Our Center

The Vrikshalaya Himalayan Center.

The Vrikshalaya Center is the headquarters of The Foundation for the Contemplation of Nature. Vrikshalaya means 'Home of the Trees' in Sanskrit.

The Center offers accommodation for visitors to the area, but we also organize village home-stays, offer a venue for existing programs and retreats, and organize a wide range of activities as well as our own courses and programs. Our various programs at the center and at events in India and overseas aim to present principles of Resiliency and how to practice The Mindful Contemplation of Nature. 

Vrikshalaya is near the Hill Station of Ranikhet, but it is still off the beaten track, and doesn’t appear in the usual tourist guides. The center is located on the edge of a forest by the village of Majkhali. It has its 2-acre compound with close to 1000 native trees, and is truly a ‘home of trees.’

Our Activities.

Whether you are interested in a weekend retreat, a day trip, workshops, longer residencies or group courses, accommodation can be arranged to fit your needs. You can also volunteer individually or as part of a group or simply rent our venue for your own program.
The Center offers 4 main types of activities; Mountain Residencies; Courses, Workshops & Programs; Outdoor Adventure Activities; and Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Courses. See What We Offer.

Who comes here?

Outdoor & Adventure Tourists

  • Outdoor youth associations hosting travel programs
  • Solo travelers interested in nature and sightseeing historical sights, from individuals to groups
  • Retired active people, nature lovers, hikers. People on a gap year
  • Holiday makers of all kinds, including families with children

Volunteer/ NGO Tourism

  • Independent volunteers interested in resilient communities and organic agriculture
  • Company groups interested in CSR, team-building and sustainability

Spiritual Tourism, Meditation & Yoga

  • Yoga and meditation students and practitioners of all levels
  • Individuals interested in personal transformation through nature and meditation
  • Yoga teachers hosting yoga retreat

Educational Tourism

  • Schools, universities, personal research
  • Student and professional groups interested in Resiliency, Team-building, Leadership
  • Student and professional groups interested in rural living and mountain resiliency
  • Student and professional groups interested in outdoor tourism and eco-tourism

Creative Retreats

  • Artists and writers seeking 1-3-month residency program.
    The Artists’ Studio is a two-floor self-contained building. Each floor is 12 square meters.
    We welcome applications for long term guests (6 weeks -6 months) such as Writers, Researchers, Artists, Designers and Artisans who are looking for a quiet and creative retreat. Please send your application and proposed program to ajayras@gmail.com. Please include your name, nationality, a PDF presentation of your work, any links, CV, and proposed project details (less than 600 words).
  • Senior citizens gap year.
    This is an ideal location for retired people interested in outdoor activities to come and stay for a gap year in their retirement. Your gap year can be designed according to your needs and interests. We are flexible – but we especially welcome applications for long term senior guests (1-3 months) who are interested in cultural exchange. We believe you have a lot to bring to us by taking part in village life. By residing at the center, you get the chance to learn about Mindful Contemplation of Nature, spend time in nature, see everything the region has to offer, and even volunteer at the local village school and join in village activities.
    You will have your own studio flat or self-contained room, with adjoining bathroom, and a small area for making tea and coffee and preparing simple meals on your own, in addition to the vegetarian breakfast and evening meal included in your stay made by ladies from the village! 

The accommodation we offer
There are several types of accommodation available for all types of travelers; individual and shared rooms and a room with kitchenette in The Cottage, the writers/artists’ residency in The Library, a single room in the Yoga Hall premises, home-stays with villagers, village homes for rent, self-contained summer houses, and camping site, for those who have their own tents.

The Vrikshalaya Himalayan Centre consists of 3 buildings in 2 acres of land, set in the Himalayan landscape. The Cottage has 3 bedrooms, the Yoga Hall has an attached bedroom, and The Library has a studio space for artists and writers staying for longer periods of time. The centre also has large stone courtyard for meetings. There is a meditation circle with a life-size statue of Buddha and several seating places including stone benches. There is also a traditional wood fired oven! 

We offer accommodation at the center, at home-to visitors who just wish to spend time in a beautifully scenic environment. The center is based in the Majkhali village in the foothills of the Himalayas, known for stunning mountain views and large agricultural fields. Besides the resident local population, it is gradually becoming an interesting cosmopolitan community.

 

The Yoga Hall, The Cottage & The Library.
The Center has a main building which houses the Yoga Hall. There is a separate cottage for accommodation that has 3 rooms. The 3 rooms are named Sukh (Cosy) and Chaine (Relaxed) on the upper level and Shanti (Peaceful) on the lower ground level. All rooms have separate entrances and en suite bathrooms. Sukh has 3 beds and can easily accommodate an extra bed. Chaine has 2 beds and can easily accommodate an extra bed. There is an attached bathroom and a balcony at the same level as the hall.  The cottage has two floors both with attached toilet, kitchenette and a sitting area. There are facilities for cooking, including utensils. Cooks can be provided.

The Balcony upstairs at the Cottage.
Chaine en suite bathroom.
Shanti with kichennette

Camping.
Yet another option for stay is pitching tents. There is ample space to do so and for those who are keen arrangements could be made to experience outdoor living. Campers get access to bathrooms and showers and toilets.

