About Parmarth Niketan Ashram
credits: Claudio Nichele
Parmarth Niketan Ashram, located in the lap of the verdant Himalayas, along the banks of the Ganges, is one of the most popular ashrams in Rishikesh. The ashram specialises in traditional ayurvedic practice treatment, yoga, meditation and various other natural healing techniques. The ashram was founded in 1942 by Pujya Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj. With over 1000 rooms, lush gardens, clean and pure ambience, the ashram provides a calm and serene refuge to devotees and patients alike.
The ashram keeps its doors open for people of all religions, gender, caste, class and nationalities. The ashram is the home to a 14-feet statue of Lord Shiva that has been placed along the river bank. The divine or holy tree, Kalpavriksha, also boosts the sense of spirituality on the ashram campus.
The place has hosted hundreds of holy men, sages and yogis among others from across the globe. Parmarth Niketan Ashram has its own private ghat where Ganga Aarti is offered every evening. This is a blissful sight to witness if you are spending a day or two at the ashram.
History of Parmarth Niketan Ashram:
Parmarth Niketan Ashram is one of the largest ashrams of Uttarakhand. The founder of the ashram Pujya Swami Divyanand Ji Maharaj established the place in 1942 with an objective to provide his followers a deep understanding of spirituality and the significance of connecting with one’s inner self. To imbibe the essence of peace and tranquillity in our daily lifestyle is a requisite and the ashram was founded based on this very notion.
Therefore, the ambience has been created here suitably where there is an abundance of natural beauty with lots of nicely maintained gardens, while the clean, pure and sacred house offer the much-needed refuge to the visitors. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj has been the president and also the spiritual head of the ashram since 1986.
He has been a pioneer in creating the ashram into a hub of various traditional Hindu healing practices, nature cure, ayurvedic treatment and training. Since its emergence, Parmarth Niketan Ashram has been hosting various spiritual events
How to Reach Parmarth Niketan Ashram
By autorickshaw & boat: Parmarth Niketan Ashram can be reached quite comfortably on foot from Ram Jhula, though rickshaw and auto services are available too. You can also opt for the beautiful boat ride facility to cross the Ganges and reach the ashram ghat.
By Train: Rishikesh railway station is around 16km from the ashram. If you take a car or auto from the station, you can reach the ashram through Veerbhadra Road.
By Bus: Regular bus services are also available from major cities like Delhi and Dehradun. The bus plies on NH334 and it takes around 5 to 6 hours to get to Parmarth Niketan Ashram from Delhi. From Dehradun, it is around 2 hours. All buses of the Ambala-Dehradun-Haridwar route pass through the ashram stoppage.By Air: The Jolly Grant airport is the nearest airport at Dehradun which is just 35km from Rishikesh. You can hire cabs and taxis to ensure a safe and comfortable ride to the ashram.
Best Time to Visit Parmarth Niketan Ashramcredits: Claudio Nichele
Anytime from late September to November is the best period to visit Parmarth Niketan Ashram. This time, the weather remains quite pleasant and you can visit various tourist attractions in the surroundings without facing the scorching sun or being drenched in heavy rains that the valley witnesses during monsoon.
What Not to Miss at Parmarth Niketan Ashram
Places near Parmarth Niketan Ashramcredits: Claudio Nichele
1. Lakshman Jhula: This is a suspension bridge above the Ganges that offer a spectacular view of the entire surrounding with mountains beckoning at the backdrop and temples and green cover all around. This popular tourist destination in Rishikesh is just 3km from the ashram. The bridge connects two villages Tapovan in Tehri Garhwal district and Jonk in Pauri Garhwal district. This is an iconic landmark of not just Uttarakhand but in the entire northern India.
2.Triveni Ghat: Triveni Ghat is located just 9km away from Parmarth Niketan Ashram. It is the holy confluence of three rivers, the Ganges, the Saraswathi and the Yamuna. There is a widespread belief that those who take a dip in the confluence will be pardoned off all their sins and misconducts. The famous Maha Aarti takes place at the Triveni Ghat every evening. Many devotees offer pujas at the ghat during the Maha Aarti. The famous Gita temple and Laxminarayan temple are located near the ghat.
