A spiritual getaway on the outskirts of Coimbatore, around 30kms west from the center of the city. Isha was founded by the Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev as a non profitable organization for yoga. A dreamlike destination amidst the misty hills of Velliangiri, Isha believes in the source of yoga and power, and the design also makes sure the positive energy is bestowed on people who believe in Shiva, the powerful deity in Hindu mythology and anyone who practices yoga. So this blog is all you need to know about Isha yoga, Adiyogi and its meditation centre, Yoga does not only purify the mind but also the body and soul.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev-age, biography, history
Sadhguru was born on September 3 of 1957 to a Telugu family in the Mysore region of Karnataka. Being the youngest of the four children, he always moved into different places owing to the nature of his father’s job.
Jaggi Vasudev graduated from the University of Mysore with a bachelor’s degree in English, he had his eyes set on the business aspect though his parents wanted him to opt for a post graduate. It all started when he was just 13 as he stepped into the world of yoga and meditation by his guru Malladihalli Raghavendra.
In September 1982, aged just 25, his spiritual experience after sitting on a rock up at Chamundi hills changed his whole perception and moved him much closer to a spiritual enlightenment journey of his life. He started teaching yoga throughout Karnataka and Hyderabad on his motorcycle, donating the class fee to a local charitable trust.
Jaggi married Vijay Kumari, known as Viji, with whom he has a daughter, Radhe Jaggi, trained Bharatanatayam dancer born in 1990.
Fast forward to 2020, Sadhguru is a prominent name not just in the world of yoga and spiritual guidance but also on social media with several million active followers on his handles.
He addresses students and other events on a regular basis sharing valuable life lessons, importance of yoga and self discipline and also actively voicing out for environmental issues. He also initiated the rally for rivers campaign during mid 2017 to start joining hands in saving the rivers of India, a movement which caught the attention of national media.
History of Isha
Sadhguru on various occasions hasn’t shied away from delightfully spilling beans on the history of Isha foundation in Coimbatore. Isha was founded in 1992 and established itself as a non-profitable organization that focuses on core aspects of yoga, meditation, human values and wellness and later got actively involved in social welfare as well.
Before zeroing in on a place to set up the center, the associates of Sadhguru had a hard time making him nod his head for the places they came up with. He was shown a number of places in and around Tamil Nadu, none of which got into the good books of Jaggi Vasudev. It was one evening around 6.45 at evening, a casual drive to the now set Center that struck a chord with him and his heart.
He got off from the ride, smitten by nature’s blissfulness and kept gazing at the seventh hill for a few minutes; it was at this moment Sadhguru decided to make this his forever home for his spiritual experience.
We can’t obviously blame him for the decision as anyone could go weak on their knees by looking at the heavenly Velliangiri hills and its dream-like destination around it.
The land was owned by a wealthy family who Jaggi recalls had no reason to sell their property to anyone, but as destined it all was registered in the name of Isha foundations on the 11th day.
Watch Sadhguru himself taking us through the vibrant Isha and what it has to offer to this world. His pleasant voice manoeuvring over my mind carefully taking us to the journey of Isha and its purpose.
Isha location and address
Isha is nestled amidst the foothills of the beautiful Velliangiri hills at around 30kms from the Coimbatore centre. You can reach here directly by 14D buses plying between Coimbatore to Isha every hour.
If you are driving you can take up the Thondamuthur-Siruvani road from where you can take up the right intersection near Karunya universities to reach Poondi.
Nevertheless a traffic less road trip indeed gives a calm and breezy vibes during the drive even before we step into the Isha center. It would cost you approximately a 45 minutes to 1 hour drive from Coimbatore if you are more interested in a casual drive enjoying the scenic beauty and definitely not stepping on the gas.
Dhyanalinga in Isha
A lot of aesthetical upgrades have gone into the outer skin of the temple, but the inside remains firmly rooted to what it was and how it looked back in the 90s, a pure sense of nostalgia hitting us. The center is now refurbished, there is a pool up ahead where you can take a dive into the divinely holy water, not to forget the pool has also been in the house ever since they started to upgrade the yoga center decades back as a sign to cleanse a soul before stepping inside.
he roofs are high with plenty of area to anchor down and relax, the place is often void of any noises with volunteers often walking subtly to people to reduce the noises if any. Personal take, the place looks gorgeous at night, and most probably you will definitely dig it as I did. The aesthetic lines are a close reminiscence of historic palaces and temples as the teal orange wall calms down any raging feelings and emotions within us.
After a brief walk around the palace-looking center and a beautiful small wooden bridge laid across a neatly laid out pond on a lush green lawn, you walk right into the Dhyanalinga, a beautiful 13 mts tall black granite Linga adoring the huge dome.
You will often see people meditating in utmost silence around small cave like outlets dug out in the dome, you are requested to sit and pay attention to the Linga for at least 15 minutes to allow the sense of tranquillity travel in you and you are allowed to leave only when the bell rings after the 15 minutes. Maintain complete silence and observe a sense of positive energy alluring you.
Sadhguru believes Dhyanalinga is the ticket for a spiritual enlightenment, believed to have locked all the seven chakras at the peak ever since 1999 when it was first set up by Sadhguru himself after performing prana pratishtha for 3 years.
Dhyanalinga is the oldest temple and a part of the meditation center that dates back to the initial days of the Isha. This is where your idea of repose makes its presence felt. It is just behind the latest addition, Adiyogi, from where you can reach the temple by a traditional bullet cart that surely leaves a surreal feel inside us or you can just take a breezy walk up ahead.
