Monday, December 13, 2010

Gandhi and House of MG

Last weekend I decided that I would venture back to Ahmedabad for one last stay at the House of MG. You may remember that Makeeba and I went there during one of our first weekends here. The House of MG is where I stay. It is a heritage hotel, so the building is a renovated historic building. I would venture to say it is one of the nicest heritage hotels in India.

And they gave me a 20% off coupon when I stayed there last time, so since flights were so cheap, I decided it would be worth it.

This time, as I was on my own, I got to dictate what I would do. My main goal was really to just relax at the hotel, which I certainly did, but there were also some things in the city that I wanted to see.

Ahmedabad is actually the home to the Indian Independence Movement. Gandhi was originally from Gugurat and when he returned to India from South Africa he settled in Ahmedabad – eventually founding the ashram where most of his peaceful protests began. The ashram, though no longer operating, still stands and acts as a sort of museum for the independence movement. Gandhi’s famous salt march started here. He was arrested from the grounds and he conducted a few hunger strikes there.

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Aside from all this history, the ashram is also on the banks of the river and is a peaceful place to just sit and relax for a bit. Oh, and I finally got to see how an Indian spinning wheel works.

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On the opposite end of peaceful and relaxing, the House of MG offers audio tours of the old city. They give you a little MP3 player and send you out on a personally directed walking tour. It was actually really nice; the information was not only informative, but also interesting with interviews by various people about the history and the current situation.

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I have a feeling not many people choose to do this walk during the late afternoon/early evening hours on Saturday, when the market is in full swing, because people seemed genuinely surprised to see me. Not a few times I had to stop the MP3 player to take portraits of random people sitting around. Of course, I’m extremely happy to take someone’s photo when they ask, but it did mean that I had to rewind a bit to catch where I needed to turn, etc. Also, not everything was open at that time, so fairly close to the end I had to stop because I couldn’t get around something and then couldn’t find the other side to catch the tour. Oh well.

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I'll post more pictures later.