Over the years, we have gathered many testimonials from people whose lives have been enriched and inspired.
“Dear Mela, your organisation of our extensive trip through India has been absolutely wonderful.Your direct and detailed knowledge of India is reflected in the highly informed and detailed arrangements you have made for us. We have never come across a person who has created such a wonderful itinerary tailored to our personal needs. We can only recommend you in the highest possible way. MELA, YOU are OUTSTANDING!! AND you are truly a JOY to deal with!! We hope we can go on other adventures with you knowing you are with us all the way, even if you are in the office making the arrangements. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!”
“The Touch of Spirit North India trip was a dream that totally met my expectations. For one who has done a lot, traveled a lot, loves creativity, and did not want a “tour”, it was perfect. I was able to reap not only information and sights, but also have experiences, get to know people, and participate spiritually. I take with me brown eyes meeting my blue eyes heart to heart, prayer flags flying in the wind, and so many colors and tastes. I’ve found that new edges of perception, one’s that I never imagined, are possible. Thank you Mela and Diane.”
Santa Fe, New Mexico
“This is a life changing journey. India forces you to be in the present moment like no other place I’ve been. I feel permanently changed in a very good way. I wanted to work on being present and that was accomplished. I had a lot of fears prior to going – fears about safety, driving, being so far from home, etc. I felt totally safe and well cared for, and we got to experience another way of life in a way that felt organized (even in a chaotic land). Before I left, I felt work obsessed. I knew it wasn’t healthy but couldn’t seem to stop it. Since coming back, I still have to work long hours, but I feel less emotionally invested in it and more present and attentive to my own personal needs. I’ve also learned to care less about what other people think – which has been a lifelong struggle for me and in some way, I feel I’ve been mostly freed of that. I would also add that I really enjoyed the dynamic that both Mela and Diane brought (together) to the trip. They each brought something different, and important, and worked well together. Mela’s attention to detail and ability to advocate for us, helped me to just relax and let someone else be in charge. I knew that I didn’t need to worry about anything because Mela would take care of us – which put me in the right frame of mind to be undistracted for the work with Diane. Diane’s classes reawakened my creative side and encouraged my vulnerability. I came home with a new perspective on life and a sense of inner peace. I would highly recommend Touch of Spirit tours!
Nicole, Spokane, Washington
“As a person who loves fabric, sewing and quilting and travel, the Beauty Unwound Textile Tour was the perfect tour. This jam packed tour covers a lot of ground – from Mumbai, to Bhuj in Gujarat, a centre of excellence for superb embroidery, to Ahmedabad, Lucknow and the golden triangle of Jaipur, Delhi and Agra.
The tour takes people into the homes and ateliers of some amazing craftspeople – to meet the craftspeople, watch them working, enjoy demonstrations of their craft and have the chance the buy some beautiful, handmade textiles. There were LOTS of these visits – not just one or two. This was wonderful. It would be just so difficult, if not impossible, to gain this access as an ordinary tourist. As well, we visited a number of craft museums which were all of a high quality and fascinating. This tour really delivers on the access to craftspeople.
The architectural wonders of India are not neglected on the tour. We visited some beautiful ‘stately homes’, historical ruins, the Amber Fort, the British redoubt in Lucknow, some beautiful mosques and of course Fatepuri Sikiri and the Taj Mahal. An ‘off the radar’ but wondrous sight was the step well – Chand Baori -between Jaipur and Agra was a highlight.
The delicious food in India is showcased on the tour by visits to a range of excellent restaurants to enjoy local specialties -in Gujarat, in Lucknow and Agra and a visit to a long standing famous ‘hole in the wall’ in Delhi to sample samosas and jalebis.
An early evening visit to watch the sunset at the White Desert (the Rann of Kutch) and an morning visit to a bird sanctuary provides a look at the natural world in India. Both excursions were wonderful.
The guide on this tour, Sunita, is superb. She is experienced, knowledgeable about life, history and culture in India and, of course, textiles, multi-lingual, kind, patient and smooths the way… something that can, at times, be quite difficult in India. Her witty sense of humour helps with this.
The hotels were generally of a good standard. There were two internal air flights. The majority of the the tour was done is a comfortable mini bus with good drivers.
