India tourist Mhow

A Memorial Dedicated to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Mhow is a Worthy Trip For Curious Visitors

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There are some lesser-known places in India that in spite of their rich historical and cultural value, stay overlooked by tourist eyes. One such destination is Mhow, whose abbreviated identity actually comes from M.H.O.W (Military Headquarters of War) and is where British army officers took crucial war related decisions. Since then, local people started colloquially referring the area around the military headquarters as Mhow, a name still used by most though the town is officially known as Dr Ambedkar Nagar. For those as curious about India history as they are about off-beat travel, this spot is worth a side trip from Indore.

Dr Ambedkar Nagar / Mhow

This cantonment town, located around 30 kilmetres south-west of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, was founded by John Malcom in 1818, after the British army defeated the Holkar Kings of Indore, who ruled the territory. But tourists may not be easily drawn to visit the town unless they know the fact that Mhow is the birthplace of Dr. Bhimrao (Babasaheb) Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Constitution of India and, some say, nearly as an important a figure to contemporary India as Mahatma Gandhi.

His memorial named ‘Bhim Janmabhoomi’ (Birthplace of Bhimrao), honours this pivotal figure.

India
A silver urn carrying the ashes of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar are a highlight of the memorial

Visit Bhim Janmabhoomi

The concept of the memorial was conceived on the 100th birthday of Dr. Ambedkar in 1991, but the inauguration and public access only took place on 14 April 2008. The exterior of the memorial looks like a white Buddhist Stupa, installed behind a huge golden-coloured idol of Dr. Ambedkar.  Very few people are aware that though Dr. Ambedkar spent most of his life in the state of Maharashtra,his birthplace is Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.

It so happened that Dr. Ambedkar’s father was a soldier in the British army and was posted at Mhow at the time of Dr. Ambedkar’s birth in 1891. It is believed that the memorial building is constructed on the same land that once housed the barrack room in which Dr. Ambedkar was born.  

Before entering the 4.5-acre grounds of the memorial, visitors must remove their footwear. The two storey building of the monument has huge halls on each floor but the highlight is the centrally-located silver urn that embraces the ashes of the late Dr. Ambedkar. Other halls are adorned with wall murals and sculptures that exhibits the life journey of Dr. Ambedkar.  It’s a a poignant reminder of his humble beginnings and rise to becoming one of India’s most important figures.

India
Sculpture depicting a scene from Dr Ambedkar’s life at the Bhim Janmabhoomi memorial

About Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

Through the artefacts at the memorial, visitors learn about the struggles that Dr Ambedkar had to undergo to fight against the prevailing caste discrimination which he faced while growing up.  It’s inspiring to know that despite the social challenges, Dr. Ambedkar got himself educated with the help of scholarships offered by wealthy and generous Indians of those times.

An alumnus of Columbia University, in New York, U.S.A and London School of Economics, Dr. Ambedkar eventually earned four separate Ph.D degrees in Political Science and Economics.

After returning to India in the mid-1920s, he got involved in safeguarding the rights of the socially underprivileged and marginalised strata Dalit, from which he himself belonged. His success in the Dalit struggle thereby earned him a respectful place in the National discussion that later shaped the political destiny of Independent India.

From being socially ostracised based on his caste to later being invited to design the Constitution of the Republic of India, is an extraordinary achievement. Thus, visiting the birthplace of such a national leader of India and understanding his journey through the memorial exhibits, is worth a visit. 

India
A wall mural depicting Dr. Ambedkar’s thought and value towards education

Getting to the Memorial

The nearest airport is Indore, which is connected to most mega cities of India. Indore to Mhow can be reached by train (26 kilometres) and by road (30 kilometres).

While visiting Mhow, it is highly recommended to stay in the nearby Indore city, where both luxury and budget accommodations are easily available. There is no entry fee to the memorial, which is open  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

 

Author bio: Shraddha C Sankulkar

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Shraddha C Sankulkar
Creative Writing has always been a passion for Shraddha. Born and brought up in the ‘Maximum City’ of Mumbai, India, she writes in English, Hindi (National language of India) and Marathi (Shraddha’s mother tongue and State language of Maharashtra, in which she resides). She writes poems, lyrics, fiction, non-fiction & film scripts. A consulting Psychologist and a State/National level certified lecturer of Psychology by profession, since more than a decade, Shraddha has been presenting her literary skills to the world by blending language with emotions. She writes content for her own website www.mindmatterz.net which is the web portal of her Psychological consultancy- Mind Matterz (A Psychological Guidance Unit). Her blog https://www.mindmatterz.net/blog.php guides the masses on topics that deal with Mind Management. Besides possessing a Masters in Psychology, she has earned yet another Masters degree in History from University of Mumbai. Since 2013 she has been a Full Time Overseas member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalist (SWWJ), which is one of the oldest writing societies of the United Kingdom. Travelling & photography are two hobbies that Shraddha is fond of and wishes to use language as a tool to heal, educate and entertain the world with the power of her linguistic skills.

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