It’s roughly around 600 mts of a short walk; decades back you can directly reach the premises from the road that takes you to Velliangiri hill. But now you can either take up the traditional route or just pay a quick visit to the Adiyogi from where you can start your journey to the meditation center.
Nandi symbolizes eternal waiting as Sadhguru himself believes the meditating bull is in waiting for the powerful deity Shiva to step out and hear him whisper something. Nandi is worshiped as a symbol of meditating bull, as in Indian culture where one believes to wait and sit idle for a longer period is the quality of meditation. A quality of receptivity.
He believes before you step into the Isha yoga center, one must possess the quality of Nandi, patience to sit idle and wait.
Surya Kund and Chandra kund
There is also the Surya kund (for men) and Chandra kund (for women) where three mercury lingams are immersed in the holy water, you can take a dip before you can check in to the Dhyanalinga, there are also changing rooms right besides it as they do not allow any sort of the outside clothes we usually wear to maintain the peace, character and holiness of the water.
Adiyogi-the source of yoga, believes in the concept of owing the existence and energy to the power of Yoga, unveiled grandly during 2017 in a frenzy met gala glittery event, Adiyogi now is slowly becoming the face of Coimbatore tourism, the footfalls in Manchester has also spiked up in last three years thanks to the dream-like effigy of Lord Shiva that steals the hearts.
Adiyogi statue is 112 ft tall that symbolizes the 112 chakras of the Yoga, the ministry of Indian tourism also included in it as a part of the Incredible India campaign. It is also enlisted in the books of Guinness world record for the largest bust sculpture as well, indeed a moment of pride for Coimbatore people.
The entry is free where the only thing you have to shell out is for the parking and also for the cottages if you wish to avail their rooms. A piece of advice, always ring up front and book your rooms as this place always tends out to be a bustling town and consider yourself lucky if you can get rooms in last minute bookings.
Adiyogi Divya Darshanam is a light and sound prestigious event at the Isha Yoga center. It has won several global awards for its sheer brilliance and the wow factor, a 14 minutes projection show marked on the largest bust sculpture in the world, the light show depiction is accompanied by a background voice of the Adiyogi story.
The technical difficulties made the award worth deserving as the largest bust sculpture happens to be in black that’s known for absorbing colours, a highly qualified team had to bring out a unique colour palette to overcome this issue.
Also, Isha started Divya Darshan every saturday & sunday at 7 PM.
Major Events at Isha
Sadhguru believes during mahashivratri, we must stay awake and our spine must be straight as much as possible during night.
The month of February is where the places come to life, as yoga lovers and Sadhguru followers from all over the country fly down to Coimbatore to be a part of the historic and auspicious night every year, the Maha Shivaratri. The celebrations and festive mode starts at the evening and ends at dawn the next day.
Maha Shivaratri is the festival of Lord Shiva when he performs the heavenly dance during the night to overcome darkness in life. It is one of the popular events in Isha center as they believe Lord Shiva to be the source of the power.
The night is a whole new celebration with peppy tone, spiritual soulful music, meeting spiritual leaders and people from every street of the country. There are plenty of stalls, food outlets and snack bars nuzzled at the lawn during the night with ashram themselves providing tantalizing fresh dinner for free to anyone that walks in to be part of the night.
Be prepared for the surreal crowds, the entry is also free but if you wish to grace the occasion up close and personal, get a VIP pass upfront, shell out a few bucks as it’s totally worth the night.
International Yoga Day
The only way to experience true wellbeing is to turn inward. This is what Yoga means – not up, not out, but in. It is the only way out. – Sadhguru
The United Nations general assembly declared 21 June as the International Yoga day in 2015. Ever since then Isha has celebrated this day as a spiritual getaway for any individual to come out from their shell and walk with the visions of Sadhguru irrespective of age, gender, religion, nationality and other backgrounds to transmit energy and attain complete meditativeness.
Isha believes in the power of Yoga to come out from the challenging times with flying colours.
Guru Purnima celebrates the human ability to rise beyond physical nature, and the Greatness of Adiyogi, who made this possible. – Sadhguru
The first full that appears majestically after the summer solstice during July to August is known as Guru Purnima. This auspicious day marks the transmission of the yogic sciences from the almighty Shiva to his first disciples, the saptarishis, the seven sages.
This is when the Adiyogi becomes Adi guru since this day marks the his teachings reach the sacred sages. Even today, the saptarishis were responsible for carrying the yogic sciences throughout the world, and whatever that reminds the world of yogi is drawn from the core vision of Adiyogi himself.
The most common date falls under July, as 2023 saw the guru Purnima happen on July 5th.
Lap of the master
For your physical and mental growth, the lap of your mother is very important. For your spiritual growth, the lap of Grace is most important. – Sadhguru
The lap of the master is a 2 day celebrated satsang in Isha yoga center, where you get the opportunity to stay close with the masters during the days that follows the auspicious Guru Purnima.
Happening during the Dakshinayana, a period of receptivity, this is the chance to fall into the lap of grace.
A chance for people to fall into the lap of guru, masters to know about yogic science.
So this is all you need to know about Isha and its histories. Yoga and spiritual talks aside, Isha is every bit of a perfect tourist destination especially for those finding joy in unwinding new places of high moral value and the design language here surely needs to be experienced at least once when you check out Coimbatore next time. As the times are turning harder with every day passing up, a ray of hope can go a long way in ensuring a forever smile niched on our face, so keep exploring Coimbatore and watch this space for more information on namma Kovai.