Below you will find very important information for travel to Ekam in India.
You must have a current passport with at least six months validity from the time you land in Chennai. If your passport is out of date or you do not have one, begin the process with USA.gov.
A tourist visa is required to enter India. Without a valid visa you will be sent back to the USA. If you already have an Indian visa, please make sure that it is valid during your entire time of travel. US Passport holders may apply for the traditional multiple entry tourist visa or for a 60-day tourist e-visa.
You may apply for the 60 day tourist e-visa online at the Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India.
You will need to include the following information in your visa application:
- Local Contact: Sunil
- Local Address: NH5, Chilamattur Post, Chittoor District, Bathallavallam, Andhra Pradesh 517541
- Local Contact Phone: +91 99 49352906
It can take four weeks to obtain a visa so please allow ample time. You will send your passport with your visa application.
Do not purchase airline tickets until visas and passports are secured and in your possession.
You will fly to Chennai International Airport (MAA) on the east coast of southern India. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and the 6th largest city in India.
It takes at least 24 hours to fly to Chennai from the USA. Chennai is on Indian Standard Time (IST) which is about 12 hours ahead of USA time. Calculate arrivals and departures carefully so that you do not miss any part of your course.
All course dates are the dates the course begins and ends. Plan to arrive at the Ekam Academy after 11:00 AM on the day before your course begins. Plan your departure flight no earlier than 11:00 AM on the day after your course concludes.
We recommend that you spend a night or two in Chennai on arrival, so that you are able to arrive fresh for the course. This gives you time to sleep, shop, exchange money and see local sights. Because many flights arrive in Chennai in the middle of the night you may need to book a hotel room for the previous night. Registration at the Ekam campuses opens in the afternoon on the day before your course begins.
If you wish to make hotel arrangements, you will find that there are many quality hotels in Chennai. Hotels that course participants have recommended include: Taj Clubhouse, Taj Coramandel, Westin, La Woods, Green Park and Leela Palace. Most of these hotels also provide airport pick-up.
Ekam faculty will coordinate transportation from Chennai to Ekam and from Ekam to Chennai.
The cost of the ground transportation is dependent on the number of people and the size of the car.
Airport to hotel transportation costs approximately 1,000 to 1,500 Indian rupees (20 US Dollars). Transportation to Ekam costs approximately 3,500 to 4,500 Indian rupees (60 US Dollars). Airport arrival transportation and transportation to Ekam is paid directly to the driver in rupees.
The costs of transportation from Ekam to the Chennai airport or a hotel in Chennai is approximately 3,500 to 4,500 Indian rupees (60 US Dollars).
A guide for tipping for the transport to your hotel is 50 – 100 rupees; for help with your bags is 10 – 20 rupees; and for transport to and from Ekam is 500 rupees.
The currency in India is the Indian rupee or INR. The exchange rate typically stays between 60 and 70 rupees to 1 USD. If you bring cash for money exchange, make sure you bring new blue striped $100 bills in new condition. If you are going to use your credit or debit card during your trip, make sure to inform your bank that you are traveling overseas.
The climate of southern India is typically warm and humid year round. Summer runs April, May and June and is characterized by temperatures over 100 with little rainfall. Winter is January through the middle of March and is pleasant with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. The monsoon season is mid-October through mid-December.
Though it will be warm and humid, it’s important for men and women alike to respect the culture by covering shoulders, chest, navel and knees. Breathable fabrics such as linen, silk or cotton are most comfortable. Bring clothing for yoga that fits the dress code. Classrooms are air-conditioned and can be cold. So, it is a good idea to bring layers of clothing for class. You will be removing your shoes to enter all buildings. Waterproof footwear is recommended. You may also need footwear for walking on rocky foothills. Campus 3 and Campus 5 offer daily laundry service. There are clotheslines on all campuses. Bring laundry soap and clothes pins if you prefer to hand wash.
The food is western and Indian vegetarian. Salads and eggs, fruit and cereal are served daily. There is a Yogi Café on Campus 3 and Campus 5 that sells espresso and other coffee drinks, teas, ice cream, snacks, sodas, bottled water. You may purchase a Yogi Café debit card at registration. You might want to bring coffee, tea and other snacks to have in your room. Protein powders and peanut butter are also good supplements to have on hand.
In India the power sockets are of type C, D and M. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. You will need a combined power plug adapter/voltage converter for your electronic devices in India.