Visiting Prashanti Nilayam for the First Time
India for the first time can be exciting and overwhelming!
Here we will give you an overview of visiting the eternal presence of Sai Baba at Prashanti Nilayam, and some important information to get you well prepared!
Sai Baba has three main ashrams, and some smaller temples in India. Sai Baba's ashrams are located in
If you are visiting Puttaparthi, you may wish to also view these pages:
- Ashram Facilities are on the Ashram page.
- Other facilities and utilities in Puttaparthi Township can be found on our Utilities page.
- Accommodation within and outside the ashram (See note for Overseas Devotees below) is on our Accommodation page.
- Travel information has been moved to our Travel Page.
Gopuram at Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi
Generally, Sai Baba can be found at the Puttaparthi Ashram. This is in South India, approximately three hours drive from Bangalore.
During the hot summer in Puttaparthi area, Sai Baba is known to depart Puttaparthi for Bangalore, where there is an ashram located in Whitefield, some 27 kilometres away on the outskirts of Bangalore. Occasionally, Sai Baba visits a small ashram located in the hill resort town of Kodaikanal, which is somewhat further south of Bangalore in the adjoining state of Tamil Nadu.
Golden Chariot in Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi
Travel to India
There has been no direct air travel to Puttaparthi Airport for over 2 years. The Puttaparthi Airport has recently changed ownership; there may or may not be flights during festivals. Air Deccan and Indian Airlines no longer fly to Puttaparthi.
New Bangalore Airport
The New Bangalore International Airport opened for operation on 11 May 2008. You may click the image above to visit the Bangalore International Airport Website.
This Airport is 34km from the heart of Bangalore city, and is close to Muddenahalli (on the main highway to Prashanti Nilayam). The Airport proper was actually built on the same road to Whitefield Ashram. Now, there is a new exit at Hosket, which makes this airport around 60 minutes away from Whitefield.
You may view some photographs of the new Bangalore International Airport.
Darshan in Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparthi
The Airport will also be connected by a new Hi-Speed Railway. Construction is expected to take three years. There will be three stations on the new route; BRV, Hebbal and Yelahanka. At present there are two routes planned; one to be a fresh set of tracks adjacent the current Cantonment - Yelahanka railway, with divergence at the NH7 point; the other is a whole new route adjacent NH7 for the entire distance. Proposed fares are Rs 200, 150, 50, respectively. The new railway will be constructed by the Delhi Metro Corporation.
Sathya Sai Baba lights a lamp in Prashanti Nilayam
You must have a valid visa to enter India. A valid visa is only issued for return air tickets. Tourist visas are available from your Indian Consulate for a moderate cost and a validity of 6 months. The Indian Consulate checks visas and it takes time, so it is best to allow between 7 to 10 working days in ANY country for visas.
Visa on Arrival
You must have a valid visa to enter India. A valid visa is only issued when you have return air tickets. Tourist visas are available from your Indian Consulate for a moderate cost. The Indian Consulate checks eligibility and it takes time, so it is best to allow between 7 to 10 working days in ANY country for visas. A Visa on Arrival program is open to residents from New Zealand, Finland, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Sinagapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Cambodia, Laos. More information on Visa on Arrival is found here. Persons eligible should read this page, there are conditions and a fee must be paid on arrival.
Sathya Sai blesses offerings by students in Prashanti Nilayam
See your doctor about your health needs. You will most likely need to attend to mosquitos (so consider anti malarial tablets). Most "roll ons" work well with the mosquitos. You would be well advised to discuss Hepatitis and Tetanus with your doctor.
Eat only in clean, recommended places. This means, eat in the Ashram Canteens. Prashanti Nilayam and Brindavanam Ashrams both have canteens dedicated to both Indian and Western food. This is pure, clean, nourishing vegetarian food. Do not drink anything that is not in a sealed bottle, or sealed can.
Sathya Sai Baba in Prashanti Nilayam
Water for Personal Use
Tap water is for washing the body and clothes only, it does not go into your mouth. Not if you are a foreigner. To rinse your mouth after brushing teeth use your bottled water. Do not travel without a bottle of water by your side. These are cheap and an absolute necessity. Refill bottles only at the water stations in the ashrams, and throw the bottle away after about three or four refills, bacteria will form naturally in any bottle after a period of time.
If you have cracked heels or toes, take precaution and begin a treatment before leaving to seal those cracks up. You will spend quite some time in bare feet in the ashrams, and its always better to have healthy feet. Ointment for cracked heels is available in the Supermarket.
Sai Kulwant Hall, Prashanti Nilayam
India's climate is warm. Fly in loose comfortable clothing and take a walk around the aircraft after meals and at two or three times to keep the thrombosis at bay.
Prevent Jet Lag. British Airways now offer advice about prevention of jet-lag prior to flying. By answering a few simple questions regarding your recent or planned flights, they can advise you on the best things to do to minimise your jet lag. Visit the British Airways Jet-Lag Advisor page. (opens in a new window)
On arrival at India, have light, cotton clothing to wear. Light shoes or sandals. You can obtain clothes for a very good price both in the ashram and outside the ashram. Thick winter pyjamas are not needed, only light sleepwear. It is better to buy clothing when you arrive in India (as it costs so much less), or ask another devotee to loan you clothes to get you to your first darshan; after that, you can purchase your own and return the loaned clothes. Clothing is available in both ashrams (Puttaparthi has a four story supermarket!) and from the clothing stores outside the ashrams.
