If you want to witness how India’s freedom movement shaped up and paved a path for the country’s future, Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad is the place to visit. It is not just a museum that showcases the life of Gandhi and his disciples but also a center for learning, development and empowerment.
How did it start?
Gandhi ji’s first ashram after his return from South Africa, was established in Kochrab in May 1915. However, he was looking for a larger piece of land to utilize for farming, animal husbandry, weaving while being the center for freedom movement. Thereafter, the ashram was moved to this location on the banks of Sabarmati River. Also known as Gandhi Ashram and Harijan Ashram, the place was home to the mahatma and his disciples from 1917 to 1930.
Hriday Kunj: Mohandas Gandhi’s residence
This is the main attraction of the Gandhi Ashram. Furthermore, the living quarters has 6 rooms with artefacts which were used by Gandhi and Kasturba. Simple space sans fancy design and basic kitchen equipment illustrates their modest lifestyle. Secondly, the porch with his spin wheel is the place where he started the Khadi India movement and often addressed visitors about India’s freedom. The spin wheel and his floor seat which are deeply valued have been preserved and put on display. These artefacts inspire everyone, especially the younger generation. It was great to see young crowd, especially college students interested in the Gandhi philosophy and his contribution towards a stronger nation.
Gandhi left Hriday Kunj in 1930, wowing to return only after India’s freedom.
Gandhi Memorial Museum
Independant India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru inaugurated the Gandhi Memorial Museum in May 1963. The building has three galleries, namely Gandhi in Ahmedabad, My life is my Message Gallery and the Painting Gallery. The galleries display life of Gandhi in chronological order, his letters and messages to prominent people such as Tagore and Hitler, and handmade paintings/portraits respectively.
The most inspiring sections of Gandhi Ashram
Apart from the above mentioned, the ashram premises has lot of other institutions which run various citizen development programs. Here are the ones that inspired us the most:
Harijan Ashram Trust
Harijan, literally meaning God’s people, was termed by Gandhi for those who were considered untouchable. The treatment metted to people based on the caste and job divide was appalling. This wedge widened and Harijans were outcast. Mohandas Gandhi, being a people’s person and having faced discrimination from Whites, fought for their rights. The Harijan Ashram Trust runs Vinay Mandir, a program for secondary and higher education. Mahila Adhyapan Mandir for Primary Teachers’ Training is also an inspiring program for women empowerment. Additionally, the Ashram runs a hostel for harijan girls.
Moreover, the programs for environment protection, health care, community development through community kitchen, performing arts are based on the principle of self-reliance. Therefore, they sell handmade paintings, home decor, upcycled art, greeting cards, organizers in the shop at pocket friendly prices.
Gujarat Khadi Gramodyog Mandal
This trust oversees the village’s industries. It makes Ambar Charkha, Looms, and its accessories in addition to producing and selling Khadi, handmade paper, soap, oil, and other goods. Handmade goods not only generate employment but also stand out with authenticity in a market flooded with artificial products. We must say that the handmade soaps smell heavenly!
The khadi products are available for sale in the Khadi shop as well as the book shop. Also, the mini bath and body travel kit is a steal deal at Rs 250 only.
The Book Shop
The book shop has an impressive collection of books on various subjects. For instance, Gandhi’s life, his thoughts, his work, the freedom movement, freedom fighters, biographies and so on. Henceforth this collection of books is an invaluable resource for researchers. The shop also has an extensive variety of stationary including postcards, keyrings, notepads, and more. Do check out the online museum shop here.
Other places in Sabarmati Ashram
Spin wheel museum
Perhaps this is the best part about Gandhi Ashram. There is no entry fee to visit the place.
Sabarmati Ashram timing:
Sabarmati Ashram remains open from 10 am to 6 pm all days of the week.
In a nutshell
India’s most sought after independence was a result of dedication, focus and immense sacrifices. It is only after closely observing works of Gandhi and many others that you realize what it means. His life was not only dedicated to freedom but also to upliftment of the society. No other place in India showcases his life and work in detail as much as Sabarmati ashram does. This iconic place in Ahmedabad is a must visit and will deeply inspire you.