India // Delhi //

Raj Ghat

When Shah Jahan established his city in 1638, its eastern edges bordered the Yamuna River, and a line of ghats, or steps leading to the water, was installed along the riverbanks. Ghats have been used in India for centuries, for mundane things like washing clothes and bathing, but also for worship and funeral cremation. Raj Ghat, east of Delhi Gate – really more a park than a ghat – is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, on the day after his assassination in 1948. The Mahatma’s samadhi (cremation memorial), a low black plinth inscribed with his reputed last words, “Hai Ram” (“Oh God”), receives a steady stream of visitors, and he is remembered through prayers here every Friday evening at 5pm, and on the anniversaries of his birth and death (Oct 2 & Jan 30).