Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can you please give some general information on the Gurukulam, how to get there, what are the basic facilities, where to collect room keys etc.?
Ans: The Gurukulam is about 25 km from the City. Taxis charge around Rs.700 to 800 for a ride to the Gurukulam from the Bus stand and Railway Station. A trip from the Airport will cost about Rs.900/-. There are buses from Gandhipuram Town bus stand to Anaikatti which start plying very early in the morning – first bus at about 4:30 AM. You may request a ticket to “ASHRAM” at Anaikatti. The bus stop is very close to the main gate. You may also call Sri Murugan, providing taxi facilities to and from the Gurukulam – he may be reached at 94430 62675
The telephone number for the office is 0422-2657 001. If you know the room assigned to you, you may collect the Keys at the reception. However, if you are arriving earlier than 8:30 AM the office will not be open. You need to inform the office in advance of your early arrival so that they can leave your room keys with the security staff and you may collect the keys from the security guard at the Main gate upon arrival. If you are unfamiliar with the location of the room allotted, please ask the security staff/reception for help/ directions.
The accommodation will be simple with bed, sheets and blanket. Guests are expected to bring their own toiletries, towel etc. Drinking water is available near the dining hall and most people bring a bottle and fill it up as needed.
Temple: The Dakshinamurti temple pujas are done early morning from about 5:30 AM and evening starting at 6:00 PM.
Food: A bell rings at the time of Breakfast (8:00 AM), Lunch (12:45 PM) and dinner (7:15 PM). There is early morning Tea at about 6:00 AM, Mid-morning Tea at 11:00 AM and evening tea at 3:30 PM.
The only mobile phone network which functions reasonably well at the Gurukulam is BSNL – you may not get a signal for other mobile networks.
There are no shops in the immediate vicinity of the Gurukulam – so please bring with you anything which you need as soon as you arrive.
Q. What is the climate like in the Gurukulam?
Ans: You may check the climate of Coimbatore using Google, the following link seems to give a good idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coimbatore#Climate
The Gurukulam being in a very green area, 25 km from the city, the Gurukulam is usually a few degrees cooler than Coimbatore city.
General questions related to the course
Q. When can we plan to arrive at the Gurukulam for the start of the course?
Ans: You may plan to arrive between 10th January and 14th January, 2020. If you plan to arrive before or after these dates, please let us know.
Q. Can I do anything to prepare myself for the course in terms of Sanskrit?
Ans: Please go through atleast the first ten lessons of Infant Reader. If you need any help in this regard, please contact course coordinator Br. Sharan.
Also, you can work on declensions and conjugations. This will help you be more relaxed and gain more out of the classes. The book शब्द-मञ्जरी contains a good set of declensions.
In addition to this, please go through the texts Tattvabodha and Bhagavad Gita (moolam).
Q. What should I plan to bring when I come for the course?
Ans: Blankets, linens are supplied by the Gurukulam. The following items may be useful during your stay:
Flashlight: The Gurukulam is in a forest and therefore a good flashlight (Torch) will be very handy at night.
Sun screen – If one has the skin sensitive to the tropical Sun, a sunscreen can help in Summer.
Q. Is there a Dress Code for students in the Gurukulam?
Ans: There is no formal dress code. Modest attire, comfortable loose clothing suitable for sitting for long periods would be suitable. Generally, female students wear kurta, pyjama or saree. For male students, the recommended dress is dhoti/pant/pyjama and shirt. Jeans and Shorts are not allowed. If you wish you may bring other clothes you like to wear for participation in seva activities which would include Cleaning, Gardening etc.
Q. Which text books should I bring with me?
Ans: The basic books necessary for the classes will be provided to all. If you wish to bring any additional reference books you are welcome to do so. Please note that there is a bookstore in the campus, which has many useful books.
Q. Should I bring notebooks and stationery?
Ans: You may bring it with you or buy it locally after you arrive. Would suggest you bring something to get started with and can supplement the same locally. People from overseas can bring their favorite stationery as it may not be available here. Notebooks and pen are available for sale in the ashram bookstore.
Q. What are the various Gurukula seva actvities?
Ans. Following are some of the activities identified.
(1) Serving in the dining Hall (common to all)
(2) Seva in library
(3) Cleaning the grounds including the disposal of garbage bins
(5) Data entry
(7) Kitchen-service like cutting vegetable
(8) Lecture hall cleaning
(9) Sanskrit-class cleaning
Q. How many hours of seva are expected per week?
Ans: 45 minutes a day
Q. Do mobile phones work reliably at the Gurukulam? Which mobile networks are accessible?
Ans: Yes, Mobile phones do work at the Gurukulam. The most reliable among them is the BSNL mobile network. Availability of the signals of other mobile networks is patchy and unreliable. However, there are times when no mobile network is available for a length of time.
