For an unknown reason, I have been visiting a lot of ashrams lately … as a visitor of course. I wondered whether or not I should include these visits in my blog. Having been there and having seen so many other visitors like me at these ashrams, I figured why not!
Once a upon a time, while in Mysore, we were able to visit the Avadhoota Datta Peetham ashram for a couple of hours. This is the main ashram where Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji lives. We checked the timings when it was open for visitors ahead of time and planned accordingly. We reached the ashram around 3:45pm. On the day we went, Swamiji was travelling and we did not get a chance to see him.
We did not find any official visitor center where we had to check in. The ashram is very well laid out and there are clear signs to direct you to different parts of the visiting areas. The areas accessible to visitors are located in the front part of the ashram. The areas where students and serious seekers live is separated with a perimeter wall and gates. This makes it easy for visitors.
Birds Paradise in Avadhoota Ashram
Our first stop was the birds paradise. Here, you will see hundreds of different types of birds – from Macaws to parrots in one place. You are not allowed to take any pictures of the birds. There is one place where you can have a bird sit on your hand and have your picture taken for a fee. The only thing to remember when entering this birds paradise is the noise/chatter of the birds. Because there are so many in a small space, the noise may become overwhelming for some. We left very quickly but there were many other visitors inside who were having a grand time.
Kishindha Moolika Bonsai Garden
Next we stopped at the Kishindha Moolika Bonsai Garden. You have to purchase a ticket to enter the garden. The garden is very well laid out and you can take as many pictures as you want. There is a large elevated glass Koi pond where you can enjoy watching the fish swim around. You can easily spend about an hour walking in the garden.
If you are up to it, there are several temples (Kala Bhairav, Hanuman and Balaji) within the complex that you can visit as well. We left around 5:30pm as it was time for visitors to leave.
You don’t have to follow a particular guru’s teachings to visit their ashram — that I am very happy about! A lot of times we wander not knowing what appeals to us and I am extremely grateful that the gurujis and swamijis in India keep their gates open (most of the time – check visitor hours :)) so that you can see if a place appeals to you. It is absolutely true that these ashrams have amazing energies within them…whether the wavelengths are complementing to yours is the puzzle you need to unravel.
For a long time I was intimidated to visit ashrams. Having visited several within a short span, I no longer have that fear. So, my recommendation, if you are in Mysore and you have some time on your hands, then go ahead and explore!