Thrissur: The day was January 16, 1934. Scores of people and even students had turned up at a small village in Kerala. They were waiting for the Mahatma to arrive.
It was nightfall by the time, Mahatma Gandhi arrived at Puranattukara in Thrissur. But that did not act as a deterrent and from Muthuvara to Puranattukara, a long line of people had turned up to greet the Mahatma. They accorded him a warm welcome under the yellow light of lanterns.
Gandhiji was heading to the Sri Ramakrishna asram at Puranattukara in Thrissur district. He spent one night there.
He laid the foundation stone for Sri Ramakrishna Gurukul and Sri Ramakrishna temple the next day.
Massive floods had wreaked havoc in Thrissur in 1924. A disaster relief centre was started at the Adat region by a team of 'sanyasis' from Belur Sri Krishna asram in Kolkata. Advocate Krishna Menon, who joined the 'sanyasis' in the relief efforts, was attracted to their ideology. He then took initiative to impart education to the poor children at Puranattukara along with providing them with food and accommodation.
Krishna Menon decided to dedicate his life for the cause and resigned from his teaching job at the Vivekodayam School in Thrissur. He was later ordained as Swami Tyageesananda.
Gandhiji had visited Puranattukara to see the activities at the asram.
Gandhiji was happy to note that the children from various communities were staying and even eating together at the school of the Mutt. He also visited the weaving centre, kitchen and honey collection centre.
Gandhiji wrote as he left the asram: “What I saw at this asram has made me extremely happy.”
Gandhiji had then stayed at Anandakudeeram and this building was renovated in 2002 with the help of the alumni students. It was also renamed as Gandhi Smrithi. This year, it was again renovated. Former Alathur MP P K Biju had given the funds needed for the renovation.
On his 150th birth anniversary, 100 photos of the Mahatma's life would be exhibited at the Gandhi Smrithi on Wednesday.