Baba Kali Kamliwala
This happened during the time when Rishikesh was surrounded by a dense forest. During that time many saints and sages were dwelling in and around Rishikesh but there was no arrangement for their food. They had to leave their solitary places and to travel far in order to have something for their food. Some of the saints managed to live upon fruits in the surrounding forest.
When Kali Kamliwala first came to this area, he decided to serve the saints in a novel way. He started collecting food articles from the public and then distributing them in remote and solitary places. This activity proved to be of immense help to the saints as they were able to concentrate on their sadhana without much thought about their livelihood.
As the time passed by, Baba Kali Kamliwala extended this service for the poor, downtrodden, students, widows, ill and handicapped also. Later on it took the form of Kali Kamliwala Institution where thousands of people are given free food for their sustenance.
As if this was not enough, Baba Kali Kamliwala also started a dispensary, library, water fountains, Sanskrit College, Spiritual guidance center and Cow-shelters. On an average about thousand plus Sadhus use these facilities daily and 500 plus people use the raw material for their food. During the Yatra days, these numbers increase manifold.
One more noteworthy contribution by Baba Kali Kamliwala of which most of the people hardly have any knowledge, is the reconstruction of the Laxman Zoola bridge. During those days the famous Laxman Zoola bridge was made of strings and was very difficult for the tourists to cross as the force of Ganges is tremendous at that place. Baba Kali Kamliwala decided to improve the bridge and at the same time he met a rich person namely Soorajmal Zoonzoonwala who wanted to donate some money. Babaji told him that the best use of his money was to build a permanent bridge across the Ganges. The Seth Soorajmal agreed and the Laxman Zoola Bridge, as we now know it, came into existence.
In the year 1880, he traveled to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yanunotri. He saw lots of people facing hardships. His heart melted and at once he decided to do something for them. He traveled to big cities like Meerut, Delhi, Calcutta and asked rich people to donate generously. As a result of Baba Kali Kamliwala's efforts, enough funds were collected. He used it to build guesthouses, libraries, food distribution centers and solitary places for spiritual aspirants to stay. Later on this activity spread to Haridwar, Ramnagar, Kurukshetra, Praygraj, and Kankhal etc.
Baba Kali Kamliwala was born in 1831. His original name was Biswasinh. He was married but when he was 32, he decided to renounce the worldly duties and devoted his remaining life for the benefit of the masses. He was named as Vishuddhanand after sanyas. He used to have black shawl around his shoulder so he became popular by the name of Baba Kali Kamliwala. One can get immense inspiration as a karma yogi from his life.