Q. Is internet access available at the Gurukulam?
Ans. Yes, Internet access is available at the Gurukulam and people may connect to the internet in a wi-fi zone in the Gurukulam DURING THE SPECIFIED TIME.
Q. Can we have friends or relatives visit us for a short stay when we are at the Gurukulam?
Ans: Yes, subject to availability of accommodation. Such visits must be planned in consultation with the office.
Q. Will there be weekly off during the course?
Ans: On Wednesdays, there will be only one morning class and no class after lunch.
Q. What will I do after the course?
You are free to pursue the field of your choice. If you are interested in teaching, we may provide guidance but you need to support yourself. Gurukulam does not guarantee of settling the student after the course. Nor the student has any liability to the Gurukulam.
Q. How can monthly donations to be made?
Ans: It would be easiest to write Indian rupee cheque from your bank account or NEFT transfer to make a donation. We do accept dollars and Euros.
Q. Is suggested donation same for all the courses?
Yes, a suggested donation of Rs.10000/- per month towards food and accommodation as mentioned in the webpage “Upcoming Course”. There is no tuition fee.
Q. When should I make the suggested donation?
Suggested donation should be made at the beginning of every month, not for the entire course duration.
Q. Will I get refund of the suggested donation for a given month if I leave or asked to leave the course in the first week itself?
No. There is no provision for refund of donation to the trust.
Q. Shall I get certificate at the end of each course?
No. We do not issue any certificate. If someone needs a letter to confirm the presence of the student in the ashram, the office may give the letter on special request.
Specific questions related to attending the classes of the course
Q. Is it okay to attend only some classes everyday mentioned in the schedule?
Ans. No. All the students are expected to attend all the classes and activities everyday mentioned in the schedule. If someone has health issue for some short duration during the course, then the person will be exempted from some activities or the classes for that duration with the permission of course co-ordinator.
Q. Can I use my laptop or tab for taking notes during the class?
Ans. No. We expect students to handwrite the notes during the class.
Q. Will there be any homework during the course?
Yes. For the first three months, the students are expected to submit their notes based on their learning from the class. The notes are expected to be handwritten, not computer typed.
Some Information relevant only to Overseas Students
Q. I already have a valid visitor visa. Do I still need to apply for a student visa?
Ans: Yes. For Two Year course, you do need a student visa as you will be staying in the ashram for a long duration as a student. A PERSON HAVING ONLY TOURIST VISA IS NOT ALLOWED TO ENROLL FOR THE COURSE AS A STUDENT.
Q. Are foreign currencies accepted at the Gurukulam?
Ans. Acceptance of donations in Foreign currency at the Gurukulam is restricted to US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros only. Please note that the Gurukulam does not offer a money changing facility.
Q. Can I bring any Foreign-currency and change it for rupees?
Ans. Technically ‘yes’, but it is best to bring your funds in US Dollars – since it has a high turnover, one is likely to get better exchange rates if one exchanges US dollars for Indian rupees. Euros and Pounds are the second best.
Q. Are travelers’ cheques accepted?
Ans. Gurukulam does not accept travelers’ cheques. Many banks, money changers and merchants do not accept travelers’ cheques. This is attributed to high incidence of Fraud with travelers’ cheques.
Q. I do not have Indian rupees. Where and how should I change my money and what is the best way to make rupee donations or pay for local purchases?
Ans. The money changers like Thomas Cook and Banks are authorized to change money.
You may open a rupee bank account in Coimbatore. You can then deposit your foreign currency into that account and also arrange for a wire transfer of funds from overseas into the account which is typically processed in 3 working days. Wire transfers may cost about US $30 per transfer – please check with your own banks for details. You may also deposit a foreign currency Cheque into your rupee bank account. The clearance of foreign currency cheques takes 3 to 4 weeks and the banks usually charge a fee.
While the exact privileges one enjoys depend on the type of rupee bank account one has opened, most banks offer cheque-writing, ATM card and internet banking facilities, which make the need for bank branch visits minimal. You can use the rupee cheques to make donations and use the ATM card to draw cash from ATMs or to pay for your purchases in many stores.
Please note that there is no ATM and card swiping facility on the Gurukulam campus at this time.