A Visit to Vivekananda House, Chennai

150th Birth Year Celebration 

The great Hindu Monk Swamy Vivekananda who introduces our Hindu ideologies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. His speech at Parliament of World's Religions at the Art Institute of Chicago on 11th September 1893. On that stage he introduced our nation India and its great heritage to the world with his inspirational speech. 

This year they celebrate his 150th Birthyear celebration as a year long process. In Chennai Vivekanandar Illam started the celebrations from 27th of February. The house is situated on the Beach Road (now Kamarajar Salai) in Ice House. 

Vivekanandar Illam (Tamilவிவேகானந்தர் இல்லம்) (or Vivekananda House, also called Ice House (Tamilஐஸ் ஹவுஸ்), Castle Kernan, etc.) is a structure at Chennai,India, used by the British to store ice brought from Great Lakes in North America for about 30 years.Ice King Frederic Tudor built an ice house at Madras facing the Bay of Bengal in 1842 as part of his ice business. Around 1880, the business collapsed and the building was sold to Biligiri Iyengar of Madras. Biligiri Iyengar was a famous advocate in the Madras High Court and was fairly well-to-do in those times. He remodelled the house, renamed it Castle Kernan after his friend, Justice Kernan in the Madras High Court and used it as a residence.When Swami Vivekananda visited Madras in 1897 after his return from the West, Iyengar, being a disciple of Swami Vivekananda, made him stay at the Ice House. Vivekananda stayed at the Ice House between 6 February 1897 to 14 February 1897. During his nine day stay, he shook India’s national consciousness through his fiery lectures at Chennai. When Vivekananda was about to depart, he agreed to his disciples' request to set up a permanent centre at the Ice House.Later, Ramakrishna Math (Monastery) Chennai was founded by Swami Ramakrishnananda, a brother disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The mission activities continued till 1906. The Math functioned from here during its first 10 years (1897–1906) until it got moved to the current location at Mylapore, Chennai and the property came up for mortgage and was purchased by a zamindar.In 1914, Ice House was acquired by the Government of Madras as part of their social welfare scheme to function as the hostel and training school for the child widow's home run by Sister R. S. Subbalakshmi, a social reformer and educationist.In 1963, during the Birth Centenary of Swami Vivekananda, the Government of Tamil Nadu renamed the Castle Kernan as Vivekanandar Illam (Illam means house in Tamil) or 'Vivekananda House'. In 1997, on the eve of the Centenary of Swamiji’s return to India (and his stay at House), the Government of Tamil Nadu at the request of the Ramakrishna Math, leased out the Vivekananda House and it’s valid up to 2020........  (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


Its circular structure with three-storeys exemplify the cultural heritage of the contemporary time and the time it was built. It has circular core, semicircular corridors, hemispherical dome and the square plan. 

In this house Swamy Vivekananda stayed for a brief period of nine days in 1897. While climbing the stairs to his room where he stayed, we feel a sense of proud that we are also climbing the same stairs as he climbed long ago. 

A placard shows that Swamiji while descending through these stairs took the decision of assigning Swamy Ramakrishnandha as the one to take charge of spreading Hindu philosophies such as Vedanta and Yoga in the then Madras. After that Ramakrishna came down from Calcutta and started the Ramakrishna Math here and its continuing its services to the society.   

Meditation Room
His room in upstairs is now a meditation room. We have to leave our footwear outside the room. There is one small pedestal that houses his statue and decorated with rose and red Hibiscus flowers. Really we get a feeling of mediating without shutting down our eyes and mind. Close both we sense our inner strength. 
This house exhibits Swamy Vivekananda's photographs and paintings of his childhood days in Bengal, his association with his guru Ramakrishna which turns him to lead his life as a monk and his Parivrajaka life - means spiritual wanderer.

The next corridor houses the photographs of the Chicago conference that he participated and his European tours. Some photos are autographed by him. These photographs have an overwhelming impression of him in our minds that how his voyage set our country and the Hinduism in happy sails at that time.  

There is a 3D Holographic lecture and a 3D movie which screens his Chicago speech in 3D animation. There is also one sales counter of his books, photos and posters...    

Photographing is prohibited 

Entrance Timings :
Morning 10 am to 12.15 pm
Evening 3 pm to 7.15 pm 

Ticket Rate :
Adult Rs 10 
Children Rs 5 

There is a Guest Book also. Always cultivate a habit of writing some feedback expressing your feelings that will further used for promotion of good things among our youngsters.   

Ramakrishna Math 
Ph :  044 24621110

 Main Building

 Parivrajaka Posture 
of Vivekananda...

Book Stall

Marina Beach from Illam...


  1. I get the idea behind making such movies, however, I think that doing this only dramatizes the trgaedy. These were real people who suffered. Not someone you can use to make a movie and cash in on the emotional factor.

  2. Great written text. Let as many valuable texts as possible.
    i need a guaranteed personal loan


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