Prasanthi Nilayam, literally “The Abode of Supreme Peace”, is the birthplace and the headquarter of the sacred mission of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. For His devotees, it is what Rome is to the Catholics and Mecca to the Muslims. For others, who step into this township out of curiousity or general interest, it is a seat of inner growth and learning that visitors describe as awe-inspiring. Its draw lies in its power to nourish the soul and calm the mind.
This sacred township welcomes thousands of spiritual seekers from every faith, and all corners of the globe each day, as they arrive to behold the sacred form of Bhagavan Baba.
True to its name, anyone who steps in this holy precinct and breathes its air, vouches to experiencing the highest peace seep in their soul.
Inaugurated in 1950, what was then a humble settlement comprising of a cluster of modest concrete roofs and a shrine with no approach road worth the mention, has today emerged as the international spiritual lighthouse of the world.
The tiny township of Prasanthi Nilayam is located in the village of Puttaparthi, the hamlet where Bhagavan Baba was born. This area is part of the Anantapur district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in South India.
Today, the village of Puttaparthi is no longer a rural setting. It has emerged as the centre for spiritually-driven secular learning, with hospitals combining holistic healing with cutting-edge technology, and is well-connected through road, rail and air.
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) run many buses connecting Prasanthi Nilayam directly to several major cities like.
The Prasanthi Nilayam bus terminal is located just opposite the main gate of this spiritual township, and has a fully computerised reservation counter of the APSRTC. Phone: (08555) 287210.
The KSRTC reservation counter is located in the building adjacent to the bus terminal towards the left. Phone: (08555) 288938.
There are a number of private bus and taxi operators who ply between Prasanthi Nilayam and cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, etc. Please be advised that taxi fares between Bengaluru and Prasanthi Nilayam are in the range of Rs. 1500/- (from Bengaluru International Airport) to Rs. 2000/- (Bengaluru City).
The Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam railway station is located 8 kilometres from this township. However, a computerised railway reservation counter is located at the bus terminal itself. Phone: (08555) 287355.
Below are some of the important cities that are directly connected to Prasanthi Nilayam via rail.
For further details, contact the Station Master, Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam. Phone: (08555) 280125.
For more information regarding railway services, go to www.indianrail.gov.in
The nearest major airport is the Bengaluru (Bangalore) International Airport located about 120 kilometres from Prasanthi Nilayam. For more information, visit www.bengaluruairport.com.
There are three canteens which cater to the varying tastes of the thousands who visit Prasanthi Nilayam each day from all over the world.
The South Indian Canteen is open 4 times each day. It serves South Indian cuisine, snacks and beverages for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.
The North Indian Canteen opens only for lunch and dinner and serves North Indian cuisine.
The third is the Western Canteen which caters to the continental palate. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
All these three canteens provide purely vegetarian food at nominal rates.
Indian Citizens can be accommodated in rooms and dormitories. However, room accommodation may be difficult during festivals when there are large crowds. The Indian Accommodation office is located in Room No. 7 in front of the South Indian canteen, and is open from 6:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m. There is also an extention counter which is setup near the Ganesh Gate entrance and it is open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:p.m. Devotees seeking accomadation are adviced to bring with them any Government issued photo ID (eg. Drivers License, Voters ID, Ration Card etc.)
The Non-Resident Indians and Foreign Citizens’ accommodation office is located in North 8, N-1. These visitors need to bring along their passports and visas, and are accommodated in rooms, dormitories or common halls. This office is open from 6:30 a.m. till 8:00 p.m.
There is no provision for booking any of the accommodation facilities inside this township in advance.
Life inside Prasanthi Nilayam begins at 5:20 a.m. with the chanting of ‘Om’ and morning prayers in the main shrine, followed by group recitation of Vedic hymns and devotional singing while circumambulating the main temple.
Everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and later from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Vedic hymns are chanted in the Sai Kulwant Hall. This is followed by Bhajans (congregational devotional singing) upto 9:30 a.m. in the morning and upto 6:00 p.m. in the evening. (During summer months the evening sessions begin at 5:00 p.m. and conclude at 6:30 p.m.)
On the days when there are other programs scheduled in the hall, the timings of sessions may be different from that mentioned above.
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University): The Administrative Office of the Sri Sathya Sai University sits majestically atop a hill of this serene valley. This unique institution, combines the best of India’s ancient value based education system with the instruction of specialized branches of secular learning. It offers a number of undergraduate, post graduate and professional courses, all completely free of charge. It has four campuses - at Prashanthi Nilayam, Anantapur, Brindavan (Bengaluru) and Muddenahalli.
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences: Just five kilometers away from Prasanthi Nilayam, stands the grand edifice of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Medical Sciences, which offers world-class tertiary care, completely free of charge to all, especially the needy and downtrodden.
There is a similar sister institution in Whitefield, Bengaluru, in the state of Karnataka.
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust: Apart from the free University and the charitable hospitals, all the other service projects like the mammoth Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Projects, Sri Sathya Sai Orissa Flood Rehabilitation Project, Sri Sathya Sai Deena Janodharana Pathakam (boys’ orphanage) and many others are undertaken by this entirely charitable Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust which has its main office in Prasanthi Nilayam.
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation: The spiritual headquarters of the worldwide Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations is housed in this hamlet. Since its inception in the early 1960s, this voluntary organisation, has been engaged in the spiritual advancement of humanity through the principle and practice of selfless love and service, without any distinction of religion, nationality, race, and socio-economic status, either for those who work in this organisation or for those who are served by them.
Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust: This is an umbrella organisation which has four divisions.
The Media Division and Publications Division are engaged in disseminating the message of Bhagavan Baba, by publishing Sai literature, as well as through audio and video products.
The Bhaktha Sahayak Division and the Eswaramma Women’s Welfare Division cater to the physical needs of the devotees by offering subsidized food (in the many canteens inside the township), and other articles of need in the Shopping Complex and snack joints.
Sai Kulwant Hall: This is the grand venue where a mass of humanity congregates everyday to participate in prayers and worship. This massive convention hall is also where most of the cultural and spiritual festivals that fill the calendar of Prasanthi Nilayam are celebrated.
Chaitanya Jyothi Museum: This is a museum, exquisite in its architecture and elegant in its presentation, which narrates the story of the life and mission of Bhagavan Baba through creative multimedia and fascinating models.
There is free entry for all and it is open from 9:00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 5.30 p.m. on all days of the week, except Mondays.
Sanathana Sanskruti Museum: Literally, it means “The Eternal Heritage” and this is another museum which eloquently exhibits the principle of ‘Unity of all Faiths’, which is one of the cornerstones of Bhagavan Baba’s message. This too is free, and it is open on all days of the week except Wednesdays, from 10:00 a.m. till 12:00 p.m.
Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre: Inaugurated by Bhagavan Baba in 1985, this is a planetarium which educates not only the students of Sri Sathya Sai University but also the visitors on the wonders of astronomy. On every Thursday, there is a free show for the general public in English (10:15 a.m.) and Hindi (11:30 a.m.). Again on sundays there is a show in Hindi (The language of these shows may vary depending on the visiting groups and Sevadals offering service in the Ashram.) Free passes are issued at the South Indian Canteen Coupon Counter every Wednesday and Saturday from 10.00 a.m. onwards on first-come-first-serve basis.
Educational institutions and other groups can arrange for special shows by contacting the Director. For details visit the Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre website.
To learn more about places of interest in Prasanthi Nilayam, please go here.