• 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
Aug 01, 2023
Sep 21, 2023
19 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 take part 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

4.96 Rating
based on 57 reviews
  • 5 rating 96.49%
  • 4 rating 3.51%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.95
  • Value 5
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 57 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sadhana forest experience

Sadhana Forest to me is a home with open doors. A sustainable vegan community with warm hearts and an intention to engineer compassion in every thought process. A day in Sadhana Forest starts at 6:00am where we join in for the morning circle and then choose our sevas (selfless service). Morning sevas could include planting trees in the forest which is so much fun with our community friends. We dig trenches, discuss about native trees and learn so much from the Forest Manager. Another seva I love is the Gaushala where we have so many cows who are all rescued cows. Feeding and brushing them just brings me so much joy! We shower them with love and care so that we can take away any memory of abuse in their past. Other sevas could include kitchen hygiene and cooking meals for the community where we all sit at the kitchen table chatting away as we help the chef. The meals are completely unprocessed, vegan food that will make you crave for a second and also third serving! After breakfast, we choose sevas that help with the general upkeep of the community, like accomodation, compound, toilet cleaning etc till it's lunch time. Afternoons are mostly relaxed and we hang out with friends, attend fun workshops to learn new things or go for a dip in the amazing mud pool. I personally love to curl up in the hammocks and read for a bit till it's 4:00 pm and delicious vegan tea and laddo is served at our tea hut! I have changed for the better and my life will never be the same again. I will always have Sadhana Forest in my heart wherever life may take me. I urge everyone to pay a visit to understand kinder ways to exist on this planet which is our only home.

  • Sustainable living
  • Reforestation project
  • Community
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sadhana forest experience

Sadhana has changed my life in the ways I cannot imagine. Excited to find myself in this beautiful vegan forest with delicious food, amazing community with people from all walks of life and various countries around the globe.
I highly recommend Sadhana forest to anyone who wishes to spend time close to nature and live consciously.
We have beautiful days doing seva(selfless service) at the community in Auroville. We spend the afternoons exploring the nearby areas with friends from the community and also engage in workshops and discussions around interesting topics that are core values of Sadhana forest. Community living experience is something that I cherish here.

  • Close to nature
  • Sustainable living
  • Vegan food
  • Getting used to forest living can be a challenge initially.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My 6 months in Sadhana Forest:

My experience in Sadhana Forest was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life! It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve been staying in Sadhana Forest, Auroville. I met a lot of incredible people from all over the world, every individual I met broke the monotony of my life, so many interesting stories and experiences were shared.

My favourite part of living in Sadhana Forest are the values of compassion, gift culture, natural learning, veganism, and seva that encompasses all aspects of living in this wonderful community!

Waking up every day early morning and listening to beautiful bird sounds, and getting ready to do seva in morning is just blissful, my favourite seva in the morning are gaushala, forest, and breakfast cooking.

My favourite second/afternoon seva was accommodation, I loved taking care of and maintaining the huts!

My best time in Sadhana Forest will always be in the gaushala. Previously, in my life I had never touched a cow until now. I remember when I brushed Hari, a friendly white bull, for the first time, I broke down into pieces realising how cruel the world is for killing animals for meat, leather, and other products

It’s been a great journey interacting with 9 cows/bulls and 3 calf’s….everyone have different character and personalities
For example Devi, Lucky, and Rosie prefer to be alone and take their time to understand us.
Happy, Vishnu, and Hari are starting to trust humans and love getting brushed.
So far I’ve experienced how Vishnu connects with every individual who comes to the gaushala!
I remember when one of our volunteers, Gargi, came to gaushala. I remember leaving Vishnu to Gargi to spend time alone and I was being with the kids in the children’s land to play with the other cows, then I saw Vishnu licking Gargi and this alone made Gargi decide to stay for 1 year just for Vishnu! The connection they formed in such a short time was truly incredible and touching!

You never know how one person’s emotions can make a great change in another person’s life.

The Tea Hut is a one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life, it’s a cafe where we give coucunut milk and vegan laddu to any neighbours, local villagers, visitors, and volunteers as a gift, for free, and it was the best culture moment of my life. This idea of giving for free without any expectations really changed my outlook in life.

After spending time with lot of short-term volunteers staying for 4 days, most of them wish they stayed for more than 4 days. I would highly recommend anyone to come and live in Sadhana Forest for at least 7 days-21 days to fully understand the core values of Sadhana Forest. I also highly encourage families and kids to come stay in the forest, kids will certainly enjoy being free to play in nature and it adds a lot of liveliness and joy to the community!

