The difference between monasteries and ashrams is that, along with monks who live and preach, an ashram is open and accessible to everyone regardless of their beliefs or faith. The Indian culture has inculcated spirituality as an essential part of day to day life and temples or even ashrams is a place where we Indians go to find the spiritual peace and development.
These are the Top 6 Ashrams in India where you can live for free.
The experience of living in an ashram might not be easy because it is a big change of routine. It is a basic setting of waking up to the sunrise, routine yoga with meditation and a strict schedule for food without any usual distractions. This does sound very rejuvenating but many people might not survive it in the long run. So ashrams across India welcome people from everywhere for their wished durations of time to escape from the busy realities and lead life in a simple manner. Here are some of the experiences of people who tried living in an ashram.
1. Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad – Karl Rock
This video is a perfect composition of how spending time at the ashram will be. Sabarmati ashram as he explains, is where Mahatma Gandhi lived for years. It is also where he started his Dandi march (salt march). This place still holds beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi and stands as an instrumentation of the freedom struggle of India. The ashram houses a school for children, teaches farming and consists of rooms full of historic importance. A typical day at this ashram starts with simple, authentic food and ends with comfortable sleep in their sharing bedrooms. What about the during? Just mindful peace and relaxation.
Here is a vlog by Karl Rock in the time he visited Sabarmati ashram. You can see the ashram in its full swing.
2. Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore – Mystics of India
This particular video captures experiences from people all across the world about their journey at the ashram. First time visitors, repeated visitors and even people staying there for months together have shared their experience. They talk about how the Isha ashram has turned their life up and down, giving them hope through spirituality. You don’t have to believe in anything to live in an ashram, all you need is the will to accept change.
Here is the video from Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore, with people sharing their story.
3. Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh – Gabriel Traveler
Gabriel in his video has shared his experience of living in one of the best ashrams in Rishikesh. His stay was during 2007 and 2010 and it was a 10 days yoga and meditation retreat during the month of December – January. He explains the experience to be very rejuvenating with early morning meditation session followed by yoga sessions. The entire day is spent in the various offerings of the ashram like spiritual teachings and other activities. The ashram works on a donation basis and anybody is welcome to donate or if they wish not to, they can simply enjoy the sessions offered.
You can find more information about his experience in the video below.
4. Sivananda Ashram, Kerala – That Vegan Couple
The video is about a couple in search of a change of environment and found their way to India. They pin point every detail of a day at the ashram, the various programs conducted, the daily chanting, routine meditation and scheduled sleep and wake up times. They describe it as a life changing experience and the ashram introduced them to the glorious Indian culture. From what was supposed to be a 2 week stay ended up being a 3 months vacation.
Here is the video from their channel where they tell their story and the journey of their ashram life.
5. Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, Rishikesh – AR-point99
The video is rather a documentary than a vlog. Nobody is verbally sharing their experience here, but you get a complete glimpse into the ashram life. This video covers every activity that happens inside the ashram from morning until its bed time. You can see people involved in meditation, chanting, volunteering in a library and even practicing yoga. Watch the video below to get a full inside look of ashram life.
6. Puttaparthi Ashram, Bangalore – Sonya with Love
The Puttaparthi ashram is located 4 hours away from Bangalore, India. Sonya, on her channel has recorded various activities that happen within the ashram premises. The accommodation is 200 rupees per night for a private bedroom, and every meal costs not less than 10 rupees. The ashram also houses various mandirs, canteens, shopping center and place for other activities. In the vlog, she has described a guide which gives instructions from booking a room to dress codes for each gender.
Below is the vlog from her channel, where she has documented her journey of ashram life.
7. Yoga Nikitan Ashram, Rishikesh – Go Brian Go
Brian, spent 5 days in the Yoga Nikitan ashram in Rishikesh, which is also the Yoga capital of India. His vlog is very raw that documents every detail of the ashram life. From his accommodation, food, meditation and yoga sessions to even Jala Neti session, he has documented everything that perfectly describes a relaxed day at the ashram. Below is the video from his channel, where he showcases his journey during life at ashram.
8. Anang Prakash Ashram, Rishikesh – Raw Realms
The purpose of experiencing the ashram life is not only for a change of environment but also for exploring ourselves through different people. The video in this channel about the ashram life at Rishikesh is a perfect combination of the routine rituals and an exploratory journey of learning more about the place altogether. You can see the activities conducted at the ashram as well as exploring villages and the mountains to find yourself. Here is the video to give you a more visual insight of the beautiful journey.
Did these experiences make you want to try it too? Or have you experienced the ashram life already? Whatever it is, we are open to opinions and please let us know in the comment section below.
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