Ashram Travel! In recent years, travel seems to have become a competition. With the emergence of the lusty tribe called travel bloggers of which I am also a part, there seems to be a constant pressure of visiting more countries, ticking off bucket lists and taking surreally beautiful photos. Travel seems to have become more stylish, commercialized, soulless, and hectic. It reminds me of the sharply contrasting travel of my childhood days, when we used to have lots of fun, packing was like a task, and photographs showed the real picture of happy people in sepia-tinted landscapes. Hardly anybody I knew ever styled themselves for travel photographs and poses were awkward, though real. One of my social media friends and a much respected fellow traveler recently voiced a similar emotion and coming from him, it felt like a real concern. Girish is what can be called a slow traveler, who thrives on experiences and one can always find him somewhere remote, amidst nature and unknown people. However, not once does he look out of place and his feeling of comfortable traveling inspired me to search for options that offer traveling for the soul. Needless to say, the best solution came from Girish himself, and he introduced me to the concept of Ashram travel. Below are edited excerpts of Girish’s advice on Ashram travel. This one is not for social media stars, but for those seeking to travel for their souls.
“The River Siruvani flows by the Ashram and one can sit by the river, listening to the chirping of the birds.”
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How I discovered the concept of Ashram Travel
In my quest, looking for an Ashram where I could stay for a few days I came across the Sat – Darshan Ashram in Pallakad District of Kerala. Sat Darshan for me was a discovery. It is not a conventional Ashram with any particular dogma or principles, rather more like a commune and not rigid at all. Hence I enjoyed my stay more and eventually stayed there for a month. The ashram is surrounded by lush greenery and there are small hills where one can walk around. The River Siruvani flows by the Ashram and one can sit by the river, listening to the chirping of the birds. It is a bird watcher’s paradise. The place is being made into a micro forest, so in the evening after sunset, it is lit up with hundreds of fireflies which is quite a sight to behold.
“In the evening after sunset, it is lit up with hundreds of fireflies which is quite a sight to behold.”
Sat Darshan: an ideal place for Ashram Travel and creative minds
Sat Darshan is also a place for writers, artists, and creative people, who can come and spend time in solitude and hone their skills. The place is looked after by Ananda, a young man who set up the Ashram in 2006 with the aim of establishing a Meditation and Yoga Retreat. There are a Meditation Centre, library and a small hall to screen movies. The rooms where the guests are accommodated are clean and tidy with attached bathrooms. There are morning and evening meditation sessions at 6.30 am and 7.00 pm respectively for 30 minutes which are obligatory for the guests. After breakfast, there is Seva (Voluntary Work) for about an hour which the guests are supposed to do. Simple but delicious South Indian vegetarian meals are served. It’s a No Smoking Zone. Alcohol and Non –Vegetarian food is not allowed. On weekends there are events like day treks, therapies, and other workshops from time to time.
“Sat Darshan for me was a discovery. It is not conventional Ashram with any particular dogma or principles, rather more like a commune and not rigid at all.”
Sat Darshan travel tips for experiencing ashram travel
Where is Sat Darshan Ashram
Sat Darshan Ashram is closer to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu than Pallakad. It is 45 kms from Coimbatore.
How to Reach Sat Darshan
By public transport – From the Gandhipuram Bus Station in Coimbatore, take a local Bus to Annaikatti (the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala). Annaikatti is the last stop. Walk for a few yards to cross the border and take another bus going to Agali or Kottathara. Get off at the Chandakadda Bus Stop. From here Sat Darshan Ashram is about 2.5 km. Alternately, one can take an autorickshaw to the Ashram.
By taxi – Alternatively, you can hire a car from Coimbatore directly to Sat Darshan Ashram.
Sat Darshan Essential Information
Contact Person: Mr. Ananda
Phone Number : +91 9842231582 and +91 94896 63755 (Whatsapp )
Contribution: On weekdays from Monday to Friday the daily contribution for the stay is Rs. 350/- for Indians and Rs. 450/- for foreigners PER DAY ( Inclusive of All Meals ). Since there are special events on weekends, the contribution varies, depending on the event.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE