If the daily grind has left you worn-out, now is the time to take a break and go on a trip to reconnect with your inner self. And we know just the right place for that – the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore. This peaceful ashram located atop a scenic hill, about 28 km away from the city, offers programs in yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama. Whether you are looking to do seva (or voluntary work), or join one of the programs or just enjoy some time of seclusion, this ashram is the perfect place. You can also visit it on a one-day trip and take a quick tour of the ashram and its key attractions.
So, what are the programs offered at the ashram? What are the main attractions, facilities, and accommodation options here? Here’s everything you need to know about the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, such as its history, timings, entry fee, attractions, programs, facilities, nearby tourist places, and more.
Art of Living International Center, Bangalore: Information
|Location||Kanakapura Road, Udayapura|
|Status||Headquarters of the Art of Living Foundation|
|Also Called||Bangalore Ashram, Ravi Shankar Ashram|
|Governing Body||Art of Living Foundation|
|Distance from Major Transportation Hubs||KSR Bangalore City Railway Station (27 km); Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station (30 km); Yeshwantpur Junction (38 km); Kempegowda International Airport (71 km)|
|Established by||Sri Sri Ravi Shankar|
|Visiting Hours||9:00 am to 7:00 pm; every day|
|Satsang Timings||6:30 pm on weekdays and Saturdays; 4:00 pm on Sundays|
|Entry Fee||Free for one-day ashram tour; residential courses and programs are chargeable|
|Transportation Options||BMTC Buses, taxis, and cabs|
|Nearest Bus Stop||Art of Living (Kanakapura Road)|
|Nearest Metro Station||Yelachenahalli (10 km)|
Art of Living International Center, Bangalore: History
The Art of Living International Center was established in 1986 by Ravi Shankar, an Indian spiritual leader who is popularly known by honorific names, such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Gurudev, and Guruji. Since then, the center has been attracting visitors from all over the world to find spiritual bliss and attend residential programs in yoga and meditation. Also called Bangalore Ashram, it serves as the headquarters of the Art of Living Foundation, a volunteer-based NGO established by Ravi Shankar.
Art of Living International Center, Bangalore: Architecture and Layout
Located south-west of the city on the Panchagiri Hills, the Art of Living International Center is spread over 250+ acres of land and boasts of a scenic setting. The complex is dotted with several structures including open-air meditation spaces, meditation halls, gardens, a Vedic school, an amphitheater, residential blocks, an auditorium, and administrative buildings, to name a few. The campus also houses a good range of dining facilities, stores, an Ayurvedic hospital, a wellness center, and a cow shelter.
Natural lighting and the lotus symbol are utilized in the construction of various spaces and buildings in the complex. Some of the structures like Vishalakshi Mantap (meditation hall) showcase an exceptional blend of modern and Vedic architectural elements. The wellness center at the ashram called Panchakarma is constructed in traditional Kerala style.
Programs and Courses at Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
The ashram conducts a wide range of residential programs in yoga, wellness, meditation, breathing techniques, and skill development for all age groups. Specially designed programs are also available for kids and corporate professionals. These include:
- Programs for beginners, such as Happiness Program, Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, Silence Retreat, Wellness Program, and Sri Sri Yoga Deep Dive
- Programs for kids and teens, such as Prajna Yoga, Utkarsha Yoga, Medha Yoga (for kids of different age groups), and Sri Sri Yoga for Kids
- Graduate Programs, including Advance Meditation Program, Dynamism for Self and nation (DSN), Blessing Program, Sri Sri Yoga Program 2, Sanyam, and Guru Puja
- Corporate Programs that focus on team building, leadership, change management workshops, personality development, and the like
- Special Programs like Colors of Joy (summer holiday program), Chaitra Navrathri, and Tera May (related to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s birthday celebrations)
Things to See in Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
The Art of Living International Center has numerous spectacularly designed buildings and structures spread across the campus. These include:
- Vishalakshi Mantap: Touted as the focal point of the ashram, Vishalakshi Mantap is a five-tiered meditation hall designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and named after his mother. It showcases a blend of modern and Vedic architecture and is an excellent example of intricate artistry. The glass dome of the structure features a 15 feet 3 inch-high kalash, which is considered to be the biggest in the continent. The edifice incorporates design elements of lotus, one of the holiest symbols in Hinduism.
