26 August 2006

Ananda Niketan

Yesterday took an auto rickshaw out of Tiruvannamalai on highway NH 66 west for about 7 kms and came to a very nice ashram called Ananda Niketan which is owned and managed by a husband and wife team Gopi and Chitra. Ananda Niketan takes its name from two Sanksrit words: ananda, meaning bliss and niketan, meaning abode.

So, this blissful ashram is located in the countryside with the nearest village being Periyapaliyapathu. The couple bought the land in 1998 and have since added small cottages bit by bit until they now have 10 small units and a dormitory, which in total is able to accommodate 30 people.

The 4 acre facility is very popular for Retreats as it provides an idyllic, peaceful setting whilst being only about 5 kms from the base of Arunachala. However it is also a perfect location for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tiruvannamalai and yet be close to Arunachala.

Gopi and Chitra's guru is John de Ruiter (who they originally met at Arunachala) and they have just returned from Canada after a short visit with him. The couple, both of whom used to be successful professionals in Chennai before their move to Tiruvannamalai, believe Ananda Niketan Ashram is their vocation to provide a 'home for everyone that comes'. Gopi told me that his guests often remark that staying at Ananda Niketan is just like being at home.

While visiting, I took a walk about and there is nice hillock close by with a Murugan Temple on top; so for just a few minutes legwork one can get a sublime view of the countryside.


Divyakka said...

I loved reading about this wonderful retreat by Tiru. It sounds like such a lovely place to renew one's energy and peace. Great work, Gopi and Chitra!

Arunachala Living said...

It is a nice, peaceful place and a long distance away from beeping horns and crowds of people doing giripradakshina around the Mountain! So perfect for dedicated quiet time!

Anonymous said...

I had recently visited the Ananda Niketan Ashrama. He had asked me to update his contact info on the site - so that others could benefit from the same.
Mr. Gopi's email id - gopi.chitra@yahoo.com.
and his mobile number - +91-9444862276
Kindly update the same on your web-site.
Anand Kolwalkar

RN Murthy said...

I visited Ananda Niketan recently during the Kartika Deepam weekend, was lucky to get a room for 4 of us at short notice due to Jacqueline's help, who stays next door at Singing Heart ashram.
I was mesmerized right from the time I alighted from my friend Murali's Qualis....saw a bunch of butterflies hovering around 3-4 plants - a show of divinity/attraction in front of Swamiji's house, whom I got to know later and spent quite a few hours with him the same night, although heard that he doesn't talk/mingle freely with anyone in his dinacharya routine and does every clean ship of the house himself ... He’s a towering personality with a frank/free flowing/loving attitude, whose one single direct message to me was to find the authentic one on one prayer to the existential Self and nurture that relationship in a unique and comfortable way and follow that and no one else. ..Bring that sacredness from inner to outer and manifest the same....
I owe Gopi's brother Krishna a lot for his good company and showing us the meditation hall in the pristine surroundings... with beautiful artwork.. especially on Ramana and John De Ruiter... a beauty par excellence... and hope to catch up with him sometime in Bengaluru. Recommend anyone to have a nice cool comfortable stay at Ananda Niketan….. and enjoy homely good food and hospitality.
Mr. Krishna's email id is goodfeelingz@hotmail.com and his mobile number - +91-9884673205. Kindly update the same on your web-site.
RN Murthy