Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh
Located in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, Puttaparthi came to the forefront of the world’s attention as being the abode of Saint Philosopher, Sri Satya Sai Baba. Sri Satya Sai Baba, revered by millions of people across the world, who preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood.
Every activity at Puttaparthi revolves around the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram, founded by him. Prasanthi Nilayam, or Temple of Peace, is a world in itself. Once a small village, due to the presence of Sri Satya Sai Baba, this town is today a world-renowned faith centre with all the trappings of a modern economy.
The town’s main attraction is Baba’s Prasanthi Nilayam ashram, the presence of which has given a huge boost to the local economy in the form of hotels, lodges, restaurants and shops which are largely frequented by visitors to Prasanthi Nilayam. The common languages spoken in Puttaparthi are Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, English and Hindi.
Apart from the main Ashram, Puttaparthi has other places of interest like a Hanuman temple, a village mosque and Sathyabhama temple. Sathyabhama is well known locally as ‘Sathyamma’ and the temple was built by Late Kondama Raju, grandfather of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Initially on the outskirts, it is now in the heart of the much grown town of Puttaparthi. Incidentally, another Sathyamma temple was recently constructed by Baba’s elder brother Seshama Raju’s son on the Bangalore route (10 km from the Ashram) next to the Gantla Maremma temple.
Other major tourist attractions:
The Shiva temple constructed on the site where Baba was born. This is further down into the village from the Sathyamma Temple.
The ‘Kalpa Vriksha’ or the Wish Fulfilling Tree that has a prominent place in the childhood life of Baba. It is on the banks of the Chitravathi river.
The meditation tree on the hillock on the way to the university. Other important places are the educational institutions such as Sri Sathya Sai University, Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital designed by the English architect Dr. Keith Critchlow, Chaitanya Jyothi Museum, Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri Music College, Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre, and Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium. The then president of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, inaugurated a new indoor sports stadium – with international standards – in November 2006. Indian legend cricketer Kapil Dev was the special guest on the occasion. Visitors can get a good idea of Indian village life by hiring an auto-rickshaw and touring the lake and surrounding villages and by interacting with the villagers.