A longing for far off destinations and an urge to be on the road took us to Gandhiji’s ashram in Ahmedabad.
So to get started; I visited the city of Ahmedabad (Gujarat- a state in the Western part of India)in the summer month of April. It was a road trip which took us exactly 8 hours to reach Ahmedabad; from Vasai (a town in the outskirts of Mumbai) Approximately, it would take 9 hours to reach Ahmedabad from the main city area of Mumbai. I must say, the national highway to Ahmedabad is just flawless and it’s definitely worth a road trip. We started at 11 pm and reached somewhere close to 7 am. It was a pretty soothing journey. On the way, we were blessed with having a glimpse of the green fields shining with the golden rays of the Sun and obviously, a breathtaking Sunrise. We didn’t have any itinerary as such; so we just randomly happened to locate places and visit those. The city was in its peak summer days..where the temperature rose up to 44-degree Celsius in the daytime (somewhere close to 10 am); basically it’s a big ‘No-No’ to visit Ahmedabad in the summertime. Since it was a short 2-day trip, we managed to tour around the city in a day & had to compromise with the heat of course! Coming, to visiting the ‘Sabarmati Ashram’ which is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad.
View of Old Ahmedabad City
- Sabarmati Ashram..What is it??
Sabarmati Ashram or should I say?- Gandhi Ashram; is situated in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which well connects the banks of the River Sabarmati. This was one of those places of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi–The Father of our Nation), who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi.
It was from here that Gandhi led the Dandi march also known as the Salt Satyagraha (which was the first mass movement of Indian Independence History) on 12 March 1930. With the massive impact that this march had on the Indian independence movement, the Indian government has declared the ashram as a national monument.
Hridiya Kunj – Sabarmati Ashram
Our tour within the city was in an auto-rickshaw which had cost us around Rs.400 for the entire tour!! (pretty cheap isn’t it?)…On our way to the Ashram we had to traverse the river of Sabarmati and then, finally, we reached the desired location. The Ashram is spread across with small kutirs (huts) throughout the open area and is bounded by the Sabarmati river on one of its edges and on the other side; you can have a part of the modern city.
Finally, here comes the 5 things that you’ll definitely cherish about this Ashram.
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS:-
Indeed cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to picturizing Sabarmati Ashram. The entire area is pitch clean without any sort of garbage littered out here and there. (including the toilets too; yes!! I had to mention this..) All of the kutirs are flawlessly clean with greenery all around the area. The entire architecture of the Kutir is truly fascinating. (Architect- Charles Correa).
THE SERENE SABARMATI RIVERFRONT:-
As I’ve mentioned that the Ashram is bounded by the river Sabarmati on one of its edges, it offers a mind blowing view of the quarter of the city that one gets to see when they sit on the benches of the riverfront or promenade by the pathway, with the glistening water and to the rhythm of the birds chirping around the environment. It is a picture-perfect environment for admiring the Nature and discovering the peace in you. However, I was one among the unfortunate few of visiting the Ashram in the daytime which restricted me to get a glance of the beautiful site of the Evening; I highly recommend you’ll to visit the Ashram during the Sunset.
MANAV SADHNA in continuity of Gandhi’s ideals:-
‘MANAV SADHNA’ which is a non-profit organization; based in the Ashram teaches, nurtures and nourishes the underprivileged children through the teachings of Gandhi. It teaches the kids to learn, read, write and various other moral values through the medium of interactive activities like art & craft. (In the picture-When I reached the Ashram, it was lunch time and they were offering prayers as it is a norm there, to pray before they start having lunch).
Craft work was done by the kids of Manav Sadhna
Seva Cafe at Manav Sadhna
IMPRESSIONS OF GANDHIJI:-
The Sabarmati Ashram portrays the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi on Truth and Non-Violence(and obviously many other ideas too) in the most beautiful way. One can get a complete idea of what exactly was his vision about INDIA and also about his life struggles, including attaining the most privileged, and independence that we cherish today. Apart from that, a visitor can also buy books on Gandhiji and various other leaders of our National Movement from the Ashram Book Store. And, not to forget, you can also have a check on the souvenirs that it has to offer (they are pretty handy! you wouldn’t mind buying some, I guess) While you take a stroll along the Ashram premises you’ll find beautiful patchworks of Gandhiji’s thoughts rendered here and there some carved on marble. Beyond all of these, you’ll also find Gandhiji’s major impressions like his Spinning Wheel, Spectacles, His Clothing, Utensils and various of his other commodities. The Ashram also has to offer a Gandhi museum which also lays down the impressions of Gandhiji.
REVELATION OF THE KUTIRs:- The Ashram is spread across kutirs (huts)which convey various messages about our leaders and of course Gandhiji..!
- HRIDIYA KUNJ – It is the premier kutir in the center of the Ashram where Gandhiji stayed.
- NANDINI – It is a guesthouse, where guests from India and abroad are offered to stay.
- VINOBA/MIRA KUTIR – It is named after Acharya Vinoba Bhave; who was also one of our National Movement leaders. The name “Mira Kutir” comes from ‘Mirabahen’ who was a disciple of Gandhiji.
- UPASANA MANDIR – It is an open air prayer ground where prayers are offered.
- MAGAN KUTIR – It is where Maganlal Gandhi (manager of the Ashram) stayed.
- GANDHI SANGRAHALAYA- Gandhi museum where one can find all of his impressions. (Having read ‘Impressions of Gandhiji’).
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS TRIP:-
- Please visit it during the winter months.
- Opting for a road trip is the best possible decision you can make when it comes to Ahmedabad.
- Sabarmati Ashram can be best visited in the evening time.
- Where I stayed? (if in case, this keeps you thinking; I stayed at one of my cousin’s place in the old city of Ahmedabad)
LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST:-
Sabarmati Ashram being one of the popular tourist destinations of India attracts a lot of tourists from various other parts of the world, therefore, it is obviously a great site to interact with people belonging from different parts and knowing about the insights of Indian history.
To sum up my trip to the splendid Sabarmati Ashram; I would definitely recommend this place as one of the premier tourist spots to visit in the city of Ahmedabad. This was my experience about the Ashram, I would definitely like to know about yours’..!
What was your insight on ‘The Sabarmati Ashram?’. Calling out for any tips to share?