Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Sivananda Ashram in Madurai. A Must Visit Ashram in India

Sivananda Ashram Madurai

Every time that somebody ask me for an ashram recommendation in South India the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai is always at the top of my list, definitely a must visit ashram in India. If you are looking for a complete and authentic spiritual experience at an Indian ashram and in comfortable and beautiful location then you'll certainly find it here.

The Sivananda Ashram offers an integral approach to yoga, meaning that all main paths of yoga are practiced in one way or another. The schedule includes twice a day a 20 minutes silent meditation followed by kirtan (chanting) and satsang (spiritual talk), twice a day hatha yoga practice, an hour of karma yoga (selfless work) and a lecture. In my opinion the kirtan at Sivananda's ashram is one of the best kirtan you can find and the pujas (rituals) that they organise for special occasions really enhances the vibration of the ashram.

The first time that I visited the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai was in February 2011 when I did my Advance Teachers Training Course. It was an amazing an unforgettable experience. A few weeks ago I decided to take a little break from Mysore, where I've been since end of September, and visit this ashram one more time.

So it's been almost five years since my last visit at the ashram. This is one of the most beautiful ashrams that I've visited in India and now it is even better. I was impressed by the improvements they have made at the ashram. They build an spectacular brand new yoga hall, a beautiful new temple and the gardens all around the ashram are now stunning.

Sivananda Ashram Madurai

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Hall

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Hall

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Gardens

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Gardens

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Garden

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Temple

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Temple

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Temple

Ashram Daily Schedule

05:30 Wake up bell
06:00 to 07.30 Satsang: Silent meditation, chanting and talk
07:30 Tea time
08:00 to 09.45 Asana Class
10:00 Brunch
11:00 Karma Yoga
13:00 Asana coaching
13:30 Tea time
14:00 Lecture
16:00 to 17.45 Asana Class
18:00 Dinner
20:00 Satsang
10:00 Bed Time/lights off

Every Friday is a day off at the ashram, so after the morning satsang guests can ask for a day pass to visit the city centre and return for the evening satsang.

Accommodation at the Ashram

There are different types of accommodation. The cheapest option is the dormitories which are basic but comfortable. 500 rupees per day including accommodation, food and classes

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Dormitory

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Dormitory

What to pack to stay at an ashram

If you want to have an idea of what to pack to stay at an Indian ashram and to travel around India then you can read: What to Pack for Your Next Travel and Yoga Adventure to India

Services offered by the ashram

  • Internet: There is one laptop at the office that you can use during very limited hours (office hours) and with very limited connectivity. Most people would wait until Friday to be able to go to the city and use the internet.
  • Boutique: With Sivananda yoga books, cds, dvds, yoga mats, soap, mosquito repellent, etc etc.
  • Health Hut: Different fruit juices, milkshakes or fruit salads and the famous "hot lemon ginger honey" tea.

How to stay connected at the Sivananda Ashram

If you have a local sim card you can use a smartphone to connect to the internet whenever you need to, but the reception at the ashram is very limited.

I have an Airtel Sim card and I was only able to get signal at one specific spot at the ashram with very limited connectivity. A friend got an Idea sim card and I think it worked better for her.

If you need to know more about how to get a local sim card for your smartphone you can read How to stay connected with mobile internet while traveling in India


Every Saturday the ashram guests and TTC students are given the opportunity to demonstrate or perform any talent during the evening satsanga. It is called the Talent Show and it's a really fun and entertaining event.

The Sivananda Ashram is also ideal for solo travellers. You'll certainly meet other spiritual seekers with whom you can create beautiful connections.

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Food
A delicious Italian dinner organised but these wonderful guys.  We'd never eaten so much.  

About the food

Do you know who is the most important person at an Indian ashram? Nope, it's not the guru but the cook! Oh what would ashram life be without a good cook? I'm so happy that the ashram food hasn't changed since my last visit. It is absolutely delicious, very difficult to stop eating.

Sivananda Ashram Madurai Chef
The ashram chef.  Thank you so much for the wonderful food!

Popular Sivananda Yoga Books

How to get to the Sivananda Ashram in Madurai

The Sivananda Ashram is located about 30km from the Madurai city center and it takes about 25 minutes by rickshaw for 300 Indian rupees. You only need to mention "Sivananda Ashram" to the driver and he will know where to go.

If you want to save some money you can also take a bus from the Periyar Bus Stand. The bus numbers are 62A, 23P, 23T, 23U and 23Z. Tell the driver "Sivananda Ashram" and if he doesn't know it just say "Pavana Vinakul Junction" so he knows where to stop. The ride is about 45 minutes.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Meenakshi Ashram
Nathan Road,
Kalluthu, Saramthangi Village,
Vellayampatti PO 625 503
Madurai district
Tamil Nadu, India.

Telephone: 0452 2912950 Mobile: 09442190661

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  1. Always high quality postings, Marco! You're such an inspiration!

  2. Hi Marco,

    I have been reading a lot of your blogs and I am planning on a Yoga vacation (ashram accommodation) next month. My preference is south India and Sivananda Yoga Ashram seems to be good and budget.

    In one of your blogs you mention that you liked Madurai place better than Neyyar Dam. Can you elaborate please? That will really help me in decision making. Thanks.

    1. Yes, the ashram in Madurai is smaller, newer and now with all the new improvements looks better than ever, an I like Anoop, the director working at the ashram.

    2. Thanks a lot. I will thank you a little more if I am able to hangout there for all of two weeks and it turns out to be my starting point in the world of yoga. Your blogs have not only been informative but also inspiring. :)

    3. Thank you MJ! that's so kind from you. Did you make it to the ashram? I hope you had a great experience.

  3. I ve just discovered your blog Marco and i already think you are my hero....!!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

    1. Ha ha, thanks David, good to know you found my blog helpful. Cheers

  4. Namaste Marco! Thank you a lot for all your sharing! Now when I read this I decided I will go to Shivananda Ashram after my S-VYASA course is finish! :) Sounds very good!

    1. I really like this ashram, I hope you'll enjoy your stay, and it will be a completely different experience compared to SVYASA :-)

  5. Thanks for making me to know about the Ashram

  6. Sleeping with rats and unkind Yoga teacher
    I did my TTC here a year ago. It took me a very long time to write a review because the course was also good and I´ve learned a lot. I also met very loving people there. But in the end, I would never go there again. The main reason is, I payed 2.500 Euros and I had to sleep with rats. They were all over the place and the only thing between you and them was your mosquito net. One night I woke up because the sound was very close. I turned my flashlight on and there it was: right above my head on the mosquito net. Other concerns were my health. I got a cold there, and there was no doctor available at the ashram or someone to help. I couldnt even get hot water for a tea before bed. Then, the yoga teacher. She was a good teacher but she was mean as hell. There were at least 2 situations that I tought: WOW. She can only talk like this or behave like this because she is in India and no one is watching here. One of them was with a guy that was doing the TTC and had some sort of mental disability. He was a fine person, just said things that didn´t make sense. When he talked, she would attack the hell out of him. Very very sad.