As the largest centre for classical Indian arts and culture outside India, The Bhavan is committed to ensuring the rich artistic and cultural heritage of India is alive and available to all.

The Bhavan’s accomplished teachers and visiting performing artists in music, dance, languages, yoga, art, and art history are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and artistry in an authentic way. Additionally, they are equally committed to inspiring students to undertake their own personal, artistic and spiritual development while delighting audiences through performances at the centre in West Kensington, London.

Vision

Today, The Bhavan, London is one of five international Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan centres around the world, with 105 centres being in India.  The Bhavan is the only place in the United Kingdom – and one of few places outside India – where Indian classical arts are taught in the traditional, time-honoured way to nurture a deep understanding of the genre in its age-old tradition, as well as its context within a broader spectrum of the arts as a whole. Regardless of age, ethnicity or professional background, if someone would like to learn more about Indian culture, music or performing arts, there is something for him/ her to discover at The Bhavan.

Walking down The Bhavan’s corridors one might pass by classrooms full of racks of tabla, mridangam, rows of sitars or vinas, and hear the rhythmic percussion of ankle-bells, from the feet of those training to be classical dancers. On entering a music classroom one might well feel transported to a gurukul in India. Students sit cross-legged on the floor at the feet of their teacher who, in turn, sits before a picture of their own teacher or guru, as a mark of respect. This is the practice of the ancient “guru-shishya” tradition (a code of conduct describing the relationship and interaction dynamics between teacher and pupil), whereby the teacher imparts knowledge verbally to the student, who then reciprocates with dedication, respect, and total commitment. This is said to eventually enable the pupil to absorb, internalise and master the knowledge that the teacher embodies. The same applies to students who pursue classical dance training. It is only after a full training and a graduation ceremony known as an “Arangetram", whereby the teacher formally launches the pupil, that dancers enter the performance arena as solo artists.

Master sitar player late Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was a friend and supporter of The Bhavan, had said: “If there is one place in the UK where Indian art and culture is taught and practised in the true traditional sense, it is, without doubt, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan”.