Slice of History: Key Monuments, Memorials and Buildings that Witnessed India’s Freedom Struggle
As India made a tryst with its destiny on the midnight of 15th August, 1947, it broke the shackles of the British rule, and ushered into a new era of hope and freedom. It was a new beginning, a radical start for a nation that was under the colonial rule for centuries. From then to now, India has established its mark as a powerful and promising nation. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, it’s time to recognize the valiant efforts of our freedom fighters and adopt a ‘buland soch’ in our dreams and actions to further build a stronger, better and modern India. And as we do that, here’s a slice of India’s freedom struggle history, which talks about some iconic landmarks, mainly monuments and buildings, which witnessed some of the most historic events in India’s final march to freedom.
Red Fort, Delhi
Constructed by using Red Sandstone, this Mughal era monument is the very fort where the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru gave his first speech after India’s Independence. It was constructed under the supervision of the Persian chief architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, who is also credited to have constructed the Taj Mahal. During the British rule, the fort was converted into barracks.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
The 83-feet high Gateway, located in South Mumbai, was constructed to celebrate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 to the then Bombay. The Gateway stands overlooking the Arabian Sea, which makes it one of the top tourist destinations in Mumbai. It was designed by the British architect George Wittet. Ironically, the Gateway also served as an exit gate for the British soldiers, who boarded ships to go back to their country, when India gained Independence.
Aga Khan Palace, Pune
One of the most marvelous buildings of India, the Aga Khan Palace was constructed by Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in 1892. Located in Pune’s Yerwada area, this building is influenced by Islamic and Italian architecture. From being the prison of prominent leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, and others, to the place where Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai (Gandhi ji’s secretary) breathed their last, this building has been declared as a monument of national importance by Archaeological Society of India. The sprawling 19 acre area of the building, with 7 acres of built-up area and 5 huge halls is a captivating sight. It is also known as Gandhi National Memorial, given its close connections to the Father of the Nation. Charles Correa, the celebrated architect constructed the samadhis of Kasturba and Desai, housed inside the Palace.
Cellular Jail National Memorial, Port Blair
More commonly known as Kala Pani, Cellular Jail is situated on the South Andaman Islands, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a gigantic 3-storyed structure with 7 wings. Each wing extends from a Central Tower similar to the spokes of a wheel. Its construction goes back to 1896 but the use as a prison started in 1857, when India’s rebellion against the British Raj was rising. Freedom fighters like Batukeshwar Dutt, Vir Savarkar including many others were detained here during India’s freedom struggle.
Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad
Sabarmati Ashram, located on the banks of the river Sabarmati, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, was Mahatma Gandhi and his wife’s residence for over 12 years, making it a historically significant place in India’s freedom struggle. It served as the base of the Salt Satygrah, a revolution that tied the country together in one thread, to fight for freedom. The Ashram houses several sites and many other museums, and runs a number of social activities as per Bapu’s vision.
Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
Located in proximity to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh houses a memorial of national importance, which is significant to India’s fight for Independence. The memorial commemorates the massacre of peaceful celebrators including women and children by the British forces that shot indiscriminately and killed many people.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the history of India’s freedom struggle and how these monuments and buildings became the battleground for India’s Independence. We’re sure the list includes many other architecture marvels, monuments, memorials and buildings.
Do you have some buildings and monuments in mind that you think deserve a mention? Please share with us in the comments below. And we would love to feature them here.
Happy Independence Day!