|| Omkareshwar Ashram ||
Situated in the midst of the rugged beauty of rolling hills, the island offers nature lovers an abundance of plant and animal life. The majestic Narmada River flows serenely through the forested wonderland where gray monkeys and green parrots adorn the branches of the trees. Built picturesquely on the side of a hill leading down to the banks of the river, is the ashram called "Mata Anandamayi Tapo Bhumi" (Meditation and Austerity Site). This ashram was established as a quiet meditation retreat for those who wish to spend time in a beautiful natural setting, practicing meditation in a charged and uplifting environment. In the ashram grounds are many beautiful sites for meditation.
There are five temples on the premises; one of Anandamayi Ma, another of Lord Shiva, one of Sri Narmada Mata, and two small welcoming shrines of Sri Hanuman and Bhairav Shiva at the two entrances of the ashram. Several Brahmacharis and Sannyasis live full time in this ashram, performing their spiritual disciplines. People come at various times for spiritual retreats and to take part in the different functions that the ashram sponsors. People are welcome to come for short or extended periods, but we ask that they write or e-mail us before coming, as the rooms are limited. There are simple but beautiful rooms provided for ashram visitors.
The ashram day begins in the early morning with everyone gathering to wend their through the entire ashram while singing kirtan and offering lights, incense and prayers first on the banks of the river, and then in each of the ashram's temples. This is followed by chanting and yoga asanas. People are free to follow their own routines during the day, and all meet for lunch, and again in the evening for arati (offering of lights), bhajans and kirtan (devotional singing) and reading from the words of Sri Anandamayi Ma. There are also special retreats on spiritual life throughout the year, and courses can be arranged with the Ashram Swamis with advance notice.
June through August is the monsoon season and the warm rains turn the surrounding area into lush jungle. From October through March, the weather is warm and clear with chilly nights and during this period most visitors come to share the ashram life and blessings. April—mid June is the summer hot season during which the Ashram School is on holiday and many leave the area for cooler climates. Visitors are always welcome to come and participate in the ashram life, strengthen their own meditation practice or offer their talents in the school by sharing any skills they possess with our students. The presence in the ashram of the hostel boys, the visiting sincere seekers of truth and the experienced ashram residents blends to make an atmosphere of serenity, holy joy and upliftment of spirit.
Every Mahashivaratri (the yearly celebration honoring Lord Shiva), the ashram performs the service of distributing prasadam (blessed food) to all the pilgrims that crowd the island's pilgrim trail encircling the island on that holy day.