Visit the Places that Pay Tribute to the Mahatma
Bring Gandhiji and the struggle for India’s freedom to life for your child by taking him to places associated with Bapu. We give you a list of some of the historical landmarks that pay tribute to him
By Poongkodi Jose
When parents teach their little ones about moral values, giving an example of an inspiring figure such as Mahatma Gandhi is a good idea. You can to talk to your child about the man we proudly call ‘The Father of the Nation’ and about the values he embodied. You could tell her how he demonstrated to the world the power of Ahimsa (non-violence) and how he has left an indelible mark on each and every part of the country. Perhaps you and your child can even visit some of the important places in the country associated with Gandhiji.
Here are some of them:
Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad
Set on the banks of River Sabarmati, the ashram was home to Gandhiji from 1917 to 1930. At the Ashram, Gandhiji formed a school that focused on manual labour, agriculture and literacy. It was from here that he launched his famous Dandi march in protest against the British Salt law which taxed Indian salt. It was also here that Gandhiji began many of movements for independence, based on his principles of truth and non-violence.
When Gandhiji commenced the Dandi March on 12 March 1930, he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence. Unfortunately, though India became independent on August 15, 1947, he never did return to the Ashram as he was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
Address: Gandhi Ashram, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Ahmedabad, Gujarat- 380 027
Opening hours: 08:30 a.m. to 06:30 p.m. Open on all days including public holidays
Entry fee: Free
Champaran village, Bihar
On his visit to Champaran in 1917, Gandhiji realised that ignorance and illiteracy among the indigo farmers had made it easy for the British to exploit and repress them. He, therefore, decided to set up voluntary organisations to improve their economic and educational condition. In April 1917, he launched the Champaran satyagraha to improve the lot of the farmers. Finally, almost a year after Gandhiji’s arrival, the exploitative system was abolished. Today, there is a Gandhi Museum in Champaran displaying stories and photographs of his life.
This was the first Satyagraha led by Gandhiji.
Address: Mahatma Gandhi Museum, Motihari, East Champaran, Bihar – 845401
Kirti Mandir, Porbandar
This memorial temple for Gandhiji is at Porbandar, where he was born. It is built right next to his ancestral house. The building also houses a library containing books on Gandhism, a prayer hall where prayers of all faith are organized regularly, a children’s nursery and a spinning hall.
There is a planetarium with regular programmes on astronomy in Porbandar.
Address: Mahatma Gandhi Kirti Mandir, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Porbandar, Gujarat -360575
Open from: 09:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 03:00 p.m. to 06:00 p.m. Open on all days
Entry Fee: Free
Raj Ghat, Delhi
Raj Ghat is a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi at Delhi. It was here that the last rites for Gandhiji were performed. A black marble platform on which are inscribed his last words “Hey Ram” marks the spot of the cremation. Every Friday, a remembrance ceremony is held at Raj Ghat and prayer sessions are conducted on Gandhiji’s birth and death anniversaries.
The memorial is not covered. At one end burns an eternal flame. A film on Gandhiji’s life and philosophy is shown at the Gandhi Memorial Museum, which will surely inspire your child.
Address: Raj Ghat, Behind Red Fort, Gandhi Smriti, Delhi 110006
Open from: 05:00 a.m. to 07:30 p.m.
Entry Fee: Free
Sevagram Ashram, Wardha
The name Sevagram means “village of service”. Sevagram (originally called Segaon) served as Gandhiji’s headquarters and the headquarters of the Village Industries Association he started. The ashram was witness to many politically important decisions. Gandhiji remained there for about a year and a half during which time he organised events like regeneration of village industries, village sanitation and food experiments.
Inside the Ashram is the Adi Niwas, the first hut built at the ashram; Bapu kuti (Gandhi’s cottage), where his belongings of daily use are housed; Ba Kuti (Cottage of Kasturba Gandhi) and an exhibition depicting the life and works of Gandhiji.
Address: Sevagram Ashram, Sevagram, Wardha 442102
Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai
It was in Madurai in 1921 that Gandhiji adopted as his dress the loin cloth, which earned him the sobriquet ’The Naked Fakir’ outside India. The museum gallery depicts a visual biography of Gandhiji through photographs, quotations and paintings. In front of the main building stands the ‘Gandhi Kutir’, a replica of Gandhiji’s hut in Sevagram. At the 'The Hall of Relics,' Gandhiji’s personal belongings – both original and replicas – are preserved.
A replica of a blood-stained bit of cloth that Gandhiji was wearing on the day of his assassination is displayed at the museum. The library contains about 2000 volumes of books on the cultural background of India, books on and by Gandhiji and allied literature. There are also photocopies of 2,70,000 letters of Gandhiji, which include his letter to Adolf Hitler, addressing him as ’Dear Friend’.
Address: Gandhi Memorial Museum, Tamukkam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 625020
Open from: Monday to Sunday – 10:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and 02:00 p.m. to 05:45 p.m.
Entry Fee: Free
Saraswatha Niketanam, Vetapalem
In the small seaside town of Vetapalem, about 10 kms from Chirala in Andhra Pradesh, is a library that pays rich tributes to the Mahatma and the freedom struggle. Named Saraswatha Niketanam and housed between beautiful natural surroundings, this private library was established by V V Shresti in 1918. It is a treasure of Telugu literature and Gandhiji had himself laid the foundation stone for a new wing of this library in 1927.
It holds around 70,000 books on India’s freedom struggle. Gandhiji left his walking stick here as a token of his remembrance. It has about 100 volumes of Gandhiji’s speeches. Some independent newspapers, which had played a large part in educating India’s public on the freedom struggle, are neatly preserved in this beautiful library.
Address: Saraswata Niketanam Library, Library Road, Vetapalem - 523187
Visiting these places with your child will not only teach him about Gandhiji and his ideals but also bring India’s freedom struggle alive for him.
Key values your child can learn from Mahatma Gandhi
1. Always speak the truth
2. Stand up against injustice
3. Believe in the power of non-violence
4. Treat everyone equally without prejudice
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