The following are cultural rules developed to assist you in respecting the Ashram community and Indian culture. The Ashram children, as in all families, learn by example.
When visitors stay at the Ashram they join a family that is already functioning. Therefore, it is essential that guests be appropriate role models according to Indian culture and adhere to the policies and rules regarding life at the Ashram.
Please try to blend in with the Indian culture, both at our Ashram and in the neighboring villages and towns. As with many institutions, the local population observes our behavior carefully so the way you behave will affect the reputation of our Ashram. Visitors need to adapt to Ashram life by blending into the existing family and society as much as possible.
1. Travelers may stay at the Ashram at the discretion of the Ashram management.
2. All travelers are required to check in at the main office upon arrival.
3. No smoking, alcohol, meat, drugs are allowed on the premises.
4. It is important to keep proper boundaries with the children so their discipline remains consistent. When you arrive you will receive a copy of the Ashram schedule. Please be conscious of this schedule and help children to follow it. When the bell rings to end one activity encourage the children to move on to their next activity. Often the most effective way to do this is to disengage from them completely.
5. Please do not invite children into your room. The children are allowed in the guest building only during certain activities. They are not allowed to roam around the building or visit people in their rooms.
6. Please do not give gifts of any type (food, clothing, etc.) to individual children. Receiving gifts creates competition, disharmony, and jealousy when only some children receive one. It also teaches the children to ask for and expect gifts from all visitors and there are certain gifts that are inappropriate to give, such as money, videos etc. If you wish to give a group gift or gifts for all the children discuss the appropriate way to do this with the management.
7. During most activities, the children are separated by gender. Be aware of this and act accordingly.
8. Men are asked to respect the gender rules of India by not engaging in physical play with girls above age 6.
9. For men, it is not considered proper to talk to a woman alone. For a young man and woman to speak together, they need to be within a group of people.
10. Please refrain from touching or intimate physical contact in public.
11. Please look neat and well groomed at all times while staying at the Ashram.
12. Please dress appropriately. All clothing must be neat and clean. Women and men should wear loose, modest clothing in good condition. Women are requested to wear the Indian Punjabi suits (long tunic top, loose pants and scarves). They can be bought very inexpensively in India. Alternatively, you may wear long skirts, dresses or pants that fit loosely on the body. All tops should be long and loose and scarves are still encouraged, even with western clothing. No shorts or sleeveless tops, even in hot weather. The dress for men is much like traditional western dress. Men may not go bare-chested.
13. All visitors are responsible for their own health care. However, please inform management if you are ill so we can monitor your health and help guide you appropriately. If you use medicine from the clinic, you are asked to replace it, preferably by going to town and purchasing the medicines to restock the clinic. Please report all allergies upon arrival.
14. Please do not approach the kitchen staff for special food items. If you have dietary needs, please talk to the management.
15. Please to not hitch hike or take rides with strangers. Ask for our current vehicle schedule. Motorized rickshaws are also available in front of the Ashram and at the bridge in Haridwar.
16. For your protection and safety, please do not take walks or bike rides alone in the surrounding area. Jogging should be done within our compound only.
17. Please return to the Ashram before dark. It you plan to be in Haridwar after nightfall, inform the Ashram staff and a friend. After dark return to the Ashram by taxi only. The motorized rickshaws are not safe at night.
18. It is advisable to keep your room locked when you are not in the building. Even when the room is not locked the door should always remain shut when the room is empty.
19. Occasionally the staff will find it necessary to speak with you about certain behavior that hasn’t been covered in the above rules. Please do not take these comments personally. Policies have been developed over the years to consider the well being of the children. These procedures reflect the children’s culture and have been developed carefully to give the children the best possible environment. The staff will assist you in learning and understanding the basic routines of Ashram life. If you do not understand any of the Ashram rules ask the resident staff for clarification.