India is a land of diversity. Every place has its own long and rich cultural history. Every state is beautifully bound by its past and present. The western state of Gujarat is one such amazing Indian state with such a rich culture and history. One is bound to experience some beautiful ancient marvels here like the Laxmi Vilas palace (Baroda), Rani ki Vav (Patan) or modern one’s like the Statue of Unity (Narmada valley), Sardar Vallabhbhai museum(Ahmedabad) etc, but it isn’t limited to that.When we speak of Gujarat this place is also deeply associated with the Indian freedom struggle and mainly to the father of the nation-Mahatma Gandhi. One such place of historic importance is the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Also called the Gandhi Aashram or the Satyagraha Ashram.On my trip to Ahmedabad how could have skipped something like this. So there I was happy and excited to see a place which has gone down in history, a place I remember from the endless stress on by our history teacher to be the place from where the important and much interesting Salt Satyagraha was started.Some facts about the Ashram.
- Sabarmati Ashram is based on the banks of river Sabarmati, the biggest river of Gujarat.
- This was one of Gandhi’s Ashrams. Gandhi stayed here along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi for around twelve years.
- The Sabarmati Ashram is the exact place from where Gandhi launched his famous Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and undertook a 24 days long walk from the Ashram to Dandi (384 kms away) to abolish the tax imposed on salt by the British
- Sabarmati Ashram is situated on the ruins of the ancient Ashram site of prominent Indian mythological sage Dadhyanga .
- The Sabarmati has a prison on one side of it and a crematorium on the other and Gandhi felt it was a perfect location for the Ashram.
The hype of entering the Gandhi Ashram, a place famously associated with the Indian freedom struggle was massive for me. Sabarmati Ashram is massively spread on the banks of the Sabarmati River which adds to calming vibe of the whole place. The whole ashram has been designed in close association with Mother Nature and it all put’s one in a state of calm. Even before I could get to the main structure, I felt it was the perfect harmony of man and nature-The atmosphere is such.As I just entered the main structure there, there was a large intriguing message on the wall-“MY LIFE IS MY MESSAGE”- This did set my mood aptly for what was to follow.Touring the Museum or ‘Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya’ as it is called, there were life sized beautiful painted portraits of Gandhi in view as also were paintings and portraits related to the freedom struggle.Furthermore there were Charkhas (spinning wheel) of varying sizes and techniques in the adjoining rooms, and also Letters and every other stuff revolving around Mahatma Gandhi. The museum also has a library, an auditorium which doesn’t need much time to go around.After visiting the museum, a bit further was the humble place of Upasana Mandir. Upasana Mandir is an open ground where Gandhi used to have a speaking sessions with people. For now it’s used as an open air prayer ground. I sat there for a while, trying to soak in the calm.A little bit more ahead there was this place where Gandhiji actually stayed, a simple room with his bare necessities. This one is called the Hriday Kunj -it still has Gandhi’s original writing desk, original khadi kurta and letters on display.The Ashram also houses a old guest house called Nandini and also a chamber named after Acharya Vinoba bhave called Vinoba kutir.After going around and experiencing about almost everything related to Gandhi, one can buy artifacts, paintings and other souvenirs related to Gandhi at the Ashram bookstore which supports local artisans and artists. A lot of other activities are also carried out at the Ashram.The visit to the Ashram is not complete if you don’t spend some time on the river bank; it’s a serene view with the calm Sabarmati flowing past.Places to visit nearby-
- The Sabarmati Riverfront for an evening by the river
- Sabarmati Skyline for some ziplining adventures
- Imam Manzil, Somnath Chhatralaya which are around the Ashram.
Overall spending some quiet time at Sabarmati Ashram will definitely give you some time to contemplate in the quiet of the Ashram. Be you a Gandhian follower or not. Though it can’t be included in your list of the adventurous things to do but it does have its own place in any bucket list.If you want to tick off your historic bucket list or just not miss a place of that importance than a quick short visit at the place where the Dandi march all began is a defiantly some experience.