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Sabarmati Ashram Essay

Sabarmati Ashram is located in the Ahmedabad at the bank of River Sabarmati. This was one of the residences of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This ashram is now a national monument established by the Government of India due to its significance for the Indian independence movement in the form of the Dandi March in 1930. The ashram was originally established at the Kocharab Bungalow of Jivanlal Desai on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati. It was believed that this was ancient ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war. Mahatma Gandhi said, “This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature.” While at the Ashram, Gandhi formed a tertiary school that mainly focused on manual labour, agriculture, and literacy to advance his efforts for nation’s self-sufficiency. It was also from here on the 12 March 1930 that Gandhi marched towards Dandi, 241 miles from the Ashram with 78 companions in protest of the British Salt Law, which taxed Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India.

A Walk in Gandhi Ashram
Originally the ashram contained a few buildings which included gandhiji’s residence, a guest house, etc. as explained below: Hriday Kunj – It was Gandhiji’s residence for all the times that he lived in the ashram. Like heart in a body this centrally located abode supplied energy to the entire place. Magan Niwas – The residence of Maganlal Gandhi – A Soul of ashram also introduced different design of charkhas. Upasana Mandir: It is an open -air prayer ground, situated between ‘Hridaya Kunj’ and ‘Magan Kutir’ (the hut where Maganlal Gandhi, the ashram manager, used to stay).Here, Gandhiji used to refer to individual questions after prayers and as the head of the family analysed and gave his solutions. Vinoba Kutir: Named after Acharya Vinoba Bhave who stayed here, and also known as Mira Kutir after Miraben, Gandhiji’s disciple, daughter of a British Admiral. Nandini: It is on the right hand side of ‘Hridaya Kunj’. It is an old Ashram guest house, where guests from India and abroad are put up. Udyog Mandir – A Temple of industry symbolizing self reliance & dignity of labour. Somnath Chattralaya – It is
cluster of rooms occupied by ashramities who forsook family affairs and shared Ashram. Teacher’s Niwas – Bapu’s associates stayed at teacher’s chali

Present day
The ashram now has a museum, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalay. In 1963 the museum building was erected (designed by architect Charles Correa), and memorial activities were then started here.One of the important activities undertaken is the establishment of a Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. Initially started in ‘Hriday Kunj,’ Gandhi’s own cottage in the Ashram, the Sangrahalaya has now shifted to its own well-designed and well-furnished building which was inaugurated byJawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, on 10 May 1963

The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is run by a public trust established in 1951. The museum’s main objective is to house the personal memorabilia of Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently the exhibits on view depict the vivid and historic events of Gandhiji’s life. There are books, manuscripts and photocopies of his correspondence, photographs of Gandhiji with his wife Kasturba and other ashram associates, life size oil paintings and actual relics like his writing desk and spinning wheel.

The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya (Gandhi Memorial Institution) is a museum and public service institution dedicated to preserve the work and memory and commemorate the life of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya treasures the reputation of being one of those venues that houses the priced memorabilia of perhaps one of the most, influential and inspiring individuals who has ever walked this earth, Mahatma Gandhi The modern architectural extension of the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya was completed in the year 1963. The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya displays pictographs that captured unforgettable moments from Mahatma Gandhi’s illustrious life.


•”My life is my message” gallery, consisting of 8 life-size painting and more than 250 photo-enlargements of some of the vivid and historic events of Gandhi’s life •Gandhi in Ahmedabad Gallery, tracking Gandhi’s life in
Ahmedabad from 1915-1930 •Life-size oil painting gallery

•Gandhi quotations, letters and other relics exhibition
•Library consisting of nearly 35,000 books dealing with Gandhi’s life, work, teachings, Indian freedom movement and allied subjects, and a Reading Room with more than 80 periodicals in English, Gujarati and Hindi •Archives consisting of nearly 34,117 letters to and from Gandhi both in original and in photocopies, about 8,781 pages of manuscripts of Gandhi’s articles appearing in Harijan, Harijansevak, and Harijanbandhu and about 6,000 photographs of Gandhi and his associates •An important landmark of the Ashram is ‘Hridaya Kunj’ where some of the personal relics of Gandhi are on display •Ashram book store, a non-profit book store selling literature and memorabilia related to Gandhi and his life work and also supports local artisans. •The Sabarmati ashram which receives about 7 lakh (700,000) visitors a year houses, photocopies of about 34,000 letters written by Gandhi and about 8000 photographs and 165 films and of course, Hriday Kunj, the house where Gandhi and Kasturba stayed from 1918 to 1930. •A charkha’ used by Gandhi to weave khadi and the writing table he used for writing letters are also few of the priceless items kept here. •

At the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad (1958 – 63), Correa uses a network of interconnected open-to-sky spaces landscaped in different themes, to recreate the Gandhian ideal of a self-sufficient village community. The result is an elegant solution that is climatically sound and energy-efficient, uses low-cost material and finishes, and above all conveys some sense of the solemnity and dignity appropriate for an institution dedicated to Gandhi’s life and work. This plan demonstrates the battle between systemic regularity and nonhierarchical informality which is the key to the scheme. The experience of the museum is really that of an informal amble around the exhibits, without a clearly set path or a sense of weighty importance to the whole business. Certainly the open-air ambience contributes to this as well.

Especially remarkable here is Correa’s use of natural light in conjunction with semi-open spaces to create tonal gradations in illumination and
shadows. Correa acknowledges a strong debt to Le Corbusier, and this effect of the Frenchman’s influence is clearly visible here. The museum is solemn without being overbearing, is austere without appearing to make an effort to be so.

The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya
and Correa’s later projects provide example of
combining the Hindu architectural/
cosmological idea of isotropy and Modernist
functional planning. The concept of isotropy
(similar to fractals) refers to an infinitely
scaleable structure and can be seen in the
repitition and manipulation of the decorative
elements in Hindu temples. In the Smarak
Sangrahalaya, the modular pavilion unit is
designed for easy extension and emphasizes the
accumulation of a single element to make a
whole. Correa placed five distinctly
programmed interior spaces within the
asymmetrical grid plan.
The plan of the museum has also
been compared to village houses in India’s
Banni region. Instead of a single volume, the
houses consist of five huts each with a different
function, which surround to make a courtyard.
The inhabitants walk back and forth across the
outside space to use the different rooms.
The site on the Sabarmati River
bank is part of the larger ashram complex and
is integrated into its gardens.
Five interior rooms contain the
collection of the museum. The rooms are
enclosed by brick walls and wooden louvered
screens. All five rooms are part of the 6m
square module. Correa’s subtle changes of the
enclosure allow for variety in the module’s
lighting, temperature, and visual permeability.
A square, uncovered shallow pool is
located between the five rooms.
1 Letters
2 Office
3 Meetings
4 Books
5 Photos and paintings

The museum uses a simple but
delicately detailed post and beam structure. Load
bearing brick columns support concrete
channels, which are both support the wooden
roof and direct rainwater. Boards are nailed
underneath the joists and tiles are placed atop
the joints. The foundation is concrete and is
raised about a foot from the ground.
The monumental and archetypal
structure of the museum recalls the well-known
work of Louis Kahn, who began two projects in
the region shortly after Correa’s museum was
Wooden doors, stone floors, ceramic
tile roofs, and brick columns are the palette of
the building.

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