A memorial dedicated to the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi, Rajghat in Delhi is a serene and elegant place and reflects simplicity in its structure, just like Gandhiji. It is built on the banks of River Yamuna which marks the place where Mahama Gandhi was cremated after his assassination. Along with the Gandhi memorial, the Rajghat premises also comprises cremation spots aka samadhis of several other popular leaders of the country. A place ideal for history buffs, travel enthusiasts, and wanderers, Rajghat is one of the must-visit places of attractions in Delhi.
Today, Raj Ghat is visited by numerous tourists from across the country and even by foreigners due to its historical and national importance and is one of the top places to visit in Delhi. The memorial is kept in an immaculate state decorated with flowers every day. It witnesses visitors which includes the delegates, notables, and VIPs from other countries who wish to pay tribute to the deceased soul of Gandhi ji. Apart from the memorial, there is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi which showcases his life and his struggle for independence. A prayer ceremony is hosted every Friday and on the occasion of Gandhiji’s birth and death anniversary as well.
One of the most influential leaders and freedom fighters of our country, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated on 30th January 1948. His body was cremated according to Hindu rituals at a spot near the Yamuna river where his last rites were performed and his body was consummated to flames. That spot is now known as Raj Ghat which is a simple memorial built to preserve the legacy of Gandhiji’s philosophy and practice of living a modest life. Formerly, the Raj Ghat Gate was an old gate that was situated in the walled city of Delhi known as Shahjahanbad during the rule of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. The gate opened towards the west bank of River Yamuna at a place called Raj Ghat. When the memorial for Gandhiji was built later, it came to be known as the Raj Ghat.
Over the course of years, many samadhis of several influential and notable leaders of India were built in the Raj Ghat area, which also include the former presidents and prime ministers of India. Recently, the samadhi of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, known as Rashtriya Smriti Sthal is the newest addition to the area built in 2018.
The memorial of Gandhiji at Raj Ghat is a simple structure made as a square platform using black marble. It was designed by the architect Vanu G. Bhuta while keeping in mind the policy of the leader to have a simple living and high thinking. The plain and simple structure has the words ‘Hey Ram’ which means ‘Oh Ram’ inscribed on it, since these were the last words that were uttered from his mouth when Gandhiji was shot and he died in the arms of his followers. On top of the marble platform, you will see an eternal flame enclosed in a glass frame which burns non-stop all through the day and night, celebrating the eternity of the ideologies of the long deceased loved leader.
There is a footpath made of stones which advances towards the memorial and is located within a walled compound. Both sides of the stone pathway have luscious green lawns which makes the compound look even more serene. The landscape design for the memorial was created by Alick Percy – Lancaster, who was the last British national to hold the position of Superintendent of Horticulture Operations under the Govt. of India. The memorial is surrounded by a beautiful and green garden where you can find trees and plants, some of which have been labeled and planted by famous dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, the President of USA Dwight D. Eisenhower, and several others.
Timings – 6:30am to 6pm Monday to Sunday
Entry Fees - Free
Things to Remember :
One of the best museums in Delhi, the National Gandhi Museum or Gandhi Memorial Museum at Raj Ghat showcases the life and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi through a beautiful assortment of sculptures, pictures, films, books, and other memorabilia associated with his life. The museum houses an exquisite collection of over 35,000 books and documents linked to the work and life of Gandhiji, some of which have been penned down by himself.
The museum also showcases 23 models of charkhas (spinning wheels) that he used to use long with a few of his personal belongings such as his dhoti, walking stick, shawl, a few of his teeth, and even one of the bullets that struck his body when was assassinated. For more in-depth detail in his life, there is an audio-visual section at the museum premises where films about Gandhiji and his life and work are shown in an auditorium with a seating capacity of 75 people.
Apart from the main Gandhi Memorial, there are other memorials of some of the most famous and notable leaders of our country including some presidents and prime ministers in the proximity of Raj Ghat. Some of the most significant memorials include:
Furthermore, the area is also home to several other memorials such of Devi Lal, Jagjivan Ram, Choudhary Charan Singh, Giani Zail Singh, I.K Gujral, and Chandra Shekhar.
You can visit Raj Ghat at any time of the year of month as it is open all days. If you wish to avoid the scorching heat, then visit during the winter months. Fridays are the best days to visit as a special prayer ceremony is held every Friday which you can be a part of.