Aparna Mantalai Ashram is the legacy of Late Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari. He had very ambitious plan of making the Mantalai Ashram a unique socio-cultural centre in Jammu of international status. The equipment which he had ordered and most of which had arrived before his tragic death in an air crash speaks for the vision of the man. After his death, the Ashram was taken over by the Government and given in the control of Patnitop Development authority.
It was expected that after the site was taken over by the State Tourism Department and placed in the charge of the PDA, its full development will be planned and work will begin to be executed. But alas! That was not the case. Total apathy and lack of interest on the part of the authorities is clearly visible in the manner that the entire Ashram is lying in shambles. It has turned into a desolate spot where nobody feels even the smallest iota of peace and solace which usually accompany the Ashrams in our country. Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism Government of India recently visited the Ashram in Mantalai. He was shocked to see the dilapidated and desolate condition of the site and expressed his regret for what he had seen.
The question is what is the Tourism Department going to do in this case? Does it want to develop Mantalai or not? If not, then it must lock it up and block the road for visitors. But if it wants to make it a tourist spot, then it should be dealt with all seriousness and earnestness. Therefore as the clock is ticking, the Tourism Department should decide what it wants to do about Mantalai Ashram.