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WOOCS 2.1.9


New Years Eve 2018 – Set new intentions

Supporting ‘My Name is Kumar Foundation’

India is one of those countries that you could return over and over again and have a completely different experience, as the entire landscape is as eclectic and versatile as the people who encapsulate it.

Southern India, Kerala will always be a bucket list destination that still conjures up mystery and intrigue. From getting lost in the lush backwaters to waking up to chanting and soft bells in the distance, this is a place that inspires all of the senses to be illuminated. Spices and incense smoke waft through the air as decorated tuk tuks clamor amidst the hectic, yet perfectly synchronized balance of mammal, machine, and man. The most beautiful and distinct colors can be seen in India, woven into the saris, painted on the holy cows that roam freely in the roads, to flower petals that can be seen on the ground outside of the ancient temples. India beckons for dreams to realized and realities to be dreams.

Joining you is Jordan Ashley, Founder of Souljourn Yoga. Chelsea Gilson, Tour Leder of Willow & Blair and Alyce Biddle of My name is Kumar Foundation.


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WOOCS 2.1.9
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Dec 28 2018 - Jan 7 2019

The Project We Are Supporting


An engaging yearlong programme of activities for secondary school aged girls delivered to them outside of their classroom. The programme will aim to increase confidence, inspire and educate them about topics they wouldn’t learn about in school.


We wish to tackle some of the repeated problems we see regularly affecting girls we work with; child marriage, teenage dropouts, teenage pregnancy, lack of ambition, low self-esteem and self worth. We believe that all the girls we work with can do whatever they put their mind to in life, but they are too often limited by the barriers that society, their families and even the education system places in front of Indian girls.

We would like to use the donation from SoulJourn Yoga and Willow & Blair to plan and deliver a year worth of activities under this programme. Girls will meet once a month outside of school time.

Ideas for activities include:

• Self-defence and martial arts
• Yoga and meditation
• Career talks and mentoring
• Advice on higher education, travel or apprenticeships
• Talks and demonstrations from successful Indian women
• First aid course
• Talks about sexual health, menstruation and pregnancy
• Swimming, trekking and dancing

If we raise enough money we would also like to fund a special weekend residential trip for girls on the programme. Most of the girls on the programme have never left their district, let alone the state of Tamil Nadu. We believe that taking a group of girls on a trip away from their homes will give them valuable new experiences and open their eyes to new things.

About the charity


The story of how My name is Kumar got their name is the story of one child, Satish Kumar. But Satish is one of many children that make up the My name is Kumar Family.

In 2012 Renee and Tim (co-founders) visited CARE Foundation for the first time. They planned on spending six months working with the charity to look after the children before they moved to London for study and careers. They loved every minute in India, fell in love with the children and their temporary home in India. Leaving was one of the hardest things they have ever had to do, but they knew they would be back one day to visit.

They didn’t expect that when they visited CARE Foundation again in 2013 they would be told that the education projects were at risk of closure because of a cut in funding. Something needed to be done urgently to stop them having to send all the children back to a life of begging and poverty.

In response to the problem, My Name is Kumar was set up to support CARE Foundation and carry on giving and education to the children


One day, back in the early days of our charity, Renee and Tim were driving from school to school in search of a place for two of their newest recruits, Satish and Saravanan. Now usually Satish and Saravanan are cheery and cheeky boys, but they both knew that this day was particularly special for them and they had to be on their best behaviour. They were heading to meet with the school principals of all the best schools in the area in order to get a place at school for the next year. If they played their cards right and behaved themselves they would be joining the other children on the school bus each morning. They were very nervous.

At each school they were asked to introduce themselves to the principal. This should have been easy, but for Satish who has a lisp, it was hard! At the first 3 schools they visited his name would come out all wrong when he introduced himself; “My name is Ssssatttisch” he would say. Satish got more and more frustrated, until eventually enough was enough…
At the last school they visited Satish was asked to introduce himself one last time. Satish stood up, looked the principle straight in the eye and fiercely said “My name is KUMAR!”.
They all started laughing, and the principal looked confused but impressed at this confident young man!