3. Vashisht Caves: Vashisht Caves are located around 32km from Parmarth Niketan Ashram. This is the great cave where ancient sage Vashishta had meditated. Visitors who are looking for a spiritual refuge often come here and meditate in the caves. A Shivling is placed inside the caves here which are managed by the authority of the Swami Purushottam Ashram.
4. Ram Jhula: Located around 500km from Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Ram Jhula is one of the most popular attractions of Rishikesh. This steel bridge was created in 1980, on the western bank of the Ganges. The length of this bridge is slightly bigger than that of Laxman Jhula. On both sides of the bridge, you will see various temples and ashrams. As you walk down the bridge, you will witness an inflated Ganges gushing down the rocky terrain. This is a beautiful place to visit with family.
Things to do at Parmarth Niketan Ashram
If you are visiting Rishikesh and are also planning to spend a few days at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, then these are following must-do things here
1. Yoga and meditation class: You can sign up for any of the regular yoga and meditation classes at the ashram that happens on a daily basis. Expert trainers conduct these classes at nominal fees.
2. Spiritual lecture: The ashram is a hub of various spiritual activities. Daily morning and evening lectures by saints and religion practitioners among them is a vital one. Most of these lecture free and open to all. One can gain clarity over their mind and soul by attending these lectures and talks.
3. Ganga aarti in the evening: This is a major highlight of the ashram. Daily Ganga aarti on the private ghat of the ashram is witnessed by hundreds of pilgrims and devotees. Not only the ashram residents, but local residents and tourists too flock here to be a part of this ethereal ceremony and chant some prayers on the illuminated banks of the river. This is a half an hour event which is performed by lighting lamps and floating diyas on the river.
4. Morning prayers: The resident ashram heads or gurus conduct the morning prayers at dawn every day. This includes surya namaskar and conveying gratitude to the universal god for our existence on earth. The morning prayers generally begin at 6 in the morning. Usually, one should attend the morning prayers after having a bath and dressed in clean clothes. The ashram focuses on the belief that cleanliness is next to godliness.
5. Nature cure and ayurvedic treatment: There are various types of ancient Hindu healing practices and ayurvedic treatments. The ashram has taken up the task to keep the tradition alive by pursuing these methods to provide healing touch to thousands of patients and devotees that come here in search of recluse and physical and mental well-being. Ayurveda experts and natural therapy practitioners offer different paid services as well. To avail of any of these you have to get in touch with the ashram authorities during or before your stay to gather information about the charges and timings among other such things.
Other Essential Information About Parmarth Niketan Ashram
Location: Rishikesh, Pauri district, Uttarakhand, India
Timings: The ashram remains open every day from 7am to 8pm.
Tips for Parmarth Niketan Ashram
If you are visiting the ashram for the first time, you should gather some knowledge beforehand about the activities and conducts that are allowed on the ashram premises.1. You can carry a camera, phone, and other electronic gadgets in your luggage but always consider the situation before using them in public.
2.Do not litter or pollute the ashram premises and its surroundings as cleanliness is strictly maintained here.
3. Carry sunscreen and an umbrella if you are visiting the ashram in summer months like May or June.
4. Warm clothes are a must during winter here.
5. Always abide by the special customs set by the ashram authorities regarding keeping shoes, using cameras, using headgears, consuming food or practising some religious rites.
6. Maintain a calm and silent atmosphere as you stay here as a tourist to make the most of your visit to the ashram.
Facts of Parmarth Niketan Ashram
Parmarth Niketan Ashram is famous for religious activities, yoga, meditation and natural healing practices. It was set up in 1942 in order to provide a refuge to yoga, meditation practitioners and those who seek religious pursuits. As a tourist you can spend around 3 hours here. Those who seek to stay here need to opt for prior booking for choice of rooms. Both AC and non-AC rooms are available here at reasonable prices.
The place promotes the dual purpose of fitness and aesthetics. The stunning natural beauty, green hill vistas, rich flora and fauna make it an ideal place to pursue yoga, meditation and various traditional fitness practices in their organic forms. The ashram administration consists of various saints and gurus along with members of the management committees. The overall functioning of the place is very smooth and on time.
If you are touring across Rishikesh, Parmarth Niketan Ashram is a place you should spend at least two nights to get a flavour of the ancient Hindu yogic kind of lifestyle. There are some special norms and customs set by the ashram authorities. You are expected to follow them during your stay at the ashram.