Yearning for a simpler life? Tourists given the chance to live like Mahatma Gandhi for a week - but don’t expect any comfort

For £10 a night, visitors will be invited to meditate, learn to prepare simple food and forget about the outside world for a few days

Delhi

Feel free to sit, pray, spin the spinning wheel and even dress in a cotton dhoti. Just be sure to leave your aggression – along with any lust, laziness or foreign goods – at the door.

Tourists from around the world are for the first time being invited to sample the lifestyle of Mahatma Gandhi at the first ashram the independence leader established in India. For R1,000 a night (around £10), visitors will be invited to meditate, learn to prepare simple food and forget about the outside world for a few days.

“We have been thinking about doing this for the past seven or eight years,” said Rajendra Khimani, registrar of the Gujarat Vidyapith university which operates the Kochrab Ashram, close to the western city of Ahmedabad. “We are hoping that we will get people from all over the world.”

Mr Khimani said that after all this time Gandhi remained as important as ever. “Basically he was talking about how we can live in the future,” he said. “He talked about sustainable living. We are still talking about this. He talked about natural resources. These things are very important.”

The ashram, or retreat, was established at Kochrab on the outskirts of Ahmedabad by Mohandas Gandhi when he returned to India from South Africa in 1915. It would be where he would spend several crucial years and where he would further develop many of his ideas for which he has become known.

At the bungalow owned by a fellow lawyer, Gandhi rejected luxury or even comfort and stressed a simple and austere lifestyle. He upset many followers when he admitted a low-caste man, in those days called an Untouchable, to live at the ashram with his family.

Guests will be asked to stay for a minimum of five days. They will also be asked to observe the 11 vows that Gandhi promoted, including non-aggression, truthfulness, control of desires, and equality of religions. They will be asked to wear khadi, the thick, self-woven cotton fabric favoured by Gandhi and his followers.

Sixty-five years after his death, the ideas of Gandhi, who was shot dead in Delhi by Hindu extremists in January 1948, just six months after India secured independence from Britain, remain hugely important.

The organisers of the Live Gandhi for a While promotion, launched this week to coincide with the 144th anniversary of the independence leaders’s birth, say they particularly want to promote his ideas of sustainability.

Nischal Barot of Maroon Migrates, a Gujarat-based tour and travel agent that specialises in responsible tourism and which is a promotor of the programme, said Gandhi was a guide for leading a sustainable life.

“He travelled across the country, connected with many communities, walked to many villages, stayed in their homes, tried helping them to solve their problems and also with a minimal impact on the environment,” he said. “That’s what responsible tourism is all about.”

Mr Barot said guests could spin, write letters or help with the ashram’s daily chores during their stay. “They will also be following the vows of Gandhi,” he said.

Chastity and control: Mahatma’s life rules

In order to stay at Kochrab Ashram, guests must observe Gandhi’s 11 rules:

Ahimsa – non-violence

Satya – truthfulness

Asteya – no stealing

Brahmacharya – self-restraint, including chastity

Aparigraha – no possessions

Sharirshrama – working for daily food

Aswada – control of diet

Sarvatra Bhayavarjana – fearlessness

Sarva Dharma Samantva –  equality of faiths

Swadeshi – use of local goods

Sparshbhavana – against  notion of untouchability

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders