Vipassana meditation has been slowly gaining popularity all over the world for some time now. Three years back, my experience of Vipassana meditation proved to be a starting point in my journey of seeking answers and asking right questions!
You may theoretically understand what is Vipassana meditation but until you’ve personally experienced it, it’s of no use.
Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique that literally means “to see things as they are”. It is an insight into the nature of true reality through experience.
Thankfully, there is no dearth of Vipassana centres in India that cater to the growing demands of this ancient meditation technique.
These centres run beginner Vipassana courses as well as courses for old students. You don’t have to pay any charges as the centers are run purely on a donation basis.
You can easily find a Vipassana meditation centre in any location of India, be it North India or South India.
Today I bring to you 15 best Vipassana centres in India where you can go for a silent meditation retreat and learn this ancient technique.
So, if you are looking to go for a Vipassana retreat in India, this list of centres will help you a lot:
1. Vipassana Dharamshala, Dhamma Sikhara
Dhamma Sikhara meaning “Peak of Dhamma” is one of the most beautiful Vipassana centers in North India, located in the foothills of Himalayas.
The center is located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh adjacent to Dharamkot village, above McLeodganj.
The area is commonly referred to as Upper Dharamshala. The center spreads across three acres amidst magnificent deodar cedar forest area with about 2000 meters high trees in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.
The center can accommodate 45 males and 43 females students. It conducts two 10-day courses every month during the period of April to November.
Another most striking feature of this center is that you get to have a real feel of meditating in mountains.
This is because the center has temporary huts made up of corrugated sheet sheds and plastic sheets as walls. In addition to this, there is a multi-lingual Dhamma hall where people from other countries can listen to discourses in 7 different languages.
Due to all these reasons, Dharamshala has emerged as one of the most favored destinations of Vipassana meditation.
You can find more information about the upcoming schedule of 10-day retreats in Dharamshala here.
2. Vipassana Igatpuri, Dhamma Giri
Dhamma Giri, meaning Peak of Dhamma, is the first Vipassana meditation center which was set up by S.N. Goenka in India in the year 1974.
It is the largest meditation centers in the world attracting thousands of people from all over the world.
Dhamma Igatpuri is situated in a small town called Igatpuri in the state of Maharashtra. Vipassana Meditation Research Institute is also located in Igatpuri.
The institute carries out modern research into the sources of ancient texts on vipassana meditation as well as on benefits of Vipassana meditation. Being one of the best Vipassana centers in India, there is a huge rush of bookings for a 10-day retreat here.
So, be prepared to book at least 5-6 months in advance if you want to go for a silent meditation retreat in Igatpuri.
3. Dhamma Bodhi, Bodhgaya
Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautam Buddha himself attained enlightenment. There cannot be a better place for learning this ancient technique of meditation.
The center is situated near the ancient Magadha University in a natural, rural location. Agricultural fields surround the center which is 4 Km away from the main town.
Spanning across 18 acres, Dhamma Bodhi can accommodate 80 meditators at once. It provides single and double room cottages to them.
The distance from the main city and fruit trees and vegetable gardens within the campus make it an ideal location for Vipassana Meditation.
You can find a number of foreigners at this center during the months of Nov-February so you have to register in advance if you are planning to go at that time. In this center, beginner 10-day meditation courses usually start on the 1st and 16th of every month.
In order to register for the course at Bodhgaya, visit the official website of Vipassana where you can also find the detailed course schedule.
4. Vipassana Mumbai, Dhamma Pattana
Inside the majestic Global Vipassana Pagoda in Mumbai, there lies another Vipassana center called Dhamma Pattana. This center near Mumbai especially runs Vipassana courses for business executives and professionals.
Dhamma Pattana, meaning Harbour of Truth, despite located in the busiest city of India has powerful meditative and peaceful environment.
It is situated in a serene village called Gorai which is few kilometers away from the main city and made on a lush green hill overlooking the sea.
The center is fully equipped with modern facilities such as AC rooms, meditation halls, and hygienic kitchens. This attracts a huge number of corporate executives and business professionals who are looking to find peace within the chaotic life of Mumbai.
