This website is your guide to ashrams in India that offer yoga and meditation in tranquil and peaceful surroundings. Ashrams offer a sanctuary to go deeper into your spiritual practice away from the distraction and stress of every-day life. Most of the ashrams listed here provide clean accommodations and healthy, vegetarian food. You can attend a scheduled class or workshop, or visit the ashram for an extended period of self-study. Some people come for days or weeks, while some become full-time residents. For all details on schedules, pricing, accommodations and travel please contact the ashram directly. If you have any suggestions to add to this directory, please contact us with information about the ashram and a link to their website.
North and Central India
Mt. Abu (Rajasthan)
Sai Baba Ashram
Puttaparthi, near Bangalore
Main Ashram: http://www.sathyasai.org/ashrams/prashanthi.htm
Prasanthi Nilayam is the main ashram for the famous saint Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The main temple (mandir) is called Prasanthi Nilayam, and is the spiritual center for countless people all over the world. Accommodations at the ashram are difficult to get so make reservations well in advance. The rooms are simple, food is plentiful and inexpensive, and there is a daily program of activity that includes Vedic chanting, Bhajans (devotional singing) and Arati (worship).
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Pondicherry, south of Chennai
Sri Aurobindo was a philosopher, spiritual leader, political activist, mystic, poet and yogi. His ashram is in Pondicherry, a beach-side city south of Chennai. Pondicherry is a former French colony and still has many influences from that time. Buses leave frequently between Chennai and Pondicherry, along with taxis from the Chennai airport. The guest accommodations are inexpensive and require prior reservations. The main activities at the ashram are: meditating in the main Ashram near the Samadhi and studying at the educational center. The Samadhi is a tomb of Aurobindo and The Mother that has now become a shrine. You can meditate near the Samadhi at any time during the day; group meditations are offered on several evenings. The educational center provides many books and films about Sri Aurobindo’s life and teachings.
Sri Ramana Ashram
Tiruvannamalai, south of Chennai
This ashram lies at the foot of Mt. Arunachala and draws devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi who lived most of his life in meditation on the mountain. Though Sri Maharshi passed away in 1950, his presence is very much alive. Each day, people gather at the ashram to meditate, pray and chant. Just up the mountain are two places where Sri Maharshi spent many years in deep meditation. These are powerful places to meditate, especially for those who are able to attune themselves to his silent teachings. He was not a guru to give lots of teachings or discourses. People came from all over the world to be transformed by his silent presence. The ashram is a very relaxed place where visitors can spend the day in meditation, take part in puja (worship) at the shrine or use the library and bookshop.
Mt. Arunachala is as much of a draw as the ashram and it’s recommended to walk around the mountain at least once during your visit (13 km). The most popular times to do this circumambulation are during the full moon, or early morning before the sun becomes too hot. If you wish to stay at the ashram, book a room at least 3 months in advance. Several reasonable hotels and guest houses are close to the ashram grounds.
Integral Yoga Institute (IYI)
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
The IYI offers yoga and meditation classes year round including a 6-day introductory course, drop-in yoga classes, and yoga for special groups. Ongoing ashram activities include Scripture study, a Saturday evening 2-hr meditation, Sunday Satsang with lectures and kirtan, individual counseling, and a volunteer Community service program. The yoga is in the tradition of the late Sri Swami Satchidananda who founded Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville, a spiritual community in Virginia, USA.
Accommodations are low cost and include attached baths, hot running water and Western style toilets. Meals are not included, but there are many good restaurants nearby. Guests also have access to a kitchen if they wish to cook their own meals. Included in the room cost are two Yoga classes and three meditation periods every weekday.
Isha Yoga Center
near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
This ashram is featured in the film Asha goes to India, and was one of Asha’s favorite place to visit in India. It’s located on 150 acres of lush land at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains. The center offers a variety of one to two week programs such as Inner Engineering and Isha Yoga. The center offers comfortable and modern accommodations, an Ayurvedic Spa, and a multi-religious temple housing the Dhyana lingam. The guru is Sadhguru who is a visionary, humanitarian and prominent spiritual leader.
Haridwar is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India and is situated approximately 200km north of New Delhi on the banks of the Ganges river. Haridwar is often chosen as a retreat center for saints and pilgrims who seek a life of study and meditation. It is a great place to go if you want to avoid the foreigners who flock to nearby Rishikesh. Haridwar has a distinctly Indian feel to it, in contrast to Rishikesh which is more western and New Age.
