Spiritual Ashrams in Bangalore

Art of Living Ashram Bangalore
Art of Living Ashram Bangalore Source http://www.artofliving.org/bangalore-ashram

Apart from being a headquarter for Indian IT companies, Bangalore also happens to be a hotspot for spiritual organizations, as a few of them are headquartered here. I happened to visit the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Ashram and Sai Baba’s Whitefield Ashram last month – two prominent spiritual ashrams in Bangalore.

Art of Living Ashram is a sprawling 70 acre campus located about 12 Kms away from the city limits on Kanakpura road. Though it is located right on the main road, you have to take a detour of about 3 kms to enter the campus if you are going by your own vehicle, and when you park you almost get the feeling of being in a remote hilly village, with unleveled space being marked as parking for visitors. The most noticeable building on campus is Vishalakshi Manatapa, which is multi storied, the first level is a shop which sells almost everything under the sun that you need for your day to day living including clothes. The next level is a meditation center and a place which is probably used for discourses. The next level is not open to visitors and is used for conducting the ‘Art of living’ courses. The building is good, specially the circular terrace around the building on level 2, from where you can see the hills surrounding the campus and a lake. You also get to see the huge hostels that exist in the campus, I tried to do a rough calculation and there should at least 500 rooms there if not more. The art work inside the meditation hall is very loud and basic, with the kind of money and influence at their disposal I guess they could have had better art work there. The colors used are also too loud, and am sure can be a potential distraction for the people who are new to meditation. After we came out this we reached reception, which is also supposed to be the information center, but I did not find any additional or useful information. Behind the reception is a open an amphitheater, which is very inviting. In a typical Bangalore weather, the place is ideal to sit and converse, watch play or listen to a music that resonates with the surrounding or the elements. There is a canteen where you can pay and eat and this is a beautiful place, very rustic design with complimenting colors and synchronous furniture. Canteen had my favorite rustic red colored floor and walls with rural paintings which to me sounded like Warli paintings, but I am not sure. The food is also decent, simple and palatable. There is a travel desk which helps you do all the travel arrangements. There is a huge book shop and what they call Divine shop. All this obviously sell the Ashram books and merchandise only. I found the books, stationary and handicrafts very costly, looks like they are targeted at NRIs and foreigner only, they would be out of reach for most Indians. Although they claimed that people living in Ashram make those handicrafts, but I have seen the similar stuff in the usual markets in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
Next Ashram I visited is Sai Baba’s ashram is Whitefield. Now this is not headquarter for Sai Baba, but this is like his city office. The Ashram is very similar to the one in Puttaparthi, again very loud colors and very loud artwork. This is a simpler Ashram compared to the earlier one. A huge open hall where the discourses happen and a small temple. It houses a hostel for students, not sure how big or small as visitors are not allowed to go inside. There is also a shop and a book shop in the premises. The most intriguing part of this Ashram is a huge Bungalow, where Sai Baba lives when he is in Bangalore. The bungalow has a huge iron gate with a security guard and you can see the place only from about 50 meters. Even to enter the Ashram you have to keep your cameras, cell phone etc outside and go through a security check. I wonder a guy who calls himself Bhagwaan (GOD), why does he need protection and so much security and from whom. If he is so divine, and if he is capable of doing so many miracles, why can’t he help himself with simple protection. Why does his residence need to be such a protected place ? Is it only for security reasons? How does he manage to hypnotize so many people, who do not even put these simple questions to him?
There is Chinmaya Mission on CMH road, but I visited them years ago, need to visit them again sometime. Of all the spiritual organizations that I have seen Chinmaya Mission remains my favorite for being non-preachy, for being punctual and disciplined and for respecting each and everyone who comes there, unlike most other places that end up putting hierarchies. I also admire their educational approach rather than preaching approach that most other organizations follow. Any other prominent Ashrams in Bangalore…let me know.


