Destinations - India Heritage

Porbandar | Remembering Mahatma Gandhi

porbandar
Written by Poorna & Brinda

Porbandar is a small coastal town in Gujarat. This is famous as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.

We always wanted to go to this place. Having been to Raj Ghat and Sabarmati Ashram couple of times, we wanted to see the place of his birth. We got an opportunity when we did road trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat during Christmas holidays last year.

We reached Porbandar from Jamnagar where we had stayed the previous night. Entering Porbandar gives one a feeling that things haven’t changed here for a long time. The potholed and dusty roads inside the city was a revealing factor as we always equated Gujarat with development.The road side was dusty and dirty. In fact, it is an irony that Porbandar is an apology to “Swachh Bharat” programme.

Relying on our Google map, we reached the place close to the birth place. We reconfirmed the route with local folks and finally enter into a narrow lane where Mahatma Gandhi’s house stood. Driving on the narrow street in the morning – many shops were still closed – we could see the old structures being demolished and new houses built in their place.

We parked our car in the Manek chowk closeby and walked towards the house. We were excited to enter and see the place where the great man was born. The house and the place which shaped his initial thoughts.

Kirti Mandir as the place is called now, is a national memorial. We take you through a short tour of the place.

Porbandar

The narrow lane where Mahatma Gandhi’s house is located.

Porbandar

The entrance to Kirti Mandir. This structure was built by Sardar Vallabhai Patel when he was the Home Minister. It looks good and adds some aesthetics to the place.

Porbandar

You leave your footwear at the entrance – notice the arch – and enter the quadrangle. A large quadrangle with marble floor. This is used regularly for Bhajans and other activities. We could see a group of school children listening to their teacher.

Porbandar

There is a small photo exhibition in the passage in the quadrangle. Unfortunately this is poorly curated and has some paper cuttings and colour photocopies. Definitely could have been better.

porbandar

A small library next to the quadrangle. Again a sad state of affairs as we see some rif raffs. This again needs to be done professionally.

Porbandar

A small marble mantap contain the framed pictures of Mahatma and Kasturba

Porbandar

Entrance to the house of Mahatma. This is the entrance to the house where Mahatma was born and spent his childhood.

Porbandar

The house is a typical Gujarati traders house. Gandhiji”s was a large family and his father was a respected man in Porbandar. The plan of the house include many rooms. Though not artistically elegant, it is simple.

porbandar

A narrow staircase takes you to the first floor of the house.

porbandar

The elegant windows of the house

porbandar

The room where Mahatma was born is on the first floor.

Porbandar

The place where Mahatma was born.

porbandar

The architecture of Kirti Mandir is simple and elegant. Here you see the architecture of the structure opposite the main entrance.

porbandar

One of the four gateways from Manek chowk. The elegant Kathiawadi architectural heritage is being neglected and possibly will be in ruins very soon

porbandar

Another old building. Badly maintained.

Porbandar

Porbandar

We found this elegant building. On checking with locals, we came to know that this is the palace of King of Porbandar. Incidentally, Gandhiji’s father was a Dewan in the court of this king. It looked badly maintained

Being ardent admirers of Mahatma Gandhi we were fortunate to visit this place and visualise how this house and the city influenced his early life. The sad part of present day Porbandar is that locals and Gujaratis do not take pride of the city where one of the greatest persons in the world was born. Neither do they follow him, nor do they care for him. This could be clearly seen by the apathy towards their own city.

We would like to close this with this quote Albert Einstein on Mahatma when he said “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

We were fortunate to have walked in the house where the Mahatma was born. Because you will never get some one like him anytime in future.

Please make sure you visit Porbandar when you plan a trip to Gujarat next time.

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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