When we moved from Pune to Bangalore, we brought with us, few luggages and loads of plans. One among these plans, was to visit the well-liked place, Art of living international centre Bangalore. Many people spoke highly of this centre. Since then, we had in mind to visit it.
Travelling plans are like bubbles. These pop up and then vanish in no time.
Yet, we couldn’t let this plan die away. The reason being there are a number of art of living centres throughout the world. However, the primary centre otherwise called as Art of living international centre is located in Bangalore or Bengaluru Karnataka, the same city where we reside.
Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar ji laid first stone of this architectural marvel in 1986. I am not his big fan or follower, to be honest. Nevertheless, I have gone through couple of his books. For me, two of his motivational books, “Celebrating silence” and “Know your mind” top the list. I truly admire him for being a very insightful person.
QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE PLACE
Art of living international centre Bangalore Address
The centre or ashram is placed far off busy traffic of Bangalore city. It is situated on Kanakapura Road, that is 21 km from south Bangalore.
How to reach here is easy, you can take bus or metro or cab. Nearest bus stop is Art of living Kanakapura bus stop and metro station is Yelachenahalli metro station Bengaluru, Karnataka. Address of this centre is nearly 44 km away from our place of residence.
Though we always wished to visit the art of living retreat centre, we were tied up. Professional and personal lives kept us on the run. Eventually one fine day in the month of December 2019, we visited the place.
We started off early in the morning, in a cab. As it was Sunday we didn’t encounter much traffic. We hit our destination in only two hours. Which is seemingly fast for a busy city like Bangalore. On our way we had to pay toll tax at Nice ring road toll gate. Cab proceeded further and dropped us at entrance of art of living international centre.
Entrance, entry fee and timings
We passed across its eye-catching front gate. At the entrance, a person was there to keep in check.
There is no entry fee as such, for single day visit. But make sure to bring your identity proof along with. Art of living Bangalore timings is between 9 am to 7 pm daily. The place is open to visit during these hours.
While entering ashram, we identified a parking spot on our left. Just as we stepped inside the premises, we noticed few shops and food stalls where breakfast and cold drinks etc were readily available.
The art of living international centre Bangalore is mounted on Panchagiri hill. The campus is outspread on an area of over 250 acres.
We had heard of bus tour facility for visitors. However, for absolute fulfilment, we opted to explore by walking.
Along its well shaped pathway we observed following :-
- As we walked down the road we could view several buildings at places. These include residencies, mantap, school, offices, halls , Ayurvedic hospital, Gurukul etc.
- We saw shops, mall, restaurants, children park as well.
- Daily need materials and clothes were well within reach. But price was bit heavy on pocket.
- Restaurants served fresh and great quality food.
- The place is neat and well-groomed. At frequent intervals dustbins are placed.
- Crops and vegetables are also grown along side. It was truly a visual treat to watch green plants flourishing all around.
- Inside the campus we noticed that several residencies are built for volunteers to stay. Volunteers from India as well as from foreign countries were offering free service.
- Drinking water is accessible with ease. Washrooms are well kept too .
- We had heard a Goshala is there inside campus and is open for fixed hours for guided visit.
- Music, yoga, pranayama and meditation classes were going on at places for registered members.
5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE LOVE TO VISIT HERE
1. Guru Paduka Vanam
As we walked straight for sometime we noticed a small lake, outlined by wide seating places.
Interestingly the shape of this structure is in the form of foot or ‘paduka’; hence the name.
The whole structure is in fact an open amphitheater, named as Guru Paduka Vanam. On specific occasions spiritual art of living centre events are organised here.
Furthermore it is quite incredible to watch beautiful geese bathing and floating here and there. We spent a while sitting here and relishing its calmness.
Among others, Radhakunj garden and sumeru mantap are two isolated places worth mentioning.
2. Annapurna hall
At around 1:30 pm we reached at a mega kitchen cum dining hall, a.k.a Annapurna hall. Here, free food in the form of breakfast, lunch and dinner is prepared and distributed routinely, to huge numbers of visitors.
We kept our footwear at outdoors, where there was an arrangement for same. Hall was quite roomy. Benches were set in rows inside it. We sat peacefully and thoroughly enjoyed hot served ‘satwik’ lunch along with ‘kheer’.
Meanwhile one thing that largely grabbed our attention, was a board. Here, the gross amount of left over food on plate, thrown away on previous day, is noted daily. It cautions people not to waste food. After lunch, we cleaned our plates.
Often food satisfies appetite, but the kind of food we had that day was soul satisfying.
3. Lush green beauty
From Annapurna hall we moved up to its first floor and then walked across a bridge road. It led the way directly to main temple. A vast grass field with wide seating areas was laying right in front of main temple. It was further crowned by trees all around.
We chose to rest on thick grass carpet, under cold spell of trees. Moreover to add to our comfort it was a breezy day.
Now a days it is next to impossible to find such a serene place, away from chaos and chatter. Amidst the nature and its beauty we lost for a while.
4. Vishalakshi Mantap
The main temple, entitled as Vishalakshi Mantap is the primary attraction of art of living international centre Bangalore.
This 5 tiered meditation hall is structured as a 1008 petalled lotus.
When the day was about to end, the Mantap looked even more classy. As the sun was slowly resting down, strings of lights decorating the temple started glowing the whole place. The sight was awe-inspiring.
We then went inside Vishalakshi Mantap. We climbed up the stairs and got an eyeful of this marbled beauty. As we walked all around its gallery, we could visualise extensive campus of art of living international centre.
We looked through age old history of this place and Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar is depicted on beautiful picture boards. We also discovered various available paid courses for different age groups. If you are keen to learn how to meditate, how to perform Sudarshan kriya or how to practice yoga asana, then these courses are for you.
5. Prayer or Satsang
To start with, there were not many people inside. Whereas by late afternoon people gathered, in considerable numbers. Mostly they arrived with their respective family. Finally the moment clocked in, what everyone was waiting for. It was satsang or prayer time.
The word ‘Satsang’ is a Sanskrit word that means to associate with good people. In Indian culture it is a process where pious people gather and perform spiritual activity together in the form of singing, meditation etc.
Everyday satsang or prayer is organised at 6:30 pm except Sunday when it begins as early as 4 pm. For satsang, seating arrangement is there for men and women separately.
As bhajans and prayers started playing along with instruments, the whole place reverberated with an enchanting vibe. It was a blissful experience. Music beat was resonating with each heart sound.
The whole satsang experience is stamped in our memory forever. If you plan to pay a visit to Art of living international centre Bangalore, then you must attend its prayers. Most often people come here solely to participate in evening prayers.
Overall It was a day well spent with breathing clear air, staring at clean sky, feeling cool water, watching birds and animals close by and plantations all around. In fact, it was a soothing therapy for us.
It made us realise that we humans are at utmost peace when we are in harmony with nature.
If you are wondering, how to deal with loads of stress around you, then definitely it is a perfect place for you.
And if you ever plan to come to the Art of living Bangalore ashram, then plan a whole day to explore it. Some of you might have visited the place. Share your experiences in comment box below and let us know your take on it.
If this post is helpful then share this with your near and dear ones. Subscribe to our blog to get notifications on more such interesting posts in future. Do like our Facebook page and Follow us on our social sites, mentioned at bottom.
P. C. – Deepak Karmakar