A WALK THROGH VASHISHT
By Martin De Bondt & Marleen Coppens - Belgium
"Over and over again it was exciting to set out and explore the apple tree gardens surrounding the village. Any path you might follow will amaze you by its stunning views and the life around you. Little temples along your way where you can stop and burn some incense, a fresh water well to have a refreshing drink, woman mowing some grass or harvesting vegetables, other women herding a cow while knitting socks…It was lots of fun to meet the cheerful lady who lives high in the mountains. She invited us to drink a cup of chai cooked on here outdoor stove. On one of our walks we suddenly found ourselves in a gorgeous garden full of flowers. There we met Mr. Y. , the proud owner of this garden. Mr. Y. invited us to drink chai in his home. What a lovely home! There we sat on his porch overlooking the valley where the light turned blue. While telling his life stories we discovered he is a priest or shaman from the village. A very blessed and holly man. Our way down to the village was quite an adventure in the dark."
THE TREK TO BHRIGU LAKE
By Marleen Coppens - Belgium
"In order to reach the Bhrigu Lake we had to follow a steep trail covered by large pine trees. Every now and then we marveled by seeing the amazing panoramic views, it literally took our breath away. Crossing small rivers, climbing and stumbling over the rocky pathways we reached our camping ground. Camping on 3200 m altitude surrounded by the snow-covered mountain chain is a very special feeling. After a nice dinner we gathered round the fire and shared our live stories. At night we gazed at the million stars and the enchanting light of the Milky Way. Never before we had a toilet with a view on a troop of monkeys and their babies. No wonder everybody took their time …We still didn’t reach our highest point. A very exiting trek brought us to an altitude of 4000 m. Every step our knees sunk into the snow. We left the trees behind, and the air was cold and thin. Finally we reached our destination, and there we stood, touching the dark blue sky. We were so happy and proud!"
By Gianna Purcell - United States
"This Himalayan trip brought us through small village mindsets with home cooked meals, rich culture with welcoming arms, and a beautiful yoga space with mountain views. It was a great way to see this country, with the support of locals in clean and simple homestays. The wonder of these holy mountains raises your vibration and clears your mind to experience all the beauty that is India."
By Julie Monjean - Germany
"Me and my friend stayed for 5 days at Open Lotus' Homestay in Vashisht; it’s been a beautiful place to stay! Chhape Ram and his family made it a great experience for us, we went out to do some trekking with Chhape Ram, had two really nice Yoga Classes in the morning and an amazingly delicious, traditional Indian dinner in the evening. Also, our room was nice, luminous and clean. I definitely recommend Open Lotus' Amar House homestay with the Ram Family!"
3 Months with Open Lotus
By Ethan Keister - United States
"This past summer, I had an amazing and unique opportunity to work with Open Lotus on their branding, design, and marketing. Working with Open Lotus was not only my first time designing for a travel agency, but my first time in India. I couldn’t have had a better experience working with Mr. Chhape Ram. He is a personable, highly qualified guide/instructor that not only has extensive knowledge of tourism, the healing arts, and hospitality, but is incredibly passionate about all of said topics; it really shows through the quality of his services. While I’m not very good at yoga, I’m an avid hiker and got to really experience the trekking aspect of the retreat. His sons (who are mountaineers and qualified in hotel management) led me all around the valley. He and his family made me feel more than welcomed at their homestay for the duration of the summer, and the delicious home cooked meals I had everyday was just an added bonus. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience - it’s a summer I will never forget."