Built in 1956, the Gandhi Mandapam in Kanyakumari, India sits on the site where the famed pacifist’s ashes were kept before they were scattered to the sea and features unique architectural details to honor the beloved leader’s life.
After Indian nationalist Mahatma Gandhi was tragically assassinated in 1948 his remains were cremated and sent to various parts of the country to honor various mourning events. One such place was the town of Kanyakumari where a portion of his ashes were put on display before being ritually deposited in the sea. After the ashes were removed, a memorial mandapam (a pillared structure used for public ritual) was built on the site where his ashes had rested.
The structure was even built to very specific dimensions just to honor the man. The central spire of the pink facade stands exactly 79 feet high in honor of Gandhi’s age at his death. The most remarkable feature however is an opening in the ceiling of the building which is position in such a way that each October 2nd, the anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday, the sunlight that comes through it falls on the exact spot where his ashes sat.
Mandapam’s across India honor Gandhi’s life and works for the Indian people, but this may be the only one that has harnessed the sun for his honor.
Visit India withAtlas Obscura Trips
Northern India's Colorful Cities, Villages, and Celebrations
Visit towering forts and palaces, wander centuries-old ruins, see Agra aglow with lamplight on the first night of Diwali, celebrate Bhai Dooj with a local family, and watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges on this immersive journey through Delhi, Rajasthan, and Varanasi.