Tourists invited to live like Gandhi in his ashram

Tourists invited to live like Gandhi in his ashram
Kochrab Ashram

AHMEDABAD, India - Tourists searching for peace and simplicity can for the first time check in to Mahatma Gandhi's most famous ashram in India. But don't expect modern comforts. And chastity is required.

For 1,000 rupees (S$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 the ashram, which opened to holidaymakers earlier this month, can try their hand at spinning, visit local communities, pray and meditate, all while wearing khadi - hand-woven cloth - during their stay.

But they must adhere to Gandhi's 11 vows that he promoted including non-violence, no possessions, use of local goods, working for daily food, self restraint, including chastity, and control of diet.

And they 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".

"This might change perceptions of tourists towards life, society and our natural resources. This might also help tourists find peace and satisfaction within," Barot told AFP.

Gandhi went to stay at the bungalow, now called Kochrab Ashram and then owned by a lawyer friend, after he returned to India from South Africa in 1915.

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