Few people know that Shakti Sthal, the memorial of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has an Odisha connection.
The huge ferrous rock weighing over 25 tonnes, installed at the memorial site of Indira Gandhi in New Delhi, was sourced from the mines of Sundergarh. It is situated southeast of Red Fort between banks of the Yamuna river and Mahatma Gandhi Marg.
When the then central government had decided to set up a memorial for Mrs Gandhi, it wanted to project her as a lady with an iron will. Hence, it was decided to place a monolithic iron ore rock at the site that was named as Shakti Sthal, which means “Place of Power and Strength”.
The rock was located at Barsuan, one of the mines operated by Steel Authority of India Limited, around 100km from Rourkela. The then director-general of the Geological Survey of India, Sailen Mukherjee, led the search operation for the rock. Later, it was placed at Shakti Sthal following the nod of Pupul Jaykar, a close confidant of Mrs Gandhi.
On October 31, 1984, Mrs Gandhi’s two Sikh bodyguards assassinated her while she was walking past the wicket gate guarded by them. She died on way to hospital, succumbing to the bullet injuries.
Mrs Gandhi had addressed her last public meeting at the Parade Ground in Bhubaneswar on October 30, 1984. The place is now known as Indira Gandhi Park. (Source – The Telegraph)