King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Raj Ghat

On the edge of Delhi is a large park-like area containing cenotaphs for a number of historical figures of India. In particular, three of the key people in India's independence are memorialized here: Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. Sadly, my guide only pointed out the Mahatma Gandhi site. Had I known, I would have liked to have seen the others as well. The entrance to the park had surprisingly few hawkers. A snake-charmer. A man making and selling wire figure toys. We skipped past them on entering. After a short walk, we turned left into Raj Ghat, the cremation site for Mahatma Gandhi. It's a large square area, with the black marble memorial in the middle. Earth has been piled up on the outside of the square, with a walkway around the top. Two short tunnels server as entrances to the memorial proper. I first climbed the outside to view the samadhi. After that I left my shoes with watchers at the entrance and walked inside. Not too many people at the moment I was there, though shortly after a busload of tourists entered. The marble memorial is perpetually decorated with marigolds, and an eternal flame burns next to it. Three Hindus sat, chanted and played an instrument.

It is simple and powerful.

After retrieving my shoes, I walked a ways past the entrance to put them back on, rather than use the benches right there. The bench further along had sunlight. As I laced my boots, several Indians approached me. None seemed to speak English particularly well, but they haltingly asked if they could take a photo with me. I agreed. They had a young woman (I think unmarried) and a young boy sit next to me for the photo. I find it pretty odd the attention I get. While I am definitely whiter than most Indians, tourists seem pretty common in Delhi. But if it makes me a rock star, I won't complain.


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