Sathya Sai Baba with students and alumni, Poornachandra Hall
If you change money in India, you will receive what is called an Encashment Certificate. To get one of these, you change money at the airport, and produce your passport. When you leave the country, and you want to change the Indian Rupees back to your own currency, you need an encashment certificate to change that money back. You will most likely receive encashment certificates from any forex (foreign exchange) dealer you attend.
A simpler solution is to obtain some rupees before you arrive in India. You can also use ATM's in India and use your credit card in most banks.
Sathya Sai Baba with students and alumni, Poornachandra Hall
Visiting Dharmakshetra in Mumbai
Dharmakshethra in Bombay is Swami's Mumbai residence. There is limited
accommodation for overseas devotees travelling to Sai Baba ashrams.
You should contact Dharmakshetra once you have your intinerary complete to obtain a romm, as this place has limited accommodation for travellers, and is full most of the time.
For further information about Dharmakshetre, please see this page.
What you need to take with you
Surprisingly, some people overlook the obvious. You will need, among other things:
- A bottle of water to drink after you get off the aircraft and before you reach your accommodation
- Some Indian currency, and small notes at that. Get this at the Foreign Exchange desk at your home airport before you leave. What if you have to pay for a bus or taxi journey? Or worse, buy a bottle of water for 14 rupees?
- A valid visa. Don't try entering without one.
Sathya Sai Baba in Poornachandra Hall
Keeping Fit on the Aircraft
Again, some overlook the obvious. You do not have to practise herd mentality on an aircraft. Your body belongs to you, you should take care of it.
- If Cabin Calistentics or Airborne Aerobics are shown on the video, especially after a meal, do them. Rotate your ankles, wiggle your shoulders, make circles with your wrists. Keep that blood moving around.
- Go for hourly walks up and down the aisle.
- Feet swell on flights. Take your footwear off and ensure you wiggle those feet around. Do not take tight fitting footwear as you may not be able to put them on when the flight ends. If they offer you socks, put them on if you ahve bare feet.
- Some airlines now leave soft drink, fruit juice and ice and water jugs in the galley for passengers to help themselves to. Get up and look for it.
- Do not over-eat and take it easy on the alcohol and bread. These make you feel sluggish and induce drowsiness. Drink lots of water and empty your bladder when the body calls for it.
- If you are asleep and a meal is offered to you at night, don't take it. Go back to sleep, your stomach and body are in cleansing cycle, purifying the body of the day's toxins. Take the next meal offered, instead.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis is not a joke. We know some people who have travelled to Sai Baba and have contracted this condition. Take every step to keep yourself agile and reasonably limber. Recently, attempts to sue airlines for this medical condition have been hotly contested. It is the general opinion that the airlines must take reasonable steps to inform you of this condition (watch the videos) but you are responsible for your health.
Sathya Sai Baba blessing food, Sai Kulwant Hall
Airline Vegetarian Meals - General Notes
You can order meals of your preference when you book your ticket. Most airlines cater for specific religous and vegetarian diets, particularly those that fly in and out of the Near East, and Asia. Most flights that originate from India or terminate in India, will have Indian meals, either Veg, or Non-Veg, as it is called in India.
The information below is offered for your interest. Generally, you should ring and book your meals 48 hours before departure. Alternatively, you can specify this at ticketing, and follow up by checking the meal allocation at the Airline Check-in counter; they can tell you if a special meal has been ordered for you. If it is missing, at least you can have a try to get them to make an arrangement for you.
Note that due recent economic tightening of belts by airlines, these notes
below no longer apply to domestic flights by carriers. Lite and Budget international travel has arrived, and meals may be purchased in-flight on some budget airlines. You may or may not be able to organise your veg meal if you are travelling by budget or LITE international travel. Few (if any) carriers are now offering free hot meals for short domestic flights. Trolleys with snacks which are purchased is quickly becoming the norm for internal domestic flights.
The notes below apply to International travel only.
- Vegetarian meals in Business Class are reputed to be of better quality than the meals offered in Economy or Thrift Class
- Most of the larger airlines also offer fruit platters. If you are doing several hops on one airline and order vegetarian on all of them, it is possible to get the same meal several times in one day.
- If you are in this situation, a suggestion would be to order
- one vegetarian meal, (VGML)
- one fruit platter meal (FPML) and
- either RAW or ASIAN Vegetarian Meals available (RVML)(AVML)
Here are the codes, the various names by which these meals are described and explanations of what is eaten/not eaten by customers who order them:
VGML - Strict/Pure Vegetarian - Non-Dairy - Vegan. "Vegan or pure vegetarians eat no meat or meat products of any type - no fish, fowl or products with lard or gelatin. Dairy products, eggs and honey are not permitted."
