Santhigiri Ashram is located in Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala.The ashram was founded by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guruand is recognized as a Social and Scientific Research Organization by the Government of India.The followers of Karunakara Guru have built a beautiful monument called ' Parnasala' in the shape of a blooming lotus in white Makrana marble in the Ashram compound. This unique structure took 10 years for completion. It was inaugurated by the President of India Pratibha Devi Patil on 13 August 2010 and was opened for prayers and worship on 12 September 2010. Apart from its spiritual sanctity, The LOTUS PARNASALA of the Ashram has become a landmark of Trivandrum and is attracting lots of tourists.
Founded by Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru, about 37 years ago, the Santhigiri Ashram from its humble existence has now grown into a spiritual abode with facilities comprising prayer hall, parnasala, sahakarana mandiram, work centres, kitchen, dining hall and accommodation facilities for more than 1500 inmates.
Spread over hundred acres of land, Santhigiri Ashram is located at Pothencode, about 21 km North of the Capital City of Thiruvnanthapuram. The institution aimed at propagating the mission of Guru, functions as a registered voluntary charitable non-government organization. After the passing away of the Guru, his guidance is now channelized through his foremost disciple - Sishyapojitha Janani Amritha Jnana Thapaswini.The ashram functions on three fundamental principles viz. Annadanam (alms), Athurasevanam (helping the needy) and Athmabodhanam (self-realization). It has in place a healthcare approach based on the time-tested Indian systems of healthcare like Ayurveda, Sidha and Panchakarma.
The ashram is renowned in India and abroad and is visited by hundreds of people from various walks of life on a daily basis. Today, the ashram has literally become a centre for solace and remedy for all maladies and human sufferings. Above all, the ashram has become a source of authentic spiritual knowledge and a centre of pilgrimage. Branches of the ashram are now present in several cities in India.
Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was born in a humble family on September 1, 1927, Thursday, at Chandiroor, a small village in Alappuzha district of Kerala. Through relentless efforts, great sacrifices, strong conviction and endless perseverance, Guru completed the mission of establishing the Yuga Dharma for this Age (Kali Yuga Dharma). Hundreds of thousands of devotees from different parts of the world, irrespective of class, caste, creed, colour or culture, have accepted the path of Karma and Dharma revealed by the Guru. On May 6, 1999, Guru left the physical body and merged with Adi Sankalpam - the Primordial Consciousness, the Source of Creation. It was then revealed from the Supreme Light of the Almighty that the Guru's body should be laid to rest in the Parnasala itself.The sacred monument in the form of blossomed White Lotus will be the architecutral excellence of this universe in keeping all its Divine significance.
The significance of the Parnasala flows from Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru's Life and Realization for the world. The original Parnasala of Guru, built during the initial days of Santhigiri Ashram in the 1960s, was a thatched hut, reflecting the inherent simplicity and austerity with which Guru lived. Guru stayed in this simple structure, consisting of a thatched roof supported by four poles, and interacted with the visitors coming to see Him. It was here that Guru attained spiritual completion in 1973. Thousands were initiated to the spiritual path at its doorstep. Later, the thatched hut was converted into a one-room tenement with a tiled roof. After the Guru's merger with the Adi Sankalpam in May, 1999, His body was placed inside a marble casket and kept in the sanctum sanctorum of the Parnasala, which has now been raised as a magnificent building, in keeping with its Divine significance. The structure, standing 91 feet tall and 84 feet wide, is the largest of its kind in the world. The monument, in the shape of a lotus in full bloom, has been constructed using the best quality 'Makrana' Marble in the world. The lotus structure consists of 21 petals - 12 unfurling in the top layer and 9 towards the base. Each petal on the top extends to 41 feet height while the bottom petals are 31 feet long, exhibiting an exceptional architectural skill not seen in contemporary buildings.
The Guru's body is laid to rest in the sanctum of the Parnasala which is shaped like a lotus bud carved out of wood. The entire interior of 27 feet height and 21 feet diametre is encased with brass. In front of the sanctum (Sarakoodam) is a carved wooden mandapam (platform) called the Balalayam. The Balalayam is guarded by two majestic tuskers carved in rosewood. The entire floor of the Sarakoodam is paved with 'Krishnashila' (black granite) brought from Chamrajnagar district of Kanataka.The foundation stone of the new Parnasala was laid by the Gurusthaneeya (present Spiritual Head) of the Ashram, Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, in 2001. Since then, the construction work has been continuing uninterrupted. The entrance to the Parnasala is through a gorgeous garden. It is noteworthy that such an imposing monument was constructed without disturbing the existing greenery of the environs. Seen from the sky, the Parnasala rises like a dazzling symbol of pristine purity amidst a sea of green, formed by the dense vegetation of the Ashram.
There are 12 rooms on the upper floor of the Parnasala intended to store the Guru's belongings. LCD lamps fitted strategically will light up the insides of the Parnasala. The architectural uniqueness of the Parnasala lies in the fact that it has been constructed as per the Vaasthu Shastra and architectural patterns received by Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini from the Guru Prakasham (the Radiant Spiritual Effulgence of Guru).