In the lush Kangra valley, at the feet of the Dhauladhar mountain range, nestles the small hamlet of Sidhbari, named as 'the abode of the siddhas, or Self-realized masters.' According to ancient scriptures, this mystical place was home to numerous great saints and seers, who, through their austerities, sanctified all the earth they walked on.
In 1977, Swami Chinmayananda came across the barren, hilly landscape and instinctively knew that it was hallowed space. There he founded Chinmaya Tapovan Trust (CTT) and the ashram it now administers. The once barren countryside of grazing grounds was transformed with the ashram's new temple, cottages, and satsang halls, providing a panoramic view of Nature's splendour.
In 1981, His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda established a Vedanta institute, Sandeepany Himalayas (Sandeepany HIM), and commenced a two-year, intensive, residential Vedanta course in Hindi, similar to the course offered in English in Mumbai's Sandeepany ashram. Today, in addition to the course, spiritual camps for adults and youth are conducted at the ashram by Mission acharyas year-round.
Sandeepany HIM's campus is stunningly lush and vast. The majestic Shiva lingam on the residential cottage of Swami Chinmayananda is visible for miles, and a mark of the pervading sanctity. Stately trees, gentle plants, and radiant flowers blossom effortlessly in the sacred environment and offer a vibrant backdrop that is loved by all the ashram residents and the neighbouring locals.
From virtually every corner of the ashram, the snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar are clearly visible. A thick pine forest closes in from one side of the ashram, and the view of magnificent terraced fields and gurgling streams flows in from the other.
With over 100 rooms for shared accommodation, the ashram can comfortably accommodate 300 people at a time. It also houses an exceptional spiritual bookstore, a medical dispensary, and a large cowshed.
Shri Rama Temple
One of the beautiful and serene spots in the Sidhbari ashram is the temple dedicated to Shri Rama, known by all as 'Rama Mandir.' The temple's golden domes glisten from afar, welcoming all devotees. Many consider this temple a place of pilgrimage and visit to pay homage from all corners.
At the entrance of the temple on the left is Lord Shiva's statue along with a Shiva Lingam and Nandi.
Click for more
Lord Hanuman Idol
Undoubtedly, the most striking feature of the Sidhbari ashram is the unique 25-foot high idol of Lord Hanuman, whose regal and dynamic pose of ever-ready service is awe-inspiring and visible from the ashram entrance. Lord Hanuman, son of the Lord of the Wind, has historically and successfully kept at bay the typically strong winds that flow throughout the Kangra region. Lord Hanuman's eyes are firmly set on his Lord in the Rama Mandir.
Every five years marks one of the grandest celebrations in Chinmaya Mission, in which thousands of devotees from all around the world come to perform Mastaka-Abhishekam of Lord Hanuman. Click here for photographs of the Mastaka-Abhishekam held in October 2007.
Click for more
Samadhi Sthala of His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda
The most revered and intense abode of silence, and the focal point for ashram residents and visitors, is the samadhi sthala of Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, who attained mahasamadhi on August 3, 1993. The sthala, built in traditional Kerala style, houses Swamiji's ashtadhatu pratima, or sculpture made of eight metals. Arati, or worship, is offered here daily, at dawn and dusk. Devotees from all corners of the globe come to meditate, worship, and bask in the presence of the master, whose mortal remains are buried under the sculpted image.
Click for more
Often referred to as "The Sidbhari Project," CORD Sidhbari is a well renowned project which is recognized and lauded by leading NGOs, humanitarian organizations, medical professionals, and social service workers as an exemplary provider for rural development in numerous aspects. Focused on the surrounding villages and the pahadi people of Himachal, the project's medical services, vocational training (nursing and sewing), financial management services, and value-based social programs have transformed thousands of lives over the years.
Click for more
Chinmaya Tapovan Trust
Sidhbari 176 057
Himachal Pradesh, India
Ph: +91-1892-234 324
Fax: +91-1892-236 199
By Rail: The nearest railway stations are Pathankot and Chakki Bank. From either station, take a three-hour bus or taxi ride to 'Tapovan Ashram'.
By Bus: Overnight luxury buses are available directly from New Delhi to Dharamshala. The boarding point is Kashmiri Gate. The ashram is a 20-minute taxi ride from Dharamshala.
By Air: Direct flights go from New Delhi to Kangra (Gaggal) Airport. The ashram is a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport.