The Gandharva Loka Blog Rotating Header Image


Flute Camp Aotearoa – January 2014

Journeying with the Native American Style Flute

Flute Camp AotearoaA series of Native American flute workshops is being organised by flute maker Todd Chaplin of Southern Cross Flutes this coming January in Wellington. This from Todd’s website:

Join us for an amazing long weekend (Jan 17–20th 2014) of flute playing workshops centered on music-making with the Native American Flute. This retreat designed for players of any amount of experience who want to raise their playing and enjoyment of the instrument to a new level. Facilitated by two wonderful players of the Native American Indian Style Flute, from the U.S.A – Clint Goss and Vera Shanov.     Read more »

Native Amercan flutes are probably the easiest type of flute to play and they produce a beautiful organic tone that is very satisfying. For those who might be interested in attending these workshops but lack a flute, Gandharva Loka stocks two ranges of good quality and relatively inexpensive Native American flutes. One range is by Todd Chaplin of Wellington and the other is by Odell Borg of High Spirits Flutes in Arizona, USA. Both of these respected flute makers craft their instruments from a variety of woods and in a variety of sizes and pitches.

Please feel free to contact us or come into Gandharva Loka if you are interested in trying or hearing these beautiful flutes.


Gandharva Loka News – October 15, 2013

Concert at The Lotus-Heart – October 3, 2013

The Sri Chinmoy Centre recently offered a concert of Sri Chinmoy‘s meditative music at The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant in Christchurch. Concert at The Lotus-Heart – October 3, 2013Gandharva Loka’s co-manager, Vajin Armstrong, introduced the concert and a variety of instruments from Gandharva Loka’s stock of world instruments including djembe, sitar and udu featured in the concert. The concert, the first for the Centre since the Feb 2011 earthquake, also saw the inaugural use of the new upstairs dining room at The Lotus-Heart which relocated with Gandharva Loka and The Gift Shop to 363 St Asaph Street after the earthquake.

The room was full with standing room only and this webmaster was fortunate enough to catch the concert through the kindness of our dear friend Ron Kettle who stood holding a tablet that transferred the event electronically via Skype. Ron’s comment afterwards was that he “…now knew what it was like to be The Statue of Liberty!” Thank you Ron – you’re the champion of self-giving! From my perspective, the concert was very beautiful and soulful and it was great to see the Centre members performing their Master’s music in a public concert again. I was greatly inspired by the concert and was very grateful to have had the opportunity to see and hear it from Auckland. Prasasta, who sang in the concert, also wrote a short article which can be viewed here »

The Lotus-Heart Voted ‘Best Vegetarian Restaurant 2013’


Gandharva Loka Christchurch News – March 2013

5th Anniversary of Gandharva Loka Christchurch

Here we are – March 7, 2013 – and the 5th anniversary of Gandharva Loka in Christchurch. We feel a deep sense of gratitude for all of the opportunities that have come our way as a result of opening Gandharva Loka in Christchurch and we would like to thank all of our friends and customers for the support and encouragement we have received over the past five years – you have been awesome!

Body Mind Spirit Festival, Christchurch

Body Mind Spirit Festival, ChristchurchThis coming weekend Gandharva Loka, along with our dear friends from The Lotus-Heart, will have a stall at the annual Body Mind Spirit Festival in Christchurch.

Whether you’re seeking information or inspiration, inner peace or mental stimulation, or you’re just curious about what’s out there, the Body Mind Spirit Festival invites you to revitalise your body, stimulate your mind, and pamper your soul…

With our wonderful selection of exhibitors, our ever popular series of free, inspiring workshops, all day entertainment, and healthy food from Govindas and The Lotus-Heart, the Body Mind Spirit Festival promises something for everyone.

We look forward to seeing you there…

Gandharva Loka to Sponsor Children in Bangladesh

We are very happy to announce that the international family of Gandharva Loka stores has recently committed to sponsoring a group of children in Bangladesh through the Surer Dhara School of Music.

Tagore and BannyaShurer Dhara is a school of music modelled after the thoughts and successful experiment in education of the Indian seer-poet and Nobel laureate (Nobel Prize for Literature,1913) Rabindranath Tagore (pictured top right). Tagore’s philosophy places as much importance on aesthetics as it does on intellect.

