The guru of Round Top

Photo taken at the former Winding Brook farm; from the Vishwa Dharma Foundation's website.

Devotees of a Manhattan-based Hindu group, Vishwa Dharma Mandalam, are transforming a run-down farmstead on Round Top in Cairo into an ashram for retreats and teaching. From a website devoted to the new project:

Swami Ramakrishnananda’s vision for this ashram based in the Catskill mountains in New York is to create a spiritual community in which visitors can join together with sannyasis and resident disciples in spiritual practices (sadhana), service (seva), and study (swadhyaya). The ashram is intended to serve as a sacred space where all can glorify the Vedic religion and culture….a school in which one learns to walk the path of enlightenment with the presence and guidance of an enlightened master.

The Daily Mail reported over the weekend on the group's plans:

According to Darrin Elsom of engineering and consulting firm Kaaterskill Associates — which is assisting the religious group with the site plan and state approval processes, as well as building code issues — said plans include using the existing residence to house the organization’s staff and guests and converting two barns into a temple/yoga center and storage for aromatherapy products.

The paper also reports that the property is expected to stay on the tax rolls. (Elsewhere in Greene County, the tax status of certain religious properties has become a nasty point of controversy.)

Vishwa Dharma Mandalam also holds retreats at the Big Indian Springs retreat center in Shandaken. They'll be holding a yoga and meditation weekend at Big Indian Springs from June 10-12.