Village Home-stays.
Those who want to experience rural life, we organize a home-stay program that connects visitors with host families, to experience first-hand how the villagers live, prepare and eat home cooked food, walk in fields and pastures, visit local deities or spend time near the streams. It’s an ideal opportunity for learning life skills refinement in a different cultural setting, whilst helping the villagers with additional income and cultural exchange.
The village homes are generally located in a cluster and one such cluster is offering home stays. The family of the homeowner stays in the house and they have spared one room in each house. The toilets are not attached to the room but are close to the house: Indian type supplied with water from buckets. The premises are very clean and pleasant with stone courtyards, cowshed and trees. They are about 7-10 minutes of slightly uphill walk from the main road. For those who wish to stay right on road; options could be explored. Safe parking for visitors to all the houses is arranged on the roadside.
(More info. to follow)

Food.
We don’t have any restaurants ourselves, but all our meals are prepared with love by ladies from the village! They will come and prepare your every meal - and you can even learn how to cook regional Kumaoni food with them. All our food is organic, seasonal, vegetarian, and mostly grown in the local area. We’ve even made a cookbook and can make a lunchbox or picnic for when you go hiking or on day trips! We have a wood-fired oven too and you could use it to bake as much as you wish to eat.
If you wish to go out to eat, there are a lot of options; there are several nearby resorts and hotels in and around Majkhali-Ranikhet.
Meals INR 200 per person per meal.

Laundry.
You can have your laundry washed in the village or machine washed at the center for a small fee of INR 100 per wash.

Weather.
Summer and Monsoon months are warm to pleasant during the day and cool at night. Light sweater, waterproof jacket and hiking shoes recommended.
Winter months are cold during the day and night. Warm clothes and jackets are very necessary. We do have heating in our accommodation but it can drop to minus degrees in winter!
The best time to come to visit us is from Spring through Summer (March to July), and then fall to early winter (September to November), for the temperate climate. The monsoon rainy season is from July – August, but this makes the mountainous area very cool and pleasant to be in – it’s a perfect escape from the heat of larger cities.
From December to the end of February it can be quite cold in the evenings, and none of our accommodation has central heating so for our western guests it’s a bit like camping and you need to wear extra clothes!  

Medical Emergencies.
We require that all guests inform us in advance of medical needs, and have adequate travel and/or medical insurance. It is also very important that our guests bring the medicines that they take need to take regularly. The nearest hospital is a Government run Primary Health Center within 2 minutes’ walk. A well-equipped hospital with operation theater is 15 minutes’ drive away in Kalika. It is run by Dr Srivastava, who is also a qualified surgeon. The general physician and cardiologist is in Ranikhet town has the facilities for an ultrasound and other regular check-ups.

Accessibility.
We want to make our facilities as accessible as possible but we are located in a rural mountain village. We will go the extra mile to always have a local guide or helper available for guests with special needs, and we can organise helpers to help carry guests in wheelchairs when necessary. We are not officially equipped for wheelchair access, but you can drive right up to the gate of our buildings, and we can push or carry the wheelchair up the winding slope. All the rooms in the cottage are accessible by wheelchair and so is the main kitchen and courtyard in the building with yoga hall. The hall is on the first floor and only accessible by stairs.

OUR HOUSE RULES.

Let’s live a healthy and organic life together!

- It’s a 5-7 minute moderately steep climb to the center, please keep quiet after 9 pm.
- Smoking in not permitted inside our buildings, please do not litter.
- All meals are vegetarian, Please confirm your meal requirements the day before including any dietary restrictions or allergies before you arrive.
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Alcohol and drug use is not allowed on the premises.
- Please keep it peaceful! No loud TVs or loud music.
- No use of mobiles in the communal living room.
- No pets allowed.
- Children under 8 no charge, no unaccompanied minors.

Checking in & out times:
Check-In time: 3pm – 8pm
Check-out time: 11 am

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Vrikshalaya Center Tariffs:
We accept a minimum stay of 2 nights, booked in advance with a valid ID.
Children under 11 years of age stay free of charge! 

Room rates.
Rooms with single occupancy, INR 2800 per person
On a twin sharing basis, INR 1800 per person (3600 total)
Triple sharing basis, INR 1400 per person (4200 total)
Family or group of four in one room, INR 1200 per person or 4800 total
Extra bed, INR 800  

Yoga Hall.
For a Group of 7 or more using the premises for more than 5 nights, the yoga hall charges are INR 1000 per day. 
For a non -residential visitors and companies interested in renting the hall for their own program, for example, conferences, retreats, etc, the rates are up to INR 8000 per day.
For guests at the Center or Homestay guests, the use of the Yoga Hall is included in the fee for yoga and/or meditation and mindfulness sessions with Ajay. 

All levels of Yoga lessons are available in 90-minute sessions, Rs. 500 p.p. with special rates for groups and longer stays.
Contemplation of Nature Mindfulness Meditation 2-hour Workshop is Rs. 800 p.p. with special rates for larger groups and longer stays, held outside with weather permitting.

Your accommodation includes:

  • Breakfast
  • Sheets and Towels
  • Attached toilet and bath with hot & cold running water
  • Tea making facilities 
  • Filtered water (Bottled water is available for purchase)
  • Parking
  • Use of our Yoga Hall
  • Free Wi-Fi in the common dining areas and hall (not high speed)
  • Heating in the rooms during the winter months

Food.
Simple vegetarian meals are made to order with organic and local ingredients - INR 200 per meal per person. Most of the ingredients are local and organic. 
Happy baking: Use of wood-fired oven is available at a nominal one-time fuel cost of INR 1000 on a self-baking basis. Ingredients can be purchased locally or bought from us. It takes about 3 hours for the oven to heat up; so please plan ahead! 

Laundry.
Washing machine available for self-service at INR 100 per wash.
Laundry service, 300 INR per machine wash.

Room service.
Additional room cleaning, on request, 300 INR

Tariffs and Prices shown on this website are approximate and subject to change.