The community music school was founded in 1993 in Lalmatia, Dhaka, by Rezwana Choudhury Bannya (pictured bottom right), an accomplished exponent of Rabindra Sangeet (music of Tagore), who is a distinguished alumna of Visva-Bharati, the renowned Indian university in Santiniketan founded by Tagore.

Rezwana Choudhury Bannya is also a senior member of the Faculty of Music and Drama, University of Dhaka. Bannya was inspired by her guru, Sreemati Kanika Bandopadhaye, a direct disciple of Tagore, to open a school in Bangladesh to continue the tradition of Santiniketan.

The programme is called Music for Development and it promotes music education as an integral part of children growing up to learn social accountability and asset development skills. When I was in Bangladesh in 2009 as part of a contingent of musicians and singers from Christchurch who performed at the Songs of the Soul concert in Dhaka, I was so inspired to see what a difference the Music for Development programme was making for the children that we met and performed with. The following is from the Music for Development page:


Gandharva Loka Christchurch to re-open on December 6!

We are delighted to announce that Gandharva Loka in Christchurch will be re-opening at 11am on Tuesday the 6th of December!

Our new location is:
363 St Asaph Street,
(Between Fitzgerald Ave and Barbadoes St

We have a lovely space that is accessed from the St Asaph Street entrance of The Lotus-Heart restaurant, tea house and health food store – a new location for the popular vegetarian restaurant that is also home to The Gift Shop. At present a new facade is being installed so the building is shrouded in scaffolding. But prepare to be amazed when you step inside – the interior is enchanting!

We now have in stock the best range of instruments we have ever had and we are expecting that more instruments will be arriving in the next few days.

Our hours are:
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-3pm.
Friday evening 5pm-8pm.
We are happy to accommodate customers outside these hours by appointment if our regular store hours do not suit.


Vajin Armstrong Selected For Commonwealth Trail Race

Since the earthquake that closed central Christchurch in February, the managers of Gandharva Loka Christchurch, Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong, have taken the opportunity to travel and find more sources for interesting and unique world instruments. They also attended the opening of the latest Gandharva Loka store on Granville Island in Vancouver and, for the first time, participated in the annual Gandharva Loka conference that brings together all of the members of the global Gandharva Loka family of stores. This years conference was held in Berlin and by all reports, it was a memorable occasion for all with workshops, concerts and plenty of joy!

Keen athletes both, Vajin and Prasasta have maintained their training schedules throughout their travels and have some wonderful news regarding Vajin’s running career. Prasasta reports from a running camp high in the Italian Alps…


The Lotus-Heart is reopening!

Along with hundreds of other businesses in central Christchurch, Gandharva Loka remains closed and somewhat homeless for now. Our world music store will reopen in Christchurch at some stage – we are just not sure when or where. It is a shared experience for many small businesses in Christchurch and one that can only be met with hope, optimism and determination. The spirit that makes Christchurch such a special place is the same spirit that will help us to accomplish the task of rebuilding this beautiful city.

The Lotus-HeartThere is always some good news though and we are very happy to be able to announce that The Lotus-Heart vegetarian restaurant is reopening this coming Wednesday (July 27, 2011) at its new location in St Asaph Street. The managers of Gandharva Loka in Christchurch, Vajin and Prasasta Armstrong, are also a part of The Lotus-Heart team and worked part-time at the restaurant in Cathedral Square. The original Lotus-Heart café, which was in the same block and two doors from Gandharva Loka, was also destroyed during the February 22nd earthquake. The building that The Lotus-Heart restaurant was in, the original Chief Post Office building in Cathedral Square, is still standing but, as with the entire central business district of Christchurch, remains unusable and closed for now.

Like Gandharva Loka, The Lotus-Heart is owned, managed and staffed by members of the Christchurch Sri Chinmoy Centre. Since April The Lotus-Heart team has been working very hard to convert and make ready an area within premises on St Asaph Street just outside the Christchurch CBD. This from The Lotus-Heart website:

The Lotus-Heart Restaurant & Tea House

We are delighted to advise that The Lotus-Heart will be open in a new location from Wednesday 27 July 2011, initially by reservation only. Kindly phone (03) 377 2727 to make a reservation or use our online reservation service.

We are eager to resume service and therefore will open with further renovations yet to come, so kindly bear with us as we fully develop our new location. Read more »

Congratulations to all those involved in the rebuilding and reopening of The Lotus-Heart!