Appa Balwant Chowk is an iconic bustling square in the center of Pune, known particularly for its bookstores. Near the square, along Bajirao Road, is an old, yellow heritage building with a tiled roof. Above the large gate, there is a board that says: Anandashram Sanstha.
Anand Ashram or Anandashram Sanstha (Sanstha means Organization) was established in 1888 by Mr. Mahadev Chimanaji Apte, who was a prominent advocate during that time. The purpose of starting this organization was for the conservation and encouragement of Sanskrit language and the preservation of Sanskrit texts and manuscripts, along with making historically valuable Sanskrit works available to future scholars and researchers.
When visitors step inside through the large gate, one enters a well-maintained courtyard. In the center is a bust of Mr. Mahadev Chimanaji Apte. A few household objects from his personal collection are on display in a small museum within the premises. A typewriter, a collection of pens and inkpots, and other miscellaneous items can be seen by visitors.
Across the courtyard is an old stone building. This is the library that houses the collection of Sanskrit works. It is said that they have an impressive compilation of around 15,000 manuscripts covering 26 different subjects, along with a huge inventory of unsold printed books.
Many of these are hundreds of years old and have been preserved with utmost care. A staff of dedicated people handles the process meticulously with all the necessary precautions. In recent times, they have digitized the manuscripts and conserved them for posterity.
Near the entrance, there is a blue plaque that says that Mr. Hari Narayan Apte, the nephew of Mr. Mahadev Chimanaji Apte, lived here from 1888 to 1919. He was a popular novelist and a social reformer during those times. The premises of Anandashram also served as a hostel, which provided lodging, boarding, and scholarships to students.
Recently, there have been demands from many countries to refer to the Sanskrit works preserved here. Many international students visit the premises to avail their facilities for research. The premises have been maintained well. The outer façade of the building exudes an old-world charm while the inner courtyard transports visitors back into history.
This historic organization runs due to the dedicated and unwavering efforts of its staff members.
Know Before You Go
This organization is located a short distance south of Appa Balwant Chowk, along Bajirao Road.