I stayed there for 8 days. It has one of the cleanest and well maintained ghats with a Ganga-Arti every evening. If you are a religious person hoping to find spiritual enlightenment, I doubt you will be rewarded. It is more of a custom-made retreat more apt for introspection and self-study. A lot of foreigners around means that they have to keep most of their yoga/learning programs starting from basic levels which might drain out Indians coz most of us usually know the basics. for. eg a nature cure class which goes on for 2 hours about general benefits of haldi, tulasi, neem, garlic etc (not very detailed or scientific) makes you go a bit fidgety.
The living quarters are simple, spacious and have prompt maintenance services. Hot water, blankets, western style WC, 2 beds, a small kitchen platform, a cupboard, two chairs and a table are what you are provided in twin-sharing. There is a market close by where you get anything you have forgotten to bring from home. not very expensive. If you go for the Ganga-block (hoping for view of the river) do go for the 1st floor as ground floor view is obstructed and the street dwellers make hell of a noise in the night which no authority can do anything about.
There are other options like Vanprastha Ashram nearby if you don't like this one. They are lovely too. In fact better maintained. But I found that this place has a different energy to it. maybe because of the living in Guru and his students or the devotion with which everyone observes the decorum. The watchmen, ayurvedshala, block attendants are very courteous and helpful. Front office might come across as a bit clinical and rude in the beginning (especially if there are a lot of guests) but they are nice people to deal with in the long run.
Food is included in your room charges (which they call donation for some reason, maybe tax purposes). 3 simple vegetarian meals a day. There is a 104 year old baba who you might bump into at meal times. He is fun to interact with.
The Kerala Massage is ok. Not great. They need to train them better. But then, the charges are reasonable too (Rs. 800 for full body massage) so no complaints there.
The building has Kabir dohas inscribed all over. very inspiring.
Go there with an agenda of your own. keep some free time and an open mind to participate in their activities (which you might find very enriching if you are a foreigner), accept it for what it has to offer and you will feel a wonderful energy resonating within you. Good thing is they don't force you to attend everything. I hope to go back there sometime. It calls out to you, to come back. especially the serene statue of Shiva.
- Also Known As:
- Parmarth Niketan Ashram Hotel Rishikesh