5. Vipassana Chennai, Dhamma Setu
This Vipassana center is located on the outskirts of the southern metropolis of India, Chennai. The center called Dhamma Setu (“Bridge of Dharma”) is spread across 18 sq. acres of land.
It has main Dhamma Hall with a capacity of 120 meditators and two additional halls for 75 meditators each. There is a mini Dhamma Hall which can seat 30 more people.
Overall, 95 males and 48 females can be accommodated in double occupancy rooms in Vipassana Chennai center. There is a Pagoda complex with about 288 individual meditation cells.
The center conducts 10-day meditation retreats twice a month in English and Tamil primarily. However, you can also request for a cassette of the course in other languages.
You can reach Vipassana Chennai center from Chennai airport by taking a taxi or drive. Since Dhamma Setu is located at a distance of just 10 Km, it will hardly take more than 45 minutes from the airport.
6. Vipassana Jaipur, Dhamma Thali
Next to Igatpuri Vipassana center, Dhamma Thali in Jaipur is one of the biggest and oldest Vipassana centres in India.
It was set up in 1977 and is surrounded by idyllic Aravali hills. It has two large and two mini Dhamma halls that are spread across an area of 1.6 hectares.
Dhamma Thali literally means “Place of Dhamma” and can easily accommodate 200 students with solitary rooms and attached bathrooms. The center has a three-storied octagonal pagoda where 200 people can meditate in solitary confinement.
I had my first Vipassana experience at Dhamma Thali only and can personally vouch for a silent meditation retreat at this place. The center is well-maintained and clean and you get freshly prepared vegetarian meals that are ideal for such practice.
So, if you cannot find a place in Igatpuri, you can give this Vipassana centre in North India a try. You won’t be disappointed!
7. Vipassana Bangalore, Dhamma Paphulla
This is one of the newest Vipassana meditation centers in India. Dhamma Paphulla, meaning “Cheerfulness of truth” is located 30 Km away from the main city of Bangalore.
The center is spread across a massive area of 10 acres in a village called Alur. It has all kinds of modern facilities with proper hygiene and cleanliness.
The area around the center consists of farmland on one side and forestland on another side. The main meditation hall in this center can easily accommodate about 100 meditators with two additional mini halls for 30 meditators each.
So, if you are tired of the hectic corporate life in Bangalore and need a mini vacation beyond weekend parties and booze, head over to Dhamma Paphulla for 10 days. Your life would never be the same!
8. Vipassana Dehradun, Dhamma Salila
Dharamshala is not the only Vipassana center in Himachal Pradesh. You can go to Dhamma Salila in Dehradun as well to experience this silent meditation retreat. Dhamma Salila literally means “Water of Dhamma”.
It is located on the Noon river in Dholos village amidst the lush green Doon Valley of the Himalayas. You can easily reach the place from the main city without facing any major traffic. It is located at a distance of about 10 Km from Clock Tower in Dehradun.
The center can accommodate around 80 meditators with twin sharing rooms. There are twenty double rooms for males and sixteen double rooms for females. The beginner 10 day Vipassana course is usually held twice a month for a total of 20 courses every year.
Dehradun vipassana center boasts of a pleasant weather throughout the year as opposed to Dharamshala which remains mostly cold.
According to few meditators who have been to both places, Dehradun center is comparatively cleaner, well-lit, and better ventilated than Dhamma Shikara in Dharamshala.
However, both centers boast of natural surroundings of Himalayas and come among the best Vipassana centers in India.
9. Vipassana Meditation Centre, Delhi
There are as many as 4 Vipassana centers in the NCR region of northern India. The nearest Vipassana center to Delhi is located in Logicstat Farms at Chhatterpur, around 30 Km from New Delhi Railway station.
This center is spread across 10 acres of land near Village Bhatti. You can experience a peaceful meditation retreat in the picturesque surroundings of this location.
The center can accommodate 138 people (68 males, 70 females) at present and boasts of modern facilities for all meditators.
However, as per the official website, the center currently runs Vipassana courses for old students only that range from one to three days. You may also contact here if you are looking for a one day Vipassana course in Delhi.
