Urmila Marak Aug 12 2014

Independence Day: Tracing the freedom trail

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With the Independence Day parades and cultural programmes across the country, August 15 is not our usual holiday — this was the day when our country was liberated from the rule of the British, 67 years ago. There’s reason for more cheer this year as it falls on a Friday and we are entitled to a long extended weekend. To assist you in planning for the Independence Day weekend, we bring you a list of places, which will walk you through the history behind the independence that we are enjoying today.

Delhi, Red Fort

The Red Fort that has seen the first war of independence in 1857 and the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the nation on August 15 1947, today attracts numerous tourists to its premises all year through. As the tricolor is hoisted as a stark reminder of our freedom struggle on August 15 every year, parades from across the state, the military and the navy make up the slew of events lined up for the occasion. This patriotic celebration focuses on all the states’ cultural heritage across the country. The one-hour sound and light show held in Hindi and English are also a must watch. Arriving early to be a part of the celebrations here will ensure you a better view.

Ahmedabad, Sabarmati Ashram

Mahatma Gandhi’s refuge, the Sabarmati Ashram, where he spent 12 years of his life guiding activists on his non-violent, Swadeshi and civil disobedience movements make a superb destination. Visit the museum where his paraphernalia is still preserved. A 90-minute guided tour of the ashram will enlighten you of Gandhi and his works.

Amritsar, Jallianwala Bagh

This memorial, with a few bullet marks still evident, is a strong witness to India’s freedom struggle. Visiting Jallianwala Bagh will remind you of the precious lives that were lost during the Baisakhi celebrations in April 1919 when Brigadier-General Dyer came with his troops and opened fire without any warning.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Kala Pani Jail

Watching the sound and light show at Kala Pani Jail that traces the history of the political prisoners, who underwent a lot of torture during the British regime, is bound to give you a chill but will definitely draw a lot more respect for the prisoners. Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is home to the Cellular Jail, or the Kala Pani Jail as it is popularly known. This was the prison where our freedom fighters underwent all the torture. Converted into a museum now, after a visit to the jail you will understand their adversity during the struggle

Kolkata, Netaji Bhawan

A visit to the Netaji Bhawan will take you to those days when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was under the British-imposed house arrest in his ancestral house till his “great escape” in January 1941. Some rooms still give you a feel of the 1940s. Even the car that he used for his escape is parked in the driveway. It is a great place to relive the days of our freedom fighter.

Stopover at these places and be proud of your national heritage. Plan your trip during the weekend and book your bus tickets at www.ticketgoose.com.

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