weekend at Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur

Tumkur is supposed to be just an hour’s drive from Bangalore, but the bus (which we got almost immediately, both to and fro) took well over 2 hours each way. But the journey was enjoyable, and more than anything the trip was well worth it! Visited the Siddaganga Mutt and stayed overnight in the simple residence provided by the mutt for a rent of Rs. 20 for the night.

The ancient ambience takes one back in time to a more historical era of India…

Sree Siddaganga Mutt is a unique Gurukula providing education to more than 8000 poor children with free food and shelter, without any discrimination of caste or creed. The Mutt also runs a blind school & nearly 100 blind children are given free education & food with an idependent hostel facility.

In the below 2 videos, more than the video part which may be probably boring, its the audio that matters, of the kids singing. Due to summer vacation, a lot of the kids had left for their homes. These vachanas were being song so melodiously, though there were only a few singing this time, it would be quite amazing when all the 8000+ students are singing together!

devaloka satyaloka

berello kaaNiro
aachaarave swarga
anaachaarave naraka

They are singing about why this life mattersDon’t look for heavenly abodes somewhere else, right living is heaven; wrong living is hell.

Below they are singing about right speech…

nuDidare muttina hAradantirabEku
nuDidare mANikyada dIptiyantirabEku
nuDidare sphaTikada salAkeyantirabEku
nuDidare linga mechchi ahudahudenabEku
niDiyoLagAgi naDeyadiddavara mechcha kUDala sangamadEva

Had the priviledge of encountering this wonderful 102 year old gentleman who is the driving force here – Dr. Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji. When we first arrived there, we so happened to be standing just next to the place where he was to sit. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that he arrived just then as well, and after a while started walking right towards us, followed by lots of other people behind him. So we just needed to stay in the same place to have a closer look at him. As he passed us, he glanced at us for a moment and continued. Even at this age, he can walk independently, and read and write without glasses! As soon as he sat down, he became immersed in his work of continuosly writing something on metalic pages. He almost seemed oblivious to the queue of people falling at his feet. When I bowed to him in all reverance, I prayed from the bottom of my heart for a long healthy and strong life for him.

Later on after some food and settling down (we initially had a tough time finding accomodation, due to some marriage all the accomodation had been booked… we even went to the nearby Tumkur city 6 km away, and returned unsuccesfully, to find that we could get a room here) we went around the place. There’s a nice temple on a hill, and the long flight of stairs leading to it…

…has some spectacular rangolis painted on it.

(No, I almost never ask Abhinav to pose for any photograph, not even this one!)

That evening, some nice water fountains were on…

Patterns on the water surface…

Vijetha seems to have found a nice spot to meditate…

As an afterthought after reading Shruthi’s post, I feel that the trait of sharing, like creativity, is within everybody. And like any trait, there are some conditions that are conducive to the manifestation of the trait.

For example, its a well known fact that silence facilitates creativity. Similarly for sharing, I feel its the sense of abundance. People who prefer to be selfish just don’t know about this, they have a world view that everything is limited and life is a rat race. Just like there are so many people who go through their whole life believing that they have no talents at all!

Of course harsh reality may be more often than not that resources are indeed limited, but surely there is a difference between external reality, and internal attitude. There are concrete pragmatic examples of so many people, like those featured in this site ijourney.org, who seem to have virtually nothing (as per conventional measurements of society), but yet have so much to give, simply because of their attitude. Simply because they know they are an emperor!

Similar to the ideas listed in the post the greater sacrifice, indeed as this Zen story portrays, the moon cannot be stolen…

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you shoud not return emptyhanded. Please take my clothes as a gift.”

