Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti
The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti or 'GSDS' in short formerly known as the 'Birla House' or 'Birla Bhavan' is located at 5, Tees January Marg or '30 January Road' when translated into English which is the day that the National Leader of Freedom, Mahatma Gandhi Ji was assassinated. It lies just a few kilometres away from Connaught Place in Central Delhi and easily reachable via local transport and Connaught Place Metro Station as the nearest metro link.
The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti or 'Remembrance of Gandhi and Visiting Centre' was established as one autonomous body on September 1984 under the strict supervision both, administratively and financially, of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the band of the Indian Government electing the Prime Minister of India as their Chairperson and the Senior representatives of the Gandhian centre working under the various departments of the Indian Government who assist in the activities and events of the Museum. It is divided into two sections named 'The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti' and 'The International Centre of Gandhian Studies and Research'.
The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti Museum was formed with the basic purpose to advertise and provide a knowledge platform to everyone about the life, works, mission and vision of Mahatma Gandhi Ji through numerous educational, cultural and social events and programmes organised within and by this Samiti.
The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti Museum was once a Huge Mansion that belonged to the eminent Indian Business Head, 'Birla' who are famous Worldwide. Mahatma Gandhi Ji spent his last 144 days in this very Mansion beginning from 9th September 1947 up till the 30th January 1948 where he was assassinated and breathed his last in the front courtyard of this building while he came out supported by his famous walking stick to accept the accolades and respect of his followers immediately post Independence. After this tragic event, the Indian Government acquired his Mansion from 'Birla' in 1971 and erected a Martyred Pillar Column on the very spot where he was shot. The building was hence converted into a Museum and dedicated to the memory of Gandhi Ji and opened to Public visitation on 15th August 1973, the Independence Day of India.
The members of the Gandhi Smriti took impeccable measures to preserve the Mansion as it was back in 1948 including the room where Gandhi Ji lived for 144 days, The Prayer Ground where he organised a meeting concluded with prayers with his followers every evening before he was assassinated. In 1995, a new division named the 'Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum' was also formed.
The Gandhi Smriti Museum holds 3 sub-sections which consists of the audio and visual media section to showcase the thoughts and ideas of this great 'Father of the Nation' in order for people in future generations to remember him and hopefully follow his leading examples and teachings. Secondly, the Educational Centre where the entire focus is penetrated on the inherent values that Gandhi Ji imbibed and nurtured to execution through his living years including the Satyagraha movements fighting for an Independent India propagating non-violence and his truthful and peaceful methods which he repeatedly taught and used in order to show people that it can be utilised to attain anything in one's life including Independence of the Country. These simple ways of Gandhi Ji gave him a well deserved named as 'Mahatma' which means a 'Supreme Being'. Lastly, the Service section was created to organise activities and events in order to serve the needs of those who wish to learn more about the mission of Gandhi Ji. The aim is to attract young people towards building and sustaining a community based on the teachings of Gandhi Ji. It also invites people to organise various cultural events and thus creating a platform to advertise and instil the deep values which Gandhi Ji lived by into the hearts and minds of all. It is also meant to assist the youth wherein they can utilise Gandhi Ji's leadership skills, ideas, thoughts and works in order to prepare themselves for their undetermined futures.
The Gandhi Smriti Museum also displays sculptures, figures, paintings, art work and stone inscriptions bearing the works of Gandhi Ji including his own personal touches which he left behind during the last 144 days he spent here. The entrance of this Museum welcomes you with a huge life size statue of Gandhi Ji along with two statues of a girl and boy on either side both holding a 'Dove' with an inscription at its base bearing 'My Life is My Message' the famous words of Gandhi Ji carved by Ram Suttar. It symbolises the very concern that Gandhi Ji had towards the unfortunate and deprived across the Globe.
The Second Division called the International Centre of Gandhian Studies and Research lies next to the Memorial Site of Mahatma Gandhi Ji in 'Raj Ghat' also spelled as 'Rajghat' over a massive area of 36 acres established in 1969 to commemorate the 100th Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi Ji. This building was initially formed as the International Gandhi Exhibition centre seen separated by 6 huge Pavilions spread across the huge green land to propagate 'My Life is My Message', the eternal statement of Gandhi Ji and with a vision to transform it into one of the most high statured International educational centre of the Gandhians.
The dream of the Founders was realised on the 125th Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi Ji in 1994, when the campus was officially transformed and declared as the 'International Centre of Gandhian Studies and Research' or 'ICGSR' in short, providing exhibitions on Gandhi Ji's life and works, conference hall, a Library, a section dedicated to Children, Photograph section unit, Boarding facilities and Publications section which churns out a quarterly magazine, Children's Newspaper and Journals like 'The Yamuna', 'Anasakti Darshan' and 'Gandhi Darpan'. It invites Indian and International Scholars to stay for a long duration in order to assist them in seeking guidance and to research, study and document all subjects pertaining to the initiatives, ideologies and philosophies of peace, truth and non-violence which Gandhi Ji truly displayed and exhibited throughout his lifetime.
The Museum is opened between 0930 hours and 1730 hours from Tuesdays to Sundays only and closed on all Mondays and Gazetted Holidays with no entrance charges.