Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad had a very bond with Mahatma Gandhi; it was here that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi transformed into whom we dearly call "bapu". Not only was Ahmedabad Gandhi's first home when he returned to India in 1915, but it was also the location he chose to launch the freedom struggle against the British for the country. He also decided to start his fight against the concept and the vices related to untouchability in the country. 

Kochrab Ashram in Ahmedabad
Kochrab Ashram: The birthplace of the Indian Freedom struggle and the first home to the Mahatma

Establishment of Kochrab Ashram

Mahatma Gandhi's tryst with Ahmedabad began on the 20th of May, which by all means is a historic date in the life of Ahmedabad. It was on the above date in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi began living in a bungalow in Kochrab village, situated on the outskirts of the city near Paldi. The bungalow which he soon re-christened as the Satyagraha Ashram, was given to him by his fellow lawyer and colleague Jeevanlal Desai. Thus came into existence his first ashram which he transformed so drastically, that it stood in stark contrast to everything Ahmedabad in those days was.

Incidents Related to the Ashram

The story of the re-baptising of the bungalow as Satyagraha Ashram is mentioned in Chandulal Dalal authored 'Gandhijini Dinwari'. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have performed a ritual on this very day at the Kochrab bungalow and thereafter settled with some inmates.

It wasn't an easy start by any means. Ahmedabad then was blind to the beliefs it had been living with. Ahmedabad for known for its rich textile tycoons and professionals who lived a lavish life; while Mahatma Gandhi was creating an irony of sorts for the city with the Satyagraha Ashram at Kochrab which lived on all things necessary.

Mahatma Gandhi planned to practice his ideas about brahmacharya, physical labour, all things swadeshi and untouchability, the inception of which was at the Kochrab ashram.

One of the most famous incident at Kochrab which is as good as an anecdote now, was Bapu admitting an untouchable Dudabhai, along with his entire family. He battled protests from some of his own inmates from the ashram, but stood his ground.

This created a set of troubles for Gandhi. He had managed to anger the neighbouring community as well as the Vaishnav businessmen used to fund the ashram. The businessman decided to pull the plug on the funds, leaving Bapu in a whirlwind of troubles; so much so that Bapu had declared that they would move to the untouchables' colony of the funding wasn't figured out.

However when they had nearly lost hope, a car stopped at the ashram gate one morning with a good Samaritan expressing his interest in help Bapu and furthering the Mahatma's cause. He left Rs 13,000 the next morning ensuring Bapu had enough money to last the month. That man in question was Ambalal Sarabhai, who believed in Mahatma Gandhi's vision and made sure his first steps in Ahmedabad do not end up futile.

Later with Gandhiji wanting to wanted experiment with farming and animal husbandry, along with other interests like Khadi; the need for a larger land space was felt. Resultantly some two years later, on 17 June 1917, the ashram was shifted to the banks of the river Sabarmati and came to be known as the Sabarmati Ashram.

Quick Facts:
Location: Nr. Paldi Char Rasta, Ahmedabad - 7
Open: Seven days of the week; from dawn to dusk
Phone: 91-79-26578358
Entry fees: Nil

How to get there

By Air: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport, Ahmedabad is an international airport with direct flights to most international hubs. The Domestic airport connects all major Indian cities too.
By Rail: The main railway station is located in Kalupur area and is connected to all major cities of India.
By Road: Gujarat has a well connected road network. Ahmedabad is connected with all major cities and towns by road. Prominent bus stops are located at Gitamandir and Paldi. Regular bus services are available by Gujarat state transport buses (GSRTC) connects all major cities of Gujarat to Ahmedabad. Private transport options are also available.

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