Indelibly linked with Pune’s identity, this iconic ashram-resort, located in a leafy, upscale northern suburb, has been drawing thousands of sanyasins (seekers) since the death of Osho in 1990. With its swimming pool, sauna and spa, ‘zennis’ and boutique guesthouse, it is, to some, the ultimate place to indulge in some luxe meditation.
Alternatively, detractors point fingers at the blatant commercialisation and high cost and accuse it of marketing a warped version of the mystic East to rich, gullible Westerners.
To make up your own mind you’ll have to cough up the (steep) registration and daily meditation fees. Tours of the facilities are not permitted – the only way to access Osho is to pay an initial ₹100 registration fee (passport required), buy two robes (one maroon and one white, ₹1100 per robe) and attend the Welcome Hour (daily at 9.30am). Note that the rules and regulations are very strict, even pedantic: swimmers are only allowed to wear, and have to pay for, Osho maroon swimwear (₹400 to ₹700) and there are mandatory (Osho maroon) clothes for the gym. Everyone is lectured about behaviour (eg not hassling Western women) in special etiquette classes – female security is taken extremely seriously.
Once you’ve got all this out of the way, you can then pay for a meditation pass (Indian/foreigner ₹970/1950 per day, with discounts for longer stays). Oh, that’s apart from the fee to enter the Basho Spa (where the pool, Jacuzzi, gym, saunas and tennis courts are all located), which is a further ₹320. Cash only for food, registration, robes and facilities.
The main centre for meditation and the nightly white-robed spiritual dance is in the Osho Auditorium (no coughing or sneezing, please). The Osho Chuang Tzu, where the guru’s ashes are kept, is also open for meditation. The commune’s ‘Multiversity’ runs a plethora of courses in meditation and other esoteric techniques.
In the evenings, as well as meditation sessions, there’s a ‘nightlife’ programme, with parties, cinema, theatre and ‘creativity nights’.
Photography is not permitted anywhere in the resort. The Welcome Center is open daily from 9am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 3.30pm.