Secret Ashrams In the Himalayas
Since western seekers first discovered them, many people go in search of secret ashrams in the Himalayas. The term “ashram” refers to a spiritual retreat or hermitage. Here individuals, seekers or practitioners, can live a simple and disciplined life dedicated to spiritual practice, meditation, and self-realisation.
There are many ashrams in the Himalayas. Some of these ashrams are well-known and easily accessible, while others are more secluded and secretive.
The Himalayas, with their majestic mountains, serene landscapes, and spiritual atmosphere, have attracted sages, yogis, and seekers for centuries. Many ashrams created by sages in the rangeshave become renowned centres of spiritual learning and practice. Many of these ashrams attract visitors from around the world.
Why do Ashrams in the Himalayas choose to remain secret?
There are many stories of “secret” ashrams in the Himalayas. Some of these are fables or seemingly mythical narratives. However there are ashrams that remain private or have limited public access, but not all are intentionally secretive.
Some ashrams in the Himalayas maintain a more secluded or reclusive ambiance to allow seekers to focus on their inner journey without distractions. Others may have limited accommodation or facilities, making it necessary to limit visitors. Some ashrams are focused on specific practices and will only allow like minded individuals to enter their sacred space. And some ashrams may focus on very high levels of practice so may not be suitable for everybody.
Focus on Your Journey & You Will Gain Access to the Ashram that can Support You
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This is a common says in Yoga Circles. Don’t focus on getting into the secret ashrams. Rather focus on your own development. When you are ready you will gain entry into the appropriate ashram
For People with a Yearning to Visit the Himalayan Ashrams
If you are interested in visiting ashrams in the Himalayas then you need to plan your journey accordingly. Our IYogaa Himalayan Retreat takes you on a journey to visit some of the Himalayan Ashrams and meet some of the cave dwelling Yogis. This deep and profound retreat gives you insight in the way of life of the Himalayan Yogis.
Well-known ashrams in the Himalaya’s
1. Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Parmarth Niketan literally means “An Abode Dedicated to the Welfare of All.”
This ashram is a spiritual haven, lying on the banks of the Ganges and surrounded by the Himalayas. It is the largest ashram in Rishikesh, providing its thousands of pilgrims with a clean, pure and sacred atmosphere. Parmarth Niketan is open to all, with no discrimination of race, gender, nationality, religion, caste or creed.
The head of the ashram is H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. His motto is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” He is dedicated to the social welfare. He leads, directs and inspires numerous, wide-scale service initiatives.
Parmarth Niketan is open to all, with no discrimination on the basis of race, gender, nationality, religion, caste or creed.
2. Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Swami Veda Bharati established Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in 2002. Sadhaka means “spiritual seeker” and Grama means “village” in Sanskrit. Sadhaka Grama is “A village of spiritual seekers devoted to the teachings of Swami Rama of the Himalayas.” Sadhakas from all spiritual traditions and from all walks of life are welcome at SRSG for learning yoga meditation.
The Himalayan Mountains have been the home of sages for millennia. These great sages have lived and passed on knowledge of the yogic teachings to their disciples. The disciples became masters and passed on the teachings. This tradition exists since the Vedic period. This ashram is dedicated to Yoga of the Himalayas interpreted by Swami Rama.
3. Kainchi Dham, near Nainital, Uttarakhand
Kainchi Dham is a beautiful secluded mountain ashram located in the Kumaon Hills in Uttarakand. This ashram is devoted to the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba who was an Indian saint of the Himalayan Tradition.
Neem Karoli Baba’s teachings were simple and universal. He often said, “Sub Ek” — All is One. His message was to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God, and tell the truth.” He “taught” in a highly personalised, non-traditional way that reflected the deep devotion of the bhakti path of the heart. Neem Karoli Baba was known as “Miracle Baba”. He manifested siddhis or supernormal powers. He was seen in two places at the same time and could put devotees into samadhi with a simple touch or gaze.
4. Dhamma Sikhara Vipassana International Academy, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Dhamma Sikhara, meaning “Peak of Dhamma”, is a serene location ideal for meditation. The site consists of three acres of magnificent deodar cedar forest, about 2000 meters high in the Dhauladar range of the Himalayas of Northern India.
This ashram is ashram teaches Vipassana meditation as taught by S N Goenka. Mr. Goenka was born and raised in Myanmar (Burma). In came into contact with Sayagyi U Ba Khin and learned the technique of Vipassana from him. After receiving training from his teacher for 14 years, Mr. Goenka settled in India and began teaching Vipassana in 1969.
5. Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram is located in Tapovan, Rishikesh – the hub for Akhanda Yoga Institute and your home for the authentic study and practice of Yoga in India. Founded by Yogrishi Vishvketu.
His message is, “Believe in yourself and walk proudly on your own path.”
Yogrishi Vishvketu grew up in the historically significant Kanvashram Gurukul in India. He spent many years immersed in the Himalayan Yogic tradition. In addition to receiving wisdom from his gurus, he also holds a PhD in Yoga. He teaches a complete and balanced approach to yoga practice. He uses simple yet potent, accessible and artistic sequences.
6. Sadhana Mandir Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Swami Rama founded Sadhana Mandir Trust in 1966 on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh, India. It is an international retreat centre for sincere aspirants to deeply practice meditation. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Sadhana Mandir is located on the banks of river Ganges. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and a lotus pond, this ashram offers a quiet and serene atmosphere which is ideal for sadhana.
“You have the capacity and strength to expand your conscious mind with the help of a method that is called ‘interior research,’ the internal journey. . . . This instruction is leading you on the path called ‘the path of the keyless door.’ . . . To open the door and start your inner journey you need to learn several points and to apply them systematically.” Swami Rama
At this ashram you receive instructions to begin your interior research.
7. Tushita Meditation Centre, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Tushita is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. It is located in Northern India, in the forested hills above the town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala. This is the seat in exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tushita provides a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities and backgrounds to learn about and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha.
Some Rules to Know Before Visiting Ashrams
Before visiting any ashram in the Himalayas, it is advisable to check their specific requirements for accommodation, participation in programs, and any guidelines they may have for visitors. Respecting the ashram’s rules and traditions is crucial to maintaining the sanctity of these spiritual retreats.