- Radha Kunj Garden: It is a scenic and serene garden with exotic plants, flowers, and lush greenery. The garden also houses fountains, lily ponds, an earthy pathway, a lake, and a waterfall.
- Sri Sri Gurukul: Modeled on the gurukul system of education prevalent in ancient India, Sri Sri Gurukul caters to students from across the globe. It is a center of excellence offering courses in a wide range of subjects, including Sanskrit, Vedas, Jyothisham, and Vedic Mathematics, to name a few.
- Sri Sri Gaushala: Set up for the preservation of indigenous breeds of cows, Sri Sri Gaushala is home to hundreds of cows belonging to about 15 desi breeds. Visitors can take a guided tour through the shelter and get a glimpse of the daily activities undertaken here, including milking, feeding, biogas production, etc.
- Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital: With advanced diagnostic facilities and highly trained medical professionals, Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research Hospital (SSCASRH) offers more than 100 Ayurvedic treatments. The hospital also houses 15 Panchakarma treatment rooms complete with traditional equipment as well as modern facilities.
- Sumeru Mantap: This is an open-air auditorium featuring 12 pairs of pillars, which are symbolic of the 12 zodiac signs in Indian astrology. The entire structure is bordered with ornate lotus petals, which add to its architectural charm. Located at the highest point in the ashram, the mantap offers stunning views of the whole campus and the surrounding localities.
- Guru Paduka Vanam: It is an open amphitheater designed in line with the Vedic concept of vanam or forest, which is believed to provide shelter to those who are on their spiritual journey. The shape of the structure resembles a paduka or Guru’s feet. It can accommodate thousands of people at a time.
Facilities at Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
In order to make your visit or stay comfortable, the ashram provides a host of facilities like:
- Residential blocks that provide accommodation facilities to those who are undergoing courses/programs
- A bus tour that will take you through all the must-visit structures in the ashram complex
- A snack point named Swadishta, where you get quick bites, Indian snacks, sandwiches, tea, fresh juices, etc.
- An energizer point named Ojas Station that offers a good range of cookies and snacks. You will also get milk-shakes made using Ojasvita, a health drink developed by Sri Sri’s FMCG brand named Tattva
- Café Vishala, a fine dining facility that offers tasty food and eggless bakery products made of whole wheat
- Panchamruth, a multi-cuisine restaurant that provides easy-to-digest and wholesome Sattvik food
- Madhurya, a store where you can shop for traditional Indian sarees, furniture, jewelry, and handicraft items
- BYOGI, a store that sells lifestyle products, such as ethnic and colorful casual wear and yoga wear
- Sri Sri Tattva Shop, an exclusive FMCG outlet where you can shop for a good range of personal care, household, grocery, and Ayurveda products
- Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma, a wellness center that offers therapies, massages, detox programs, personalized diet and exercise programs, etc. in line with age-old Ayurvedic practices
One-day Tour of Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
It is not mandatory that you sign up for a residential program to explore the Art of Living International Center. A visit to the ashram counts among the top things to do in Bangalore even for tourists. You can plan a one-day trip to the ashram and take the bus tour to explore the major attractions within the campus. A unique feature of all Art of Living ashrams is the satsang – a daily gathering where devotees sing, meditate, and dance. Satsang sessions at the Bangalore Ashram happen every evening, so plan your visit accordingly.
Attractions near the Art of Living International Center, Bangalore
- Thottikallu Falls (3.5 km)
- Turahalli (8 km)
- Aagara Lake (8 km)
- Prani – The Pet Sanctuary (9 km)
- ISKCON Temple Vaikunta Hills (11 km)
- Bannerghatta National Park (13 km)
- Shree Banashankari Amma Temple (14 km)
Many tourist attractions in Bangalore are over 20 km away from the ashram, but they can easily be accessed by road using taxis or BMTC buses. If you are up for a short sightseeing tour after attaining spiritual bliss, here’s an itinerary to cover the best of Bangalore in just 2 days. So, go ahead and plan a visit to the ashram – it’s time to nurture your body, mind, and soul!