Featuring: BB Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Yogi & Ananda (the Bhakti Brothers) and Radha Raman Priya
One of the most striking things about India is how much joy people bring to their spiritual practice. Even the sacred scriptures of this great and mystic land describe life in the spiritual world as an every day festival. We wanted to bring some of that spirit to you. That’s why we started and are now repeating the Kirtan Experience Weekend – a weekend-long retreat that’s meant to immerse you in the joys of re-connection. If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing kirtan, you’ve already had a small taste of what we mean. Come and experience the full blast of it!
What to expect?
Expect devotional chanting and plenty of it! Better still, expect it in the company of elevated souls such as B.B. Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami and their friends, some of the most talented and passionate kirtan singers and musicians you can meet. There will be sharing of Vedic knowledge of course, with tips for more harmonious and joyful living, as well as delicious meals to enjoy together. All taking place in the enchanting setting of Hightower Castle, an actual castle offering breathtaking views of our country’s natural beauty.
A glimpse at last year’s event
What is kirtan?
Imagine yourself chanting from the heart within a group that is also chanting from the heart. You may start off feeling like a separate entity, but by the end of it, it’s not just your voices that have harmonized, you are connected somehow. Such is the power of the Maha Mantra, also known as the great mantra. We chant it in call and response manner and let it wash over us, soothing our sore places, softening our hard places, bringing us more joy than we’ve ever felt and ultimately opening our hearts!
BB Govinda is known for his lively chanting and his ability to inspire the audience to participate. He has been known to combine traditional kirtan music
with more modern sounds and has even incorporated the symphonies of philharmonic orchestras into his kirtans. Which goes to show that when it comes
to the music of the soul, there are no rules as to who gets to contribute. In fact, everyone is welcome. Although BB Govinda Swami believes Bhakti Yoga to be the
perfect expression of the heart, he enjoys communicating on many levels and is currently learning Arabic.
Indradyumna Swami has been a traveling monk and spiritual teacher in the Bhakti Yoga tradition for the last 48 years, as well as an author and photographer. He is the coordinator for the annual Festival of India tour in Poland, attended by between 5,000 to 10,000 people at a time and which also participates in the Polish Woodstock Festival. When he is not managing festivals, Indradyumna Swami interfaces with many spiritual and political leaders, including the Dalai Lama, the King of the Zulu Nation and the late Nelson Mandela.
Akinchana Krishna das grew up in New York City. Since his first contact with bhakti yoga in the mid-90s, Akinchana has had the good fortune of doing kirtan with many great kirtaniyas, such as Aindra, Srikanta, Ananta Govinda, and Acyuta Gopi. He used to play bass guitar with HG Gaura Vani and As Kindred Spirits, and is recorded on the album Ten Million Moons. Akincana currently travels extensively around the world enlivening others with his kirtans.
Bhakti Brothers – Ananda & Yogi
This spirited duo regularly travels around the world to chant from the heart and spread God’s message of love. Having studied for several years in the birthplace
of kirtan, India, they bring with them the unique flavours of this mystic place. Join them to enjoy feel-good moments of chanting and dancing, and experience
their gift for connecting to people through Bhakti.
What’s on the menu?
You can look forward to delicious vegan meals that are cooked and served with a smile. The only thing we can think of that can compare is mom’s cooking. Because when Bhakti yogis prepare food, they too do it with care and devotion. All meals are also offered in prayer, which means they’re not only spiritualized, they’re also spiritualizing!
What else is on the menu?
Guided Japa Meditation
There’s nothing like doing a round of japa early in the morning. It sets the tone for the whole day. Japa Meditation consists of repeating the Hare Krishna Mantra 108 times on a mala or beads. And when you do it in a group, the benefits are greatly multiplied. It’s worth waking up early to experience
Rise & Shine Yoga
A yoga class in the morning is just what your body needs to wake up properly. Not only will it loosen up your joints and stretch your muscles, it will give you a boost of energy to start your day on the right foot. Literally sometimes! Cause you may be asked to stand on one leg. So why not add a little balance, strength and flexibility to your day. You’ll be happy you joined the class.
Sharing of Vedic Knowledge
The Vedas are sacred scriptures that offer a wealth of timeless wisdom. You’ll be enjoying storytelling from the Vedas, tips on how to add more harmony and joy to your life and a talk on the art of forgiveness.
Walk in the Forest
Enjoy a nice brisk walk in Baysour’s very own nature reserve. Take in the crisp mountain air and reconnect with the elements in a pine forest which is also home to wild cedar and oak trees. If you’re lucky, you might get to sight some foxes, which are indigenous to the area, or even catch a glimpse of squirrels or different species of birds.
Historic Tour of the Castle
Hightower Castle wasn’t always an events venue. When works started on the original structure back in 1965, it was built as a fortress, complete with watchtower and underground escape tunnel. It is a place that has seen a lot, from army invasions and time capsules to romantic weddings and devotional chanting! Take a tour of the grounds and find out all about this historic place and the influences that made it the unique venue that it is today.
One of the most scenic and tranquil places in Lebanon: Hightower Castle in Baysour, Aley
Saturday, September 21st
6:30am – 7am: Guided Japa Meditation
7:15am – 8:15am: Rise & Shine Yoga
7:30am – 9am: Breakfast and Registration
9:30am – 11:30am: Official Welcome and Kirtan
11:30 – 12:30pm: Vedic Class
12:30pm – 2pm: Kirtan
2pm – 4pm: Lunch
4pm – 5pm: Walk in the Forest
5pm – 7pm: Kirtan and Storytelling
7pm – 8pm: Dinner
8pm – 9:30pm: Kirtan
Sunday, September 22nd
6:30am – 7am: Guided Japa Meditation
7:15am – 8:15am: Rise & Shine Yoga
7:00am – 8:30am: Registration
8:30am – 9:30am: Walk in the Forest
9:30am – 10:30am: Breakfast
10:30am – 12:30pm: Kirtan
12:30pm – 1pm: Historic Tour of the Castle
1pm – 3pm: Kirtan
3pm – 5pm: Lunch
5pm – 7:30pm: Kirtan and Closing Words
Pricing (Inclusive of all activities and meals)
ONE DAY PASS
72$ 59$ ONLY!*
TWO DAY PASS
*EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT APPLIES IF PAYMENT IS MADE BEFORE SEPTEMBER 13th
We accept WESTERN UNION & IN-PERSON payment at our center in Zalka
Please contact us at 70 363 922 for more information
There are 3 Hotels close to the Castle that can be contacted directly for reservations:
Alpine Family Hotel – Around 7 minutes away by car from the castle
Contact details: Mr. Samer Ghosn +961 76 751 223 Mobile
Heritage Hotel & Resort – Around 15 minutes away by car from the castle (4 stars)
http://www.lheritageresort.com/ +961 5 2671 371 Landline
Al Sakhra Hotel – Around 20 minutes away by car from the castle
Website +961 5 262 191 Landline
Camping On Site – Bring your own tent 10$/Night