Saccidananda Ashram Shantivanam Website 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the function of the ashram?

The aim of the ashram is to establish a way of contemplative life, based alike on the traditions of Christian monasticism and of Hindu Sannyasa. Our life is based on the Rule of St.Benedict., the patriarch of Western monasticism. The ashram seeks to be a place of meeting for Hindus and Christians and people of all religions or none, who are genuinely seeking God. We have many visitors from many parts of India and from all over the world, who are seeking God by way of different religious traditions, and we seek to respond to the need for a spiritual centre where such people can come and find an atmosphere of calm quiet for study and meditation.

Where is the Ashram?

The ashram is in a village called Tannirpalli, in Tamil Nadu State, South India, and 335kms SW of Chennai. It is situated on the Southern bank of the river Kaveri (old spelling Cauvery), 38 kms west of the town of Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) and 3 kms east of the town Of Kulithalai.

What is the full address?

Saccidananda Ashram

Shantivanam, Tannirpalli (Post)

Kulithalai (Tk), Karur Dt. Tamil Nadu

639107 - South India

Telephone 0091(0)4323 222260  *   Fax 0091(0)4323 222280


How do I get there?

By air. There is an airport at Tiruchirapalli, (airport code TRZ, for the use of travel agents!), which has connecting flights with Chennai, and Colombo (in Sri Lanka) and taxis are available at the airport direct to the Ashram (cost around 1500 Rupees.)

By train. There is a railway station, Tiruchirapalli (known as Trichy) Junction, (TPJ station code for use when booking!) which has trains from Bangalore, Trivandrum, Cochin, and Chennai passing through. Taxis are available direct to the ashram from Trichy station. Train tickets, which need to be bought in advance, can be booked from overseas, using

Regular buses also run from Trichy ‘Central Bus Stand’ to Karur, via Tannirpalli and Kulithalai. However, if you have large luggage, it is advisable to go by taxi!

What is the weather like? When is the best time to come?

South India has a tropical climate. Tamil Nadu has monsoon rains mainly in October and November, though there is some rain from July onwards. The months of April, May June are particularly hot and humid. The most popular months for people from overseas to visit are December, January, February.

How long can I stay?

We strongly recommend that you stay for a minimum of 3 nights; giving you 2 whole days to get to know the rhythm and life at the ashram. Visitors from overseas are welcome to stay for up to 2 weeks. If you want to stay for a longer period, you would need to make arrangements with Fr Pinto the guestmaster at or The Ashram, like all places providing accommodation in India, has to keep a record of all visitors for police purposes. Please make sure you bring your passport and visa with you.

Do I need to book?

It is not essential to book during the months March – November. . On arrival, you will be offered whatever accommodation is available and appropriate. However if you know your arrival day, then it is helpful to let the guest master know. During our busiest months, December to February it is necessary to book, and receive confirmation from the ashram before your arrival.

How much does it cost?

No charge is made for food and accommodation. However a voluntary donation of 600 or 700 Rupees a day for overseas visitors and a voluntary donation of Rs200 a day for Indian citizens is appreciated and most welcome to help with the running costs of the Ashram, which employs about 30 local staff. The ashram also supports a number of social projects in surrounding villages. You are welcome to contribute to this work, which relies on donations from visitors and other supporters. We are aware that our visitors come from a wide range of financial backgrounds, and we would not want to discourage those with limited financial means from visiting us.

What do I bring?

You will need to bring your own towel and soap, a torch (flashlight), mosquito repellent, and toilet paper.

What is the accommodation like?

It is basic, but adequate. A mixture of twin bedded and single accommodation. Most of the rooms/ huts have electric fans, and attached bathroom (or bathroom nearby). The toilets are a mixture of Western and Indian (squat) style. Bed linen and mosquito net is provided. You will need to bring your own towel.

Is there a shop nearby?

The ashram has a small bookshop, open each day, which ,besides books, sells basic personal items ( toothpaste, soap, washing powder, toilet paper, etc). Other items can be obtained in Kulitallai – 2 kms away.

Clothes washing facilities are available, and a drying line.

What is the food like?

It is simple, vegetarian, South Indian food, with mostly rice-based meals. Milk is provided from the ashram cows. Boiled and filtered water is available.

What’s the daily timetable?

5.00 a.m. Angelus (wake up bell)

5.30 a.m. Namajapa (chanting), and private meditation

6.30 a.m. Morning prayer, ( 6.45 on Sundays ) Eucharist, breakfast

10.00 a.m. Coffee break

12.00 noon Angelus bell

12.15 p.m.Midday prayer, meal, silence

3.30 p.m. Tea

4.00 p.m. Talk by Brother Martin on scheduled days

6.00 p.m. Angelus, meditation, silence

7.00 p.m. Evening prayer, supper

9.00 p.m. Namajapa, silence

What is expected from guests?

a) To concentrate on the purpose for which they have come to the ashram, and to observe quiet in and around the ashram so as to preserve the atmosphere of peace and prayer.

b) To refrain from smoking in the ashram and from taking liquor or drugs during their stay.

c) To help cut vegetables after breakfast

d) To respect the times of silence, which are:

From services until the end of meal times

From noon prayer until afternoon tea

From 6pm (meditation time) until after supper

After 9pm

Guests should not give any money or gifts to any individual. If you wish to give something to a person, it should go through the guest master or the superior.

If you have further questions, not covered by the above, please contact Fr Pinto, the guestmaster,  at or who will do his best to answer them.

Please fill this form and bring along with your photo copies of Passport and Visa

click on file - Ashram Guest form - see below

Ashram  Guest  form.docx Ashram Guest form.docx
Size : 4.445 Kb
Type : docx

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