VLML - Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian - Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo - Western Vegetarian. "Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians eat no meat or meat products of any type - no fish, fowl or products with lard or gelatin. Diary products and eggs permitted. Cheese should be of the vegetarian type without rennet whenever possible."
AVML - Asian Vegetarian - Asiatic/Indian Vegetarian - Moslem and Hindu Vegetarian. "Asiatic/Indian vegetarian meals are spicy vegetarian combinations which may include limited use of dairy products."
RVML - Raw Vegetarian. "Raw vegetables - combinations of raw fruits and/or vegetables."
An additional note on the characteristics of vegetarians (from Canadian Airlines): "Some vegetarians also incorporate restrictions on other foods and beverages such as alcohol/caffinated beverages, highly processed foods and foods that are grown or processed nonorganically or with certain additives or preservatives."
Sathya Sai Baba taking food
Meals are divided into
- Main Meal
- Cold Meal
- Hot Breakfast
- Snack Meal
- Afternoon Tea
SOME COMMON AIRLINE VEGETARIAN MEAL CODES
- AVML ASIAN VEGETARIAN MEAL
- BBML INFANT/BABY FOOD
- BLML BLAND MEAL
- CHML CHILD MEAL
- DBML DIABETIC MEAL
- FFML Frequent Flyer MEAL
- FFMLM - Fat Free
- FPML FRUIT PLATTER
- GFML GLUTEN-FREE MEAL
- GLML GLUTEN-FREE MEAL
- HFML HIGH FIBRE MEAL
- HNML HINDU (NON VEGETARIAN) MEAL
- JPML JAPANESE MEAL (LH SPECIFIC)
- KSML KOSHER MEAL
- LCML LOW CALORIE MEAL
- LFBRS - Low Fibre Residue
- LFML LOW CHOLESTEROL/LOW FAT MEAL
- LPML LOW PROTEIN MEAL
- LSML LOW SODIUM, NO SALT ADDED
- MOML MOSLEM MEAL
- NCBHD - Non Carbohydrate
- NFMLA - Non Strict Nut Free
- NFMLB - Strict Nut Fre
- NFML NO FISH MEAL (LH SPECIFIC)
- NLML NON LACTOSE MEAL
- OBML JAPANESE OBENTO MEAL (UA SPECIFIC)
- ORML ORIENTAL MEAL
- PRML LOW PURIN MEAL
- RVML RAW VEGETARIAN MEAL
- SFML SEA FOOD MEAL
- SPML SPECIAL MEAL, SPECIFY FOOD
- VGML VEGETARIAN MEAL (NON-DAIRY) VLML VEGETARIAN MEAL (LACTO-OVO)
New Meal Codes for SINGAPORE AIRLINES
- AVML - Indian Vegetarian
- RVML - Vegetarian Raw
- VGML - Vegan
- VJML - Vegetarian Jain
- VLML - Vegetarian Lacto Ovo
- VOML - Vegetarian Oriental
People with allergies, should go to the allergy meal website, which lists meals that are allergy free.
- GF = GFML (Gluten Free Meal) indicates no wheat, rye, barley or their derivatives
- NL = NLML (Non-Lactose Free Meal) indicates no milk, cheese, dairy products or their derivatives
- PF = PFML (Peanut Free Meal) indicates no peanuts or its derivatives (very few airlines have this: Emirates, Brintannia, Virgin Atlantic, US Air)
- FP = FPML (Fruit Plate Meal) contains a variety of fresh fruits and possibly a bakery item
- SF = SFML (Seafood Meal) should only contain shellfish
Airline Meal Codes are subject to modifications without prior notice. Here is one web site with extensive notes on meals offered by airlines, updated as recently as March 10, 2011 ... Airline Vegetarian Meals Guide
Sleeping on board
- Many people find it difficult to sleep during a flight. That's why many also take sleeping tablets or tranquilizers. But that is not recommended because they interfere with the body's biological rhythm in an unnatural way and also make it difficult to adjust to a different time zone at the destination.
- Instead, passengers should try to create conditions that help them fall asleep. Here are a few tips for a relaxed and healthy sleep:
- Take a cushion with you to prevent cramp in your shoulders and neck. These can be purchased at most airports before departure.
- A sleeping mask protects your eyes from bright light. Some airlines give this out in First and Business class.
- Put a cushion behind your back - that relieves the intervertebral discs and prevents back pain.
- Ask a flight attendant to give you a blanket before you go to sleep so that the air-conditioning won't make you feel cold and disturb your pleasant dreams.
- Because feet swell on flights, we recommend that you remove your shoes and put on a pair of thick, warm socks. Again, some airlines supply you with socks to wear.
- To help you sleep, listen to the in-flight radio program on low volume. Soft music has a relaxing effect and helps you drop off gently.
The information on this page is offered as a guide only. You should check for proper meal codes with your travel agent or airline website. Most airlines have contact numbers were you may ring and specify the correct meal code for your booking. All information is offered without warranty as to its correctness. Consult with your Doctor or Registered Medical Practitioner for proper advice for your personal health during extended air travel, and your travel dietary needs.
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