In the late 1970′s, Chanduram, a Sindhi Hindu guru, migrated from Pano Aquil, Sindh, to Lucknow. He and his followers, many of whom had preceded Chanduram to various parts of India, established the Shiv Shanti Ashram in the Alambagh area of Lucknow. The growing complex provides housing for Chanduram and his family, guest rooms for followers, and various satsang halls for devotional meetings with devotees. Within the ashram complex, the community has also provided various forms of charitable assistance, including a home for destitute widows, a weekly homeopathic clinic, and a cow shelter.
When I visited there in 2001, the main satsang hall in the ashram had two primary shrines. The larger shrine had a central canopy that contained three copies of the Guru Granth Sahib (in Sindhi, Hindi, and Gurmukhi), although previously it had enshrined a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramcharitmanas on either side of the Guru Granth Sahib. A second, smaller canopy contained three different texts from other Sindhi Hindu gurus, specifically Chelaram, T. L. Vaswani, and Teoonram. The smaller shrine contained images of Chanduram’s predecessors, namely his father Asudaram, and his father’s gurus Kanwarram and Satram Das.
In addition to daily gatherings, the ashram also hosts large events. They allow other groups, such as Gayatri Parivar, to use their open-air pavilion for special events. The ashram also hosted the first lecture by the Sindhi guru J. P. Vaswani during his visit to Lucknow in 2001, with J. P. Vaswani and Chanduram sitting together on the stage. The largest gathering in 2001 was the commemoration of the death anniversary of Chanduram’s father, Asudaram. Several other Sindhi gurus and followers of Chanduram packed the pavilion for a continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib as well as devotional songs and messages from Chanduram and other gurus.