They decided that Satish’s confidence and resilience was what they wanted their charity to be about. MNIK want all the children they look after to be able to stand up and shout their name with pride. That’s why they decided to call ourselves My name is Kumar.
Satish and Saravanan are only two children of many, but they managed to inspire everyone in a way that they could never have imagined


  • Backwaters Boat Tour
  • Jewelry making, henna design
  • Traditional dance class
  • Cooking class
  • New Year’s Celebration
  • Daily Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Loom Weaving Demonstration
  • Thanjavur Temples Tour
  • Traditional Dance Workshop
  • Scenic Drive Across South India
  • MNIK Community interaction/activities/visits
  • Agasthiyar Falls
  • Beach Day
  • Ayurvedic Spa Treatment
  • Transfers to/from Airport
  • $300 US tax-deductible donation to My Name is Kumar Foundation




Meet and assist on arrival into Kerala, private transfer from Trivandrum International Airport (TRV) will be provided.

Get settled, unwind, and relaxed. We will meet for an opening ceremony and evening yoga practice before dinner and a good night’s sleep as we begin our amazing journey together.

Soma Kerala Palace| Meals: D



Sail around the beautiful Keralan backwaters in a traditional Keralan houseboat. Enjoy lunch on the boat. Float by rice paddies, temples, exoctic flowers, banana’s and coconut groves. Then spend the evening in the colonial majesty of Kochi where we’ll dine out together.

Soma Kerala Palace| Meals: B, L, D



After morning practice we’ll travel the short distance back to Kochi and you can spend your time wandering the alleys and lanes of the fort town. Visit one of the many architecturally inspiring churches, temples or art galleries. Or just sit with a tea and watch the world go by. An opportunity to visit a local charity working with street animals is available also.

We’ll share together in an evening Satsang (spiritual study) and Kirtan (chanting).

Soma Kerala Palace| Meals: B, L, D

View Full Itinerary


Today is for relaxation and self care. Start your day with a practice together then spend your time at the spa receiving a traditional Ayurveda massage, take a walk, or a swim in the hotel pool.

We’ll share together a special NYE’s meditation and intention setting as we bring in 2019 together.

Soma Kerala Palace| Meals: B, L, D



After early morning yoga we’ll begin our travel to Tamil Nadu. This is a long journey in which we will have multiple stops for food, restroom breaks and for photo opportunities. The ride will afford a real glimpse into South Indian life and you will have the opportunity to experience the full breadth of the diverse South Indian landscape. Think tea and spice plantations, waterfalls, British hill stations and quaint hillside villages. We’ll have motivational discussions along the way to help pass the time and perhaps even a half way meditation to restore our tired eyes.

SVATMA Thanjavur – Heritage Residence | Meals: B



Stretch your well travelled bones with morning yoga or a dip in the pool. In the morning we’ll go on a sightseeing tour of the ancient temples in Thanjavur. After lunch we’ll depart the hotel for our final stop in Pondicherry. Dinner is at your leisure, with an optional yoga and meditation class in the evening.

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry | Meals: B, L



Early morning yoga practice followed by a scrumptious breakfast before we get discovering Pondicherry, which is a French colonial settlement clad with tree lined streets, vibrant colonial villas, and stylish boutiques. The group will take a walking tour of this historic town and then will have the afternoon to explore. Evening yoga and dinner will follow.

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry | Meals B, L, D



After breakfast we’ll head to My Name is Kumar Foundation for a look into some of the work your donation is supporting. We’ll enjoy jewellery making, henna design and a dance workshop with the children. We’ll share a tasty banana leaf lunch and the girls will teach you how to eat with your hand, the Indian way! We’ll finish the day with a talent show and celebration all together.

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry | Meals B, L, D



Get a taste of utopia with today’s visit to Auroville, the unique community granted special permission by the Indian government and home to more than 3,000 people. We’ll tour around this ideal of communal living with some of the secondary school aged girls from the My Name is Kumar project and look upon the magnificent Matrimandir – a giant golden globe built in the 1970s as a space for meditation and contemplation. On our last evening together we’ll have a dinner with the girls and say our goodbyes.

Palais De Mahe Pondicherry | Meals B, L, D



Our last day together on the tour. Take some time for yourself; receive a massage, go gift buying, or visit one of Pondicherry’s bakeries or ashrams. We’ll end our amazing adventure together with yoga, meditation and a closing circle.

