One of the pleasures of traveling is visiting places where famous people once spent time. For example, if you’re interested in the life of Jesus, you’ll want to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. If you admire Winston Churchill, you’ll want to drop by the Churchill War Rooms in London. If you hold esteem for Nelson Mandela, you’ll want to pay a visit to Robben Island Prison in Cape Town. And if you’re a fan of Gandhi, there’s no better place to learn about his life and work than Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya: the Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Mumbai, India.

It’s fair to say that I’m a pretty big Gandhi fan. I’ve watched the movie (with Ben Kingsley) many, many times. I’ve read a fair number of books about the guy. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he certainly lead a pretty remarkable life. Mani Bhavan isn’t exactly the site of his “home residence”; it’s more of a memorial to his time as a political activist in Mumbai for the 17 years between 1917 and 1934. It was here that he launched the first phase of his non-violent freedom struggle.

To my surprise, the museum is a very unassuming place. Housed in a modest, two-story building on Laburnum Road in the comparatively quiet Gamdevi neighborhood, Mani Bhavan feels like visiting your grandma’s Victorian house on the outskirts of London. The hallways are narrow. The steps creak. Many of the exhibits are dioramas like you might find at an old-fashioned natural history museum. A high-tech, state-of-the-art installation this is not. But somehow that seems fitting for a Gandhi museum, doesn’t it? This is a man who made his own, home-spun clothing and advocated using simple machines like hand looms. It’s hard to imagine a Gandhi museum taking residence in say, the Pompidou Center in Paris. No, it needs to be in a place like this – basic, earnest, a little bit threadbare.

My favorite room in the museum showcases where the Mahatma lived and slept. Here you can see the small mattress which served as his office chair…his tiny wooden desk…a few of his spinning wheels. For all the paradigm-shattering work he wound up doing on the world stage– heck, he pretty much kicked the British Raj out of India – this room is evocative of the spare, simple life Gandhi tried to practice.

The next time you find yourself in Mumbai with a few hours to spare, try to make a little time for the Gandhi Museum. It’s a haven of peace and calm in a very hurly-burly city, and who doesn’t need a little meditative inspiration from time to time?

(I’m a big fan of meditation; I do it every morning for 15-20 minutes. Whether you sit on a floor cushion or relax on a couch, the important thing is to dedicate some small corner of your home to your practice. Where is the “calm place” in your house? How can you carve out a few minutes of self reflection every day? How can you, as Gandhi once said, “be the change you want to see in the world”?)