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow, ” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”

Neither can the sunset – only a copy is taken with the camera here 😉

These ideas on sharing occurred to me after a somewhat interesting incident. That night, we were strolling around the ashram. We found a lot of students and visitors lying outdoors, some reading books under the neon light. Abhinav ran happily around in this open space. Just for fun, we provided him some chocolates and upon suggestion, he started distributing the chocolates to random people. (in the picture below, he’s the small gray figure in the foreground)

There’s a certain joy in sharing, and he seemed to suddenly discover this himself. To our great surprise, his joy was so spontaneous and immense! It was a real inspiration seeing him just run into that crowd, talk and laugh delightedly with all those strangers. He kept coming back to get more chocolates to distribute! (we were well equipped) And the visitors reciprocated well, and was more than good enough to give him encouragement! 😉

The next morning, climbed further up from the temple…

Quite a bit of nature walk this trial was…

Some interesting sights along the way…

Quite a challenging climb… esp carrying a baby, though a somewhat emanciated, malnuitritioned one! …still the journey was as good as the destination 🙂

Took plenty of breaks along the way…

Aerial view of the ashram… its those pink buildings in the foreground…

Finally reached the summit, view around wasn’t too bad…

Here’s a video at the top having a bit of the surrounding view…

We returned and crashed for a while…

…and guess who helped (er… sort of…) with the packing…

From Abhinav @ Tumkur

Overall it was a good trip, one minor disappointment had been lunch at the ashram. There was only one item rice and curry, which was barely palatable with hardly any vegetables in it. I wished they wouldn’t compromise quality for quantity, and we ended up having some of our meals in outside hotels, once in Tumkur city 6 km away. Perhaps its understandable due to the large number of people eating it every day, and also generous quantity of each serving (I had to preempt the server to reduce quantity for me, and even then it ended up being too much!) It is said that the cooking fire in the kitchen has never gone out since the day it was started!

Finally before leaving, we could give some trivial generic cash contribution. But on the recommendation of one of the administrative staff, we plan to visit again around June when school starts and we can actually see more students. We esp look forward to a chance to meet the blind students, and try to see what we can do for them 8)

25 Responses to “weekend at Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur”

  1. Srik Says:

    This is an awesome post! Just no words to express how much it worth, as the Ashram it describes.

    I spent hardly an hour and a half when I visited there last time. When I went there school was on and all students were roaming around. There were disabled children as well. An experience would be to spend some time with them, and understand the living in sharing.

    I would love to revisit to read ur experience of same in June.

  2. praneshachar Says:

    wow!!! what a gr8 time spent. you have really given readers a bird’s eye view of the whole campus what is store for you to see etc. etc., the way you have linked to various posts and also using the opportunity to see how abhinav reacts to sharing, i think he has responded more overwhelmingly than expected. wonderful post great caputuring on lens and no words to express
    I remembered you stay must have taken you like this when so much is avialble here
    ” swargakkakke kitch hachnedra sarvagna”
    useful read and enjoyed each sentence of yours which is written from the bottom of your heart.

  3. Sanjay M Says:

    glad you enjoyed reading it. Indeed you are right this post is a labor of love written from the bottom of my heart – was nice to know that it is visible 🙂

  4. rashmi Says:

    Nice one Sanju…you really have a talent and are giving your son a very special and unique gift by documenting these adventures.

  5. Sanjay M Says:

    thanks Rashmiakka hope u bcom free enough to be part of some future adventures atleast! 😉

  6. sulochanosho Says:

    We simply blame grossly. There are plenty of good people on this earth – may be heard or unheard – doing wonderful divine things in “action”, and the best example is Sree Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt.

  7. Sanjay M Says:

    you’re on the dot sulochanosho, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty” Gandhi had said and indeed this Swamiji is part of this mighty ocean! 🙂

  8. mala Says:

    I want the contact number of the siddhaganga mutta because one of my brother want to join there, and i want to know what are procedure for joining

  9. Sanjay M Says:

    Mala, according to their website its Phone : +91 816 2282211, 2285122, 2285133

  10. SHASHI Says:

    today being swamiji’s 103rd birthday and searching in web happened to read such a wonderful, simple & informative post.

    swamiji’s service to society is an inspiration to one & all

  11. Shanth Says:

    Nice photoes,Swamiju celebrated 103 years on April 1st.may god bless him many more years

  12. Praveenkumar Says:

    Very informative… Will be looking forward for some more tourism informative articles from you. Good job 🙂

  13. Sanjay Says:

    Thanks for your kind comments Praveenkumar. You can look at travel tag for more tourism articles and photos from around the world. I still need to update a lot of photos and articles, maybe I should stop postponing 🙂



  15. Byranna Kumar Says:

    My entire Education from High School to Degree is done in Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji schools.

