• India
    • Chennai
1 to 52 weeks

Program Details

Age Max
Year Round
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
This is a non-profit ecological project that does not generate any income. Therefore, we cannot provide free food for volunteers. We have communal (mostly organic) wholefood vegan meals three times per day. We all equally share the cost of the organic food ingredients we purchase. The total cost of food per person (including 3 meals a day) is 600 Indian Rupees per day (around $8 USD), which also includes the cost of biodegradable toiletries.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Airport Transfers SIM cards Transportation Travel Insurance Visa
Apr 15, 2024
Mar 13, 2024
20 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Sadhana Forest is a reforestation and water conservation project in the international township of Auroville, South India. Founded in 2003, we are reforesting 70 acres of severely eroded land to bring back the indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest. Volunteers come and live on our sustainable, off-grid, solar-powered, low waste, vegan campus. We provide them with food and accommodation and they take part in the community life. Volunteers participate in the water conservation and reforestation work and plant, mulch, and water trees during the season. They also perform maintenance tasks around the community. During their time off they can partake in various community activities or visit the local area.

We also welcome many visitors that come to see our project, host groups of local children in a natural learning space, take care of rescued cows in our vegan animal sanctuary, host a gift economy vegan Tea Hut and self-directed learning courses in our UniverCity of Compassion.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Reforestation
  • Water Conservation
  • Sustainable and substance free Living
  • Veganism and Vegan Animal Sanctuary
  • Community Life

Program Impact

We are reviving an ecosystem that was on the brink of destruction, bringing back water, trees and all the fauna and flora that come with them. We welcome over 1,000 volunteers per year and thousands of visitors, introducing them to our project and our unique way of life, based on compassion for all living beings.

Program Reviews

4.98 Rating
based on 86 reviews
  • 5 rating 97.67%
  • 4 rating 2.33%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 5
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.95
  • Value 5
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 86 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

New Experiences All Around

While I came to Sadhana Forest to volunteer in reforestation, I learned and experienced so much more. You can expect to learn information across a wide variety of topics, including zero-waste, composting, water conservation, and vegan cooking. The different types of volunteering range from low to high physical work, but all of it was a welcome change from desk work. With the volunteering I had the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge, such as different methods of planting new trees or how to make coconut milk from scratch. I loved being part of the Sadhana Forest community and spending quality time with the people here. Everyone is ready to listen and lend a helping hand. If you’re looking for a well-rounded experience that includes volunteering, skill-building, sustainability and community look no further and stay at Sadhana Forest!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The compost toilets were definitely the most surprising aspect for me! it was not something I was used to using, but I enjoyed learning the reason and function behind their usage in this sustainable community.
  • Welcoming community
  • Delicious food
  • Variety of experiences
  • Basic living quarters
8 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Meaningful work at Sadhana Forest

One of the things I like most about Sadhana is that it’s not only the forest that is growing, it’s also the people. You learn so much here, and you can really bring your full self to the community. No one judges you and everyone is so welcoming. The work itself is so meaningful - helping to regrow the natural forest here, cooking for the community, cleaning, preparing water irrigation devices. In that way, you also learn a lot about conservation, sustainability and plant-based diets. These are all things you can bring back and integrate into your life at home. If you’re already thinking about coming here, think no further - do it!!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Learning about and building water irrigation bottles! These devices help deliver water directly to the roots of saplings at a slow and steady pace.
  • Meaningful volunteering
  • Sense of community
  • Learning about sustainability
  • Noise at night from nearby temples
  • Not always the safest practices
10 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Living with nature

Sadhana Forest is not just an experience, it's a way of life. I have grown up in India, so community living has always been a part of my childhood, but I never imagined living so closely with nature. Apart from indulging in seva, I learnt a lot of things about myself and it has given my life a direction, an alternative perspective. I realised that all the other species apart from humans have different personalities, moods, tantrums, emotions, experience pain, and trauma, just like humans and acknowledging all of this is very important. I also learnt to use compost toilets and to manage the compost after, which was one of my nightmares. But after I did it, I realised it's not at all how i imagined it to be. I relished some very delicious cuisine from all over the world each day I spent here. I worked and met with different people from around the world and learnt about different cultures. I have made friends for life in a very short span of time. In the process, I learnt to be compassionate, even when it's very difficult. And most importantly, I learnt to break my own mentality barriers and now I can take on life with a different perspective.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was surprised by a cobra at the toilet gates. For a second, i thought my life is over, and it would bite me. But after I stopped screaming, I opened my eyes and realised that it was more afraid of me than I was of it. Eventually it left, and I felt relaxed. I realised that, we don't have to be so afraid of creatures and this planet belongs to all of us.
  • Vegan food
  • Community experience
  • Nature
12 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Living in a Forest with People

