A wonderful find, Ramana’s Garden is just a short walk from the Anand Prakash Ashram, Rishikesh. This beautiful sanctuary is just off an alleyway that weaves down to the River Ganga. Ramana’s Garden is tucked away but the sign promising “home-grown organic healthy foods” will entice you in.
Stepping off the main pathway you enter into an abundant space growing organic produce, housing cows and also a home and school for local children. As stated on the sign this most certainly is “A unique dining experience that helps Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home help you stay healthy!”. The organic garden provides fresh yummy produce for children in the home and school as well as for the visitors to the cafe.
Ramana’s Garden India was founded by a dedicated American woman, Prabhavati Dwabha, 18 years ago as a result of her spiritual practice on the banks of the River Ganga. Prabhavati’s heart overflowed with compassion for the numerous homeless, destitute, and abused children she met there, and she decided to make those children her life’s work. On a shoestring budget, she has for years provided a growing number of children with education, nourishment, and a future where they had little or no hope.
“Dharma is righteous living or living with God and consists of doing good to others and the practice of love, charity, truthfulness and purity in one’s life”
Today Ramana’s Garden India is home to more than 60 resident children, many of whom have lost both parents. There are an additional 165 children from nearby impoverished families, many with a single parent, who come into school each day. Twelve paid professional teachers lead a solid curriculum of core classes, including Math, Science, English, Hindi, and the arts. The education provided is on a par with the best primary schools in India, and thus will serve to provide the kids with opportunities for adult careers that otherwise would be unimaginable.
The cafe is operated by volunteers and sometimes the children help in the restaurant. The menu offers a selection of healthy options including breakfast, lunch set menu with organically grown salad greens, fresh baked breads, soup, daal, desserts and cakes. You can get a good coffee and real cappuccino here!
The cafe has stunning views over the surrounding area, it is a wonderful spot to catch some sun and one evening we dropped in to enjoy a drink on the terrace under the full moon. This is most definitely a magical place bringing much change and positivity into the world.
I look forward to my return visit to Rishikesh and to Ramana’s Garden….
Also feel free to make contact if you wish to volunteer. Volunteering at Ramana’s Garden is a commitment to the children and to yourself. Whatever you give you will receive back tenfold in love, hugs, smiles and fulfilment. Volunteering requires patience, motivation, energy and initiative. From the day of your arrival and for the rest of your life you will be part of their family of 60 children. They request a minimum commitment of three months but if you live at accommodation nearby you can also arrange volunteering for one month time commitment.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ramana’s Garden