This tour is exceptional – in terms of access to craftspeople, exposure to a wide range of textile craftspeople, visits to craft museums and sight seeing. It was well run, covered a LOT of ground and very, very good value. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED”
“What a wonderful way to experience India for the first time! Mela set up an excellent tour that provided us with insight to the various religions and cultures of northern India and allowed us to experience them with local people. The yoga kept our traveled bodies in shape and kept us centered in environments that were sometimes unsettling and always full of sensory input! The creative process sessions added dimensions and perspectives to the experiences. You don’t need prior experience in any of the yoga or creative processes to participate and gain from them, and you certainly don’t have to be in super shape or be an artist. Thanks to Mela and Diane, I knew I was in good hands throughout the trip. Because of their efforts I was able to experience a lifelong dream in a safe, enriching way that provided opportunities for self-reflection and growth and gave me memories that will last the rest of my life!”
“This tour took participants to one on one interaction with local artisans. The tour program was well-paced with time for some relaxation at times. We saw a lot of “tourist sites” in addition to the fabulous textiles. Organisation was excellent from the start to the finish. The guide was absolutely brilliant and it was a trip of a lifetime. The food was amazing – Eating places extremely well chosen and assistance with food choices. A trip of a lifetime. Heartfelt thanks to Mela and Sunita. Many, many thanks!”
“I found the tour lived up to my expectations and some. The Sri Lankan history is complex but the great thing is there were many truly exceptional antiquities. I found them more powerful than the Cambodian Angkor Wat. The juxtaposition of the old and the modern. The beautiful hotels – renovated and newly built. It was a fantastic tour with a wonderful guide whose cultural knowledge was staggering. He looked after individual members needs showing a thoughtful and playful side.
Well done and make sure you continue offering the Sri Lankan cultural tour.”
“The trip was just fabulous. Everything went well. Great guide, terrific group and of course wonderful textiles in gorgeous fascinating India. Sunita is the perfect guide. She is endlessly patient, informative, helpful, collaborative and resourceful. The itinerary had a good variety of activities…good balance between tourist ‘must sees’ and textile related things. Local guides were earnest and informative especially the lady at the calico museum! Drivers were very helpful and cooperative. The village visits generally were across a wide range of arts. I learnt so much about block printing, weaving, rogan art etc. Having a chance to try it ourselves in Jaipur was very illuminating and gave us an even greater respect for these craftspeople. We visited different kinds of village life, from quite prosperous to quite poor, with few facilities, but nevertheless producing beautiful work. The hotels were most satisfactory. Food was good and with Sunita’s guidance we began to know what we were eating and even get some favourites. I cannot speak highly enough of this tour. It was everything I hoped for and much more..”
“Thank you for making my trip to India such an enjoyable one. The tours that you run are wonderful and it is comforting to have such a caring person run them. I had an experience of a lifetime and will never forget my time in the South of India with you and your group. Everything about the trip educated me, helped me grow and taught me what really matters in life. Thank you again.”
Primary School Teacher
“The Beauty Unwound Tour was wonderful – being able to visit homes and small workshops where block printing, embroidery and weaving took place was so instructive and enjoyable and the artisans were so friendly and willing to share their knowledge and skills. All this was balanced with some lovely sightseeing and museum visiting. All in all – a great experience. This was my second tour with Mela (2 years running!), which indicates the value I put on Touch of Spirit Tours.”
A wonderful trip exploring the complex history, culture and food of this wonderful country. I especially enjoyed visiting the less touristy regions in the north and north-east of the country to see how the country has recovered, and is still rebuilding from the tsunami and civil war. Our guide, Bala, was outstanding. His knowledge, his patience and the care he showed made this trip the great experience it was. Thanks so much for organising this tour, Mela.
“Venturing India with Touch of Spirit Tours was awesome. At all times, I felt so well cared for and safe. The tour offered experiences of India beyond my expectations. Our tour leader had such a passion for all things Indian, that it was infectious. She was always concerned about our happiness, allowing flexibility in the itinerary. We were just one big happy family. Thank you so much. I look forward to travelling with you again!”
Carer at Box Hill
“This trip to incredible India met my needs in so many ways!
Mela handled all the logistics and provided us beautiful places to stay with excellent food. From the moment I landed, transportation and support was provided. If I wanted time to explore on my own, I could take it.
Diane offered morning or sometimes early evening yoga in the most beautiful of settings, tailored to our needs in the moment. She led us in the creative process with knowledge, humor and appreciation that flowed into every day.
I was looking for a personal shift and found it. I was afraid to come to India and you gave me a safe and loving space to really feel my own experience with the group. The journey supported me in more ways than I could have imagined. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be traveling and experiencing this beautiful journey with every member of our little group.”
