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Uruli Kanchan is a village 33 KM east from the city of Pune in the district of Pune, Maharashtra, India. The village has been famous for the last sixty years for the Naturopathy Center (Nisarg Upchar Ashram) started by Mahatma Gandhi and his disciple Manibhai Desai. The village is also the location of the BAIF Development Research Foundation, an NGO started by Manibhai Desai in the 1960s. BAIF is well known throughout India for its program of breeding high yielding livestock and promoting sustainable rural development.
The local high school, Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya, and college, Padmashri Manibhai Desai Mahavidyalaya are recognized as rural centers of excellence.
There also schools in the area where the medium of instruction is English. These include Amar Education Institute, Angel Primary School & Dr.Cyrus Poonawala English Medium School.
The area around Uruli is irrigated by the Mutha canal and therefore the land is used for growing cash crops like sugarcane and grapes. The sugarcane is supplied mainly to the sugar mill at Anurag Sugar Factory near Yawat, a 15 KM from Uruli. The village holds a weekly open air market on Sunday. The Naturopathy Ashram attracts wealthy patrons from all over India. The cattle breeding program at BAIF attracts professionals from all across India.
In recent years, the village has attracted a number of Household furniture and windows manufacturers, and distributors. Some of these include Shree Krishna Furniture, Netra Furniture, Akash Furniture. & Pro Aluminium Pvt. Ltd.
The village is dominated by the Kanchan Maratha clan on political and economic level. The village also has a significant population of Marwadi and Sindhi people. Both communities dominate trade in the village. The Sindhi families settled into Uruli when they migrated to India from Sindh after Indian independence in 1947. Due to the excellent transport links to Pune, the village also has a sizable population that finds work in Pune metropolitan area. The presence of the school, college and BAIF means there is a high proportion of professionals such as teachers, veterinary doctors, and agricultural scientists residing in the area.
Mahatma Gandhi came to Uruli Kanchan on 22nd March 1946 and stayed for up to 30th March 1946. He treated hundreds of patients with the help of Dr. Mehta, Balkoba Bhave, Manibhai Desai, Dr. Sushila Nair and other disciples. On 30th March 1946, Mahatma Gandhi departed for Delhi for the final negotiations with British Government regarding Independent India. Gandhiji founded Nisargopchar Gramsudhar Trust on 1st April 1946, with the help of kind donations in the form of Land by local people like late shri Mahadev Tatyaba Kanchan. The team under the dynamic leadership of Manibhaiji preached sound health and hygienic practices and also studied various problems in rural areas and identified suitable solutions to uplift the rural poor.
Over last fifty years the Ashram has made remarkable progress. The institute has set up the unique example in the field of Naturopathy i.e. "The way of Life". People from every corner of India and abroad come here and experience the miracles of the unique drugless holistic approach for management of chronic functional diseases. Patients suffering from Arthritis, Cardio Vascular diseases, Diabetes, Bronchitis, skin diseases, Asthma. Digestive and Gynaecological problems, Neuro muscular disorders & obesity are very well managed by simple ways of nature cure. Day in the Ashram begins with prayer & yoga and ends with prayer. Thus along with other physical treatments, psychological and spiritual aspect is taken care of to make the treatment complete.
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