  1. Pictures and paintings and things you see dont ‘sound’ like some art form, only things you hear ‘sound’ like something. What you see ‘looks’ like something. You can delete this comment after your read it. It is only to make your near perfect write-up more perfect, not to nit-pick 🙂

  2. If you need a Correct Picture of what SaiBaba does, I guess you would need to visit the Ashram at Puttaparthi. See his works from the Anantapur Water Project (Completely carried-out by Him for 100’s of Villages), Chennai Water Project (Again, all by himself), and so on.

    His Colleges offer 100% free Education – from 1st Standard, and all the way up to PHD across different faculties! His Super Specialty Hospitals in Whitefield and Puttaparthi are a standing testimony for his Love for the Humanity. Can you site something like this by anyone from across the entire Globe??

    I am originally from Chennai. I knew how much we suffered without water availability for the Day-to-day needs. When I had been to Chennai this time, I found that the City is no longer a cursed one with the Scarcity of Water!

    Visit during Dasara to see what his Students do to the society. and Every first Sunday to Belathur in Bangalore ( near Kadugodi- Whitefield ) to see how about 100 of his students help 1000’s of Villagers, coming from all around Bangalore out-skirts, to see their Service they render.

  3. your description about whitefiled ashhram is largely incorrect. The colours are not loud. what do you mean loud? they are simple yellow, pink and blue. pls check what do these colours stand for. they have been painted to reflect them. second, the hostel i have visited and have done service there. its a pretty decent one and not very osetentatious one.

    security was never tight at both ashrams before. i remember days when cameras and books notes were common. anybody could bring anything. security is meant for people / pilgrims who come to see his divine presence. it is for them such a care is taken. all the security is henadeled by volunteers. he does not employ any security agencies. its a pure volunteer job. secondly there are no hidden cameras and all that stuff.

    if you can do an iota of work he has done, i will call you god. people of this country have called persons of this very nature God becoz the things they have acheived. Your comments are very spurious and manipulative.

    I have worked in the hospital and once was a patient there myself. No where was question of maney being raised. I was operated upon a urethery problem, which any speciality hospital would cost me 7 lakhs upwards…not at all affordable for ordinary man like me. His Hospital treated me during and after operation for fifteen day absolutely free. Name one person who does this?

    i suggest, before you do stupid bashing of people, kindly visit the hospital, do inquiries around, then you will come to know the real person. For me he is God…bcoz who cares for me and looks after me in that hospital could not be anybody lees than God.

  4. Hi, you may want to visit the RamKrishana Ashram in Bull Temple road near basvanagudi and close to that is the Shankar Math on Shankar Math Road, both places are simple and peaceful.if you feel hungry and wish to eat something very south Indian for breakfast may be you should try Brahmins Coffee Bar/Cafe near Shankar math is a small hotel which serves the best idli,Vada,Coffee.

    about the comments i see here: why dont people look at small and simple things like : sai baba who has a ashram in bangalore, whitefield keeps his ashram lights on at Morning 2 am i understand if its one or 2 lights in every direction but no all lights were on where it is not needed, god knows if he ever gave a thought on “GLOBAL WARMING” for the “Love for the Humanity” for the social work he does i would like to say he has never earned a single rupee all comes as donation from people who go to him with problems are asked to DONATE and is invested for political reasons.

    Souce:Close friend who is 52 year old technology Consultant.

    So what if Sai Baba did a operation for free he does not become God. India needs something concrete not just freebies what do these Baba’s do they simply look for their “CHANGE & COMFORT” fooling people & taking advantage of them when they go with problems to him.

  5. Krinshnamurti Foundation India, Bangalore is worth a visit. It’s a beautiful place, like other KFI centers, on kanakpura road few km. before Sri Sri RS’s ashram. This place is more quiet and congenial for someone with contemplative disposition. You can get details at there web site, and talk to their caretaker Sushma Inamdar before you plan a visit