Meals B, D



Wake for sunrise yoga and meditation or sleep in for your last morning in India. Transfer to Chennai International Airport

Meals B

Important Notes

Visa Information

All foreigners entering India must have a valid passport and visa. The passport must have a validity that extends the duration of your stay by a minimum of 6 months and has at least one blank page.  To apply for a tourist visa, visit:

Entry requirements can change at any time, so it’s important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website fo the coutnry or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

Airport Transfers

You will need to provide flight information at the time of booking to your tour so we can arrange your private transfer to our first meeting point (Soma Kerala Palace)

Our drivers will be waiting for you with a sign at the designated waiting area of the arrivals terminal, where you will be assisted with your luggage.

Meeting Point

Soma Kerala Palace
Cochin -Kumarakom Near Murinjupuzha, Chempu
P.O. Vaikom, Cochin College Rd
Chullickal, Kochi, Kerala 686615, India

Phone: +91 4829 271 350

Meeting Instructions

Check in is from 2pm. If you want to arrive earlier this is absolutely fine, however please note that you may not be able to check into your room until 2pm. You are more than welcome to leave your bags in the foyer and the hotel staff can provide recommendations whilst you wait.

Fitness Level

You will need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy this trip. All levels and fitness abilities are welcome to the yoga classes.


There is no standardized tipping custom in India. However, tipping small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers is an appropriate practice that will be greatly appreciated.

It is important to note that the majority of dining establishments servicing tourists will include a 10% upcharge for gratuity.

Local Dress

It is best practice to dress comfortably and modestly in India to avoid any unwanted attention. Shoulders and knees should be covered for temple visits.

Finishing Point Instructions

Your tour ends at the Leela Kovalam Kerala. We ask for your flight details prior to the trip to secure your private return transfer to Trivandrum International Airport. Should you be staying on in India or departing for a different location; our staff can assist. Please inquire with us upon booking.

Money Exchange

ATMs in India are predominant in principal cities and will generally accept cards on the Mastercard and Visa networks. Please consult with your bank before your trip to ensure your cards will work abroad. Note that when using your credit card there is generally a fee of 5-10% when purchasing products or services.

While larger restaurants and stores will likely accept credit cards, the majority of services and shops will only accept cash.

Carrying large amounts of cash can be a high risk anywhere that you travel. We recommend a combination of cash and cards. Bear in mind ATMs are sometimes inaccessible. US dollars, British Pounds and the Euro are all quite easy to exchange to local currency and some establishments will accept Euros in place of Dirhams. Banks and some hotels will provide an exchange service. Travellers cheques can be difficult to change in India and we do not recommend them.

What Should I Pack?

▪ Flight info
▪ Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
▪ Passport (required) (With photocopies)
▪ Any required visas or vaccination certificates

▪ Lip balm
▪ Sunscreen
▪ A mini first aid kit (bandaids, antibacterial gel, imodium, aspirin, any prescription drugs you’re prescribed, antihistamine, mosquito repellent)
▪ Your Favorite Toiletries
▪ Comfortable Footwear, Preferably closed toe shoes
▪ Airy and Modest clothing (pants, long skirts, tshirts, long sleeve blouses)
▪ A lightweight Rain Jacket
▪ Sleepwear
▪ Sunglasses
▪ A swimsuit
▪ Beach Cover Up
▪ Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
▪ Day pack or crossbody purse
▪ Phone and charger
▪ Cash, credit and debit cards
▪ Camera, memory card, battery and charger
▪ Locks for bags
▪ Outlet adapter
▪ Fitness Attire you feel comfortable practicing yoga in

It will be an average of 25 degrees Celsius (77 fahrenheit) in Pondicherry and 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) in Kerala.

Flights Arrive: Arrive : Tivandrum International Airport
Timezone GMT/UTC + 5:30h
Health Requirements
Voltage 220V to 240V, Types C, D & M
Currency Indian Rupee


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Ready to go on the adventure of a lifetime?

WOOCS 2.1.9


Private room
Booking twinshare?
per person
Dec 28 2018 - Jan 7 2019