The Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad was home to Mahatma Gandhi. Father of the Nation. And a million other names by which he is also known. We’re not about to start singing paeans to him, (there’s always a second side to every coin) but we will acknowledge his contribution to the independence movement in India. So what better day than today, to tell you about our trip to his riverside abode.
The Sabarmati Ashram was among several stops on our daylong tour of Ahmedabad’s top spots with a private driver cum guide from the House of MG. On our way here in the hot afternoon sun, we crossed over the Sabarmati river and couldn’t help but notice how clean it was (which is a big surprise in India) and how beautiful the promenade along its banks was. We have to appreciate what the Gujarat Government has been doing for its people.
Hriday Kunj is where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba lived. Strolling around these extremely spartan spaces, it was very difficult to imagine someone actually living here for most of their life. A couple of showcases display their paltry utensils and another one his iconic bent walking stick. The very one he used to go on the salt march to Dandi. Gandhi’s teachings and philosophies are elaborated on the walls as well as an extremely crisp timeline of his life (in the manner he would have liked, I assume).
It was a Sunday and the area was thronging with tourists milling about, trying to step into the past, into his home, while trying to understand all that went on in his head. A volunteer sat at a charkha – the iconic spinning wheel that Gandhi advocated during his efforts to popularise cottage industries and the wearing of home-grown cotton garments. We were mesmerised for a while as we tried to fathom how balls of cotton so easily turned into spools of thread under the worker’s deft hands.
Apart from the main building, are two standalone cottages- Gandhiji’s nephew Maganlal’s quarters – Magan Niwas and the Vinobha-Mira Kutir named after his two disciples Acharya Vinobha Bhave and Madeleine Slade who lived there in succession.
At the Ashram, (which has an active trust that undertakes several youth, history and life philosophy related activities) there is also a Gandhi Museum containing archival material from his life and the freedom struggle, that we didn’t visit considering we had a long way to our next stop – the Adalaj Stepwells.Gandhi Ashram, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 380 027 India
Phone: +91-79-2755 7277Fax: +91-79-2756-0569 Entry: free
All information is valid as on March 2014 when we visited Ahmedabad.