Review of my Music Tour Trip to Varanasi in Feb 2016 with Natasha Nandini.
For the first few Full Moons after the trip I missed Varanasi, Natasha and the group, the River the music so much.. it was not easy.
Imagine Full Moon beside the Ganges, the music, chanting, the Temples and people; but no it wasn’t too crowded at the time. Seeing a body being burned at the Harischandra Ghat cleared something for me and fulfilled one of the original reasons I had long wanted to go to Varanasi. I am a yoga teacher and had been to India many times already but this was one of the best and most fulfilling trips ever. it was Natasha’s experience with the locals, her grasp of Hindi which made me feel safe there… what to eat and not to eat is difficult to pick up in a week.. but you have to. Any problems and Natasha took us to a really good Ayurvedic clinic just around the corner from where we were staying. I still use the Triphala I got there every morning.
The concerts we attended were very good, and the visits to the homes of the musicians Natasha knows so well were really special.It was a privilege to listen and watch Natasha herself play at one of the evening concerts. Hotel Haifa was fine, the visits to the temples really good, and let’s not forget the bookshops. I have just been re-reading Alain Danielou’s “Shiva and the Primordial Tradition”, which Natasha pointed out. There were so many things, I could go on; the group was lovely to be with although they probably thought I was a bit reserved re the pan after lunch! Govindaji, a good friend of Natasha’s and a Priest from a family going back generations made us feel welcome and the lunches at his restaurant looking over the river were wonderful.
Did I mention the Sadhu.. the image of him conversing with Natasha during our epic walk along the Ganges that night keeps popping up in my mind.
I can highly recommend this Music Tour with Natasha.
Natasha is a wonderful guide, her many years of experience in visiting Varanasi is reflected in her natural ease in her surroundings. Her fluency in the Hindi language allows for wonderful meetings and interactions with locals, which adds delightful nuances to the tour.
The music is, of course, sensational and with Natasha’s deep connections you are welcomed into the music world of Varanasi. Her teachers and friends are wonderful people who warmly welcome you into their homes and thus allowing for another insight into life in Varanasi.
‘An amazing tour under the guidance of Natasha. It is not the ‘tourist book’ guide to Varansi but a very real experience where this ancient city, the music, the people and the places come alive. You are in great hands as Natasha guides you weaving seamlessly in and out of so many aspects of life, you know you’re lucky to be there.
Concerts and private audiences with some of the great musicians/ singers who keep the raags alive with such love dedication and devotion is a true privilege. These ancient sounds and music of Varanasi are like her heart beating and for a while, on this tour, you too become part of it.
Speaking perfect Hindi Natasha could translate what was being said at many of the places and temples we visited.
She is a wonderful guide and her love for this ancient city and its music shines. If you feel any draw to Varanasi you could not be in better hands.’ R.C.
I participated to the Varanasi music tour last February, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s been the best trip of my life. It was my third time in India it but felt like the first real, close and authentic experience with the country.
Natasha is a wonderful guide and teacher, she has a fantastic energy to be around and is a kind, knowledgeable and loving person. Her deep connection to the Indian music, culture and society guarantees an experience that is far from tourist tracks.
We spent 7 wonderful days immersed in Varanasi lifestyle, met amazing musicians, attended private and public concerts, ate delicious food and visited the many places of interest that the city offers.
Natasha looked after us very well: she constantly made sure we were informed, safe, and she met every request we might have had regarding sightseeing or shopping. The schedule of the days was well organised but left space to improvisation, which is part of the fun and experience of India.
If you want a real Varanasi experience that goes to the heart and soul of this incredible city, look no further!