Lifestyle | February 28, 2023

Two Weeks In India & Nepal

By Ret Taylor

Ned is on a mission to help you feel better and live better through the powers of the natural world. We go to the ends of the earth to bring you the world’s best natural remedies, combining ancient wisdom shared from around the globe with the finest ingredients found in nature. 

For Shuteye Chai, we traveled to India and Nepal to learn more about Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of medicine, and the amazing healing benefits of masala chai, spiced tea inspired by the ancient Ayurvedic medicinal brew kadha.

Upon arrival in Delhi, we were met by Adriaan's old friend Krishna Kumar, who took us on a whirlwind tour of five cities that involved 60 hours of travel time, multiple connections (and missed connections), a shakedown by customs police, an incident involving getting peed on by a cow, some incredible ancient ceremonies, some truly wonderful new friends, and a whole lot of masala chai. 

Along the way we learned that in every cup of masala chai – and Shuteye Chai – is a complex story anchored in ancient traditions, generational wisdom and the best ingredients that our natural world has to offer. 

Check out some photos from the trip and then watch our short documentary, Journey to the Heart of Shuteye Chai.

The spice market in Old Delhi. Learning more about the many medicinal properties in the traditional Ayurvedic spices found in masala chai, including ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.

Sunset in Mumbai during Diwali, the Festival of Lights. More than a million people gather in celebration on this beach. We were in an auto rickshaw trying to make our way back to our hotel until it became impossible. More than happy to hop out, we walked the last stretch along the beach with everyone else. 

Post interview in Mumbai with Dr. Roshani. We were introduced to her by a dear friend, who said, "trust me, Dr. Roshani is amazing." She was indeed and taught us so much. 

Manjeet, our host in Dharamshala, stoking a fire to warm some of the best chai we tasted throughout our entire journey. Our friend Danielle from Four Sigmatic introduced us to Manjeet and his beautiful family, including his mother who took Danielle wild mushroom foraging for the first time, igniting a passion that would become her life’s work. 

Manjeet’s mother and Ret. The two of us shared a special connection almost immediately. She has a terrific sense of humor and is very close to nature. She held my hand after I told her of the passing of my own mother. It was one of my favorite moments from the trip.

Manjeet’s family cow who provided the milk for the best cup of chai of the trip.

Our new friend Daraz here manning his family’s shop in Kathmandu’s Spice Market. Daraz was amazingly generous with his time and the wealth of knowledge he accumulated being part of a multi-generational spice trading family. His smile says it all and he truly couldn’t have been nicer. 

We were able to interview some incredible humans. Each location was different from the next, but this beachfront balcony in Mangalore was really special.

I can’t recall ever being as immediately impressed or inspired by anyone as I was by Bharavi. When she sat down for her interview on the balcony of the house we rented on the beach of Mangalore, a large flock of crows chose that moment to start a cawing racket. She politely turned to them and said, “it's okay, Baba,” at which point they immediately went silent. Her husband, an American who has devoted himself entirely to her, explained that her guru sometimes takes the form of a crow and watches over her. And to think the interview only got better from there!

In Iceland we drove a LandRover Defender. In Mumbai it was an auto rickshaw! That was a couple hundred rupees well spent!

At Kathmandu’s “most famous” chai shop, enjoying a cup with the fourth-generation owner. He was a gem of a guy and the whole family was great. Great masala chai too!

Although it nearly put Vidya, our cameraman, out of commission, we climbed the stairs to Kathmandu’s famous Monkey Temple at sunset. Cheeky ones those monkees were, and even Vidya agreed it was worth the climb. 

The Team! We spent every bit of two weeks together with these incredible guys – KK, Assim, and Vidya. They directed, shot, and ran sound on the video we created to share our trip and what we learned along the way with our community. The days were long and it wasn’t always easy. Their good humor, uncanny work ethic, and resilience was a blessing. So grateful to you guys! 

And, of course, so many laughs along the way. 


Tags: Ned Stories



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