One of the most important National memorials, Rajghat is the the cremation place of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. The laste rites of Gandhiji were performed here on January 31, 1948. Since then, Rajghat has become an essential item on the tourist’s itinerary. The shrine is located between the main Ring Road and the banks of the Yamuna River, to the southeastern side of the Red Fort.
Gandhiji or Bapu was honoured with the title of “Mahatma” by the whole nation, which literally means 'the divine soul'. He taught the lessons and theories of Satya (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-Violence) to the nation and his principles proved to be successful in achieving freedom from the British. On January 30, 1948, while on his way to a prayer meeting, he was shot dead by Nathu Ram Godse, a Hindu fanatic. Gandhiji’s body was cremated at this holy place which was given the name of Raj Ghat or Gandhi Samadhi.
The structure of the Samadhi is very simple and is surrounded by well manicured gardens spread over acres of land. The samadhi/shrine is a simple square shaped stone platform made of black marbel. Bapu's last words, after being shot by Nathuram Godse, were “Hey Ram”, which are inscribed on the divine samadhi. A flame keeps burning continuously near the black platform in a copper urn.
The cremation sites of other renowned National leaders such as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru & Shree Sanjay Gandhi (Shanti Van), Smt. Indira Gandhi (Shakti Sthal), Shree Rajiv Gandhi (Vir Bhoomi) and Pandit Lal Bahadur Shastri (Vijay Ghat) are located quite close to Rajghat.
There are several trees planted near the samadhi, which are labeled with the names of visiting dignitaries. British Queen Elizabeth II, Ho Chi Minh, Yaser Arafat, Colonel Nasser, Marshal Tito, the former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitman and Paul Keating and the former US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Regan are few of them.
The Gandhi Memorial Museum, which houses many possessions of Gandhi and photographs from his life, is located quite close to Rajghat. A beautiful mosque Zinat-ul Masjid is also located north to Raj Ghat.
The entry to the samadhi is free and open for all the people irrespective of caste, creed or color. The place also has a great political value as several political laders visit the shrine to pay homage to the great leader every year on his birthday which is the 2nd of October. Prayers and cultural programmes are organised on his birthday (2nd October) and death anniversary (Martyr's Day- 30th January) every year. Besides, a commemorative ceremony takes place every Friday at Rajghat.
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