Vir Bhoomi, also spelled as ‘Veer Bhoomi’ lies close to the Memorial sites of other eminent political leaders on the Mahatma Gandhi Marg on the main Ring Road nestled between this road and the Yamuna River in Old Delhi. This site can be accessible from any corner of Delhi by local taxis, auto rickshaws and Metro rail with Kashmiri Gate as the nearest Metro point to de-board.
1944 to Smt. Indira Gandhi and Feroze Gandhi and hence the grandson of Late Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. Rajiv Gandhi was a trained and professional Pilot for the Indian Airlines. He completed his education from Cambridge University where he met Sonia who was an Italian and later married her. He was never interested in Politics up till the demise of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 which forced him to join the world of politics.
Smt. Indira Gandhi who was then the Prime Minister of India was assassinated in 1984 and immediately within hours, Rajiv Gandhi was appointed and sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. He also won the General elections two months later and had great aspirations and dreams for a well developed India. He also sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force [IPKF] in 1987 to Sri Lanka to help make efforts in maintaining peace which resulted in an open conflict with LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]. He was accused of being a part of the Bofors Scandal which the defeat of the Congress Party in the next term of elections in 1989. He was also given the prestigious ‘Bharat Ratna’ award in 1991 and on 21st May 1991, while he was campaigning at Sriperumbudur which lies approximately 40 km away from Chennai in Tamil Nadu in India for the upcoming elections, he was unfortunately assassinated by what we know as an LTTE lady suicide bomber. Upon his death, his widow Smt. Sonia Gandhi joined the Congress Party and became the President of the party in 1998. She continuously worked hard up till the 2004 elections, when she led the party to Victory that still remains in term even today. They son, Rahul Gandhi also joined the Congress Party and is appointed as the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee.
Rajiv Gandhi’s last rituals and religious rites were conducted at Vir Bhoomi where he was cremated and a Memorial site was established in his honour to commemorate the life of this young leader of the nation. The lawns of this site is seen covered with well trimmed green grass and lined with trees, plants and shrubs that add an ethereal look to the entire area and its surroundings.
Parking facilities are also available within the Memorial premises for visitors and tourists. Entry is free and it is opened on all days between 0530 hours and 1900 hours. Foreign diplomats and state heads often visit his memorial to pay their homage to Rajiv Gandhi by offering flowers and hence, any visitor can choose to do the same whenever they visit this place. A good to know information is to ensure to remove your footwear or shoes when you step on the Memorial site as a sign of respect. You can also attend the special prayer sessions held every 20th of August (Birthday) and 21st of May (Death Anniversary) every year in order to remind us of the dreams and aspirations he had for his Country and admire the fact that after his demise, his widow, Smt. Sonia Gandhi tried in every possible way to ensure that his dreams are realised and fulfilled.