The historic Sabarmati Ashram here has reopened its doors for visitors, after remaining closed for over nine months due to the coronavirus outbreak, an ashram official said on Tuesday. With social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols in place, the premises has been opened for the public from Monday, the ashram’s director, Atul Pandya, told.
Before the outbreak of Covid-19, the ashram, a former home of Mahatma Gandhi and a historic center linked to India’s Independence movement, used to receive a large number of visitors every day. It is managed by the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust.“The ashram was shut for visitors since March 20 last year following the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, we have once again opened the premises for visitors,” Pandya said.“People can visit the ashram between 10 am and 5 pm.
We have deployed our staff to guide them to maintain social distancing,” he said. Sanitizer dispensers have been placed at 18 different places on the premises for the visitors, the official said. Currently, the museum and ‘Hriday Kunj’, the house inside the ashram where Mahatma Gandhi and his wife had once lived, have been opened for the public, while the book shop, Khadi shop, and charkha gallery in the premises will remain closed, he said.“People will touch things at these shops and the charkha gallery, which is not advisable in the present situation. Thus, we have restricted the entry of visitors to these places. We are putting in place all possible measures to stop the spread of the virus,” Pandya said.
The ashram, where the Father of the Nation resided between 1917 and 1930, was a major tourist attraction, both with domestic and foreign travelers, before the outbreak of Covid-19. On average, around 2,000 people used to visit this historical place every day, Pandya said, adding that the footfalls are now going to be much less in the wake of the pandemic.