The Bhavan was established in London in 1972 by another pioneering visionary, affectionately known as “Mathoor-ji”, who began to hold classes out of two rented rooms in Soho.  

Our premises in West Kensington were bought in 1978 and consisted of a de-commissioned church, a vicarage and vicar’s house. We began holding concerts in the old church building and classes throughout the premises. Using Lottery funding we built a new extension with extra classrooms and an art gallery and renovated the auditorium. A recent Arts Council England capital grant has allowed us to install solar panels, CCTV and other improvements, the most recent being the addition of beautiful murals on the stairs and in the canteen painted by Neil Wilkinson-Cave of Sacredart Murals.

46 years and thousands of students later, The Bhavan now stands in the heart of West Kensington with 15 classrooms, over 23 courses, 15 teachers and a constant stream of high-profile visiting artists, including world-famous famous musicians, dancers and artists, and students ranging in age from 7 to 90, from many diverse sections of society. Each week, some 450 students pass through The Bhavan’s doors and many attend classes in more than one art form.

Some of the many world-famous artists who have performed at the Bhavan include Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Smt Lata Mangeshkar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ram Gopal OBE, Dr Balamurali Krishna, Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, Birju Maharaj, Sonal Mansingh, Sanjukta Panigrahi, Smt M.S. Subbulakshmi, Mandolin Srinivas, Alarmel Valli, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Lalgudi Jayaraman, T V Gopalakrishnan, Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - The Movement

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi or K.M. Munshi (1887-1971), was an activist, politician, writer and educationalist from the Indian state of Gujarat, who pioneered the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as a cultural movement. With humble beginnings in 1938 by setting up an educational trust, the concept is now embodied in more than a hundred centres in India and around the world. These are dedicated to the pursuance of pure classical Indian arts, bringing them to life for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Secular and apolitical, it abides by the teachings and principles of Mahatma Gandhi. This is a comprehensive art, cultural and educational movement based on the philosophy that all cultures consist of certain elements which transcend barriers and help people to find common ground.

Today, The Bhavan, London is one of five international Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centres around the world, with 105 centres being in India.