A Journey Through Four Ashrams

In India there is a very old concept of char dham (4 abodes ).

Shri Shankaracharya a saint during his journey through India established four major ashrams in different corners of India in order to inspire people to provide services to the society.

Many pilgrims today travel across all these 4 dhams which is situated at four corners of India.  This is not only considered auspicious according to religion but also strengthens ones understanding of the country and its people.

Let us go through a virtual journey of four ashrams of Ekta Parishad situated in four different locations in India. Travel through these four ashrams will give a deep insight about India and its people.

Today Ekta Parishad is also proposing a char dham yatra for social workers and social activists. These centers are located in different parts of India and each one of them have a historical role  of its own. You can begin from north and travel through Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and finally reach in Tamil Nadu or you can do the other way round.

The concept of ashram is very old in India. Ashram is basically for those who want to lead a simple life and serve the society around.

Starting from Joura Gandhi Ashram in Madhya Pradesh and ending in Madurai and Kerala will be a great experience for anyone who want to see and experience India not only urban India but rural India too.

Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram Joura

The first ashram is in Joura, in Madhya Pradesh which  was established in 1970. This is the ashram where  the surrender of dacoits took place in 1972. This is a center where many activities are happening and it has a reach of hundreds of villages in the Chambal region.

Visit to this ashram will deepen your understanding of nonviolence and its impact. It will also inspire you to meet many young people, men and women who were able to transform village after village socially and economically.

You can easily spent one week in this region and you come back with a deep understanding of adivasi life, culture and their need for liberation from poverty and exploitation.

Interesting Places Near By

Gwalior is a city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It’s known for its palaces and temples, including the Sas Bahu Ka Mandir intricately carved Hindu temple. Ancient Gwalior Fort occupies a sandstone plateau overlooking the city and is accessed via a winding road lined with sacred Jain statues. Within the fort’s high walls is the 15th-century Gujari Mahal Palace, now an archaeological museum.

Taj Mahal 2 h 45 min (125 km) from Gwalior via NH 44

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the  Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz  Mahal

Orchha 2 h 48 min (123.1 km) via NH 44

is a 16th-century town on the banks of the Betwa River, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It’s known for its ornate palaces, temples and monuments. The town’s vast fort complex is home to Mughal palaces like the huge Jahangir Mahal and Raja Mahal, the latter of which features colorful frescoes. Rai Praveen Mahal, another palace within the fort, is surrounded by the landscaped Anand Mahal garden.

Jeevan Vikas Kendra – Katni

The second ashram is at the other end of Madhya Pradesh. 13 kilometers from Katni it is called “Jeevan Vikas Kendra”. The name can be translated to English as “Life development Center”

Like Joura this ashram also reaches out to many villages and the impact can be seen and felt by visiting these villages. Many training programs are organized in this center to help villagers understand land related economic programs. Certain international programs are also organized there.

Simple accommodation and vegetarian food is provided here. Unlike Joura this ashram is away from city and situated in a remote location. One can easily spend a week in this ashram visiting villages as well as reading & resting in the ashram.

Interesting Places Near By

Bhedaghat :

Bhedaghat (Hindi: भेड़ाघाट) is a town and a nagar panchayat in Jabalpur district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is situated by the side of river Narmada and is approximately 20 km from Jabalpur city and 120 km from Katni ashram. Its most famous sights are the Dhuandhar Falls, Marble Rocks, and the Chaunsath Yogini temple.

Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park is in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This biodiverse park is known for its large population of royal Bengal tigers, especially in the central Tala zone. Other animals include white tigers, leopards and deer. The mix of tropical forest, Sal trees and grassland is home to scores of bird species, including eagles. To the south are the remains of the ancient Bandhavgarh Fort.

Bandhavgarh National Park is located in Umaria Katni is 100 Kms (02 Hrs drive) from Bandhavgarh

PRAYOG ASHRAM, Tilda, Chhattisgarh

The third ashram is in Tilda in Chhattisgarh. This is about 40 kilometer away from Raipur the Capital of Chhattisgarh. This is the place for the Youth Training programs. Thousands of young people trained in this center are spread all over Chhattisgarh and are working among the marginalized community to empower them economically and socially.

Here you can also visit economic activities organized by women groups. Chhattisgarh is a culturally rich state and there are many interesting dance forms  that one can enjoy while travelling through Chhattisgarh. One should spent at least one week to visit villages interact with women groups and also to engage with young people on ideas related to transforming  society.

CESCI, Madurai Tamil Nadu

The fourth ashram is near the temple city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, 20 kilometers outside on New Natham Road. This ashram is amidst  green hills and coconut trees. Accommodation in this ashram is appreciated by many national and international visitors. The modest kitchen there  provides very tasty south Indian food. One can spend a week in this ashram and use this opportunity to read many books of Gandhi and related subjects. Also one can visit villages to experience the work by group of women and children. People visiting CESCI can visit south Indian temples. While based at CESCI, you can also visit Kerala to experience the cultural life, meet social organizations led by powerful women and  also enjoy the meal in restaurant run by this women.

Madurai Tourism







Interesting Places Near By

Synonymous with Madurai is the Meenakshi Sundareswarar twin Temple, the pivot around which the city has evolved. The Meenakshi Temple complex is literally a city – one of the largest of its kind in India and undoubtedly one of the oldest too.

Madurai – The Glory of Pandyas

Madurai is Known as Athens of the East, Madurai is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu and Madurai lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is one of the liveliest cities in South India it was originally known as Kadambavanam or the “forest of Kadamba” or the Nauclea kadamba.


Madurai is the mighty ancient Capital of the Pandya kingdom. It is called the temple city in the name of Goddess Meenakshi and God Sundareswarar.It is known as the Athens of  South India on account of its greatness and beauty. This city is now well known to the world. The Greek Ambassador Megastaneese who adorned the court of Chandra Guptha  Mauria (B.C. 302) had left a note that a Pandya princess was ruling at Madurai. Evidence is not wanting to show that there was pleasing trade between Pandya Country, Rome,  and Greece in the west

The ancient southern Indian city of Madurai that has earned the sobriquet, ‘Athens of the East’, is a place of great historical importance. Said to be the oldest city in South India, Madurai stands on the banks of the sacred river Vaigai, eternalized in Lord Shiva’s exploits in the ‘Halasya Purana’.

Madurai Tourism

Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of the world wonders situated in hot of the Madurai city.20 K M from CESCI