Ashram means (religious) retreat (center). It dereives from a Sanskirt term aashraya that means protection.

E. Stanley Jones was powerfully touched in a revival at Asbury Seminary in 1905. He became known as "The Apostle to India", for his missionary work there and he worked hard on contextualiztion. Part of Jones legacy in the West are Christian Ashrams. Their website explains: "Christian Ashrams -are unique religious retreats that are Christ-centered and give individuals an opportunity to discover Christian answers for victorious daily living in the 21st century while proclaiming... Jesus Is Lord!"

In Indian folktales, tired leaders would venture to an Ashram and unplug and get refreshed.

Ashrams are usually located away from cities and towns, in the forest or mountains. I think they might not have deserts in India.