    High School – 8th,9th and 10th – Sri Swamiji High School.
    PUC – 12th is from Siddaganga PU College.
    Degree – B.SC is from Siddaganga First grade college.

    I can never forget Swamiji, holy blessings, Mutt, Prayers which happens twice daily.

    today whatever I am is because of Swamiji and this Mutt.

    Byranna Kumar, 9845903567

  16. MH Prasadu Says:

    Dear Friends,

    its our luck to have this divine guru to bless and teach and guide all of us on the right path of HUMANITY and SERVICE.

    TUMKUR is having 30000+ UNELECTRIFIED HOUSEHOLDS and THE CHILDREN / STUDENTS from these households are facing problems with the DARKNESS and due to KEROSENE SMOKE they are facing RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS & EYE SIGHT DAMAGES Too.

    Due to DARKNESS these STUDENTS at Rural and Tribal areas are unable to STUDY after SUNSET.

    We, with our VIDYADEEP – A Reliable, Durable and user Friendly Solar Lamp, (Rs.600/-)committed to Brighten Lives of these RURAL UNELECTRIFIED STUDENTS of TUMKUR District.

    ledfoundation@gmail.com, 08096655565 / 09133317069

  17. Vijaykumar Mumbai Says:

    Dear friends

    I firmly belive Sree Sree Swamji is living God , spreading divinity allover andit is really heartning to note that the studendts are getting all support from the mutt which is a noble thing to happen.

    I pray the lord to bless many many years of life to swamiji for all the noble work done by him and continuing to do so.

    with regards

  18. MAHESHA A.M Says:

    i have not visited this mutt after reading ur description and comments ifeel like visiting as early as possible..
    to visit i need contact number of siddaganga mutt IF ANY ONE PROVIDE ME THE CONTACT number R REPLY TO

    EMAIL ID : maheshniranjan@gmail.com

    i will be thank full to them…

    with regards

    mahesha am

  19. pratap Says:

    Really good one… one more thing that, in siddaganga matt everyone has to learn Sanskrit… wat ever may be their religion.. every day in the morning matt students has to attend one hour Sanskrit class..

  20. venkatesha Says:

    i have read this blog and very happy to know there are still some ppl who like places like this and work done by swamiji-swamiji’s work speaks than his words more…

    i didnt had chance to study there-but now wish to enroll my sys’s son tehre for 8th std-he’s kannada medium student very dull in study and very lazy too-as i know in mutt school every child wokes up early mornng n chant manthras-n learn way of living .. so anybody can please provide me contct nimbers and address of residential school for 8th std in matha-also selection process of students..

    may long live swamiji

  21. ramadoss Says:

    Guruji, I want to visit mutt this weekend 8-9. Pl permission. Thank you.

  22. Sree Says:

    Hi Sanju,
    This is Sreelakshmi from Mysore.
    Hope u don’t mind calling u like that.
    I completely agree with your experience during the mutt visit.
    My experience was not a different one as well.
    Literally you get lost inside the mutt and wish to be there forever, away from rest of the world.
    It is totally a fabulous experience visiting there.
    You forget yourself and would not be willing to go back home.
    Such a wonderful place it is.
    Now I’m travelling to the mutt and will be reposting my experience soon.
    Recently on Apr 1st, 106th birthday of his Highness was celebrated. I might get few more new informations during my visit.

  23. sagar Says:

    hi Sanju…
    good one brother, simply no words for our post.


    on the way to siddaganga (humanity)

  24. sagar Says:

    hi Sanju…
    good one brother, simply no words for ur post.


    on the way to siddaganga (humanity)

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