What’s common among Adi Nivas in Wardha (India), Kingsley Hall in London (Britain) and Sigiriya in Chilaw (Sri Lanka)? Well, all three of these were once home to Mahatma Gandhi – the foremost leader who led India to Independence from the British rule on the sheer strength of his principle of non-violence. Venerated for his role in India’s Freedom Struggle, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Bapu, as we lovingly call him, is also universally revered for his righteous doctrines and beliefs. Practising a life that best exemplified “Experiments with Truth” and “Non-Violent Resistance”, the Father of the Nation treaded many a journey in India and overseas.
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in India and the International Day of Nonviolence world-wide, we take you on a tour to the places where the Mahatma left his indelible footprints. Now you have a new reason to visit and revisit these cities/towns!
Born and brought up in Gujarat, Bapu personifies the spirit of selfhood of India. He travelled across the length and breadth of the country before entering active politics on the advice of his political guru Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
From his place of birth in the port of Porbandar to his academic years in Rajkot and Bhavnagar, Gujarat is that one Indian state you can’t afford to miss if you want to literally walk in the footsteps of the Father of Nation. A visit to Gujarat would be incomplete without touring Ahmedabad and the internationally acclaimed Sabarmati Ashram, one of the significant residences of Gandhiji, who lived here for almost 12 long years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi.
Other Stopover Memorials: Sevagram (A village for/of service) in Wardha and Aga Khan Palace in Pune, both in Maharashtra
The city of Patna is a must visit as it boasts of the world’s tallest bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi Maidan, the place where Mahatma Gandhi held his prayer meetings. Another landmark is the Mahatma Gandhi Setu or Ganga Setu, a bridge built over Ganges, connecting Patna in the south to Hajipur in the north of Bihar.
Other Stopover Memorials: The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya at Barrackpore in West Bengal; Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, Gram Sevikas Vidyalaya, Sarania hill in Assam
The Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai may be of interest to many a history enthusiast. A part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhiji when he was shot dead by Nathuram Godse is also on display. In South, Mysore also celebrates the Mahatma’s association with the city also celebrates the Mahatma’s association with the city; he was a great inspiration to the veteran freedom fighter Tagaduru Ramachandra Rao aka Mysore Gandhi.
Other Stopover Memorials: Gandhi Memorial Mandapam in Kanyakumari
When talking of Bapu and his role in Freedom Struggle, how can the Capital of India of be far behind? The historical Raj Ghat is one of the significant memorials to Mahatma Gandhi. A black marble platform, with an eternal flame on one side, embodies Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. This one is a must visit for Indians and international tourists alike.
Other Stopover Memorials: The Gandhi Bhawan, Chandigarh
If there’s any country that gave birth to the activist in the Mahatma, it’s South Africa! Bapu arrived in South Africa in 1893 as a struggling lawyer on a temporary assignment of a local Indian trader. Can you imagine what happened eventually? He stayed on in South Africa for 21 years with interim visits to India and England! A must visit is Tolstoy Farm, the headquarters of Satyagraha movement, which was a life-changing experience in the Mahatma’s life.
Other Memorials Stopovers: Experience history with Mahatma Gandhi’s Johannesburg heritage tour organised by tour operators.
It was at London that Gandhiji was qualified as a barrister. He honed his English and Latin by taking the University of London matriculation examination and studied law and jurisprudence at the Inner Temple to become a barrister. Bapu stayed in Kingsley Hall, now home to Gandhi Foundation, in 1931 for six months.
Other Stopover Memorials: Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square
Lesser-Known Tours of Mahatma Gandhi
Noakhali, Bangladesh — Noakhali was a stopover of Gandhiji for four months, when he toured extensively in the riot-affected areas.
Chilaw, Sri Lanka — Gandhiji stayed with his wife and entourage at the historic Sigiriya. This was his first and only visit to the country.