Susy, San Francisco
“Mela and Diane create the perfect India journey together, especially for nervous first-time India travelers who are yearning to go, but not sure they want to go it alone. Mela is a master at managing the travel and accommodation logistics and you can be sure that you will be well-held from the moment you step off the plane to the moment you get on your plane home. Diane adds to the inner journey by offering daily group yoga and creative process sessions that enrich the experience exponentially. I personally found deep reconnection with myself, my body, my health, and my spiritual practice through this trip. Everyone on the trip was a “non-group” traveler, and we all loved it. Diane and Mela have created an itinerary that offers a great balance between sightseeing experiences, yoga/creative inner experiences, and alone time. Do yourself a favor and book the next trip now! Just don’t take my spot ;)”
“Thanks Mela, I had a very special time on your tour and I would recommend it to all who want a unique Indian experience. The sites we saw and the activities we did e.g. aarti, were very special. Also, the accommodation was very good particularly near the national park and Delhi. My favourite part of the tour was the ashram. It was a beautiful experience and it really helped me to deepen my understanding of yoga.The sight seeing was great- guides English was very clear. Jay is a major asset to the tour. His Hindi I’m sure opened many opportunities for us. He was very knowledgeable about India and was happy to introduce us to his parents and take us to a wedding which were unexpected treats. He was very helpful and had solutions to any worries we had. The tour has helped me to strengthen my yoga practice and helped me to understand the philosophy behind it. Also, seeing the way the religions in India pervade everyday life was inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in India.”
“Travelling with Touch of Spirit Tours was an amazing experience. I saw so many parts of India which I would not have seen if I was travelling alone, and the local people we met were so interesting and inspiring. The tour was so moving and yet so much fun. I would definitely do it again!”
“Many thanks for your care and superb organisational skills in making this journey run so smoothly. We had an amazing time and will hopefully see you again soon.”
Head of Department, Melbourne Secondary College
“I really loved Southern India, with its incredible contrast of modern technology, ancient history, brilliant colours and happy people! The tour was well-organised, hassle-free and our accommodation was great. My favourite sites were the ‘out-of-the-way’ places including a small orphanage, where we practiced the hokey-pokey with the gorgeous kids. I also loved the animal shelter, where we were met by an excited three-legged dog and the national park, where we saw a wild elephant on the side of the road. There is so much more to see and I can’t wait to go back.”
“I loved my trip to India. It was very educational and a real eye-opener. It was so interesting to compare our country with India; the people, the customs, lifestyle and families. The festivals are such an important part of their community life and really bring people together. I always felt safe and cared for with my tour director Mela and appreciated her knowledge of the local areas. We were always made to feel comfortable and safe.”
“I really want to thank Touch of Spirit Tours for making my trip to India so memorable and such a wonderful experience. I had my apprehensions about coping and really being out of my ‘comfort zone.’ I had visions of getting seriously ill or being mugged. Instead I found the Indian people were truly lovely, always smiling and willing to help. We had so many adventures in such a short time and you went out of your way to make sure that we were happy and enjoying ourselves. Nothing was any trouble and I personally appreciate the attention which was given to every detail.”
Melbourne Yoga Teacher
“Our tour of Southern India far exceeded our expectations. The informative journey took us to so many places which really highlighted the life and culture of Southern India. We would recommend this tour to anyone who wants an in-depth and behind the scenes view of Indian life.”
Geoff and Wendy
“I loved the tour. The breadth of the tour was fantastic. Sunita is extremely knowledgeable and a terrific tour leader, and the guides she chose were excellent. I enjoyed all the textile places we visited especially the design centre near Shrujan. I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything on the tour. I really liked the place we went in Delhi where all the regions were represented by their houses and art work, it was a last minute thing and it turned out to be fabulous and the cafe attached was excellent.
My favourite parts of the tour were visiting the women in their homes, huge tick for those, and the great Rann visit and the bird sanctuary and the rickshaws through Delhi, the last three broke up the textile spots really well. I cant fault what we saw and have a wealth of information for my textile groups here re block printing, the dyeing process and embroideries.
In fact I’ve been approached by several people who wanted the details of the tour. I loved the entire experience.”
“The Photography Tour was just wonderful. Jay certainly enhanced our trip on every level. He generously imparted his knowledge and feedback on our slowly developing photographic skills. After a week or so, I could see my images incorporating some of Jay’s techniques. His energy and enthusiasm were obvious. Jay looked after us extremely well, his compassion and caring were unsurpassed.”
“The experience of travelling in India is one of amazement, wonder, and complete aliveness. What I love the most is that each time I go to India, I leave a better person – more humble, patient, grateful and compassionate. India helps me become a freer thinker and more in-tune with myself and others’. Beautiful India!”