|Puttaparthi, once a sparsely populated village, has shot into national and
international fame as the abode of Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba. The original
name of Sai Baba is "Satyanarayana Raju". He was born on November
23, 1926 in Puttaparthi.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the most colourful and multifaceted prophet, modern
India has produced, is believed to be the very avatar (incarnation) of love
and the voice of one's own innermost heart speaking to each individual
externally. The teachings of the Baba are based on the famous 'five props'
of Sathya (truth), Dharma (righteousness) Santhi (peace), Prema (universal
love) and Ahimsa (non violence). Prasanthi Nilayam, over the years, has
attracted people from all over then world. The Ashram has a code of conduct
which every visitor should follow. The Ashram also has museums, stadiums,
educational institutions, the Sai Space Theatre etc. The 23rd of November is
celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm by the devotees of Baba at the
Prasanthi Nilayam. Over a million people gather here on the occasion of the
Baba's birthday. The atmosphere around the Ashram is undeniably peaceful,
and the growth of such a vibrant community in this once forgotten backward
area is not a small miracle.
His disciples have constructed the 'Prashanti Nilayam' an ashram, which
attracts large number of devotees throughout the year. Prasahanti Nilayam
means 'the abode of peace". The ashram was inaugurated in 1950. The
ashram is a huge complex with room for thousands, with canteens, shops, a
museum and library, and a vast assembly hall where Sai Baba gives 'darshan'
twice daily. A considerable number of devotees turn out for his birthday
celebrations in Puttaparthi, where he delivers a message to his devotees.
Located 400-km from Hyderabad by road, the village Chitravati, situated at
a distance of about 18 miles from Penukonda, 2 miles from
Penukond-Bukkapatnam road has now become a centre of great attraction,
Puttaparthi. It is abode of Puttaparthi Sri Satya Sai Baba. An important
tourist attraction of Ananthapur district, Puttaparthi is surrounded by the
arid and rocky hills bordering Karnataka.
Interests (Outside of Ashram)
- Birth Place of Bhagavan Sai
A Siva temple in the Puttaparthi village signifies the birth-place
of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The temple was opened by Baba in 1979. The
real birthplace, not known to most people, is located accross the
river in a small dilipated house.
- Sathyabhama Temple
On the other side of the street there is a temple for Sathyabhama,
a rare one exclusively established for Sathyabhama. Sathyabhama is
commonly known as the consort of Lord Krishna, and the worse example
of such. Perhaps this is the reason why the temple in Puttaparthi is
the only temple in the world dedicated to Sathyabhama. Sri Kondama
Raju, Bhagavan's grandfather, had a dream where he found Sathyabhama
standing in heavy rain and wind, asking for shelter. This lead to
the determination of constructing a temple for Sathyabhama.
- Sri Raju Kalyana Mandapam
The Old mandir was constructed in the year 1945. Bhagavan selected
a new location for His darshans and a new mandir, the current one,
was constructed in 1950. Thereafter the old mandir has been used as
Kalyana Mandapam (marriage hall) and is given for free use for
marriages in the village.
- The Village Mosque
The village mosque and the hall opposite was constructed and opened
by Baba in 1978. At a certain borderline from Puttaparthi, accidents
and diseases would set-in on travellers. Bhagavan asked local people
in the area to dig at a certain spot, and a plate was discovered,
containing various Muslim inscriptions. The plate was moved into the
Mandir, and all inauspicious events stopped. A mosque was built in
Puttaparthi and the plate was taken on yearly processions to the
mosque from the mandiram.
- Anjaneya (Hanuman) Swamy Temple
This temple is between Kalyana Mandapam and the Sathyabhama temple.
At the entrance, Lord Siva as Lingam, brought by Bhagawan from
Kasim, is installed. The temple appears as if Anjaneya engraved in a
guha stands inside a cave. There is always a pool of water at the
feet of Anjaneya (Hanuman) representing the tears he sheds in his
love and longing for Lord Rama.
