The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, Dandi, Gujarat, India is conceived as an experiential journey recreating the spirit and the energy of the 1930 Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi and 80 of his fellow Satyagrahis, taking the visitors to the Monument step-by-step in order to visualise and understand the history of the historic Salt March and the methodology of Satyagraha, which finally led to India’s Independence from the British colonial rule. This project, endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India is advised by a High Level Dandi Memorial Committee (HLDMC) with IIT Bombay as a Design Coordination Agency.

The Spirit of Dandi

The Salt Satyagraha March or The Dandi March of 1930 as it is popularly known, was a landmark in the history of Indian freedom struggle. As a part of the Civil Disobedience Movement against the British rule, 80 Satyagrahis led by Mahatma Gandhi marched 241-miles from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi and broke the Salt Law imposed by the British. As was the symbolic nature of the event, it inspired millions of Indians to join the freedom struggle and brought worldwide attention to the movement. The Dandi March demonstrated the effectiveness of non-violent civil disobedience as a form of protest for the first time.

Dandi Memorial

Right from the time when the Prime Minister of India approved the Dandi Memorial Project in 2005, a multitude of people from all walks of life endured whole hearted passion, dedication and hard work to make this project a reality. A High Level Dandi Memorial Committee (HLDMC) was constituted under the leadership of Gopal Krishna Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma Gandhi to oversee the project. IIT Bombay was later assigned the task of conceptual design, coordination and implementation of the project. Different departments of IIT Bombay conceptualised various elements of the memorial including the memorial structure, the statues and murals, the artificial lake and the solar panels used for generating clean energy.

Indian Post Office

The Indian post office was established before the era of Gandhi and has a tremendous history. It has established its roots across India and all over the places internationally. Right from the beginning, The Indian post office has come up with many services like the speed post, registered post, letters and tracking features of these by using the AWB numbers.

Gandhi has also played a role in making the Indian post office stand out from other parcel systems. The Indian postal department has become completely independent after the independence and is managed by the government of Ministry.

The Technology

The indigenous technology used at the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, Dandi, Gujarat is researched and developed by different departments of IIT Bombay, the design coordination agency. They worked together internally and with each other to design and coordinate the execution of the technologies used in the memorial complex. It makes this a first of its kind project for the premier institute. Different technology components include:

The Monument

The monument is a 40 metre tall steel A-frame with a 2 and half tonne weighing glass crystal placed at the top. The coastal topography of the area meant that its structure had to be wind tunnel tested. The structure was also wielded with non-corrosive material like duplex steel to ensure its durability. Another unique feature is the laser lights which rises up and illuminates the glass crystal at night to make it a visually enhancing experience.

A statue of Gandhiji inside a pyramid of light, followed by life-size sculptures of the group of the 80 fellow marchers will be the main memorial. Two stylised hands raised up in the sky, holding at the top a handful of simulated salt crystals, will form the canopy under which the main Gandhiji sculpture would be placed. The hands would have solar panels mounted within them with a bank of LED search lights floor mounted around the rim of the base pedestal. With light levels going down towards evening, a pyramid of light will rise up in the sky illuminating the salt crystal at the apex.

Dandi Memorial

Solar Trees

To reflect the ethos of self-sufficiency imbibed by Mahatma Gandhi, 40 Solar Trees where designed, developed and installed. It makes this memorial a net zero-energy project where all the energy required is produced in the memorial itself. It produces energy during the day and exports the extra energy to the electricity grid. During the night, it imports the energy required back from the grid. This system makes ensures the availability of electricity without the need to install and maintain expensive batteries.

An artificial lake was created to symbolise the sea shore aspect of the Salt Satyagraha. It is a non-permeable, geo textile based lake which is sealed from the bottom and top to prevent salt infiltration. Locally available non-corrosive materials where sourced to construct the artificial lake at the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial. The lake is filled with harvested rain water which is then treated to produce sparkling clear.

Solar Salt-Making Pans

Solar Salt-Making Pans will be installed at the Memorial Complex to allow visitors to personally experience salt-making and to make a pinch of salt to be taken away as a memory of the visit to the Memorial. The activity helps to understand Gandhi’s call to everyone to make their own salt. The facility enables visitors to make a pinch of salt, that can be taken away as a memory of the visit to the Memorial. The activity celebrates the strategic brilliance of the Mahatma,who used the powerful metaphor of salt to lead use towards independence.

Based on the soil data and topography, the ground level raised by two meters and the site made suitable for statue, bridge and other structures. All civil structures was analysed and designed by IIT Bombay. The civil structures also warranted the use of non-corrosive material and wind tunnel testing. Even minute aspects like selection of rocks for the landscape was handled carefully by the Design Team.