The Unique Historical Gandhi Mandir (Temple)
PRAMOD RANJAN KUMAR President On behalf of Gandhi Mandir Development Committee.
“The temple is being re-developed, beautified and maintained with the financial assistance graciously given by ADITYA BIRLA GROUP”.
The foundation stone of Gandhi Mandir at Bhatra in the municipal area of Sambalpur was laid on March 23, 1971 by the then Revenue Divisional Commissioner of Sambalpur Sri Rabindra Nath Mohanty, I.A.S. It took almost three years to complete the construction of the temple. Its interior decoration was designed by Mr. Truptabhusan Dasgupta a local artist of repute and the idol of Mahatma Gandhi was sculpted by an artist of Khallikote Art College, Ganjam. The temple was formally opened and gifted to the nation on April 11, 1974 by the then Chief Minister of Orissa late Nandini Satpathy. An Ashok Stambha has been built in front of the temple. A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a squatting position and about 3.5″ high is placed in the sanctum sanctorum (garvagriha).
Located at Bhatra, a Harijan suburb of Sambalpur, it is the brain-child of Mr. Abhimanyu Kumar, a Harijan and an M.L.A. of Orissa Legislative Assembly for about 18 years. Mr. Kumar as a child and a young man had witnessed the atrocities committed on the Harijans by the upper caste Hindus and had also experienced the change that engulfed the Indian society after the coming of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, on the Indian national scene. Inwardly, therefore, he became a worshipper of the Mahatma and was thus inspired to raise a memorial for this prophet of peace and non-violence, for this God of the untouchables.
Sambalpur is about 200 kilometers by train and about 300 kilometers by road from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa. There is an air strip near Sambalpur but there are no regular plane services. One may have to charter a plane or a helicopter to reach here by air. The temple is about 8 kilometers from Sambalpur railway station.
Besides the daily worship in the morning and evening with Ramdhun, festive occasions like the Republic Day (26th January), Mahaprayan Divas of Mahatma Gandhi (30th January), Independence Day (15th August) and Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October) are celebrated in the temple every year with great devotion. Dignitaries come to this temple and pay their respect to the Father of the Nation before their routine roundup on these occasions.
The Gandhi Mandir Development Committee manages the temple with enthusiastic participation of the local people. Health camps, cleanliness programmes, symposia and lectures on different aspects of Gandhian philosophy, distribution of cloth to the poor and uniforms to the local school students are some of the activities undertaken by the Development Committee. Local followers of Mahatma Gandhi gather at the temple premises every morning and evening and the Pujari, the worshipper, of the temple either gives discourses from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi or reads from the writings of Mahatma Gandhi. There are some followers of Mahatma Gandhi who visit the temple every morning and begin their day’s work only after taking the prasad offered in the temple.
The Gandhi Mandir Development Committee has plans to build a Gandhi Library-Cum-Museum, an Auditorium, a Gandhi Research Centre and a Guest House in an area of about ten acres of land which it proposes to acquire. Besides expenses on these projects, funds are also needed for the daily worship and for repair and maintenance of the temple and for raising a beautiful garden around the temple. The Gandhi Mandir Development Committee would be happy to receive donations from admirers of Mahatma Gandhi from India and abroad.
For details kindly contact Mr. Pramod Ranjan Kumar, President, Gandhi Mandir Development Committee, At-Bhatra, P.O. Dhanupali, Sambalpur – 768005, Orissa, India, (Mobile No. +919437126854) or visit our website www.gandhimandir.com
Thanks, Balaji, much appreciated!