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Sabarmati Ashram played an important role during Independence movement of India, as it was the place where Mahatma Gandhi used to stay and observe his saintly life while he was pioneering a number of non-cooperation movement activities as part of efforts to obtain Independence to India.
Situated on the banks of Sabarmati river closer to Ahmedabad, of Gujarat state, it is called an ashram because it is considered a religious retreat comparable to many other Hindu sacred spots.
When Mahatma Gandhi wanted to start this Ashram, his friend and a barrister Jeevanlal Desai had provided his bungalow called Kocharab Bungalow to run it. This ashram, when started on 25th May 1915 was known as Satyagraha Ashram. Later it was shifted to the present location on 17th June 1917 in order to have more space to accomplish Gandhiji’s desire to develop a comprehensive unit to carry out farming and animal husbandry activities, along with few other self-reliance oriented occupations like spinning cotton by hand. Then it was called Sabarmati ashram because of its proximity to Sabarmati river.
This Ashram is spread over an area of 36 acres and this spot has an antiquity with famous ashram of Dadichi Maharishi who is said to have donated his bones for a good cause, inspiring Gandhiji to choose this place.
Mahatma Gandhi was arrested for his civil disobedience event of Dandi march and the ashram was taken into custody by the British, when he had vowed that he would step into this to this place only after obtaining Independence to the country. However, although he maintained the vow till the country got Independence, he could not come back to the ashram since within few months of Independence, Mahatmaji was assassinated.
Different Sections of the Ashram
The ashram has different sections, touring of which can be made of abut 90 minutes time. The Ashram authorities arrange for conducted tours starting with an introductory slide show and ending with the Library section, covering the following spots:
- MaganNiwas - Magan Gandhi is the main section of the ashram exhibiting different types of manual spinning wheels called Charka which Mahatmaji fondly patronised to inculcate self-reliance concept among Indians.
- UpasanaMandiris a Prayer rendering location where the ashram residents sat andattended to devotional songs called Bhajans rendered conveying precepts from Baghvat Gita and Holy Koran.
- HridayKunj is a spot symbolically representing the heart of a human body as it provides energy to the entire premises.
- Vinoba-Mira Kutiris the hut which gained significance because it is here AcharyaVinobaBhave stayed once, so also Mira Behn, whose original name was Madeleine. Mira Behn was the daughter of a British Rear Admiral, who became devotee of Mahatmaji.
- Nandiniis the hut which wasone the guest house for the ashram visitors.
- UdyogMandir is the hut, where hand weaving was practised symbolically called a temple of industry.
- SomnathChattralayais a group of huts where those who had joined Gandhiji sacrificing their family life and devoting themselves to freedom movement following saintly life.
- Teacher's Niwas is a place where Gandhiji’s preceptor associates had stayed.
- Gandhi of Ahmedabad is a section where there are exhibits of photographs describing Mahatmaji’s life of Ahmedabad from 1915 to 1930.
- Painting Gallery is the area where eight of wonderful life size paintings are displayed.
‘My life is my message’ being the famous quote connected with Mahatmaji, these are paintings and photograph of the gallery so named depicting incidents that turned his life direction towards Independence movement
Library and Archives section has large collection of material, which include 34,000 manuscripts, 6,000 photo negatives, 150 felicitations, etc preserved carefully, besides 35,000 books of Gandhian thoughts
How to Reach
Sabarmati Ashram can be reached by road, rail and air, because it is situated just 4 km distance from Ahmedabad city, which is connected well.