Prem Nagar Ashram
Railway Rd in Haridwar
This very large ashram was founded by Prem Nagar and provides a tranquil setting for spiritual practice along with a wealth of resources including:
- Satsang Hall, the largest in Haridwar. 2,000 people can sit in it to listen to spiritual discourses (“satsang”)
- modern hall with state of the art sound, light that can accommodate 20,000 people, and has been especially designed for satsang and meditation for seekers from around the world.
- daily meditation and singing at 5am and 7:30pm
- ashram has its own cows and Ayurvedic medicine factory
- huge, pillarless meeting hall and a ghat facing the Ganges
- four large residential buildings with a total of more than 800 rooms, most of which have attached bathrooms.
- a swimming-pool sized computerized fountain, which plays a variety of devotional music synchronized with multi-colored fountains.
Prem Nagar Ashram provides accommodation and all amenities so that visitors can devote themselves to meditation, study and service.
Shanti Kunj Ashram
Shanti Kunj is a large ashram set in gardens that offers simple accommodations with private bathroom, hot water, air coolers and fans. It is for serious students of sadhana, meditation and mantras. The day begins at 5:15am with mantras, followed by yagyar (fire ceremony) and meditation.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
The ashram is nestled within 12 acres of natural beauty and lies inside a natural forest approximately 20 km north of the holy city Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu. The peaceful forest surroundings, the panoramic views along with the adjacent lotus pond offer an ideal setting for yogic practices. Three Ashrams in India are part of The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, a non-profit organization named after Swami Sivananda, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Many different courses and trainings are offered, including the ideal 2-week “Yoga Vacation.”
Bihar Yoga School (Bihar Yoga Bharati)
The Bihar School of Yoga was founded in 1964 by Paramahamsa Satyananda to impart yogic training. The Yoga School teaches a full yogic lifestyle and incorporates traditional postures, breathing, and meditation. Two main courses are offered: Yogic Studies 4 Months (offered in English once a year), Yogic Lifestyle & Science 3 Months. The programs combine academic studies with a lifestyle of discipline and can be challenging. All aspirants must be prepared for this approach to yogic studies. In addition to the yogic education, seva (selfless service), samarpan (dedication) and karuna (compassion) are taught.
The Brahma Kumaris organization consists of 8,500 centres
located in 110 countries. The headquarters are known as Madhuban, which means “Forest of Honey” and is located in Mt. Abu. The institution offers the foundation courses in Rajyoga meditation, without charging any fees. Every year, a large international family of practicing yogis comes to this place to do intense meditation and be in a holy place. Courses in philosophy and practice of Rajyoga Meditation are the primary offering. Not much emphasis is put on asanas which are the physical postures of yoga.
Principal attractions on the grounds of Madhuban are: the Meditation Hut,
Meditation Room and Tower of Peace. The Universal Peace hall is the main hall, and seats 3,000.
Kaivalyadhama Yoga Hospital
Lonavala, near Mumbai
An excellent choice for serious students of yoga, ayurveda and naturopathy. A Ph.D. in Yoga is offered here, along with certifications for yoga teachers, and naturopathic and Ayurvedic practitioners. Kaivalyadhama is one of the most traditional schools of yoga in the world offering yoga practice in its original form. It is also houses a yoga research institute. Room rates cover full board, yoga sessions, programs and lectures. Advanced bookings are recommended (see website). The minimum course is 8 days.
Vipassana Meditation Centers in India
- Dhamma Giri Meditation Center- Igatpuri
- Dhamma Pattana Meditation Center – Mumbai
- Dhamma Tapovana Long Course Center – Igatpuri
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. The technique is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants follow a prescribed Code of Discipline and it is serious work. The ten-day format is considered a minimum time to begin to experience it’s benefits and it is taught step by step with time to practice. There are no charges for the courses – and all the teachings are given by donation.
The Yoga Institute, Santacruz (East), Mumbai, India was founded in 1918 by Shri Yogendraji. The Institute offers a range of courses, workshops, and camps. A good course to start with would be the 21 Days to Better Living, which gives a good overview to the yoga practice and lifestyle. The therapeutic health camps are of particular interest and to overcome specific ailments such as: heart and respiratory problems, hypertension, diabetes, orthopedic conditions, and stress related issues. There are also special programs for children and pregnant women.
Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute – Mysore
The Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute teaches one of the most intense and physically demanding styles of hatha yoga. Known in the West as Ashtanga Yoga, it has become a famous school which many celebrities have attended. A primary component of the practice is vinyasa, which means breathing and movement, which at times can be quite vigorous to promote internal cleansing.
