It was 72 years ago that Mahatma Gandhi set the routine of singing ‘bhajans’ like “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram” and others from 9 to 10 a.m. everyday at this Valmiki temple in central Delhi’s Mandir Marg, and the routine continues to be followed with devotion.
The Father of the Nation lived and taught here for over 200 days.
Mahatma Gandhi had stayed here for 214 days between April 1946 and June 1947, and he also taught Hindi and English to Harijan children of the locality.
Each morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., the caretaker of the temple, devotees and Gandhians still follow the routine that Gandhi started when the gathering would sing bhajans that he loved to be followed by other chores.
“Every morning Gandhi followers and devotees from the nearby Valmiki colony gathered here in the temple premise and sang bhajans like ‘Raghupati
“Even on his birth anniversary we would follow same routine, as Bapu liked a simple life full of moral values. We will just hold a prayer for him and go about the day like a routine one,” he added.
The room that hosted Gandhiji for these 214 days stands to the left of the main temple and is called ‘Bapu Awaas’.
As one enters the room, at its center lies the ‘aasan’ that the Mahatma used to sit on, besides the table, wooden pen holder, and ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel). All these articles remain there and are preserved by the temple management.
“There were many more articles here, but people from the Gandhi Smriti took them away for displaying in the museum,” said Rajkumar.
On the right side of the room is the single bed on which Gandhi used to sleep, and there is a small black rectangular patch on the wall adjoining the bed. Rajkumar said that this was used as a blackboard by Gandhi when he taught about 70 children here.
The walls are covered with his photographs of past leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Mountbatten, Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad, among others.