Gujrat Vidyapith, a university founded by Mahtama Gandhi, has in partnership with a private tour operator opened the Kochrab Ashram commercially for tourists who want a Gandhian ‘homestay’ experience. This would mean that people would be allowed to live here for a determined period; they will have to follow the 11 Gandhian vows. This was the first ashram set up by Gandhi in Ahmedabad. Founded in 1915, it is currently managed by the Vidyapith.
The tour plan — ‘Live Gandhi for a While’ — was launched Wednesday, the Mahatma’s 144th birth anniversary.
The ashram is located on the southern end of the Ashram road, Ahmedabad’s oldest commercial artery, while the more popular Sabarmati Ashram is at the northern tip of the same road.
According to the programme, tourists will be facilitated to stay at Kochrab Ashram and follow the 11 vows of Gandhi, including Satya (truth), Bramhacharya (chastity), Ahimsa (non-violence), Shram (physical labour), among others, and can also try their hands at the spinning wheel, community visits and cooking. Those opting for the package will have to wear khadi throughout the programme.
The Vidyapith has signed a memorandum of understanding with Maroon Migrates, a tourism firm run by Narmada district-based Nischalavalamb Barot, who claims a background in eco-tourism.
Vidyapith’s registrar Rajendra Khimani told The Indian Express, “There are a lot of issues which we are yet to decide, but we have opened the ashram for tourists, who will have to book for at least five days to a maximum of 11 days, so that he or she can
experience an ashramite’s life. We will charge a standard rate of Rs 1,000 per day per head. However, nothing is final and we are considering to give
concessions to individuals depending upon their interest.” An additional Rs 1,000 will be charged for boarding and lodging.
Gandhi set up Kochrab Ashram near Paldi soon after he returned from South Africa in 1915. It was here that Gandhi admitted Dudabhai, an untouchable, amid protests from neighbouring villagers.
After this incident, local businessmen stopped funding the ashram.