To attend the school, a minimum stay of one month in Mysore is required, and the online application must be submitted from 2 to 4 months prior to arrival.
Osho Meditation Retreat
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or “Osho” as he was later called, was one of India’s most controversial gurus. He disdained organized religion and other institutions such as marriage. He gained notoriety for his fleet of Rolls Royces and his advocacy of free and open expression of sex. He gained a large international following, and is still influential through his hundreds of books and CDs and other publications.
At the center, you can learn Osho Active Meditation, or other programs such as Osho Multiversity Program, The Daily Meditation Program, and Work as Meditation Program. The prices can be high, but the facilities are first class and include: a swimming pool, sauna, “Zen” tennis courts, and various guest houses. If you choose not to stay at the ashram, you can get a meditation pass that includes all-day access to the center and the five-hectare Osho Teerth gardens behind the commune.
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI)
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI) is the heart and soul of Iyengar Yoga, which was established in 1975 by B.K.S. Iyengar. Emphasis is given to precision and alignment in all postures, and the use of props, such as wooden gadgets, belts, ropes. Classes are generally booked a year or two in advance. The center is for serious students, and it is expected that applicants have practiced Iyengar Yoga for at least 8 years, and must have the application endorsed by their Iyengar Yoga teacher. Note: Students will have to make their own arrangements for lodging and boarding in Pune.
Parmarth Niketan is a spiritual haven on the holy banks of the Ganges river. It is the largest ashram in Rishikesh, and provides thousands of pilgrims with clean, sacred atmosphere as well as abundant, beautiful gardens. The daily activities at Parmarth Niketan include morning universal prayers, daily yoga and meditation classes, daily satsang and lecture programs, kirtan, as well as Nature Cure and Ayurvedic treatment and training. They are famous for their Ganga aarti at sunset, which is singing and devotional chanting on the banks of the Ganga. There are about 1,000 residential rooms that retain the simplicity of ashram living and yet are equipped with the necessary modern amenities. Programs run year-round.
Phool Chatti Ashram
This ashram is well know for its 7-Day Yoga and Meditation Retreats, which provide an excellent, comprehensive introduction to the yogic path and ashram life. Elements of the course include Yoga Asana (Exercise), Meditation, Pranayama (Breathing Practice), Sacred Chant, Lectures and Silence. The daily schedule for the retreat runs from the 5:30am wake up bell to 9:00 pm, and further details of daily Yogic activities and course dates are listed online. The ashram is situated away from the hustle and bustle of the main city and many rooms have a river view.
Yoga Niketan Ashram
Classes here are taught in a traditional Indian teaching style. To stay at the ashram you need to commit to 15 days or more, and attendance at the morning and evening yoga and meditation classes is compulsory. Those not staying at the ashram are welcome to attend classes and use the library.
Amritapuri Ashram – Amma’s Ashram in India
Built up on the very property where Amma was born, Amritapuri is now the headquarters of Amma’s worldwide mission and the spiritual home for Amma’s disciples and devotees. All the residents have dedicated their lives for realizing God and serving the world. Amma’s children from across the globe gather to have Amma’s darshan. She listens to their worries, consoles, encourages, and provides new direction to their lives. Everyone is welcome to come and stay at the ashram at any time, and take part in the daily activities. Please bear in mind that Amma travels frequently and her schedule sometimes changes on short notice. International visitors are requested to register in advance.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam
The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram is set in 12 acres of tropical splendor in the foothills of Kerala’s Western Ghats. The natural beauty of Neyyar Dam, the forested surroundings, the cool green coconut tree groves and colorful flower-filled views, all offer an ideal atmosphere for the practice of yoga and meditation. Three Ashrams in India are part of The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, a non-profit organization named after Swami Sivananda, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Many different courses and trainings are offered, including the ideal 2-week “Yoga Vacation.”
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
Sivananda Kutir, Uttarkashi
Sivananda Kutir, nestled among the Himalayan Mountains, welcomes guests from April to November each year. It is located in the village of Netala, north of Uttar Kashi. Prior booking is essential as all programs and courses are limited to a maximum of 30 students. Three Ashrams in India are part of The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, a non-profit organization named after Swami Sivananda, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Many different courses and trainings are offered, including the ideal 2-week “Yoga Vacation”
- Lonely Planet, India, 11th Edition, by Sarina Singh et. al.
- Ashram websites