Our last tourist experience in India was to visit the home Gandhi was living in for the last four months of his life. The place has been turned into a museum to commemorate his life and his works. Like the man, it is both humble and impressive.
This was the only place in India that has no entrance fee. I was actually looking forward to paying a fee, because the tickets to places like the forts and the Taj make really great bookmarks! However I think the Mahatma would roll in his grave (if he had a grave, more on that later) if they charged an entry fee.
The home, called Girla house, is beautiful and very large with impressive gardens. Gandhi was living here in the first days of India’s independence and contributing to the development of the new constitution.
His bedroom is very simply furnished. A bed on the floor, a writing desk and a little statue of the three see-hear-do no evil monkeys. There is no spinning wheel like in the movie.
The other rooms in Girla house are covered with dioramas telling the story and philosophy of Gandhi. As you walk down the halls and read them, you notice quickly that they are not in any historical order. They do not really need to be. The story is not one that depends on chronology. It is timeless.
One display shows the story of his assassination. It does not mention the name of the assassin.
There are also multimedia presentations which, being contemporaneous, give a person a much better idea of how stark things were during English rule and afterwards. India was an oppressed country, driven to abject poverty by the English. When the English East India Company took control of India in the 1800’s they made it illegal to export anything from India other than raw materials. This destroyed the Indian textile industries, which is why Gandhi advocated “homespun” as a revolutionary tactic.
The most solemn part of the Girla house is the preservation of Gandhi’s last steps. He was on his way to prayers when he was assassinated. The pathway is marked with raised ceramic footprints, which I suspect are not his size, nor set at his stride. I did not see the little sign that said mere mortals must walk on the path next to his path, not ON the mahatma’s path itself. I got about halfway before I got chased off. But that allowed me to take these pictures for you.
The path leads to the spot where he was assassinated. I have seen where Lincoln was shot, so that is my only comparison. This one seems more special.
As you leave the Girla house there is a shop where they sell homespun cotton clothing. The last thing I need is more clothes, but I was compelled to buy a shirt made of revolutionary authentic homespun. It is quite comfortable and I cherish it.
Across a busy tree lined boulevard is the Gandhi Gaht. This is the spot where he was cremated. Hence, he is not spinning in his grave. This also set in expansive gardens. The simple black marble platform is all the great man needs.
Thanks for reading. Next post will be my final thoughts about Inja. Tell a friend and please make a comment. C’mon, you KNOW you want to.
Tags: Delhi, Gandhi, gandhi assasination, gandhi cremation, gandhi cremation spot, Gandhi gaht, Gandhi's last steps, GANDHI'S LAST STEPS, gandhis last house, Ghandi, girla house, Homespun, homespun, India, UAE