The meaning and significance of spiritualism is different in each of our lives. Of late there has been growing evidence of the existence of spiritual practices being associated with a healthy lifestyle and well-being of self. Hence, being a food and travel writer myself, I was elated to visit ‘Shanti Mandir’– Temple of Peace in Magod (Valsad – Gujarat). I wouldn’t consider myself a very religious person but I was happily surprised to get in touch with my spiritual side in the ashram through agents and catalysts like a quiet reflection, a long serene walk in the ashram, conversation with Guruji, a taste of satvyk food, ayurvedic therapy et al. I took a day off from the busy and hectic city life and spent that time in the serene and beautiful ashram spread across 20 acres of land. What respite! I love having new experiences in life and this one certainly enhanced my spirit and tried to revolutionize my perspective on life.
A spiritual tour, sacred journey and a transformational retreat just 200 km away from Mumbai. It’s a lovely 3 hours’ drive from Mumbai to Valsad via the highway. Alternatively, you can take the train which takes precisely 3 hours to reach the destination. I took the Intercity Express, boarded the train at 7 am and reached Valsad at 10 am. The ashram is around 8 km from the station and it takes less than 15 minutes to be there. It’s a must visit for the soulful kinds.
Shanti Mandir – Valsad (Gujarat).
It is a temple of peace and a treat to the soul when you are in the ashram. The place is full of unencumbered positivity and tranquillity, a welcome escape from the hustles of city life. Once here, as a traveller and seeker, you can indulge in meditation and Ayurveda retreats leading you to spontaneous spiritual awakening. I was here for a day and got an opportunity to meet seekers from different nationalities which was enlightening and enriching. I participated and engaged myself in a gamut of activities associated with improved health, mood & well-being.
Things To Do In Shanti Mandir.
Pamper Yourself With Ayurvedic Therapies And Healing
Shanti Mandir hosts a holistic health & wellness centre called ‘Punarnava’ for treatment of ailments of all kinds including massage using cooling Ayurvedic oil, steam bath, ret sek
among other healings. They have 10 massage rooms fully equipped and totally trained masseurs. I tried the oil body massage followed by a steam bath and I haven’t felt so rejuvenated in days. I would highly recommend the readers to try this fully natural healing as it revitalizes the lethargic body. These therapies truly are a powerful recharger and rejuvenator of mind and body.
Shop From Shanti Hastkala.
Shanti Hastkala is an NGO run by the ashram for the betterment and empowerment of women of Magod. They train them to make and create beautifully handcrafted handicrafts and give them a platform to be independent and self-sufficient. They create and exhibit a range of products like kurties,
bags, jholas, skirts, wraps, curtains, quilts, soft home furnishings, pure hand rolled incense, organic pickles and chutneys.
Live The Ashram Life.
The ashram was established in 1987 by Swami Nityananda and the organization continues the spiritual work till date. It provides access to teachings and preaching of the great Indian sages and guides the seekers to direct experiences of divinity through chanting and meditation. All I would say is, it’s worthwhile. Seldom do we get an opportunity to live a simplistic life seeking wellness. Wake up early, eat satvyk food, have herbal drinks, indulge in ayurvedic treatments, meditate, do yoga and sleep on time. The ashram has basic yet very comfortable rooms starting at 500 INR per night.
You may and will have conversations with a different genre of people including Guruji, Ayurveda experts, females of Shanti Hastkala managing the NGO and seekers from across the world. I was surprised to meet people from Germany & USA in the ashram who visit the place to foster spiritual growth and cultivate a culture of sharing with the community. It was certainly rewarding and meaningful. The ashram also has a rich literature one could go through to understand our mind and body better.
I was here only for a day but I would love to come back here in a heartbeat. The place provides an ideal environment and atmosphere to seekers and travellers to immerse and be a part of the traditional and conventional way of spiritual life that we have long forgotten.
Girl Tribe Features.
Chideshwari Luthra (Interior Designer)
Chideshwariji has dedicated her life to the NGO Shanti Hastkala and works relentlessly towards empowering women as peaceful agents of social change. She leads the team in terms of managing, guiding and assisting them in handicrafts and handlooms and enabling them to be self-sufficient and financially independent. She’s the continuity and strength behind the SHANTI HASTKALA project.
Dr Rakhee Thakar (M.D. Pediatrics)
Dr Rakhee has dedicated her life to providing primary health care and creating health awareness in the rural population of the villages surrounding the ashram at Magod in the Valsad district of Gujarat. Shanti Arogya Mandir, a mobile health clinic started in 2003 is an endeavour led by her where she runs a free mobile dispensary and clinic that serves the rural population in Valsad. The mobile dispensary also plays a pivotal role in educating people about health and nutrition, hygiene, waste disposal and compost, potable water, and the prevention of environmental pollution.
So, when do you plan to have this experience and with whom would you go here? Let us know in the comments below.