Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Delhi Diaries: Rajghat

Mahatma Gandhi revered as the father of nation, was cremated at the very spot wherein there is a simple black marble platform which marks the spot where the cremation of Gandhi was carried out on 31 January, 1948. The memorial is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. The memorial has the epitaph "Hey Ram" inscribed, believed to be the last words uttered by him on his deathbed. The memorial was designed by an architect named Vanu G. Bhuta.

From local visitors to foreigners who visit Delhi make it a point to visit and pay homage to the father of nation. Every Friday, the day when he died, prayers are held reciting his favorite bhajans and kirtans. Other than Monday, Gandhi's philosophy is projected in pictures, images and sculpture from 10 am to 5 pm. Apart from this, there is a museum where his life and philosophy of Sarvodaya Movement is projected in film between 9:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. expect on Thursday and on Sunday at 4 pm in Hindi and at 5 pm in English.

During our visits around the memorial there is beautiful garden perfectly maneuvered and well maintained which creates a peaceful and serene atmosphere. There are trees labelled near the platforms which have been planted by various dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth II, former Australian PM Gough Whitman, Ho Chi Minh, former US President Dwight Eisenhower and so on.

Several other samadhis of other famous leader are also situated in the vicinity of Raj Ghat on the banks of Yamuna. The landscaping and planing of these memorials were performed by Sydney Percy-Lancaster, the secretary of the Agri Horticulture Society of India, and the last Englishmen to hold the post of Superintendent of Horticulture Operations, Government of India.  Jawaharlal Nehru's samadhi is to the north of Rajghat and is known as the Shantivan meaning the forest of peace. The area has a beautiful park adorned with trees planted by visiting dignitaries and heads of state. To commemorate PM Rajiv Gandhi, Vir Bhoomi is in north of Raj Ghat.The design consists of two squares in angular relationship signifying the of birth and assassination. The center is a stone platform with lotus flower carved in granite stone. Between Raj Ghat and Shantivan lies the memorial of India's first lady prime minister Indira Gandhi called Shakti Sthal. The 16 feet high and 60 tons iron ore rock symbolizes courage, fortitude and strength. In the north most section lies the memorial of our second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri called Vijay Ghat

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