Rishikesh comes under the category of India’s most sacred places. The city has a number of temples and other such religious centers which have very intriguing stories behind them. Apart from its religious importance, many people visit Rishikesh for adventure activities like cliff jumping, rock climbing, bungee jumping, camping and so on. This city is also one of the best places to visit for yoga and meditation and commands a worldwide audience. You have a plethora of ashrams to choose from. Not only do you get a wide range in the choice of ashrams but also you can choose from the kind of yoga or meditation you prefer. It is quite difficult to find the right fit for yourself once you land in this mesmerizing city, so this article is to help you choose one of your most suited options.
1. Anand Prakash Ashram
The Anand Prakash Ashram was founded by Chetana Panwar and Yogrishi Vishvketu in 2007. The major attraction of this ashram is the ingenious practice of Akhanda yoga. Apart from that, the ashram offers other different types of yoga and meditations like Kirtan, Asana, Vedic Karma, Pranayam and so on. The environment of the ashram will make you push yourself to dive deeper into the world of meditation. Lodging facility is also available here but one must stay at the ashram for a minimum of 3 days.
2. Parmarth Niketen
Located on the banks of the sacred River, the Ganges, the Parmarth Niketen ashram is one of Rishikesh’s oldest ashrams. It is also one of the city’s largest ashrams, stretching over 8 acres of land. This ashram was founded by Pujya Swami Shukdevanandji. The ashram has about 1000 rooms with different activities going on simultaneously. Though this is an old ashram, they have made it a point to keep it updated with the latest technologies that might be needed. The ashram offers a lot to the devotees and the pilgrims who come to Rishikesh. An array of yoga classes is held and most of them comprise of Surya Namaskar, Vedic chanting, Asana, Pranayam, Kirtan and other such things. If you want to become a teacher in this field you can take up courses in this ashram. Both short and long term courses are available.
3. Sivananda Ashram
Sivananda ashram is named after a very famous yoga guru Swami Sivananda. Swami Vishnudevananda had founded the ashram. Including this Ashram at Rishikesh, he has opened 60 more such ashrams throughout the world. This ashram also has a branch in Canada, South America, North America, East Asia, Israel, and Europe. The teachings here are centered on the founding principles of yoga: the diet, the postures, relaxation, meditation and breathing. An evening aarti is also an integral part of the ashram routine. The ashram offers accommodations but only to the people who are very serious about yoga and meditation. In fact, one has to apply for a room from one month before.
4. Omkarananda Ganga Sandan
Omkarananda Ganga Ashram was founded long back in the year of 1967. The ashram is run by a handful of sages. It is also located on the banks of the sacred Ganga river. The most special feature of this ashram is the Iyengar yoga class. A daily arti is also a part of the curriculum here. Yoga classes for everyone are held here six days a week, however, if one wants to take an extensive course, they have to enroll one month prior. Clean and affordable accommodation is also offered in the Omkarananda ashram.
5. Phool Chatti Ashram
Another ashram located on the banks of river Ganges, the Phool Chatti Ashram’s age is about 120 years. The ashram works under the guidance of the yoga master Swami Dev Swarup Nanda. Phool means flowers and Chatti stands for land, which make it the “land of flowers”. With a number of courses to opt for, phool chatti might just be the place for you. Time is also not an issue because they offer for a week as well for a year and everything in between. Strict schedule has to be maintained by everyone who is a part of the ashram, even if for a short period of time. Some of the daily practices held in the ashram are meditation, spiritual discussion, temple prayer, chanting, asana, pranayama, walking and so on.
6. Patanjali International Yoga Foundation
The Patanjali international yoga foundation is one of the most popular ashrams of Rishikesh today. The fact that Baba Ramdev is a co-founder of the ashram adds to the trust factor of the people. It is no surprise that his name has now become almost synonymous to yoga and health care. This foundation lays emphasis on mental, physical and spiritual health of all the people who become a part of it. They conduct a number of activities and try to spread awareness about various things like Ayurveda, Holistic living, Vedic Wisdom, and Ancient Yoga. With a wide range of courses to choose from, people usually find it convenient to come here because they get almost everything under the same roof.
7. Swami Dayananda Ashram
Established in 1960, Swami Dayananda ashram also stands peacefully on the banks of that sacred river. It was founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati who was quite popular in the fields of Sanskrit and Vedanta. Lectures on the sacred Bhagavad Gita and ten Upanishads are a part of the daily curriculum. Apart from these, there is vedic chanting and Iyengar style of yoga. The ashram is located on a beautiful backdrop and that adds to the peace factor of it. Accommodations are given only for the students.
Many people still do not know the powers of yoga and meditation and if you are one of them, I would highly recommend you to join one of these ashrams for a start for you do not know what you might be missing in your life. A trip to Rishikesh is all one needs to attain some sort of calmness and get a break from this hectic city life.