I came to Sadhana Forest expecting to learn more about reforestation and water conservation techniques, with the aim of understanding how my ecological footprint impacts the Earth. Although this expectation was met, I was also warmly welcomed into an accepting and unconditionally loving community of people from different backgrounds. In Sadhana Forest I got to know more about myself through meaningful interactions with others. The individuals I have met here were able to hold space for me and showed no judgement. If there is one thing I could take home with me from this experience it is the capacity we have to impact others through selfless acts, even a simple smile can change the trajectory of ones day.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advise future travelers to be open to experiencing all that Sadhana Forest has to offer. This could be through volunteering in different Seva's, attending spontaneous workshops, sitting next to someone unfamiliar at meal time, swimming in the mud pool and much more! There are so many opportunities for inner growth in this community.
  • The people
  • The values
  • The setting
10 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The project and the community really helped me connect back with myself after I had shut myself off.

It is the perfect vacation and volunteering project for me. I get to put my believes in action again and reconnect to parts of myself I hadn’t accessed in a long time. The community is really a safe space and really takes all the social anxiety off you. Also constantly living in the forest helps regulate the nervous system well with all the forest bathing that happens. Doing hands on physical work also helped me learn and start taking care of my body again. And considering the resource footprint minimisation while staying here is an added advantage. And you do all this while helping sustain an evergreen dry forest which has been grown in a dry arid land supporting the local biodiversity and recharging ground water table. I wouldn’t ask for more from a place.

What was your funniest moment?
Going to the mud pool in night to wear off all the heat and play group games in the water and then lay on the ground stargazing.
  • Regaining mental and physical health
  • Learning about various subjects like Geophysics, Afforestation techniques, and various ways in which trees sequester carbon.
  • Being inspired to learn new skills again.
9 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful experience of community and nature

I'm spending 3 weeks at Sadhana Forest, and every day I'm meeting lovely, unique people from all over the world. I've learnt so much in a short space of time - sustainably planting trees, maintaining compost toilets, conserving water, maintaining the culture of a community. At first Sadhana can feel quite different from our conventional lives, but after a few days of settling in, I really started to experience what makes this place special. There's nothing quite like living in the middle of a forest!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
A classical Indian dance workshop! Volunteers are always putting on a unique range of workshops for the community.
  • Compassion at the centre of everything at Sadhana
  • Healthy, tasty food
  • Variety of ways to volunteer while you're here
  • Transport to the surrounding area can be a little inconvenient on days off
13 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience at Sadhana Forest

The people here are very warm and welcoming to everyone. I felt like I was already a part of the community since the day I arrived. Obviously, the first 2 days I did take time getting used to the schedules but, by the 3rd day, I had adjusted quite well.
There are people from places from all around the world, and was really nice to hear about their experiences.
At Sadhana Forest, they practice water conservation and reforestation.
The food here is vegan, and surprisingly it was really nice. We eat a lot of fruits which taste amazing and also keeps us hydrated.
It's so calm and quiet here unlike the cities with all that hustle-bustle and craziness, which is just nurturing and peaceful for my mind.
I would definitely recommend to stay here to get away from the chaos and just to experience life the forest in a productive manner.

  • The people are quite nice
  • The food is really hygienic
  • Getting to interact with people from different countries
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Bliss in Sadhana Forest

Living in Sadhana Forest is an enthralling experience. Waking up to the sounds of nature, starting the day with warm smiles in a community of people from all over the world, doing Seva , preparing healthy vegan meals, relaxing in the serene environs, learning about different cultures, learning and contributing to sustainable practices of living by conserving water and much more is what you gain when you come to this forest.
Being in sync with Nature, community living & having healthy meals, works as a catalyst for one's own self growth. I was touched by the compassion way of living here, with people and animals living in harmony with each other. The pace of the day allowed me to unwind in the lap of nature whilst indulging mindfully in the volunteering tasks.
The accommodation is comfortable for toddlers and adults. An experiential stay, where each day feels fulfilled and blissful.

10 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers