Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai
Welcome to the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, founded in 2002 and nestled within the beautiful forest lands of south India, with stunning views of the impressive Western Ghat mountain range and only one hour from the holy temple city of Madurai. Meenakshi Amman is the name of the Divine Mother who is the presiding deity of the world-heritage temple in Madurai.
The Ashram provides a sublime setting for the practice of yoga and meditation, in an environment that is both serene and harmonious, perfectly aligned with Mother Nature. The Ashram Temple, dedicated to the Goddess Kali, is surrounded by jasmine flowers used specifically for the offerings. The grounds of the Ashram have been designed in accordance with vastu, the ancient Indian science of architecture and design.
Brilliantly-coloured bougainvillea lines the pathways. Pathways and benches are made of local stone and the intersections are criss-crossed with living bamboo arches and domes. Birds of many varieties are encouraged to make their homes in the Ashram. Relax under holy neem and peepul trees providing both medicine and shade. Listen to the calls of the peacocks, and watch the cows graze. Here is a place of peace and tranquillity, an ideal location to unwind. Come to the heart of nature and to the heart of India, and learn the eternal wisdom of yoga and meditation in its land of origin. Our world-renowned yoga Teachers’ Training Course (TTC) and Yoga Vacation programmes are conducted all year-round. We offer fasting courses, Kids’ Camp and much more. Book now and discover the joy of renewed health, vitality, happiness and peace of mind.
Our accommodation is simple and functional. There are separate dormitories for men and women. We also have spacious twin-share and single rooms. All accommodation areas have shelving and hanging space. For each guest, a bed with a mattress and supports for mosquito net, plus 2 bed sheets, a pillow with cover and a mosquito net are provided.
- Dormitories: Separate for men and women and built as double-occupancy cubicles. Shared bathroom facilities are provided with cold water.
- Twin-Share and Single Rooms: Twin-share and single rooms have attached bathrooms with hot water.
Please Note: couples are not allowed to share twin rooms during the courses.
Check-in / Check-out: Check-in time 2pm, check-out time 11am.
All guests check in and out at Reception upon arrival and departure. If you are leaving outside office hours (8am to 8pm), please check-out the previous day. All bedding is to be returned before departure.
Meals: We serve delicious South Indian-style vegetarian cuisine twice a day; brunch at 10am and supper at 6pm. Fresh fruit, fruit juices and snacks are available for purchase in our Health Hut in season.
Drinking Water: Filtered water and ayurvedic herbal water are freely available for drinking. Our ground water is rich in minerals and because we are surrounded by forest we have an excellent supply. We are self-sufficient in water.
Vaccinations: Check with your local health authority for advice regarding vaccinations for visiting India.
What to Bring: Sandals, toiletries, writing materials, mosquito repellent, meditation shawl for cool evenings, yoga asana mat, towel, water bottle and torch. Comfortable casual and asana class clothes in cotton are recommended. The Ashram dress code requires that knees, waist, chest and legs are covered at all times. You may require warmer clothes in the evening during December and January when temperatures can be cooler. Most items for your stay are available for purchase from the Ashram boutique.
Passport & Visa requirements: A visa is required from most countries to visit India. Foreign Nationals are required to bring their original passport with them.
Karma Yoga: The Ashram is a charitable, non-profit organisation supported by dedicated volunteer staff. One hour a day is allocated to karma yoga or selfless service when we ask the guests to help out in the Ashram. It is a lot of fun and you soon feel part of the Ashram community.
Ashram Rules and Guidelines: To maintain the spiritual atmosphere we ask all Ashram guests to comply with the Ashram rules. The Ashram reserves the right of admission and guests/students may be asked to leave if their behaviour infringes the Ashram rules and teachings. Click here for Ashram Rules & Guidelines.
Please Note: The spoken and teaching language of the Ashram is English. The daily schedule times and activities may vary according to need.
The facilities below are available at specific times only (please check with the office). All facilities are closed during classes, satsang and after 8pm.
Boutique: The boutique stocks many items including books, yoga mats, stationery, postcards, cds, shawls, yoga and casual Indian style clothing, and simple snack foods as well as items needed for a stay at the Ashram.
Health Hut: Delicious fresh fruit salads, fresh juices and snacks can be enjoyed in the Health Hut. Open seasonally.
Library: The library houses a variety of books on yoga and related topics.
Telephone: Outgoing international calls are available depending on telephone line conditions. There is no facility for incoming calls.
Internet and Email: The Ashram provides free wi-fi facility for guests during specific hours. Due to local conditions internet connectivity can be unreliable.
Post: Incoming and outgoing mail is available at the Ashram.
Recycling: Any unwanted items, such as used clothing, medicine etc. may be left at Reception for distribution to those in need.
Please Note: The above facilities are closed during classes, satsang and after 8pm.
