Sunday, May 8, 2016

Yogoda Math, Paramahansa Yogananda's Ashram in Kolkata

Yogoda Satsanga Math in Dakshineswar

Yogoda Satsanga Math is the ashram founded in 1938 by Paramahansa Yogananda in Dakshniswar, Kolkata. It is the headquarters of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, the organization founded by Yoganandaji in 1917 to spread his teachings in India and in neighbouring countries. I had the opportunity to visit guruji's ashram last March and although I didn't plan for it I was able to stay there for one night.

"A stately Yogoda Math was dedicated in 1939 at Dakshineswar, directly on the Ganges. Only a few miles north of Calcutta, the new hermitage affords a haven of peace for city dwellers. Suitable accommodations are available for Western guests, and particularly for those seekers who are intensely dedicating their lives to spiritual realization." Paramahansa Yogananda in Autobiography of a Yogi

During my two weeks stay in Kolkata last March I decided to do a little pilgrimage trip to visit all the places that Paramahansa Yogananda mentions in his autobiography including the Dakshineswar Temple, Yogoda Math, Serampore and his house in 4 Garpar Road. You can read all about that pilgrimage in my previous two posts:


Visiting Yogoda Satsanga Math

When I decided to do this pilgrimage to Dakshineswar I thought I could do everything in one day but it was already too late by the time that I reached the ashram. So I asked if I could stay for one night at the ashram.

I had to have a small interview with the Swami of the ashram. He was very friendly and of course he allowed me to stay. He asked me "Do you have everything with you? Clothing, towel, soap, toothbrush?" And I was like "euhmmm, nope."

I had not planned to stay at the ashram so of course I didn't have anything with me, not even a toothbrush or a change of clothes. He instructed the guy at the reception to provide me with at least a towel. That was very kind of him, and fortunately there was a little shop outside where I was able to buy some toothpaste.

We also had a little talk about my sadhana and my kriya yoga practice. He told me off for not being practicing kriya yoga regularly and again after asking me, "Have you been doing daily your energisation exercises?" I answered, "Nope," and kind of seeing through me he said, "You are doing too many things!"

About the Ashram

Anybody is welcome to visit Yogoda Satsanga Math. Unfortunately only Self Realisation Fellowship (SRF) members or Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) members are allowed to stay overnight.

There is a very peaceful atmosphere at the ashram. It sits right next to the holy river Ganges. It has a nice garden that lies between the main hall and the river. There is also a large fish tank next to the entrance.

The accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable. I had a great sleep. I wish I could have stay a few more nights but I wanted to return to Kolkata to continue with my volunteering work with the Missionaries of Charity.


Ashram main entrance

Yogoda Satsanga Math premises
To the right is the accommodation building.  To the left is the fish tank and at the end the main building.

Yogoda Satsanga Math reception
Ashram reception on the ground floor.  I love that car, btw. 

Ashram fish tank
The fish are huge, probably as old as the ashram. Lol.

Yogoda Satsanga Math main building
Ashram main building with meditation hall and portico.

Yogoda Satsanga Math main building

Yogoda Satsanga Math meditation hall
Meditation hall inside main building


Yogoda Satsanga Math main building
View of the river Ganges from the main hall

Yogoda Satsanga Math garden

Yogoda Satsanga Math garden


Ashram routine

The ashram routine is pretty simple. Except for on Sundays, there are no special classes or trainings. Paramhansa Yogananda's disciples usually follow his bi-weekly lessons via regular post, so the study is done at home. The ashram is mainly a place for contemplation and meditation.

The daily schedule includes twice a day a one hour group meditation session that starts with the energisation exercises that Yoganandaji introduced in his lessons. On Thursdays there is a long meditation session and on Sundays a satsang (spiritual gathering) and a lesson class.

You might want to take that in consideration whenever you decide to visit the ashram. If possible I would recommend you to visit the ashram on a Sunday when there are more activities. I would also recommend you to contact the ashram in advance in case there are any special programs that you might like to join.

Ashram Daily Schedule

Daily Schedule except Thursday and Sunday

07:00 to 08:00 Group energisation exercises and meditation
08:00 to 08:20 Breakfast
12:30 to 12:50 Lunch
16:00 to 16:20 Tea
17:30 to 19:00 Group energisation exercises and meditation
20:00 to 20:20 Dinner

Thursday Schedule
07:00 to 08:00 Group energisation exercises and meditation
08:00 to 08:20 Breakfast
12:30 to 12:50 Lunch
16:00 to 16:20 Tea
17:30 to 21:00 Group energisation exercises and meditation
21:00 to 21:20 Dinner

Sunday Schedule
08:00 to 08:20 Breakfast
10:30 to 12:00 Satsang
12:30 to 12:50 Lunch
13:30 to 14:30 Lesson Class
16:30 to 20:00 Group energisation exercises and meditation
20:00 to 20:20 Dinner

How to visit Serampore

You can get at the ashram reception (or by phone) all the information that you might need to visit Serampore. They actually recommend you to always contact them directly to organise in advance any visit to the ashram, to Serampore or to Paramahansa Yogananda's house in Kolkata. You can find the ashram contact details below.

It takes about one hour to reach Serampore from the ashram. Every site of interest like Sri Yukteswar's temple and Rhai Ghat are very close to each other, just walking distance. So you can take your time to meditate and enjoy each place.

These are the instructions that I had to follow to return from Serampore to Yogoda Math. I think it's the same way to go from the ashram to Serampore.

  • Go to Serampore train station and take a train to Uttarpara. 5 rupees, 4 stations, 12 minutes.
  • From Uttarpara take a cycle rickshaw to the Uttarpara Ferry Ghat. 25 rupees.
  • From Uttarpara Ferry Ghat take the ferry to Ariadaha Ferry Ghat. 3 rupees.
  • From Ariadaha Ferry Ghat walk to Yogoda Math.

Ashram contact information

Yogoda Satsanga Math
21, U. N. Mukherjee Road, Dakshineswar,
Kolkata 700 076
Phone: +91 332 564 5931, +91 332 564 6208
Website: Yogoda Satsanga Math Dakshineswar


How to reach Dakshineswar by bus

I took bus #34 from the Esplanade Bus Terminus (next to Durgapur Bus Terminal) near New Market to Ariadaha (Dakshineswar). The ride is about one hour and thirty minutes. Once you reach Dakshineswar you can take a cycle rickshaw to get to Yogoda Satsanga Math, which is about 1km from the train station.

The cycle rickshaw ride to the ashram was about 15 minutes and I had to pay something like 20 rupees. The rickshaw will normally drop you right in front of the ashram, if he knows where it is.

You can also reach Dakshineswar by train or by taxi. It might actually be easier by train so I would recommend you contact the ashram in advance to get some help. For more information you can read in their website: How to Reach Dakshineswar

Related Posts

I hope you'll find this post useful to plan your visit to Yogoda Satsanga Math in Kolkata. Don't forget to include in your plan a visit to Dakshineswar temple, Belur Math and Serampore.

2 comments:

  1. hello, i'm going to kolkata next month for one week and i really want to experience staying in an ashram. im not a member of anything i just want to learn meditation and yoga. will they let me stay for one week? and what are the rates? and do they have an email so that i could contact them from outside india

    ReplyDelete