Tourism has become inseparably interlinked with certain historically famous places in India – the rich historical fame of such places has earned them throngs of visitors from all parts of the planet, throughout the calendar year. Wardha, a city in the Wardha district of Maharashtra, is one of those places in India which have become immensely popular among tourists and travelers primarily because of its connection with Mahatma Gandhi and his legendary role in the successful culmination of the Indian National Movement. In this article, we shall take about one of such locations in the city of Wardha which exclusively represent the Gandhian legacy – Sevagram Ashram.
A brief history of Sevagram Ashram
Sevagram Ashram is now an integral part of the Shegaon village, about 8 km away from Wardha town, which Mahatma Gandhi had visited in the wee hours of 30th April, 1936. The poor connectivity of the place with the rest of the Wardha town was soon done away with when Gandhiji decided to use this Ashram as a pivotal point in his campaigns to serve the country. Hence the name of the place became ‘Sevagram’ (The Village of Service). Initially, Mahatma Gandhi wanted only his wife alongside him in the illage; however, with passage of time, his number of followers grew considerably and he had to include a few more selfless and dedicated individuals in his Ashram premises.
Things to See in Sevagram Ashram
There are a number of huts (‘Kuti’s) which punctuate the domains of the Sevagram Ashram – these were the huts in which Gandhiji and his disciples resided in the pre-independence era. Some of the most famous huts inside the Ashram premises are mentioned below -
Bapu Kuti, Ba Kuti
The hut where Gandhiji lived
Even though the first hut in which Gandhiji conducted his day-to-day activities was known as ‘Adi Niwas’, Bapu Kuti and Ba Kuti became famous points in Ashram over the course of history. When the number of inmates residing in the Ashram increased by a considerable number, Meera Ben (Miss Madeline Slade) set up a hut near Adi Niwas to cater to the increased number of disciples. It was when Meera Ben vacated this hut and moved on to a nearby village for official work that it came to be known as ‘Bapu Kuti’.
Kasturba, Gandhiji’s beloved wife, used to live with the Mahathma along with a number of other disciples in his hut for quite a long time before Gandhiji finally recognized her discomfort and constructed a separate hut that came to be known as ‘Ba Kuti’.
Parchure was a Sanskrit pandit of great fame, until he contracted the dreaded disease of leprosy that led people to shun him away towards complete desolation. This eminent scholar was on the verge of contemplating suicide before Gandhiji took him under his aegis and meticulously nursed him in his Ashram. The hut used for nursing this leprosy patient became known as ‘Parchure Hut’, and it stands as one of the most glorious examples of lordly magnanimity of the Mahatma.
The Holy Prayer Ground
One of the most important objectives with which Mahatma Gandhi had decided to set up this Ashram was the inculcation of the spirit of nationality among his disciples. A simple tool to accomplish this objective was discipline, fostered using regular evening and morning prayers that became an indispensable part of life in Sevagram Ashram over the course of time. Gandhiji chose one of the simplest and most easily accessible places inside the Ashram premises as the prayer ground, so that the overwhelming majority of his disciples could access the place without any difficulty. The prayer ground is a piece of open land under the vast expanse of the sky, and surrounded by thick bamboo lining and stone pavements which rids it off the mud formed during rainy season.
Life in Sevagram Ashram
If you are a traveler who is entertaining prospects of traveling to Sevagram, then you might want to first take a look at the way daily activities are conducted there at present. In this section of the article, we shall provide all necessary information pertaining to the day-to-day functioning of this Ashram.
Daily Routine at Sevagram Ashram
4.30 AM – Wake up
4.45 AM – Morning Prayer
5.15 to 6.30 AM – Study of religious scriptures and other relevant texts
6.30 to 7.30 AM – Participation in kitchen activities and cleaning of Ashram premises
7.30 to 8.00 AM – Breakfast is served and consumed
8.00 to 10.30 AM – Agricultural activities
11.00 AM to 12 PM – Lunch consumption
12.00 to 2 PM – Rest
2.00 to 2.30 PM – Community Spinning activities conducted in Bapu Kuti
3.00 to 5.00 PM – Study of religious scriptures and other relevant texts