Our Ashram is an abode of peace and shelter from the pressures of worldly life. It provides a safe space for personal development and the pursuit of spiritual ideals. People come from many walks of life and from every corner of the world to experience the profound spirituality of ancient India, and the centuries-old disciplines of yoga, vedanta and ayurveda. Maintaining a positive spiritual atmosphere requires the involvement and participation of all guests and staff. In this regard we request your cooperation in observing the following rules and guidelines.
Men and women must cover shoulders, midriff and legs. Tight fitting, transparent and revealing clothing are not permitted. This includes:
• Shorts above the knee • Leggings
• Low cut and sleeveless t-shirts • Tank tops
Guests’ behaviour and dress code should be respectful of the local culture and enhance the spiritual atmosphere. Observance of the dress code should be maintained at all times including during asana classes.
Prohibited Items: Smoking, alcohol, drugs, meat, fish, eggs, garlic and onions are not allowed. The use of mobile phones is only permitted in designated areas outside of class times. Photography, video, audio recording during classes and ceremonies is only possible with the permission of the director. Pets are not allowed.
Male-Female Relations: To respect the local culture and the monastic tradition, kindly restrain expressions of affection such as hugging or kissing in public. Male and female dormitories are separate. Men are not allowed in the ladies’ dormitory and vice versa. The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organisation of India disapproves of and condemns any form of harassment directed at students, staff or visitors.
Attendance: Attendance at all Ashram activities is mandatory as part of the Ashram Yoga Vacation programme. As a mark of respect for the teacher and as a practice of self-discipline, guests are required to be on time and to remain for the duration of each programme. Asana classes are open to resident guests only.
Free Day: Friday is a free day in our Ashrams, unless contra-indicated by a specific Course. Guests are required to attend morning and evening satsang. There are no lecture or coaching classes on the free day. The yoga asana classes and meals run as usual.
Silence: Students are requested to observe silence during meals, before morning satsang and after evening satsang. Lights out after 10pm.
Personal Belongings: We do not accept responsibility for personal belongings. Safe-keeping facilities are available.
Payments & Donations: Dates and donations are subject to change without notice. For all Courses students are subject to the suggested donation in effect at the time of payment. Personal cheques are not accepted. The Indian concessional rate does not apply to: non-resident Indians (NRI), Indian nationals working or living abroad, foreign nationals working or living in India, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO). Indian nationals may be asked to provide evidence of Indian nationality.
Minimum Stay: An initial minimum payment for three nights’ accommodation at the Ashram is required upon arrival and registration. This payment is non-refundable and non-transferable in the event of early departure.
Harassment Policy: No harassment, proposals or innuendos with a sexual connotation will be tolerated during any programme or activity organised by the Ashram. Students participating in such programmes and activities are accordingly made aware of this policy and invited to apply it in their personal behaviour during their stay. Any guest or student who thinks he/she may be the victim of unsolicited advances or any other form of sexual harassment is asked to notify a senior Swami or director immediately in order for corrective action to be undertaken without delay. Complaints made to a senior Swami or director will be treated confidentially and the alleged violator or any third party will not be advised of the complainant’s identity without the latter’s consent.
There are no international flights to Madurai airport. Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore are the nearest international airports which operate domestic flights on to Madurai airport. You can also fly into Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) International airport and then connect to Madurai by train.
By Train: Madurai is linked to all major cities in India by rail. Check with South Indian Railways. From Madurai Railway Station take a taxi, auto-rickshaw or bus to the Ashram (approximately 22 kms).
You are advised to book rail tickets as soon as possible. Trains are often fully booked in high season (December and January) due to local festivals, so you may need to allow for this when planning your time of travel.
Train e-tickets can be booked up to three months in advance via the internet. Train information can be obtained via www.indianrail.gov.in. Limited seats in higher classes are available for credit card bookings via www.irctc.co.in.
By Taxi / Auto Rickshaw: The Ashram is about 22 km from Madurai city along the New Natham Road, near a small junction – Pavanna Vilakku. This junction is 2 km past Hawa Valley Resort. When travelling along the New Natham Road the Ashram is after Kanjirampettoi and Kadavoor villages. Approximately 45 minutes.
Agree the taxi/rickshaw price for the journey to the Ashram before leaving the station or airport.
Bus Service: Local buses from the Periyar Bus Station (1km from Madurai Railway Station) that pass Pavanna Vilakku Junction are: 23P, 23T, 23Z, 62A. The Ashram is about 22 km from Madurai city along the New Natham Road, near a small junction – Pavanna Vilakku. This junction is 2 km past Hawa Valley Resort. When travelling along the New Natham Road the Ashram is after Kanjirampettoi and Kadavoor villages. Approximately 45 minutes.
Students and guests applying for any courses/programmes at the Ashram are required to sign the Liability Release Form.
Please click here to download the form.