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ASHRAM LIFE

AND WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ASHRAM?

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The word ashram comes from the Sanskrit root srama which means giving the meaning or making an effort towards liberation (moksha), which is the central aim of a spiritual life

I imagine that some of you reading my Blog may have wondered what the hell an ASHRAM actually is (Mom this is for you especially!!) Here is my understanding....
It is similar to a monastery and lead by what is called a Swami - a Yogi or monk initiated into the monastic order and devotes their full time effort to spiritual realization and to the service of others. Stereotypically, Swamis have long beards and dress in bright sherbet orange cloths that look like maxi dresses with a fierce shawl over the shoulder. The grounds are peaceful and it's run like a commune whose members all share a similar spiritual practice. These days, some Ashrams have evolved into a place a step and a half above a hostel inviting travelers and pilgrims from all over the world to come to India's holy regions.

COST: The cost to stay is cheap! One room with a roommate, 3 meals included is 300Rupees = $5 per night!!
Without a roommate 800Rupees = $13 per night

ACCOMMODATIONS: Accommodations are B A S I C!!!. Reeeeal basic. Like...most of you, are NOT about this life! I keep plopping my ass on the bed to the unpleasant feeling of my spine jamming up into my neck because I could have sworn that every bed has a pillow top these days! In trying to describe my room the word that keeps coming to mind is A U S T E R E. Austere as in simple. No extra sauce. Easy on the Mayo. Without luxury. Hold the bacon. Dairy free and gluten free. Plain! Here's a pic for your mind's eye.

BASIC accomodations

BASIC accomodations

PROS AND CONS OF AN ASHRAM ROOM

CON: Mattress about 2 inches thick -------- PRO: A bed
CON: Drafty windows -------- PRO: Lots of warm blankets
CON: No toilet paper -------- PRO: Western toilet
CON: Shower, sink, toilet in same 4x4ft box -------- PRO: Hot water
CON: No roomie --------- PRO: No roomie

SHOWER: I should explain the shower...so think of a tiny NYC sized half bathroom (not the penthouse NYC bathroom but the Lower East Side, AC unit in the window, 5th floor walk up half bath). There is a toilet and a sink right? Well imagine that your Super decided to make it a full bath by installing a floor drain and a shower head right next to the sink . This is my bathroom. I turn on the water and I shower immediately in front of the toilet, water spraying all over the toilet seat. I suppose it could be convenient...shower and shit at the same time? Tried it...awful idea! But the water is hot and so I am happy. And my favorite part....there's a SQUEEGEE so you can clear the floor of all the water from the shower/bathroom!

FOOD: The food is amazing although, take that with a grain of salt because I have not had a proper meal since my Air Emirates flight!. Thankful for the ThinkThin Chocolate Brownie energy bars I packed.
It is served buffet style - a mix of rices basmati, brown, white and a sort of rice curry, lentils, rice patties, steamed veggies (usually cauliflower, red carrots and green beans) rice pudding, sometimes soup, Chopati (kind of like Naan), chutneys, and more rice. Did I mention they serve rice?
Unfortunately this grande offering is not the usual Ashram meal. When the Festival comes to an end so will all of this and it will be back to AUSTERITY...as in hold the curry! Easy on the pudding! No mo' Masala. From now on it's Basmati rice, Dal (lentils), a simple potato curry and Chopati. All to be eaten on the floor of a small dinning room, flooded with fluorescent light, atop a small rectangular tray, in encouraged silence.

FOOD!

FOOD!

Tea is on deck all hours of the day. Masala Chai with milk and a boat load of sugar (so good!) And ginger water for post dinner digestion. They even have a dedicated tea time at 5pm after the final Yoga class where they serve popcorn, tea, and cookies.

TEA TIME

TEA TIME

Overall the grounds of the Ashram are lovely. Quiet, clean, filled with statues telling the Hindu stories everywhere. Alot of visitors stopping by because the gates are open to the public. The river Ganges is the front lawn of the Ashram and the Himilayas the backyard.

FRIST DAY OF SCHOOL

FRIST DAY OF SCHOOL

PARMARTH NIKETAN ASHRAM

PARMARTH NIKETAN ASHRAM

LORD KRISHNA

LORD KRISHNA

Posted by Ivoriejenkins 08:09 Archived in India Tagged ashram rishikesh Comments (4)

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