That time of the year has arrived when the nation wakes up to celebrate the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi- Father of the Nation. Declared as a national holiday, 2nd October is marked by prayers, meetings, parades and garland statues of Gandhiji across every corner of India. A staunch participant in India’s struggle for independence, Mahatma Gandhi led satyagraha or non- violent movement which bought about a new revolution during the country’s freedom movement. So, on this day, we dedicate few hours from our daily schedule and remember him for his great deeds and contribution. As in 2015, 2nd October is followed by a weekend, you can keep aside daily chores to visit to those cities where Gandhiji left his impeccable footprints.
Let’s start our journey from the coastal city of Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba. As Gandhi had spent a long phase of his childhood here, relics of the era are aptly restored here. ‘Kirti Mandir’, the home of his childhood, is now a museum where a chronological history of his life is listed. It also hosts a Gandhian library and prayer hall. A leisure stroll along the white sand Porbandar Beach or historical escape to the fortified palace of Darbargadh, Sartanji Choro Palace and Huzoor Palace are equally interesting and alluring.
Bombay, a glitzy and wealthy Indian city welcomed the arrival of Gandhi under various events. On one hand, he was here to pursue education, on the other hand, it is from here that Gandhi was arrest by British Raj on 9 August 1942. Bombay marked the historic meet between Gandhi and Jinnah in September 1944. Along the banks of Arabian Ocean, the modern day Mumbai is a cluster of attractions like Jehangir Art Gallery, Gateway of India, Marine Drive and Haji Ali Dargah that steal hearts of million wandering individuals.
Few hours drive from Mumbai lead to Pune, a historical city that reverberates with days of Gandhi’s imprisonment. Aga Khan Palace and Yerwada Jail are two places where Gandhi was imprisoned. Apart from these spectacular sites, also enrich yourself with a historical visit to Shivneri Fort.
The first and foremost major achievement in Gandhi’s life came in 1918 with Champaran and Kheda agitation in Bihar and Gujarat. The first Satyagraha movement resumed in Champaran, during the course of which he established an ashram for his supporters and volunteers. The movement got shaken by Gandhi’s arrest and notice to retire. Thus Champaran turned into a historical region where ‘Bhitiharawa Ashram’ is a major tourist attraction. Other landmarks like Sumeswar and Bank of Triveni also exist in harmony.
Sabarmati Ashram in Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad served as one of the residences of Gandhiji. In this ashram Gandhi spent at least 12 years of life. Sabarmati Ashram and entire Ahmedabad has been chosen by Gandhi for activities of independence and upliftment of society. From this ashram, Gandhi marched to Dandi in protest at British Salt Law. The ashram now has a museum called Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. It is a prominent Ahmedabad attraction that features his personal memorabilia like books, manuscripts, photocopies, spinning wheel, photographs, oil paintings etc.
Kolkata, a strong base of English East India Company invited Gandhi on the day of India’s independence, 15th August, 1947. Here, Gandhi confronted rioters, prayed and worked with harmony to stop communal killing. Kolkata now has a locality and metro station named after this great leader. It is highly touristy with prominent places like Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum and Race Course.
Kausani, a picturesque hill station near Nainital, Uttarakhand also witnessed Gandhi’s arrival in 1929. He termed Kausani as ‘Switzerland of India’ and the guest house where he stayed is now known as ‘Anashakti Ashram’. From here he wrote his treatise ‘Anasakti Yoga – Gita-Anashakthi Yoga’. Tourists can take a glimpse at the collection of books and photographs of Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
Last but not the least is Delhi, the place of his assassination. Birla House (Gandhi Smriti) stands as a silent evidence to Gandhi’s death as he was shot here thrice by a Hindu nationalist. It is an important historical attraction that greets thousands of footsteps on a regular basis. Other historical landmarks in Delhi include India Gate, Teen Murti Marg and Red Fort.
All said and done, it is time to gear up for a bit different extended weekend break to cherish the golden moments of India’s struggle for freedom.