Ashrams in India

Prasanthi Nilayam

Prasanthi Nilayam is the main ashram of Sathya Sai Baba located in the village of in Anantapur district, , India. Sathya Sai Baba was born in . "Prasanthi Nilayam" means literally "Abode of the Highest Peace." Sathya Sai Baba gave daily darshan to his devotees in this ashram. Sathya Sai Baba was usually present in Prasanthi Nilayam from early June to the middle of March. At the age of seventeen, Sathya Sai Baba told one devotee, "The Sai Pravesh (the advent of Sai) will transform that region into Prasanthi Pradesh (a region of highest peace). There will rise a bhavan (mansion)! Lakhs of people from all over India, why only India, from all over the world, will come and wait there for Sai darshan!" In 1944 a mandir was built to facilitate the growing number of Sai Baba devotees. It is now commonly referred to as the "old mandir." Prasanti Nilayam was inaugurated on 23 November 1950, the 24th birthday of Sathya Sai Baba and its construction lasted about two years "Sathya Sai Baba can be said to be the architect and engineer who directed the entire work for construction", says Narayana Kasturi. Sathya Sai Baba supervised the construction, acquiring of equipment, and watched over the devotees who constructed the ashram." Heavy girders for the central prayer hall was transported from Tiruchirapalli by train to Penukonda and then had to be brought over the district road, sixteen miles long." The mandir was painted blue, yellow, and pink "communicating the message of the harmony of spirit, intellect, and heart respectively; for blue stands for spirit, yellow for intellect, and pink for heart (love). The rich harmony of the three does result in santhi (peace) and Prasanthi (supreme peace); and that really is the message of the Prasanthi mandir." In October 1957 a hospital was inaugurated on the hill behind the ashram." Poornachandra Auditorium was built in 1973 where cultural programmes, conferences and yagnas during Dasara take place." It can seat around 15,000 people in the 60 x 40-metre area. Sathya Sai Baba's living quarters are upstairs above the stage." The Sarva Dharma Stupa, a 50 ft high pillar celebrating the unity of all religions, was built in November 1975 to mark the advent of the Avatar." Sai Kulwant Hall with a seating capacity of about 20,000 is where daily darshan took place. Sai Kulwant Hall is between Sathya Sai Baba's residence (Yajur Mandir) and the Prasanti Mandir. The carved icons of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman were installed by Sathya Sai Baba on 30 September 1999. The Prasanti Nilayam ashram hosts many mandirs including a Ganesha Mandir, Subramanya Mandir, Gayatri Mandir, a meditation tree planted by Sai Baba in 1950, an eternal heritage museum, Chaitanya Jyothi museum), multiple canteens, cricket ground, indoor sports stadium, super specialty hospital, educational institutions, shopping complex, administration buildings, devotee quarters, accommodation rooms and halls. There is a branch office of the State Bank of India in Prasanthi Nilayam." is well connected by road to all parts of Anantapur district, the district headquarters (84 kilometres (52 mi)), the state capital (441 kilometres (274 mi)), (154 kilometres (96 mi)) and (375 kilometres (233 mi)), by state-run APSRTC buses. KSRTC buses also ply from . has a railway station named as Sri Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam which started functioning from 23 November 2000, which was Baba's 75th birth anniversary. It is about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the ashram. This station falls under the Bangalore Division of the South Western Railway and lies on the Bangalore-Guntakal railway line. It is easy to reach the town from the railway station in 20-25 mins, through various modes of transport like cabs, autorickshaws and APSRTC buses. The town is connected directly by train to , , , , , , and . has an airport which is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the ashram. It is owned by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and is spread over 450 acres (1.8 km2) of land, housing a runway that is 2,230 metres long. The airport is closed to normal domestic flights, though until 2005, it was served by the erstwhile Indian Airlines with flights from and . The nearest functional airport is the Kempegowda International Airport at , a suburb of which is about 119 kilometres (74 mi) from .

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