“Traveller or pilgrim of the inner world,
Fortunate art thou to reach our brilliant air
Flaming with thought’s supreme finality.
O aspirant to the perfect way of life,
Here find it; rest from search and live at peace.”
AZIMVTH Ashram is a non-profit located on the banks of Ganges and foothills of Himalayas at Haridwar, India. It aims to improve shared futures using the ancient heritage as catalysts. 365 Haridwar is the international artist residency programme at AZIMVTH Ashram. My Yoga is the other programme at AZIMVTH. It caters to customised spiritual pursuits.
CLUSTER AZIMVTH Ashram is located inside a century old cluster, spread over several square-kilometres. The cluster comprises of adjoining and related yet independent entities seeded by the Arya Samaj (an Indian reformist) movement. Originally the entities were structured on the four ashrams or stages of life. Gurukul Kangri University (one of the 45 central universities out of a total of about 750 recognised universities in India) – for student-life, Arya Nagar (inside which AZIMVTH is situated) – a residential area for householder-life, Arya Virakt Vanprasth Ashram – for those who are no more engaged with conventional work, and finally – Arya Sannyas Ashram – for those who have renounced everything in life. All of these four separate campuses have survived, albeit with time induced modifications.
The concept of the Arya Samaj in India is totally unrelated to the extreme rightist movements in Europe.
HOLIEST RIVER, HIGHEST MOUNTAINS The cluster has its own captive meditation and bathing ghat (sort of jetty / platform) upon Ganges that is off the tourist-pilgrim grid. A ladies fire-invocation temple is adjacent to AZIMVTH Ashram and Ganges flows about 100 metres away. Rajaji National Park, also in Shivaliks — a part of the Himalayan mountain ranges — is about 4 km away from AZIMVTH. With the elevation of about 7 km, Nanda Devi is that highest peak of the Himalayas that lies entirely in India, in Uttarakhand. Nanda Devi is a UNESCO site.
MUSEUM for archaeology, located inside the cluster, houses some rare statues, coins, paintings, manuscripts and arte-facts from Harappa culture (c. 2500–1500 BC).
AUROBINDO, RAMDEV There are some other entities also within 500 metres of AZIMVTH. For example, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, an old language promotion centre, and the original Patanjali Ashram where 2 of the 3 founders of Baba Ramdev’s Yoga centre still reside in, is also next to the university.
YOGA CAPITAL Haridwar – Rishikesh is proposed to be the only heritage twin city of India. The twin city is the unofficial Yoga capital of the world. In December 2016, UNESCO inscribed Yoga on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
IVY LEAGUE Though still a part of the Haridwar district, 25 km away from AZIMVTH lies the first engineering college of India. At a similar distance, but in the other direction, lies AIIMS, the premier institute for medical education. These form part of the Indian equivalents of Ivy League. Many other firsts in education in India / British empire are associated with the region. This builds upon the ancient traditions of Gurukul prevalent millennia ago in Haridwar and the region.
FIRST TRAIN in India operated in the Haridwar district from Roorkee to Piran Kaliyar.
CHINA Uttarakhand state of which Haridwar is a part borders China (Tibet) in north east and Nepal in south east.
SANSKRIT language, the common-root of the 22 official languages in India, is state language only of Uttarakhand (the state Haridwar is part of) amongst 30 states and union territories of India.
10 MILLION+ people visit Haridwar in the period of a month (July / August) for an annual rite. In terms of sheer numbers of gathering of human beings, this is second only to the Kumbh Mela (large gathering) which happens every 12 years in Haridwar. The next one is in the year twenty-twenty-one. During December 2017, UNESCO declared this to be an intangible cultural heritage of the entire humanity.
JULIA ROBERTS Mark Zuckerberg (facebook) joined a steady stream of visitors to the region who have already become, or are in the process of becoming, celebrities. Some of the others who benefited from their journeys in Haridwar / region are Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page (Google), Jeffrey Skoll (eBay), Uma Thurman, Julia Roberts, Beatles etc.
FORESTS The state of Uttarakhand has large continuous forests. The Valley of Flowers enjoys the UNESCO heritage status. The oldest national park is situated in the state. Some tigers are man-eaters.
ONLY VEGGIES In 2004, the Supreme Court of India upheld the imposition of ban on non-vegetarian food in the integrated religious townships of Haridwar, Rishikesh and Muni ki Reti. Some sects of ascetics allegedly have different life-styles.
OWN PATH 365 Haridwar aims to bring together ancient & future, global & local, and art & spirituality. Each participant is encouraged to make her / his own agenda in this context of the cluster and the region.
ARTISTS 5 international artists from the UK, US, Canada, and New Zealand were selected for award of grants that covered one-third of their costs of participation. They traveled to and stayed at AZIMVTH Ashram for a typical stay of 4 weeks each.
RESIDENCIES PROGRAMMES There are 3 kinds of residency programmes – Physical Residencies, Virtual Residencies, and Special Residencies.
Nominations are invited from / for persons interested in participating with any of the 12 residencies from January to December. AZIMVTH Ashram can provide only part funding of up to USD 500 (for 4 weeks stay) for each selected participant; the balance is to be organised by individuals.
To express an interest, please write to AZIMVTH at gmail dot com.