A week ago I arrived from a wonderful 12 day trip to India, but I didn’t visit the India that most people know. I didn’t go to the Taj Mahal or see elephants swim in the waters of Kerala, I didn’t visit the pink city of Jaipur or the majestic Himalayas, and I didn’t explore the big cities like Delhi or Bangalore. Instead, along with my mom, we drove 6 hours from Mumbai to Meherabad and stayed at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat, the most peaceful place to visit in rural India.
Meherabad is in the state of Maharashtra close to the small (relative to other cities in India) city of Ahmednagar. Ahmednagar is about 2.5 hrs by road from Pune, and about 6 hrs from Mumbai.
The MPR (Meher Pilgrim Retreat) is where we stayed for the whole duration of our trip, except for one night in Mumbai on the night we arrived in India.
At the MPR, I’ve found some of the most peaceful moments in my life. The gardens, the open structure, the libraries, the sunsets, the sunrises, the walks and the energy there give out the most serene and happy moments.
You are never bored here, even if you’re doing nothing, unlike back home. Everything is different here, worries take the backseat, things that shouldn’t matter and matter back home don’t matter here. People simply are content here and this peaceful and happy energy coming from everyone is very uplifting and recharging.
There are rooms with 1, 2, 4 and 6 beds. Each person gets their own bed with mosquito net, closet with lock, desk with chair, nightstand with lamp, and ceiling fan. Very convenient.
Though men and women sleep separately in different sides of the building, they mingle during the day.
One amazing thing about this place is that people from all over the world come to stay. I have met people from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, China, US, Mexico, Colombia, Iran, and of course India. They all seem to be very open here and share their lives and many interesting stories here.
During breakfast, lunch, and dinner is mostly when the socializing occurs. And you can enjoy the best chai during afternoon tea every day at 4pm.
The food ranges from Indian, Western and Chinese. All vegetarian. And it’s quite good!
There are also nice outdoor seating areas.
And a playground for kids and adults alike. Children younger than 7 years old are not allowed to stay at the MPR.
The early morning walks were some of my favorite moments. In no other place in the world do I happily wake up between 5:30 and 6 AM to go take a walk and visit the Samadhi.
Meher Baba is the reason why people come to stay here. He is a spiritual master, an Avatar, one of God’s human forms who came “not to teach, but to awaken.”
Besides optional morning and evening prayers at the Samadhi, everyone is free to spend their time doing whatever they choose. From catching up on reading, meditating, chilling, chatting, eating (during set hours), having tea, napping, going to town shopping or for ice cream, visiting Meherazad and climbing Seclusion Hill, attending the movie showings, or current festival and events.
This place offers the perfect balance between winding down, getting to meet people, recharging spiritually and having fun.
And guess what? Accommodation at the MPR including 3 meals a day is about 560 rupees a day, less than 10 USD! Now use up those miles and book a flight to the most peaceful place in the world.
For more details about what to do there and how to get there visit this post.
p.s. There are more posts and pics coming about the town of Meherabad, the city of Ahmednagar, and Meherazad.
Reservations are made by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and should be made about 6 weeks in advance.
Pilgrim Season: 15 June – 15 March (all other times, MPR is closed due to very hot weather)
Rates: May vary but it’s around INR 170 for a room a day, and INR 130 per meal (x3). About INR 560 total a day which is about 10 USD.
Children under seven years of age cannot be accommodated at the MPR.
Dress code: clothing should be conservative. No bare knees or shoulders.
Cleaning: rooms are cleaned everyday and laundry service is available for a very cheap rate twice a week.
Rooms and bathrooms: you may request your choice of room size, but you might often share with someone else. Rooms have 1 bed, 2 beds, 4 beds and 6 beds. Bathrooms are shared. Showers work on a solar heating system. Daily showers are discouraged and sometimes not even allowed depending on drought cases. Towels and clean bedding are provided. Each person gets its own closet with lock and key and a desk.
Meherabad is located on Daund Road, six kilometers outside of the city of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State, India.
•Travel by Air. The nearest airports are at Pune and Aurangabad, both approximately two and one-half hours from Ahmednagar by road. The nearest international airport is Mumbai, approximately five hours by road to Ahmednagar.
•Travel by Car. Buses and taxis reach Ahmednagar from Pune, Aurangabad, Sholapur, and Nasik. A direct road from Mumbai, which bypasses Pune, takes about five hours in light traffic. Trusted car services. These cars will pick you up all the way from Mumbai or Pune at any time and take you exactly to the right place.
•Travel by Rail. Located on the Daund/Manmad railway line, Ahmednagar is accessible by rail from many Indian cities, both to the north and south, including Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.