365 Haridwar – International Artists Residency

AZIMVTH Ashram is a non-profit that aims to improve shared futures using the ancient heritage as catalysts. This is done through the two programmes of an international art residency (named 365 Haridwar) and an spiritual discoveries (named My Yoga).

365 Haridwar brings newer perspectives to art residencies. What it focuses upon and offers makes unique value additions. The approach is to identify opportunities presented due to specificity of time, space and cosciousness (in the increasing order of importance) in the context of 365 Haridwar. 365 Haridwar provides cues and leaves it to an individual participant to make her own interpretations and combinations of these three.

1. TIME:
Three sets of time based events (observations and celebrations) have been merged to create the residency programme.
a. Traditional Indian calender
b. Common calendar used world-wide
c. United Nations calender

From this merged calender, ideas that are unique and the most relevant to the space that 365 Haridwar occupies are used as cues to creativity. In terms of ‘space’ there could be three identities that 365 Haridwar may have.

The selected events are special to the Space and location of the residency.
365 Haridwar is situated inside a cluster of related, yet independent, entities of the Arya Samaj (Indian reformist movement) that was started over a century ago. The cluster is spread over several square kilo meters. In the ancient Indian system, a person’s life was aimed to be organised in 4 distinct linear stages. Each of these stages was considered as an Ashram. Initially, different parts of the cluster were meant for different stages. These units, adjoining to each other.
This link (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashrama_(stage)) from Wikipedia expands the concept.
* Student life
The seed of the cluster was sown with founding of the Gurukul Kangri University, now a central university, in 1902 by a close follower of the Arya Samaj movement. Of the about 750 officially recognised universities in India, about 45 enjoy the status of a central university. It has a good museum too.
* Household life
Arya Nagar (for house-holders who have started professional / work lives and families after the student life) is the residential locality which houses AZIMVTH. Faculty and followers were originally given plots of land to build houses. Some of these were re-sold. It has evolved into a cosmopolitan place where families from many faiths and regions live in harmony like any other middle-class locality in India.
* Retired life
Arya Vanprastha Ashram (for people who have ceased conventional working and are away from families) has good green and peaceful areas.
* Renounced life
Arya Vanprastha Sanyas Ashram (for those who have finally renounced all materials in life) is a distinct and smaller unit.

Additionally, there are entities like a Hindi language promotion centre, a fire temple for ladies, a captive bathing and meditation ghat upon Ganges.
Besides these, there are also other unrelated entities like Ari Aurobindo Ashram, Patanjal Ashram etc within 500 metres of AZIMVTH.
The participants at AZIMVTH will have opportunities to benefit from all of these institutions.

Arya Nagar is located inside the Haridwar municipal corporation. The holy Ganges system rolls down the Himalayas and merge to become a mighty river entering the plains after Haridwar, the ancient town that hosts the cluster. With the height of about 7 km, Nanda Devi is the highest Himalayan mountain peak that lies entirely in India, in the Uttarakhand state. Nanda Devi and The Valley of Flowers are both on the UN World Heritage List. The state shares two international boundaries – China (Tibet) in north east and Nepal in south east.The geograpghy of the town / region presents special opportunities to creative minds.

Many other parts of India have a similar or even better geographical advantage. But the most important aspect of the space/location of AZIMVTH is the ancient heritage. Haridwar-Rishikesh twin towns is the only place being declared by the government of India as national heritage city. Haridwar, like Babylon, means ‘Gate to God’. People from across India, and the Indian diaspora spread globally, visit Haridwar to immerse the ashes of departed ones. It is only in Haridwar where an annual pilgrimage draws over 10 million persons from across the plains. The even bigger Kumbh festival is the largest gathering of human beings and in Haridwar it happens every 12th year. The ancient heritage has major implications for the culture and beliefs in India. Of all the states in India, it is only Uttarakhand, the state to which Haridwar belongs, that has Sanskrit as state language. The twin-town is the Yoga capital of the world. In December 2016 UNESCO inscribed Yoga on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The word AZIMVTH is a stylised form of the word Azimuth. A 360 degree view relates to a circle. The counter-part for a sphere is Azimuth. This consciousness for widening ones horizons guides the programmes at 365 Haridwar. At AZIMVTH, conscious efforts can be made to utilize the opportunities of time and space in a manner best suitable to each individual participant. This could be done in many ways, some of which are suggested below.

a. A creative person experiments and widens his horizons in a dialogue within himself.
b. She is exposed to interacts with other forms of arts and crafts.
c. She may also synchronise with other sectors beyond arts.

365 Haridwar is a platform for interactions of global and local, futuristic and ancient, external and internal creativity.