Rishikesh, along with Mysore
, is one of the most popular destinations for yoga in India. There are numerous ashrams, and numerous styles of yoga and meditation, to choose from. Hence, it's important to investigate which best meets your needs. Find out about 10 of the top Rishikesh ashrams what they offer in this article.
Parmarth Niketen, on the banks of the holy Ganges river in Rishikesh, is one of the top yoga centers in India
and the biggest ashram in the area. It has 1,000 rooms on its sprawling eight acre campus, with various rates (on a "donation" basis from 300 rupees per person, per day) depending on the standard of accommodations and view. Two yoga classes and three meals daily are included in the price. The ashram runs an extensive program of beginner yoga, Vedic heritage and spirituality, and teacher training courses. Outsider visitors are welcome to attend daily classes by giving a donation. The ashram's evening Ganga aarti
Another of India's top yoga centers, Sivananda Ashram was founded by Swami Sivananda and is run by the Divine Life Society. Teachings are based around the five points of yoga -- postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation, and diet. Free yoga and meditation classes are offered daily. However, accommodations (which are also provided free of charge, along with food) are only available to serious spiritual seekers who need to apply at least a month in advance. The ashram is located 3 kilometers from Rishikesh, on the way to Badrinath.
Omkarananda Ganga Sadan
Omkarananda Ganga Sadan, the guesthouse of the Omkarananda Ashram Himalayas, is home to the Patanjala Yoga Kendra yoga center. Iyengar yoga classes are the specialty there. The center is located at the Muni-ki-Reti area of Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges river. It has its own ghat, and a daily aarti is performed. Daily (except Sundays) yoga classes are open to everyone but reservations need to be made months in advance for the intensive yoga courses. Lectures on the Bhagavad Gita are also offered. Accommodations are reasonably priced and clean, and many rooms have river views.
4. Sadhana Mandir and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram
Sadhana Mandir was founded in 1966 by Swami Rama, author of Living with the Himalayan Masters, and many other renowned spiritual books. Meditation, in the Himalayan Tradition, is the focus of the teachings at this ashram. It has a serene garden setting on the banks of the Ganges river, but away from the hustle and bustle of Rishikesh. Various residential programs are offered and require reservations at least two weeks in advance.
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama was founded by Swami Veda Bharati, a disciple of Swami Rama. In addition to offering meditation instruction in the Himalayan Tradition, the ashram is a highly regarded center for scientific research into yogic meditation. Accommodations, limited to 100 guests at a time, are provided in very comfortable self contained bungalows. There's a daily schedule of activities, as well as personalized instruction and individualized spiritual retreats. Accommodation rates vary according to nationality, and include meals and daily classes.
Sanskriti Yogpeeth is relatively new and modern -- it was founded in 2010 -- and is located in the happening Swarg Ashram area. Rather than being a typical ashram, it markets itself as a "yoga hotel". There are 21 rooms with attached bathrooms, hot water, and even room service! Expect to pay $400 per person for one week, single occupancy, with all meals provided. On offer are daily Hatha yoga classes (morning and evening), seven or 15 day yoga retreats, Indian dance and classical music, philosophy of Yoga, and Ayurvedic massage.
Yoga Niketan was foundecd by Swami Yogeshwaranand Paramahans. The teachings of this ashram, which is located in the Muni-Ki-Reti area of Rishikesh, are based solely on eight fold path as per the Patanjali yoga shastra. The ashram requires a minimum stay of 15 days for any of its courses. However, it also has a commercially run guesthouse that's available for shorter stays, and guests can attend daily classes at the ashram. Room rates start from 500 rupees a day, per person, for Indians and 900 rupees a day for foreigners.
Swami Dayananda Ashram
This ashram was established during the 1960s by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, an internationally recognized teacher of Vedanta and scholar of Sanskrit. It's located in picturesque surroundings, around 10 minutes walk from the Ram Jhula area. Regular residential courses are conduced there, with focus on Bhagavad Gita and the ten principal Upanishads. Vedic chanting is also taught during the courses. In addition, visiting teachers conduct Iyengar yoga retreats (suitable for beginners and intermediate students) at the ashram. The ashram has more than 150 rooms with attached bathrooms. However, accommodations are provided for course students only. The ashram doesn't run a guesthouse.
Meaning "Land of Flowers", Phool Chatti ashram was founded in the late 1800s (yes, it's more than 120 years old) and is located a peaceful 5 kilometers upriver from Laxman Jhula. The ashram is renowned for its frequent seven day yoga and meditation program. The teachings are different from many others as they focus on the full spectrum of the yogic path and ashram life, not just asanas (postures). Students will get to experience meditation, breathing (pranayama), cleansing, chanting, mauna (silence), pooja (worship), kirtan (sacred singing), and other important aspects of the yogic path. There are opportunities for meditative walks amongst nature as well.
Anand Prakash Ashram
Anand Prakash Ashram was founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Chetana Panwar (a Canadian woman) and Yogirishi Vishvketu (who's studied Hatha and Raja yoga, and the Vedic healing arts, in northern India since childhood). They offer their own style of yoga called Akhanda Yoga, which has holistic, non-sectarian teachings. Emphasis is on balanced sequencing of asana, pranayama, relaxation, mantra and meditation, as well as discussions and readings on the yogic lifestyle and yoga philosophy. Stays at the ashram including yoga, accommodations, and meals are from 700 rupees ($15) per person, per night. There are 18 rooms, and a minimum three nights stay is required. Yoga classes for non-residents are 150 rupees for afternoon classes and 200 rupees for morning classes. The ashram also runs 200 hour and 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training programs. It's located in the Tapovan area.
Osho GangaDham Ashram
The Osho GangaDham ashram is situated on the Ganges river at Brahampuri, around 10 minutes drive from the Laxman Jhula area on Badrinath Road. Various types of Osho Active Meditation practices are taught at the ashram, and meditation camps are offered throughout the year. Alternatively, you can simply listen to discourses, or do nothing but relax there.