The Art of Living Foundation has a large Ashram located on Kanakapura Road on the outskirts of Bangalore. We recently paid a visit to this Ashram founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
We had visited during Navratri, which is the busiest time of the year at the Ashram. Thousands of people were participating in the various programmes being held there at this time of the year. The entire place had a festive, busy feel to it.
We started our visit by having lunch at Vishala cafe. The food was delicious and plentiful. We then visited the Gaushala which has nearly 1,000 heads of cattle, all belonging to one of the 37 native breeds of cow in India. The vast majority belonged to the Gir variety, with beautiful brown coats and long, drooping ears. A quick online search revealed that this breed produces the highest yield of milk of all the breeds in India. They are also widespread in Brazil! There was a nice, pleasant atmosphere in the Gaushala, surrounded by these peaceful bovines.
We then continued our visit by taking in the small temples in the Ashram complex, visiting the lake area adjacent to which is a small pen containing a few Chital (Spotted) Deer, Rabbits, a couple of Turkeys and a few peafowl.
We then took in the Vishalakshi Mantapa. We could only view this beautiful multi-tiered meditation hall from the outside as there was a programme being held inside. Situated on top of a small hill, the walk offered beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
We took in the book shop and other shops located within the Ashram before heading back home.
I found the visit very refreshing, coming back with an increased sense of calm.