Courtesy of one of the MIL’s friends, the MIL, the OH, the mater and I got to visit the Vishwa Shanti Ashram on the outskirts of Bangalore last weekend. Located on the Tumkur highway, near Nelamangala, the Ashram has been founded by Sadguru Sant Keshavadas. It is a calm place that makes for a wonderful picnic spot. In fact, we did see busloads of children and their teachers from surrounding schools arriving for a half-day picnic in the grounds of the Ashram.
A huge statue of Vittala, one of the avatars of Vishnu, greets you as soon as you enter the Ashram premises. Larger than life, it is awe-inspiring.
Around the idol are temples dedicated to the Ashta Lakshmis (the eight avatars of Goddess Lakshmi), Lakshmi and Narayana, and Gayatri.
There is a lot of open space in the premises, much to the glee of the monkeys who roam around freely here, who seem to have made the Ashram their home.
There is also a Vishwaroopa temple here, which hoses an idol of Lord Vishnu in his majestic ‘vishwaroopam’ avatar. The statue is magnificent, and the attention paid to every small detail is amazing.
On the walls all around the statue, the entire Bhagwad Geeta has been inscribed on granite slabs.
Just outside the Vishwaroopam temple is a huge depicting of the Arjun Upadesh scene from the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna as the charioteer of a big, big, big chariot, imparting words of advice to Arjuna. It is a beautiful thing to behold, all right.
Opposite the Vishwaroopa temple are seven statues, depicting the seven major rivers in India – Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Cauvery, Narmada, Sindhu and Saraswati. Another beautiful piece of workmanship.
There are also a few shops in the courtyard, selling all manner of knick-knacks. What I found particularly fascinating are miniature cradles made of cane on sale, with toy babies inside. Devotees who want a child of their own buy these cradles, get them blessed by the priest in the various temples, and then tie them on a tree in the Ashram premises.
The Vishwa Shanti Ashram is a beautiful and serene place, worth visiting, if only to take in the surroundings and soak in some tranquility.
Have you been to this place? How did you find it?