Female devotees dressed in saris wait for the Lord Murugan Temple to open at Skanda Vale Ashram

The pilgrim’s guide

What to wear

  • Skanda Vale is an outdoors place, and the weather is often a lot worse than in the cities. You should be prepared, even in summer, for bad weather.
  • We recommend you wear warm outdoor clothing, with waterproofs, umbrellas and sensible shoes for walking on uneven ground.
  • If you are visiting in the winter then you should bring a torch as well.
  • Your temple clothing should be clean and modest.
  • We ask pilgrims not to bring leather jackets, belts or handbags into the temples.
For the safety of visitors and residents, CCTV cameras are in operation at various sites throughout the ashram.

What to bring

  • All worship, meals and accommodation at the ashram are offered free of charge.
  • If you would like to donate money, food or any other items then you are very welcome, but it should be done so anonymously. In keeping our vows of poverty, we never make suggestions regarding what you should offer to God in the temples.
  • Food offerings should be arranged on trays, and placed on the tables outside any of our three temples before the puja starts. Please remove any unnecessary packaging, and wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Money offerings should be placed in the yellow metal donation boxes outside each of the temples. Please do not offer money in the temple itself.

What to do when you’re here

  • Skanda Vale is an ashram, not a tourist destination. If you would like to visit, then you should come as a pilgrim, not a sightseer.
  • In preparation for your pilgrimage, we ask you not to consume any meat, poultry, fish or illegal drugs for at least three days before you come here. Please do not bring any of these things into the ashram, and remember that no smoking or alcohol is permitted anywhere in Skanda Vale.
  • If you have eaten meat in the last three days, then please sit on the terrace of the Shakti Temple, or sit at the back of the Murugan Temple. We ask ladies having a menstrual period to do the same – please feel free to ask a member of the Community if you would like to know more about this.
  • Pilgrims must not offer healing, therapies, counselling or medical treatment, (except emergency first aid) whilst at Skanda Vale.
  • As a general rule, you should come to Skanda Vale only to enhance your personal experience of God. It is not acceptable to use the ashram as a network to promote your business, find a partner, or recruit for other religious or charitable organisations. Leaving religious pictures or literature for pilgrims to pick up is not OK.

Temple rules

  • No cameras, phones, tablets or laptops are allowed anywhere in Skanda Vale. Your pilgrimage will be more fulfilling if you are not distracted by texts, photos, calls etc.
  • Sing, chant and worship God, but don’t talk during pujas.
  • Men and women sit separately.
  • Children must be supervised at all times, and must be quiet in the temples.
  • The grounds of the ashram are sacred, so do not pick any plants or flowers.
  • Children found throwing stones at our animals will be in serious trouble.
  • We have continuing problems with pilgrims dropping their rubbish; please understand that we don’t have a big team of cleaners – the swamis who lead the pujas are the same people that have to clean up everything you throw on the floor.

Health & safety

  • Refrain from entering any animal enclosures
  • Do not touch the animals.
  • Do not climb into or play with any of the farm machinery.
  • Please wash your hands before eating.
  • Please follow all instructions displayed on signs.
  • Please keep to public paths and do not climb fences.
  • Children should be kept away from manure piles.
  • Special supervision is required around the Sri Ranganatha Temple to ensure children do not venture close to the waters edge.
  • Any incidents or accidents must be reported immediately to a member of the monastic Community.
  • If in doubt about a certain area or activity, always consult a member of the Community.

Thank you!

Thanks for taking time to read this guide – we hope you enjoy your pilgrimage. You may now book accommodation.

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