful and obliging from the cooks and waiters to the therapists, doctors and night watchmen and Ajith the manager who became a father for the first time while we were there.
We visited his wife’s home and met the very alert fellow who was only six days old.

The yoga master’s brother was married and we were all invited to the wedding so I and another couple of English guests went along and we were the objects of curiosity. Many of the guests came and
spoke to us and once we had congratulated the bride and groom we were ushered inside to have a delicious biryani lunch before heading back to the retreat. It was a great experience.
We even saw an elephants on the way back.

We heard no tigers this year – they probably moved further afield with all the construction going on. It was much hotter at this time of year with a lot of morning mist and haze all day but the
sunrises were always beautiful.

Friends have asked us what we did all day. The treatments usually started from 9.30am and went throughout the afternoon depending on how many guests there were. We also had the 1/2hour doctor’s consultation every day. A sample of the day was usually:

Puja 6.15am-7am
Yoga from 7-8.30am
Breakfast 9am
Walk down and up the mountain 1hour
Doctor’s consultation 1/2 hour
Yoga nidra 12noon for an hour
Lunch 1pm
Treatment 2.30pm- massage/poundings/medicated rubs 1hour
Afternoon Yoga 4.30-5.30
6pm Dinner
Puja 7pm

We also got some exercise from the 82 steps from our unit to the restaurant and yoga hall several times a day!
There were a couple of temple festivals while we were there and “Vishu” a big family celebration for the New Malayalam Year on the 14th april. Only the Christian and Muslim staff were on duty while
all the Hindu staff had the day off. We were invited to the manager’s house to celebrate where various neighbours and family were gathered in a lovely rural setting about 1 1/2hours away.

Maurice had his treatment so three of us went and spent a nice couple of hours chatting and lots of photos were taken by all.

It was easy to stick to our specific diets and regimen while we were at the retreat and the test will be once we leave and go back into the real world with all it has to offer. We both enjoy the
yoga so much but it is very difficult when we move around so much in the van to keep it up.

We left Udayagiri on the 24th April for the long drive down the mountain and into Calicut to catch our flight to Mumbai.

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