Foundation of Prashanti Nilayam
The founder of the Prashanti Nilayam was Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who was born in the village of Puttaparthi. 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". He inaugurated the ashram on November 23, 1950 on the ceremony of his 25th Birthday. "Prashanti Nilayam" means literally "Abode of the Highest Peace". Sri Sathya Sai Baba showed much spiritual manifestation from the tender age of 14. He is said to be an incarnation of ‘Sai Baba of Shirdi’, Maharashtra.
Amenities of Prashanti Nilayam
Prashanti Nilayam includes many temples including a ‘Ganesha Mandir’, ‘Subramanya Mandir’, ‘Gayatri Mandir’, a ‘Kalpavriksha’ or wish-fulfilling tree and a ‘Meditation Tree’. There is a ‘Darshan Hall’ where Swami meets his devotees. The campus also encompasses a post office, a public relation desk, a canteen and even a bakery. Gradually Prashanti Nilayam developed into an ashram, with a free school and a deemed university, cricket ground, indoor sports stadium, shopping complex, administration buildings, devotee quarters, accommodation rooms and halls.
Poornachandra Auditorium’ was built in 1973 where cultural programmes, conferences and yajnas take place. 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. The carved icons of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman were installed by Sathya Sai Baba on 30 September 1999.
In October 1957 a hospital was inaugurated on the hill behind the ashram. An open-heart surgery and a kidney transplant are performed free of charge everyday to serve the poor. The hospital is a multi-speciality hospital with good facilities and is free for the poor.
How to Reach Prashanti Nilayam
Puttaparthi is well connected by road to all parts of Anantapur district, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai, by state-run and also private buses. Puttaparthi has a railway station named as "Sri Sathya Sai Prashanti Nilayam" which started functioning from 23rd November 2000, which was Baba’s 75th Birth Anniversary. It is about 8 km from the ashram. The town is connected directly by train to Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. The nearest functional airport is the Kempegowda International Airport at Devanahalli, a suburb of Bengaluru which is about 119 km from Puttaparthi.