Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sabarmati Ashram

Went up to Ahmedabad for a day trip to visit relatives today. We used to live there in the 80s, and my last visit was in 1995. It's unrecognizable, having grown so much in the past decade. Driving on the new National Expressway 1 was neat though -- cuts travel time down to about 1h30 from the 2-3 it used to take. Slowly, ever so slowly, the much lamented lack of infrastructure is being tackled ...

Stopped by the Sabarmati Ashram for a brief visit in the hot afternoon (the mercury registered 39C, 102.2F). There were visitors present, foreign tourists as well as domestic ones (it was a Sunday afternoon after all). The riverfront -- the site of a rather lame sound and light show, was largely empty -- only mad dogs and Englishmen, as the saying goes. The museum and library, in a structure designed by the famous architect Charles Correa*, has that neglected feel of a slightly dilapidated government office.

Gandhi, despite the efforts of Munnabhai, is forgotten in everything but name.

The Sabarmati river. The water used to come up right up to the walls of the Ashram.
Now, the banks are being widened on both sides for a riverfront project.

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*Do check out Charles Correa's website -- photos of the Ashram museum (and a Google Earth bookmark as well which clearly shows the pattern of the roof), as well as many others of his work

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