- Kalpa Vriksha
This 'wishfulfilling' tree is an old tamarind tree from Bhagavan's
childhood. The Kalpa Vriksha is famous from Bhagavan's life story in
Professor Kasturi's Sathyam-Shivam-Sundaram series. In His boyhood,
Bhagavan used to display His miraculous powers to His playmates by
asking these to think of any fruit, in or out of season, and the
same would appear hanging off the branches of the tamarind tree.
Thus the name 'wishfulfilling tree' was given.
Today the tree is a great look-out point over the Chitravathi
river. It is located on the side of a hill on the banks of the
- Chitravati River
The river is located circa ½ kms from the ashram. It is
considered by many as being the new Ganga, as Bhagavan bathed in the
river, played on the banks of the river and displayed many miracles
and manifestations on the banks of the Chitravathi. Currently and
unfortunately the Chitravathi is the source of sand for all
construction in Puttaparthi. A small secret: Bhagavan's robes are
still being washed in the Chitravathi, with a guard overlooking them
as they dry.
The Samadhi of Bhagavan's parents, Sri Pedda Venkappa Raju and Smt.
Easwaramma, is located in the Samadhi Road, a few blocks from the
Ganesh Gate. Every year during Eswaramma Day, May 6th, special
Bhajans are conducted here and hundreds of poor people are fed. In
earlier years, Bhagavan used to offer obeisance to His parents on
His birthday every year and travel in procession to the Samadhi.
- Sai Gita-The Elephant
Sai Gita is Bhagavan's temple elephant. It is considered auspicious
in India in temples to have a real elephant residing in the temple
as a symbol for Ganesh-the remover of obstacles. Elephants also
represent intelligence and intellect, as they are highly intelligent
Sai Gita was born in 1965 and was given to Bhagavan as a gift from
the Zoo in Madras, when she was merely a small baby. It is not known
whether she was an orphaned wild elephant, or breed in the zoo. In
any case, she was quite spoilt by Swami as a young one and he even
had a small compound built for her next to the Mandir, which she
used to stay in when she was not trailing after Bhagavan in and out
of the Mandir.
Elephants usually live until they are about 70 years old. To ease
the pain of separation, Sai Gita has a photo with her and Bhagavan
hanging on the wall in her private compound next to the Planetarium.
- Sathya Sai Nagar
This is a colony of 58 houses where the Harijans (outcasts) of the
village have been provided shelter by Bhagavan after being displaced
as a result of an unexpected flooding of the Chitravati River in
The houses (or huts) are located by the Gokulam, where all the cows
are who provide milk for the schools and the ashram.
The ashram dairy is about half a kilometer from the Ashram, along
the Main Road in Vidya Giri. All milk for the schools, the hospital
canteen, and the ashram comes from the Gokulam. It is known amongst
villagers that the Gokulam cows has the best milk; fresh and
undiluted. The locals are quite proud if they have access to the
'Gokulam milk'! To avoid the spreading of infections of the animals,
you are requested not to go around or enter the cowsheds. By the
Gokulam is a most beautiful image of Sri Krishna at the entrance.
The artitistic 'fill-ins' with paint and brush on Sri Krishna's face
has been done by Bhagavan Himself years ago.
- Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium
behind the Higher Secondary School, opposite the hill, towering with
statues of Hanuman, Krishna, Shiva, Buddha, Zoroaster, and Christ,
it gives an imposing view.
Bhagavan addresses the mammoth gathering, from the Shanthi Vedika
(covered podium) on the Southern end of the stadium on His Birthday
on 23rd November every year.
In Bhagavan's presence it is perhaps not coincidental that during
the birthday celebrations each year with a clear blue sky, the
stadium becomes covered with clouds to protect the crowd from the
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences and The Super
This hospital carries its own story, which has been known through
video's and articles. Professor Keith Critchlow with assistant John
Adams from the Royal Institute of Architecture in London is the
draftsman behind this magnificent building. Prof. Critchlow
specializing in ancient Eastern architecture.
The structure, which contains over 15,000 square meters, was
constructed within a period of one year in a village which barely
had materials to put it up. An impossibility, according to W.H.O.,
yet it was done and completed, exactly as Bhagavan had stated one