If you have done a Vipassana course before, you can also go for a group meditation every Sunday between 10 am to 5 pm at this center.
10. Vipassana Haryana, Dhamma Sota
Among the list of Vipassana centres in North India, Haryana Vipassana center is one of the oldest centres which was set up in the year 2000.
Dhamma Sota, meaning Stream of Dhamma, is located at a distance of about 70 Km from New Delhi in Village Rahaka of the district Gurgaon, Haryana. The center is situated amidst green Aravali hills and is spread across 16 acres of land.
The main meditation hall can easily accommodate 100 meditators and the main Pagoda has 108 meditation cells. There are 78 single rooms for males and 50 single rooms for females with attached bathroom facility.
The 10-day beginner Vipassana course is held two times every month and usually, starts from every first and the third Wednesday. You can find more about it on the main website of Dhamma Sota:
11. Vipassana Karnal, Dhamma Karunika
Dhamma Karunika, meaning Compassionate Dhamma, is a Vipassana meditation center in Karnal. It is spread across a land of 7 acres at Village Newal in Kanjpura. The area is situated in the Dhammasthana of Kurukshetra.
This Vipassana center in Haryana organised its first meditation retreat in the year 2003. 52 males and 36 females can meditate together at this center having a main meditation hall and dinner hall.
There are individual rooms as well as rooms on the twin sharing basis with adequate water and electricity facilities.
You can reach Karnal vipassana center from ISBT Bus Terminal in New Delhi at a distance of about 125 Km. The center lies at a distance of 8.5 Km from Karnal bus stand and 10 Km from Karnal Railway Station.
12. Vipassana Sonepat, Dhamma Patthana
Dhamma Patthana located in Kammaspur Village in Haryana is easily one of the best Vipassana meditation centres in India, especially if you are an experienced meditator.
The place holds a natural attraction for people as it was in Kammaspur Village, Lord Buddha gave the discourse of Mahasatipatthana.
This Vipassana center in North India is spread across 7 acres of land. It is located at a distance of 11 Km from Sonepat railway station and 45 Km from ISBT (Inter-State Bus Terminal), Kashmiri Gate in Delhi.
As compared to others in this list of Vipassana centres in India, Dhamma Patthana can accommodate a fewer number of people. It has 59 individual cottages for 33 male, 22 female meditators, and Dhamma workers.
There are two Dhamma halls and 68 meditation cells in the main pagoda in Sonepat Vipassana Centre.
13. Vipassana Ladakh, Dhamma Laddha
Nothing can be better than meditating in the lap of the Himalayas surrounded by the pristine beauty of nature.
This unique experience is what makes Dhamma Laddha one of the best Vipassana centers in India. The center is located in Youknos Saboo region of Leh-Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir.
Vipassana Ladakh has 10-day beginner courses as well as short-term courses for old students. You can find the upcoming schedule of Vipassana meditation courses in Ladakh here.
14. Vipassana Hoshiarpur, Dhamma Dhaja
Dhamma Dhaja, meaning “Flag of Dhamma”, is essentially one of the Vipassana centers in North India, near Dhamma Sikhara in Dharamshala.
It is located at a distance of 12 Km from Hoshiarpur in a village called Anandgarh. Here you can meditate in the foothills of beautiful Shivalik Mountains range.
To reach Vipassana center in Hoshiarpur, you can board direct trains to Jalandhar from all locations in India.
If you are going from Delhi, you can find two coaches for Hoshiarpur through Jammu mail. From Hoshiarpur, you can board a bus or taxi to reach Dhamma Dhaja Vipassana center.
Summing it Up:
The above list of Vipassana centres in India is just a tip of the iceberg. You can find many other Vipassana meditation centers throughout the country.
I’ll keep updating this list to add more centers and give you plenty of choices to try this meditation technique no matter your location.
If you have ever been to any of the above Vipassana centers, do share your experience. Also, if you know of any other centre that deserves to be in this list, drop a comment below!
However, Vipassana is just one meditation technique. If you are really serious about doing meditation and understand mindblowing reasons to meditate, you can even try mindfulness meditation. All you need is 2 minutes a day to do a simple mindful breathing exercise.
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