The major place to visit in T.Kallupatti is the Gandhiniketan Ashram. When one travels from Madurai in Tamil Nadu along the highway leading to Coutrallam the famous waterfalls, what comes strikingly into view at the 40th kilometre is the Gandhi Niketan Ashram- one of the few surviving Gandhian Institutions in India, still vibrant with Gandhian thoughts and ideals. On entering the campus of this institution located in a sprawling 40 acres of land one can feel the peace and tranquility that pervades the place.
Gandhi Niketan Ashram which has a long history and rich tradition behind it is the brain child of Freedom fighter G. Venkatachalapathy (“The Architect of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Movement in Tamil Nadu”) and was started it in 1940 to help create an independent India and reconstructing Rural India as envisioned by Mohandas K. Gandhi.
After India attained independence in 1947, the Gandhi Niketan Ashram was involved in areas like community development, panchayati raj, and khadi and village industries. Development officials and activists from all over India were trained here to work at the grassroots. The Ashram also played a key role in the Bhoodan movement spearheaded by Acharya Vinoba Bhave.
Martin Luther King, Jr. the Nobel laureate and civil rights leader of America who visited the founder at Madras twice and got a first hand account of the experiences of Venkatachalapathy in organizing Satyagraha and constructive programmes. E. F. Schumacher, one of the founders of the Green Movement in the west and renowned author of the book “Small is Beautiful” visited the Ashram in 1962 and obtained valuable insights into the areas of appropriate technology of benefit to the rural poor. Schumacher was later seen as an adviser for the Indian planning commission in the early 1970s.
- To operationalise the Gandhian vision of Gram Swaraj by promoting constructive training, demonstration and development programmes