Commemorating Twenty Years of Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, Dharampur The Need for an Ashram(upto 1999) Like bees getting attracted to fragrant flowers, since the 1970s aspirants were getting drawn to Param Krupalu Dev’s teachings through activities of satsang and bhakti under Pujya Gurudevshri’s guidance. To organise the spiritual activities and facilitate the increasing number of devotees, Shrimad Rajchandra Adhyatmik Satsang Sadhana Kendra was formed in 1994; with major activities being focussed in Mumbai. The need was felt for a sacred space where aspirants could stay and spend days in solitude to further their spiritual pursuit. Thus, in 1998 a committee was formed to undertake the research and selection of a suitable place for an Ashram. Dharampur not even being on the list, Pujya Gurudevshri felt a pull towards this land once while travelling by it. And it was because Dharampur had been blessed by Param Krupalu Dev’s physical presence in 1900 AD. The hill of Mohangadh, Dharampur spread over 223 acres, was selected for the establishment of Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram in 1999. Inauguration of The Ashram (2000 – 2001) The Bhoomipujan of the Ashram site was done on August 4, 2000. Sevaks enthusiastically embarked on the Ashram-building journey. Reconstruction and renovation of the palace on Ashram land, originally belonging to the Maharaja of Dharampur, followed. A kitchen and dining hall were constructed. An amphitheatre was developed around the tree under which Pujya Gurudevshri had received the divine intuition for the selection of the Ashram site. On the auspicious day of the Janma Kalyanak of Bhagwan Mahavira, 6th April 2001, the inauguration of the Ashram and the pratishtha of the Gurumandir took place in a spiritually throbbing atmosphere in the presence of hundreds of devotees. On this occasion, Pujya Gurudevshri dedicated His treatise, Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra Vivechan, comprising of 4 volumes; at Param Krupalu Dev’s Lotus Feet. 51 couples took Ajivan Brahmacharya vrat on this memorable day. The Ashram serves as the International Headquarters of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur. Early Years of The Ashram(2002 – 2004) The joy of living with Pujya Gurudevshri in a small group was an exhilarating experience for the devotees. The culture of community living thus began. Regular satsang shibirs commenced at the Ashram. On April 25, 2002, the auspicious day of Bhagwan Mahavira’s Janma Kalyanak, the pratishtha of the Ashram Jinmandir took place. In 2002 a memorial of Param Krupalu Dev was built at the Dharampur crematorium, where He used to do sadhana in 1900 AD. Eminent saints began visiting the Ashram. Pujya Gurudevshri initiated seekers in meditation through retreats named Sadhana Bhatti. Pujya Gurudevshri’s all-encompassing compassion led to the formation of Shrimad Rajchandra Medical Trust and inauguration of Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital in 2003 to serve the rural population in and around Dharampur. To improve the quality of lives of the local population the Shrimad Rajchandra Educational Trust was established in 2004. A residential school at Tamachhadi was adopted and it was renamed as Shrimad Rajchandra Vidyavihar. Initial Development of The Ashram (2005 – 2008) With rising number of seekers from over the world visiting the Ashram for satsang shibirs, meditation retreats and workshops, the need arose for amenities to support their stay. In alignment with Pujya Gurudevshri’s vision, facilities like more accommodation areas, a larger satsang hall, a dedicated kitchen and dining hall, gardens, an administrative block, library, the Divine Shop and others were developed. Along with the spiritual activities, the Mission’s seva activities were also gaining momentum. For the welfare of animals, the Shrimad Rajchandra Jivamaitridham was inaugurated under the Shrimad Rajchandra Jivdaya Trust. Evolution of The Ashram (2009 – 2015) 2009 was the year when Pujya Gurudevshri expounded on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in the satsangs shibirs. To enable maximum number of seekers to benefit from the discourses, the shibirs were scheduled on weekends. Sadguru Udghosh, the Master’s insightful daily talks, commenced at the Ashram. A large pillar-less Satsang Hall named Yajnasthal, clusters of Swiss Tents, a huge Dining Tent, and Raj Upvan garden were developed. A residential complex with 100 rooms, the Devchandra Niwas, was constructed. The Ashram was sanctified with divine objects graced by Param Krupalu Dev. 2010 marked the adoption of the name ‘Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur’ for the ever-growing worldwide movement of sadhana and seva. A 10-care program christened Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care was launched for the upliftment of the needy the world over. Shrimad Rajchandra Gurukul, a secondary and higher secondary school started in Karanjveri, near Dharampur. Rapid Progress of The Ashram(2016 onwards) The execution of the Ashram’s master plan project, Sadguru Prerna, began in full swing. Development of about 100 acres in phase one included a magnificent Jin Mandir and Guru Mandir, an Amphitheatre with the world’s tallest idol of Param Krupalu Dev, a colossal Satsang Hall Complex, Dining and Kitchen facilities to cater to 10,000 devotees, accommodation complexes to suit everyone’s needs and facilities like gardens, sports arena and fitness centre. Celebrations like the Yugpurush Saardh Shatabdi Mahotsav and the Rajat Mahotsav witnessed thousands of devotees and admirers coming from across the globe. Seva projects – like the construction of a new 250-bed, multi-speciality, charitable hospital – and sevaks swelled in numbers. Shrimad Rajchandra Vidyapeeth, a Science College, was inaugurated. Since March 2020, Pujya Gurudevshri has been present in the Ashram. In these challenging times, He has taken care of all those present in the Ashram as well as all living beings the world over.