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The tale of an Ashram in Jammu that will now be international Yoga center

Last Updated on September 23, 2020 at 6:18 pm

The 49 year old yoga ashram which was built at Mantalai in Udhampur district of Jammu is being rebuilt as one of the biggest State of art Yoga Center in the world.

The old ashram was built by Dhirendra Brahmachari who was the yoga teacher of the then late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The yoga ashram is built over an area of 126 acres. The yoga center has been closed after the death of Dhirendra Brahmachari in a plane crash in 1994. All the credit for the revival of Brahmachari’s ashram goes to Dr. Jitendra Singh who is a minister in the prime minister’s office and also represents the Mantalai area in Lok Sabha. 

National Projects Construction Corporation has started re-building the ashram and is expected to be rebuilt by March 2021. The total cost of the project is estimated at around Rs 97.82 crore. Apart from the renovation of the old building, a pyramid-shaped mega structure is also being built in the area. Also, houses for tourists, meditation pods, dining block, and helipad are a few projects that will be constructed in the ashram area.

The yoga center is a large project that comes under the project of integrated development of the tourism facility in Mantalai. Apart from the ashram cafeteria is being constructed and Sudh Mahadev and a convention center are being built in Patnitop under the project.

The land for the project was handed over by the state government in November 2017 and the project was expected to complete in 36 months which is November 2020 but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the project was delayed to March 2021. Till now the government has sanctioned a grant of Rs 82 crore. A central team has also visited the site to check the construction process of the ashram. Dr. Jitendra Singh has also tweeted, informing about the revival of the ashram by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led central government.

Being the yoga guru of powerful Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Brahmachari enjoyed his political powers and the congress ministers used to visit his ashram to seek his blessings. Brahmachari was the owner of the four-seater aircraft and a nineteen-seater Dornier. Brahmachari also decided to set up an air service taxi named Air Aparna. He also had three personal airstrips and three private hangars. He was also the owner of Vishwayatan Yogashram in the National Capital, Delhi which was later renamed to Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga. He also had his campuses in Jammu, Katra, and Mantalai which were shut after his death. He had also built airstrips and helipads in Katra, and Mantalai.

In 1983 his political powers started falling after he was charged with the smuggling of 500 Spanish guns from his gun factory in Jammu. He personally appeared in court to appeal for bail and with his political connections, he was granted the bail. 

The palatial ashrams which were built by Brahmachari around 1971 have started degrading as they have been locked for many years because of many people who were close to him claiming that they are the owners of the ashrams after his death. As per the old records, the amount that Brahmachari has imported for the renovation of the Mantalai ashram has been missing since then.

His ashram in Mantalai has private airstrips, a zoo, a cattle shed, an orchard, and a seven-story building. Brahmachari also wrote several books on Yoga in Hindi and English both. In nineteen eighty-one he introduced yoga in Kendra Vidyalayas under the ministry of Human Resource Development. Brahmachari was so powerful that once minister of housing, IK Gujral rejected his request for allotment of additional land for his ashram in Delhi, and the next day the minister was removed from his position. 

In the future, the Central Government is even planning to connect the yoga center in Udhampur with the Holy Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Katra. The yoga center, spa area, and the treatment center together can have sixty to seventy people at a time. While talking to WION, Deputy Commissioner of Udhampur Dr. Piyush Singla told that Yoga is part of life. Mantalai has been famous for yoga activities because of the famous yoga guru Dhirendra Brahmachari. To give a new look to the area the central government launched the International Mantalai Yoga Center. The yoga center will give a new name to the religious and tourist center.

This project by the government will generate employment for the locals. The yoga center will open many opportunities for the villagers of Mantalai. The locals of the village are very happy as the project is about to end and this project will bring employment in the village. The locals are expecting more projects like this in the Union Territory of Jammu that will boost the economy and will change the current scenario of J&K.