Tourists searching for peace and simplicity can, for the first time, check in to Mahatma Gandhi’s famous ashram in India. But don’t expect modern comforts. And chastity is required. For 1000 rupees ($19) a night, tourists can sample the lifestyle of India’s famously ascetic independence leader by staying at the first ashram he established, set up in 1915 in the western state of Gujarat.
Guests at Kochrab Ashram, which opened to holidaymakers in October, can try their hand at spinning, visit local communities, and pray and meditate, all while wearing khadi – handwoven cloth – during their stay. But they must adhere to Gandhi’s 11 vows, including non-violence, renunciation of material possessions, use of local goods, working for daily food, self-discipline (including chastity) and control of the palate/diet.Ashram co-ordinator Rameshbhai Trivedi walks near the kitchen and dining hall hall at Kochrab Ashram. Photo / AFP
Visitors are also encouraged to follow Gandhi’s austere daily routine, such as waking at 5am and undertaking domestic chores. “The objective of this programme is to allow people to experience a sustainable lifestyle, to enjoy the simplicity of Gandhi, experience the virtue of Mahatma,” said Nischalavalamb Barot, a travel agent who helped develop the programme, called Live Gandhi for a While, launched on October 2 to coincide with the 144th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth. “This might change perceptions of tourists towards life, society and our natural resources. This might also help tourists find peace and satisfaction within.”
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