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Nepal to Introduce Art of Living for Golfers

Kathmandu: More things are wrought by prayers than the world dreams of - even achieving the //perfect putt on golf links.

"It's a known fact that golf maestro Tiger Woods meditates and does yoga for concentration," says Ajay Kumar, director of sales and marketing at Le Meriden Gokarna Forest Golf Resort and Spa, Kathmandu's pride and one of South Asia's finest golf resorts. "Golf is very much a mind game."

So to help golfers hone their concentration - at a price - the resort has tied up with Indian spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, the proponent of a meditation technique known as the Art of Living, to offer a unique "Spirit of Golf" camp.

Teeing off from April 19, the five-day camp is eyeing expatriate golfers from the Middle East, India, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Bangladesh.

The package, including accommodation, golfing and attending the camp as well as airfare, is roughly $1,500. For Indians, taking into account the cheaper airfare, it will be a little less.

The unique idea of starting an Art of Living camp for golfers evolved when Le Meridien director Suman Sachdev met a senior teacher of the course, Rukmini Prabhakar, in Dubai.

For the first camp - which will lead to others in future, targeting the European market as well - Kumar anticipates about 120 participants.

Set in the sprawling Gokarna forest that was once the hunting grounds of the royal family of Nepal, the resort, operated by Le Meridien, runs 16 luxury cottages, complete with a spa, health club and of course golf course.

The golf course attracts players from the SAARC countries during an annual tourney sponsored by ITC's joint venture in Nepal, Surya Nepal, and is frequented by ambassadors based in Nepal including the American and Indian envoys.

Sri Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living focuses on breathing techniques complemented by music. The camp will also have fusion music for non- golfers, helping them to unwind, Kumar said.

However, the high-flying guru, who has followers all over the world and was seen putting at the Gokarna golf course during a two-day private visit last week, will initiate golfers only on the first day.

After that, senior teachers from the Art of Living Founation will conduct the course.

Interestingly, news about the Spirit of Golf camp comes at a time Nepal's Crown Prince Paras, a golf aficionado, has shifted from the capital to Gokarna with his family, reportedly for better security.

With the crown prince seen frequenting the links with his bodyguards, the question everyone is bound to ask is: will he too enrol for the camp?


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