8 June 2007

Suddhananda Ashram

One of the prettiest Ashrams at Tiruvannamalai is the Suddhananda Ashram on the Northside of the Hill near Adi Annamalai. This Ashram is also known as 'Self-Knowledge Village'. Swami Suddhananda regularly visits his Arunachala Ashram to conducts camps and seminars on Vedanta. Such classes also take him around the world. Most of his time in India is spent between Arunachala and Chennai. When a Camp or Retreat is not being conducted at this Ashram, pilgrims are allowed to stay. Several spiritual groups (some from overseas) do in fact use this Ashram as their venue when visiting Arunachala. Such matters need to be arranged well in advance.

The Ashram is beautifully maintained and located at the right side of the girivalam path. However if your wish is to regularly visit other Ashrams and the Big Temple, the Suddhananda Ashram is probably inconveniently located for such purposes. This Ashram is located about 1/2 km after Adi Annamalai Village which would be about 6 kms west of Ramana Ashram and 6 kms east of the Big Temple and downtown Tiruvannamalai. However once people find themselves at this peaceful oasis, not many want to move about. An excellent spot for a quiet Retreat.

The below photograph is of the auditorium at the Ashram. It is available for quiet sitting, lectures and talks. A very calm spot.

The next photograph is of inside the auditorium. Even in summer with its open construction and cool marble floors, the room is a cool spot.

The ceiling of the inside of the auditorium is elegant and also very functional. The open grills at the top of the roof are in the tradition of Tamil architecture and building styles as the open grills allow hot air, which rises, to escape to the outside.

The auditorium has a beautiful collection of wooden murals, carvings, stonework and also brass and metal idols. The below depicts Krishna and Arjuna going to war in the Bhagavad Gita; which is a scriptural work that Swami Suddhananda frequently lectures upon.

The below is the dining hall. As is the case with the auditorium, the style is open plan with an elegant roof, stone pillars and in this case a granite floor. I've eaten at the Ashram only once, but it was delicious. I've been told that in the case of Retreats and large groups, different sorts of menu can be supplied. Otherwise the usual menu is taken from both South and North Indian cooking.

The below is of a couple of individual accommodation units with Arunachala in the background. The variety of accommodation units, ranges from single cottages to dormitory facilities. The maximum amount of guests that can be accommodated at the Ashram at any one time is around 70 people.

All around the grounds are nice touches, like this lily and lotus pond in front of some accommodation cottages. A very pretty Ashram.

If you would like to find out more about accommodation at this Ashram,individuals or groups can get in touch direct with Suddhananda Ashram to discuss their own arrangements. The Ashram contact information is:


Phone Number:

1 comment:

Divya said...

Thanks for the pics, the Ashram looks very peaceful and clean! I had a friend who stayed many months there, helping with editing the publications, and it is nice to finally see where she was staying.