Kirti Mandir, Porbandar

Weather :

Timings : 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Kirti Mandir, Porbandar Overview

Kirti Mandir, a pleasant and bright place of respect, was built in the honour of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi in Porbandar in the Indian State of Gujarat. The ancestral house of Mahatma Gandhi is located right beside the temple. Visitors can enter the ancestral home from the temple. Walking through its corridors and witnessing the daylight coming through the teal coloured window frames is a mesmerising experience. The age-old Oil paintings of both Mahatma and Kasturba Gandhi and black and white photographs engaged in activities, discussions and even sharing a light moment have enticed and drawn many history buffs from all over the world. 

The temple was built to mark the release of Mahatma Gandhi in 1944. The 73-year-old structure stands strong adorning the National Flag and the signs of the times gone by before and after India's Independence. The importance of this historic temple is such that even today political figures from all around the world often come to pay respect to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It's here that one can find peace in the middle of a bustling town and get a sense of Bapu's motto of truth, simplicity and non-violence.

As you explore the site, you'll notice how simple and minimalistic Bapu's thoughts and lifestyle were and yet how he lived a happy and fulfilling life. Bapu always promoted his nation and encouraged all the Indians to be proud of their homeland and strive toward being respected without being violent. He was a man of honour, and he always practised what he preached. One has to visit the temple to learn and maybe even experience the philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and his devoted wife, Kasturba Gandhi.

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Background of Kirti Mandir

Kirti Mandir was constructed by the followers and believers of Mahatma Gandhi to mark his release from the British Government in 1944. The people in Porbandar wanted this temple to be built next to Mahatma Gandhi's ancestral house as a memorial on the birthplace. The Maharaja of Porbandar, H.H. Maharana Shree Natavarsinhji, and Raj Ratna Shree Nanjibhai Kalidas Mehta and his wife, Sreemati Santokbehn Mehta undertook the project. Before laying the foundation of the temple, the ancestral home was purchased from the Gandhi family. In fact, the registration papers, duly signed by Mahatma Gandhi are still on display in the Museum room of the Kirti Mandir complex.

History of Kirti Mandir

The great-grandfather of Mahatma Gandhi, Shree Harjivan Raidas Gandhi had bought the haveli at Porbandar about 200 years ago. The house didn't have as many storeys as it does today. They were built after Bapu's great-grandfather owned it. It was here that Bapu's grandfather, Uttamchand Gandhi, father Karamchand Gandhi and uncle, Tulsidas Gandhi lived with their respective spouses and children. They had all served as Prime Ministers to the Jethwa Rajput rulers of Porbandar.

Nanjibhai Kalidas Mehta, a famous industrialist who purchased the Gandhi residence initiated the idea of building a memorial and Kirti Mandir and he also donated the house to be included in the Kirti Mandir Complex. The current structure and the Kirti Mandir work were initiated when Bapu was alive and the foundation stone was laid by Shree Darbar Gopaldas Desai in 1947. After the passing of Mahatma Gandhi in 1950, the memorial was named Kirti Mandir and was inaugurated by Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the then Home Minister of India, who declared this memorial to be open for public from 27th May 1950.

Architecture of Kirti Mandir

The Kirti Mandir stands 79 feet tall which has been made deliberately to symbolise the lifespan of 79 years of Mahatma Gandhi. The temple complex comprises of corridors, domes, pillars, balconies and a Shikhara. The architecture is a beautiful blend of the Hindu architecture and traditional designs from the six key religions in India - Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian. This also speaks volumes of Mahatma Gandhi's respect towards all the religions in India and the architect, Purushottambhai Mistry, diligently included this aspect in the designs as he worked day in and day out to complete the construction. The Kirti Mandir also houses the ancestral home of Mahatma Gandhi. A Swastika is marked on the exact location where Mahatma Gandhi was born in the house. The interior of the temple is all marble finished and clutter-free. A portion of the temple complex is reserved for the Kasturba-Mahila Library too.

The memorial houses life size paintings of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi right in the centre of the structure. 'Satya' and 'Ahimsa' (Truth and Non-Violence), the cherished words of Mahatma Gandhi are inscribed at the base of the dais where the paintings are mounted. To the right side of the structure, two rooms are maintained as memorials for Mahadev Desai and Maganlal Gandhi. The room to the left is used for exhibitions. These memorials and the exhibition hall also houses traditional Indian handicraft, Khadibhandar articles, books and numerous historical photographs taken with legendary freedom fighters, activists and politicians. The memorial also has a reception hall and a management office.

Best Time To Visit Kirti Mandir

The best time to visit Kirti Mandir is between October and January as the weather is pleasant to explore the site.

Tips For Visiting Kirti Mandir

1. Remove your shoes outside the temple premise.
2. The approach road to the temple complex is very narrow and vehicles need to be parked a little away from the site.
3. Watch your step while exploring Gandhiji's house.
4. Do not litter and damage the artefacts.

How To Reach Kirti Mandir, Porbandar

One can avail public transport from the bustling town of Porbandar to reach Kirti Mandir or can drive or ride their vehicles to reach the temple.
The Porbandar Railway station is barely 2 kilometres away from the mandir. One can avail public transport from the station. Porbandar Airport if the nearest airport at a distance of 10 kilometres from the Mandir.

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