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Timings : 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Ramana Ashram, Thiruvannamalai Overview

Located at the foothills of the Arunachala hills, to the west of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, the Ramana Ashrama is famous for having served as home to the modern sage and Advaita Vedanta philosopher, Ramana Maharshi, from the year 1922, until his death in the year 1950. The Samadhi shrine of Maharshi Ramana continues to attract devotees from all over, who love to visit the place to relax and refresh themselves, far away from the maddening crowd and hustle bustle of the city.

The Sage Maharshi Ramana was regarded as an outstanding enlightened being by his followers. Many devotees got attracted to his charismatic personality, and his teachings are now spread in many regions, making him respected and renowned all across the globe. This is perhaps why the Ramana Ashram continues to be a favourite tourist attraction that is visited by thousands of devotees every year.

The ashram gradually grew in its present location only after the settlement of Ramana Maharshi near the Samadhi shrine of his mother Alagammal, who died on May 19 in 1922. Initially, just a single small hut was built there. By 1924, two huts were set up, one of which was opposite the samadhi and the other one was to the north. The Ramana Ashram is the perfect place to be at not just for those interested in Vedanta, but also for those who are curious about Indian spirituality and wish to learn more about it.

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History of Ramana Ashram

Ramana Maharshi settled in the Ashram following the death of his mother Alagammal in the year 1922. The sage had settled near a Samadhi tree, and gradually, the ashram grew in size. Many eminent and influential personalities have visited the Ashram since then, adding to the popularity and rich history of this exciting attraction.

Amongst the first western visitors was the British writer Paul Brunton, who visited the Ashram in the year 1931. In fact, it was Brunton who introduced Ramana Maharshi to the West through the medium of his books 'A Search in Secret India' and 'The Secret Path.' Writer W. Somerset Maugham also paid a visit to the ashram in 1938, and the author later used Ramana Maharshi as the model for the holy man Shri Ganesha in his novel 'The Razor's Edge'. Other people who have visited the ashram include Swami Sivananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Alfred Sorensen and Wei Wu Wei.

For over twenty years, Arthur Osborne stayed at the Ashram in the company of the Maharshi and edited the Ashram's journal known as 'The Mountain Path.' He also wrote several books on Ramana Maharshi and his teachings. Mouni Sadhu too had spent several months at the Ashram when he visited it in 1949. David Godman arrived at the ashram in 1976, and since then, he has penned or edited fourteen books on topics related to Sri Ramana Maharshi. He continues to live near the ashram till date.

The younger brother of Ramana Maharshi, Niranjananda Swami, moved to the ashram along with his mother in the year 1916 and stayed at the ashram for the rest of his life. He was in charge of handling the Ashram's management, and the responsibility then went to his son and grandson, who then looked after the ashram.

Structure of Ramana Ashram

The New Hall in the Ashram houses a life statue of Sri Maharshi, and a large yogasana intricately carved out from a single stone. The Matrubhuteswara Shrine was constructed under the supervision of Vaidyanatha Stapati, a famous architect. The sanctum sanctorum of the complex contains a sacred Siva Linga and a Sri Chakra Meru sanctified by Sri Maharshi's touch.

A magnificent shrine built out of superior granite can be found on the northern side. The pillars in this shrine contain several images of gods and goddesses. A small Nandi is also placed on a high pedestal and faces the entrance to the Garbha Griha. The Ashram also houses the Maharshi's tomb, which comprises of a large mandap with a tower surmounting it, and a white marble lotus in the centre; the Old Hall and the Nirvana Room which are considered to have been particularly sanctified by the sage; a dining hall, Gosala, Vedapatasala, guest rooms, a library and a bookstore.

Ramana Ashram Timings

The following program is followed at the Ramana Ashram every day:

Breakfast/ Milk is offered - 6:45 AM
Vedaparayana - 8:00 AM
Morning Puja - 10:00 AM
Lunch - 11:30 AM
Tea - 4:00 PM
Group Reading in Tamil - 4:00 PM
Group Reading in English - 4:30 PM
Vedaparayana - 5:00 PM
Evening Puja - 6:15 PM
Tamil Parayana - 6:30 PM
Evening Meal - 7:30 PM
Samadhi Hall Closes - 9:00 PM

Events at Ramana Ashram

Numerous festivals and events take place at the Ramana Ashram; and during the times of these festivities, the air is imbued with enthusiasm and joy, and devotees have a great time. Bhagavan Jayanti, or the Maharshi's birthday, is celebrated every year in December or January, by a gathering of all devotees. On this occasion, elaborate pujas are also performed.

Other notable festivals celebrated here include Pongal, the festival of cows, which is celebrated every year in January; Mahasivaratri, the 'Night of Shiva' which is observed in February or March and is marked by an all-night vigil, pujas, recitation of mantras and circumambulation of the Hill; and Navratri, a nine-day festival that takes place in October. Sri Vidya Havan, Bhagavan's Aradhana, Mahapuja and Kartikai Deepam are also celebrated at the Ashram with equal zeal and eagerness.

The Sri Chakra Puja, which is a powerful Devi Puja, is also performed at the Mother's Shrine on every Friday, from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM. This puja also takes place on full moon days, and the first day of each month according to the Tamil calendar.

Accommodation at Ramana Ashram

Ashram accommodation at the Ramana Ashram is exclusively available for fellow devotees of Sri Bhagavan. Visitors coming for general purpose or visits are also provided with comfortable rooms.

How To Reach Ramana Ashram

Thiruvannamalai is located 120 miles to the southwest of the city of Chennai and is well connected to nearby towns via buses.

The Ramana Ashram is easily accessible by roads, railway and air transport. The Ashram is about 3 kilometres away from the Thiruvannamalai Railway Station, and about the same distance from the central bus station. It is 2 kilometres to the south of the main temple and can be readily reached via taxis.

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