Sacred Grove – A bit of the Himalayas near Bangalore

Tucked away amidst lush green paddy fields and surrounded by hillocks in what looks like no mans land is this beautiful place called Sacred Grove. Managed by The Satsang Foundation, it is powered by the vision of Sri M.

What is Sacred Grove 

It is neither an Ashram nor a Resort. It is a centre for Exploring Consciousness. 

Spread across 17 acres of pristine greenery this is an oasis of peace & tranquility. What you get here is solitude, fresh air, long walks along grassy pathways, the opportunity to pet a baby calf in the Goshala, research a subject in a well stocked library or enjoy the services of a professional wellness centre.

There are over 200 varieties of rare plants, herbs and trees with exotic flowers and medicinal properties that attract many a rare bird and butterfly. So when you get up in the morning and sit down for your meditation be prepared to be disturbed by a variety of tweets.

Where is Sacred Grove located 

About 150 Km from Bangalore – Its a 3 hr drive from Koramangla if you leave at 7 AM. Located  in a village called Pedda Kondamari, in Chowdapalli – Chittoor District. Take the Tirupathi NH upto Mulbagal and then a left turn towards Punganur. On the way stop at VVR Anand Bhavan for the special Mulbagal Dosa. (Located on the other side of the road a km before you take your left turn)

Madanapalli is 1 Hr away but while coming from Bangalore if you drive Via Madanapalli the drive time will be almost 5 Hrs.

Which is the best time to visit 

Summers can be hot – but the rest of the year is beautifully. Especially during & after the rains. Given the greenery all around there is a pleasant breeze all day through and evenings are very pleasant. The night sky is brilliant.

What about the accommodation (Sadhak Nivas)

You need to book in advance. There are 5 operational cottages that can accommodate 20 people. The rooms are very well designed and spacious. They are simple but classy. From the curtains to the mats there is an eye for detail in every single thing. All the cottages have a sit out in the front & rear.  They are named after the plants that grow in front of them – Rudraksha, Kanuga, Parijata etc. Rooms are well equipped and all you need to carry are your toiletries & soap.

So what do I do at Sacred Grove 

I keep myself busy from 5 AM to 10 PM.

You can start the day with meditation / Yoga / Chanting – find a nice green corner or sit in the portico near the library or by the Madan Gopal shrine. Enjoy the rising sun. Then have a cup of tea and go for a long walk – take your slippers off and enjoy the dew laden moist grass on your feet. Visit the Goshala and say Hi to the 14 Traditional Gir cows that came all the way from Melkote. Morning 7 AM is when they get milked listening to some lovely instrumental music. (Dont forget to get them some Gud & Bananas)

After breakfast you can spend time at the well stocked library. Post lunch – take a nap or get back to the library. In the evening you could go watch a talk by Sri M at the library, explore the campus, just sit by the water conservation pond or the old well and do nothing. You could visit one of the shrines and do some chanting or meditation.  Volunteer for some work in the kitchen or garden. Dinner starts by 7.30.

And dont forget to book a session at ArogyaM the ayurvedic wellness centre that offers traditional therapies.

If you are friendly with the library in-charge Anand, he may take you for a trek up one of the hillocks close by. Budget 2 – 3 hrs for that. Treks are normally done in the morning.

There is no TV at Sacred Grove – but the 4G network is good. There is also Wi Fi at the Library. But this is a place where you should stay away from your gadgets.

What about the food 

Food is simple, fresh, healthy, vegetarian fare served at the well equipped Kitchen – Santrupti. Some items are home grown – Millets, groundnuts, few veggies etc. Milk comes from the Goshala. Menu is mostly S Indian. There is no concept of room service or customised food. You get 3 nutritious meals a day – and if you want to snack or have a sweet tooth carry some stuff with you. There are no shops close by. You have a kettle in your room so you can make your morning tea.

Is there a fixed routine

Nope – this is not an Ashram. Yes there are fixed timings for meals at the dining room – but other than that you decide how you want to spend your time.

If you happen to join a retreat or a wellness centre program then there will be a routine to be followed.

About the Wellness Centre (ArogyaM) 

The wellness centre is run by a professional company. There are doctors, therapists and well equipped treatment rooms. They have 9 rooms for stay & 4 treatment rooms.  It is a self sufficient centre and is centred around the Dhanvanthri shrine. The centre regularly organises multi day wellness camps targeted at specific areas of health.

 

 

The well stocked Library 

The Library has over 1200 books covering diverse topics. From Sufi literature to Nath Sampraday, Ramkrishna to Ramana, Lakshman Joo to Aurobindo, Yoga, Tantrashastra, Vedas & Vedanta…. – its a paradise for a spiritual seeker. The Library also has a well equipped AV system.

Is it safe – so far away in the midst of nowhere

It is perfectly safe – Yes Nagraj and many of his disciples live here but they have not troubled anyone. This is their house – we are the guest. Be careful while walking at night and keep the doors and window nets closed at all times. I haven’t seen monkeys but the locals say that they exist.

The closest shop is 5 Km away. Carry your medicines / torch / snacks / umbrella / floppy hat / a trekking stick if you plan to go trekking. Dont carry plastic bottles – the place is clean and pure lets not mess it up.

A few more points 

Dont plan a rushed day trip. Enjoy this place by spending at least a few days. I try to come for 3 nights every month. This place is best enjoyed in solitude so come alone. This is NOT a family get away – most kids will get bored. If you have food allergies and need customised food or you cannot survive without your 6 AM Filter Coffee then you may find it a little difficult here. Rooms are great for two people with two single beds.

Background 

Sacred Grove is managed by The Satsang Foundation. The centre was launched on 4th June 2018 with a ground breaking ceremony by Sri M.

Later the Goshala was launched followed by the consecration of the Madana Gopal Shrine on 26th Aug 2021.

The Library, Wellness Centre, Dining Hall & Sadhak Nivas were inaugurated by Sri M on 3rd July, 2022.

Sri M with the team that came up with this divine place in a short span of 4 years. Building & maintaining a place so far away from a commercial hub is not easy – so full credit to the team for having done an outstanding job.

Sacred Grove is already attracting great reviews with repeat visitors. Give it a few more years as the trees grow and the energy of the place blooms – the paradise will get better.

How do I book a cottage at Sacred Grove 

Drop a mail to book a room at sacredgrove@satsang-foundation.org The place is open to all.

You can also sponsor a cottage and get 50 days of free stay/ year for 15 years.

 

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