Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a French-born woman, ‘the Mother’, this famous spiritual community has about 2000 members in its many departments. Aurobindo's teachings focus on 'integral yoga' that sees devotees work in the world, rather than retreat from it. Visits to the main, grey-walled ashram building are cursory: you see the flower-festooned samadhi of Aurobindo and the Mother, then the bookshop. Ashram-accommodation guests can access other areas and activities. Evening meditation around the samadhi is for everyone.
There are daily weekday ashram tours (per person ₹50), which begin at 8.30am with a film about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and include visits to various ashram workshops where you can see batik work, hand-printing on saris, handloom weaving and more; enquire online (www.sriaurobindoautocare.com) or at the ashram's Bureau Central.