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This article is about the South Asian hermitage place. For other uses, see Ashram (disambiguation).
Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, the headquarters of Divine Life Society, founded by Sivananda Saraswati in 1936.

Traditionally, an ashram is a spiritual hermitage or a monastery in Indian religions.[1][2] Today the term ashram often denotes a locus of Indian cultural activity such as yoga, music study or religious instruction, similar to a studio, yeshiva, iʿtikāf or dojo.


The word ashram (also ashrama, spelled आश्रम in Sanskrit) comes from the Sanskrit root srama (श्रम) which means "to toil", the "a" prefix indicates the negative, therefore ashram means "not to toil".[3]


An ashram would traditionally, but not necessarily in contemporary times, be located far from human habitation, in forests or mountainous regions, amidst refreshing natural surroundings conductive to spiritual instruction and meditation. The residents of an ashram regularly performed spiritual and physical exercises, such as the various forms of yoga. Other sacrifices and penances, such as yajnas were also performed.[4] Many ashrams also served as gurukulas, residential schools for children under the guru-shishya tradition.

Sometimes, the goal of a pilgrimage to the ashram was not tranquility, but instruction in some art, especially warfare. In the Ramayana, the protagonist princes of ancient Ayodhya, Rama and Lakshmana, go to Vishvamitra's ashram to protect his yajnas from being defiled by emissary-demons of Ravana. After they prove their mettle, the princes receive martial instruction from the sage, especially in the use of divine weapons. In the Mahabharata, Krishna, in his youth, goes to the ashram of Sandipani to gain knowledge of both intellectual and spiritual matters.[citation needed]

Kailash Ashram, Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh, established by Dhanraj Giri

Schools in Maharashtra[edit]

Residential schools, especially in the tribal areas of Maharashtra and elsewhere in India, are called ashram shala or ashram schools. One such school is the Lok Biradari Prakalp Ashram Shala.[5][6]

Vedic Institute of Canada in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada

Vedic Ashram[edit]

There is one Hindu Ashram name Vedic Institute of Canada also known as Vedic Ashram. Vedic Institute of Canada was founded by Dave Bhatia in September 2012 . Institute took over Former Princess Elizabeth P.S Ingersoll, Ontario in May 2014. Institute is situated at 37 William Street .Ingersoll.. Institute has mission To disseminate, preserve and spread the timeless Vedic knowledge as expounded by Adi Shankaracharya To provide an opportunity in Canada to learn spiritual science of India from the qualified teachers of this knowledge. To offer guidance in practical Vedic techniques in Yoga and Meditation on a non-commercial basis, to sustain a life of wellness free from stress, depression, and other ills of modern fast paced highly materialist life. To help people appreciate the spiritual dimension of human existence that leads to a serene, joyful everyday living To establish a spiritual retreat where people can relax, rejuvenate and immerse in spiritual atmosphere in a picturesque setting for days or weeks

Institute has over 3 acre of land and 30,000 square feet building. Twice a year institute is holding one Vedic retreat session which include Body cleansing sessions, Power yoga Sessions and Senior education seminars Due to Vedic tradition and facility his name became Vedic Ashram

Sikh ashrams[edit]

There are also Sikh Ashrams, such as the Dashmesh Sadan Ashram in Anandpur Sahib, India and the Guru Ram Das Ashram in Los Angeles, USA.

Christian ashrams[edit]

There are also Christian monasteries in India that are called ashrams and are run by the Saint Thomas Christians.

In the West[edit]

In recent years, a number of ashrams have been established outside of India. Typically, these ashrams are connected to Indian lineages. Sometimes they are headed by Indian spiritual teachers, and other times by Western spiritual teachers. Yoga is one of the main activities in the ashrams of the West.


  1. ^ Swami Swahananda (1 January 1990). Monasteries in South Asia. Vedanta Press. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-0-87481-047-9. 
  2. ^ Mayeul de Dreuille (1999). "1 Hindu mansticism". From East to West: A History of Monasticism. Gracewing Publishing. pp. 3–27. ISBN 978-0-85244-464-1. 
  3. ^ S.S. Chandra; S.S. Chandra & Rajendra Kumar Sharma (1996). Philosophy of Education. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 173–. ISBN 978-81-7156-637-2. 
  4. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 70. 
  5. ^ Hetal Vyas (31 January 2009). "Shocked HC files suo-motu PIL over ashram rape and deaths". PuneMirror. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Lok Biradari Prakalp". Lok Biradari Prakalp. 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-17.