  • Living close to nature
  • Sustainable lifestyle
  • Community
  • Could be hard if you are not used to natural living
1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience of an alternative lifestyle

When I first arrived in Sadhana Forest, I knew I was in for a truly unique experience. I have been curious about learning more about sustainable living and veganism, Sadhana Forest felt like the best place to be. This is my first time living in a community and it has been amazing staying with like-minded people who are very open and accepting.
My journey at Sadhana Forest began as a fellow for Plant4India, a program that focuses on water conservation and reforestation in different villages in India. Through Plant4India training and forest sevas, I learned how to understand the land, dig trenches, make mounds, and plant trees. The experience was very grounding and I felt really good working with the community in the forest.
The dedication of the community to sustainable living is truly inspiring, and I experienced it through the compost toilets, hand washing stations, zero waste bins, and the huts (and many more). Walking through the lush greenery, I could feel the harmony between humans and the environment. The passion and care that the community pours into nurturing the land is a powerful reminder of the impact we can have when we prioritize the Earth.
Sadhana Forest is a place for anyone who is seeking a closer connection with nature and a path toward personal growth. If you are someone who is looking for an escape from the hustles of the city, I definitely recommend Sadhana Forest as it offers peace and a unique way of living. Life here moves at a different pace, I loved waking up to the soothing sounds of nature, feeling a deep sense of peace I hadn't experienced in a long time.
The meal preparation and dining are one of my favorite experiences. In the community, we cook meals together and everyone would sit down to eat together as a family. My first meal at Sadhana Forest felt very welcoming as when you sit for the meal first time, the community welcomes you and accepts you with open hearts. The food here is very delicious, healthy, and organically sourced.
My favorite seva also includes Gaushala, this was my first time being around the cows and it was one of the best things. During my seva, I got to interact with the cows by brushing them and making food for them. It's amazing how animals can understand you without saying a word and connect with you with just their eyes. Some cows would just come to me and allow me to brush them and create a bond with them.
My stay at Sadhana Forest has been a very healing process for me. The open and welcoming environment provides the perfect canvas for self-discovery. Whether I was participating in sevas, communal activities, attending eye-opening workshops, hosting non-talent shows or simply meditating under the trees, every moment felt like a step toward personal growth. I found myself connecting with people from various walks of life, sharing stories and insights that enriched my understanding of the world.

  • Community with Like Minded Individuals
  • Sustainable Living
  • Veganism
12 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program


My experience was unique because for the first time I felt like everyone could allow themselves to be true and authentic, while usually in society humans hide aspects of themselves in order to fit in. I resonate with the community’s values a lot, veganism gets supported, there’s lots of love for animals. Core values are compassion, unschooling, giving, seva and so much more. During the sevas we had lots of fun and I enjoyed the forest and goshala the most. Every day I had the chance to decide which seva I’d like to do. I felt very respected as a human being and enjoyed all the different workshops (sharing circle, non talent show, etc)

  • Freedom of self expression
  • Positive impact on the environment
  • Learning about sustainable living
13 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program


I'm a 19 year old, who came to Sadhana Forest with one of my friends as a volunteer and I met lot of people from different backgrounds and ages!

All the days of my stay here, I did activities while being mindful and calm. I could notice that I became a very interactive person and was patient enough. It is a really great place and the people here are welcoming.

I'm excited to share this to my friends and bring them here! I'm sure they will enjoy the little details and funny stories that I will share. But most importantly, they will want to hear about my experience so they can make a more informed decision about whether or not this a good fit for them.

  • Good hospitality
  • Mindful activities
  • Clean and sustainable places
  • Lot of Mosquitoes
18 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Lovely stay at Sadhana forest

If you want to be surrounded by a forest tucked away in Auroville with a bunch of strangers but still feel perfectly at home, then Sadhana Forest is the place for you.

I came here for the community values, to be surrounded by nature, to eat fresh organic food and mainly to be a part of a community that valued all these. I got all these and many more, I served my minimum period of 4 days and going back feels like I'm leaving home.

I'm so grateful for this place because I'm taking back with me so much more than I could ever even imagine. I hope to come back and join this place for longer and if you're reading this review, I really think you should come here too, I'm sure you'll find something you didn't know you were seeking for.

  • Be close to nature, live sustainably
  • Meet the nicest people and be a part of a community that has amazing values which shine through in every person you meet
  • Wholesome and delicious vegan food
20 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Beam of hope

The commitment to prioritise low-impact living practices, implementing off-grid systems, vegan gaushala, dry composting toilets, and solar energy solutions is what initially drew me towards Sadhana Forest. After coming here, I realised it’s completely true.

I wanted to be a part of a collective action where I can be reminded every day, that together we can make a difference in restoring and preserving the ecosystems; and Sadhana Forest fulfilled that for me.

The most beautiful thing here to experience was a sense of being in a family. Having support from volunteers, from all around the world, who have come together and share their experiences, values and skills. It’s amazing how I got to learn so many things, through different perspectives & approaches while doing sevas.

Here, people accept you the way you are, without any judgments or willingness to change you. I never felt I had to put a mask on here, and try to blend in this community; I was able to be real and raw and also experience others as humans first.

Working in a vegan gaushala, cow sanctuary, was a unique experience. From learning their traumatic past experiences about how they have been rescued; to earning their trust and knowing they can communicate with you, be it in any language. They know their names, and will come to you as you call them. I assumed it would be difficult and a very long process to build a connection with all the cows and bulls, but talking to them gently, giving them space and loving them is the key I learnt.

21 people found this review helpful.

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