Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi is situated at the end of Saurashtra (Gujarat State) and is a picturesque seaport on the Arabian Sea. To commemorate the birth of Gandhiji a 79 ft high imposing building has been built in the lane where Bapu (as Gandhiji is known) was born in 1869.
The prime attraction is the Kirti Mandir. It is a three storeyed ancestral house of Gandhiji where in the exact place where Putlibai, Gandhiji’s mother, had given birth to Gandhi, is marked with a ‘swastik’. A narrow wooden staircase leads the visitor to the upper storey, in particular Gandhiji’s reading room.
Behind Kirti Mandir is Navi Khadi, where Kasturba, Gandhiji’s wife was born.
The new building adjoining Kirti Mandir, houses a Gandhian Library, a prayer hall, a nursery and a steeple decorated with episodes from Gandhiji’s life.
The former name of this port town was Sudamapuri. The name was derived from the name Sudama, who was a companion of Krishna. Also, a very prosperous business was conducted between this place, Africa and Gulf. The linkage of this place to Africa is quite obvious and clear because of the large number of African-Indians. This group is called Siddis. They form a distinct caste named Dalits.
Going back to the history, we find that Mahatma Gandhi was born here on 2nd October in the year 1869. He gave birth in a blue colored haveli which was 3 floors high. His complete name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. In this city of Porbander, Gandhi’s father, uncle and his grandfather had held the post of prime ministers to the princely state’s Jethwa Rajput Rulers. For many hundred years, this city has continued to be a flourishing business location. It carried out trade with countries of Arabia, Persian Gulf. It also had business connection with East Africa during the Mughal period, the Marathas rule and the British Empire. At present the city’s atmosphere has become quite dirty and polluted due to the presence of cement and chemical industries.
Kirti Mandir is the name of the place where Gandhi gave birth. The room, where he was born does not have any specialty about it. It is quite common. However, it has been turned into a museum. Ancient photographs related to him, his few personal items and a wonderful collection of books linked with the philosophy of Gandhi are upheld to the public view here in this museum.