Somaskanda Temple & Ashram
Somaskanda Ashram is a temple and ashram located in Graubünden, Switzerland, quite high up in the Alps. The temple is dedicated to the Somaskanda Murthi, a very unusual deity combining Shiva, Shakti and Murugan.
If you look at the pictures of Somaskanda Murthi, you can see that he has three parts – a lingam, representing the formlessness of Shiva, a yoni, representing Shakti, the Divine Mother, and a three-headed nāg or serpent, which is a form of Lord Murugan. This very powerful idol has an immense and beautiful presence, and we feel very blessed to be given access to such a connection, which we must use for our spiritual evolution. The location of the temple, surrounded by the vast energy of the Swiss Alps, enhances this and can together have a very clarifying and rejuvenating effect for pilgrims and residents alike.
The connection between Skanda Vale and Switzerland took shape in 1990, when Guru Sri Subramanium came to Switzerland to lead a spiritual seminar. These seminars continued, and a loyal following of devotees developed. These people got together to buy a seminar house in the Alps in 1995, which was used as a retreat centre. However, momentum was building for the place to become a temple, and this really accelerated after the installation of a large murti of Lord Ganesh in 2010, leading up to the arrival of the Somaskanda Murthi and other deities, and its full inauguration as a temple through 42 days of Mandala Abhishekams in 2016.
Guide for Pilgrims
Anyone is welcome to visit Somaskanda and participate in the daily worship, or to stay for a few days and participate in the life of the temple. The temple is remote, it may be difficult for some pilgrims to access, especially in the winter, so please go to the Somaskanda Ashram website for more detailed information, and contact the temple if you have concerns.
Unlike Skanda Vale in Wales, Somaskanda does not have a large area of land, but is contained mostly within one three-storey Alpine chalet. The pilgrims’ accommodation, kitchen and dining area are on the bottom floor, where you enter as you come up the hill, the Community’s accommodation is on the middle floor and the temple itself takes up the top floor. There is a small structure with a murthi of Lord Ganesh outside, as well as a very big murthi of Nandi.
Any pilgrims or seeker hoping to stay for a few days is very welcome, and will be invited to join in with the daily pujas and the chores of the ashram, which can include cleaning, helping to prepare meals and doing work around the temple. There can also be time available for personal sadhana and meditation.
The standard program of worship in Somaskanda Temple constitutes pujas at 06:00, 12:00 and 19:00, and the temple itself is only accessible at these times. However, this can differ depending on festivals and other special pujas, and so it is worth checking the calendar on their website.
Lord Murugan Temple
Established in 1973, the Lord Murugan Temple was the first temple at Skanda Vale. Open for darshan every day at 05:00, 13:30 and 21:00.
Sri Ranganatha Temple
The Sri Ranganatha (or Lord Vishnu) Temple was inaugurated on the millennium. Open 24 hours a day, with daily pujas at 09:30.
Maha Shakti Temple
Consecrated in 1991, the Maha Shakti (or Kali) Temple was the second temple at Skanda Vale. Open for darshan every day at 06:30 and 18:00.