Lakhs of followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar kept chanting ‘Jai Bhim’ while walking along the stretch from Dadar railway station to Chaitya Bhoomi at Shivaji Park in Dadar. After alighting from trains, they all headed towards Chaitya Bhoomi to pay homage to Dr Ambedkar. Young followers — mostly those who came for the first time — were seen busy taking selfie with Dr Ambedkar’s photo.
Ravindra Godekar, 42, from Gondia in Maharashtra, has been coming every year for the last 10 years to pay homage to Dr Ambedkar. He said his priority was to first reach Chaitya Bhoomi. “I have come to seek blessing. So, I will not stop until I reach there,” Godekar said. He was accompanied by his wife and 8-year-old son.
Despite rainfall on Tuesday, followers were not deterred. Manasi Phule from Satara said she spent the night in a school after rainwater made its way to pandal. “Getting drenched one night is nothing before what Dr Ambedkar gave us. He gave us the right to live with dignity,”said Phule.
Many followers walked barefoot as mark of respect for Dr Ambedkar. “He is like a god for me, and one cannot enter a temple with shoe or sleepers,” said Pramod Waghmare, a follower from Kolhapur.
Many of the visitors praised arrangements made available by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. “I have been coming here for the last 12 years, and every year, the facilities are better than the previous one,” said Rama Bai, a visitor from Uttar Pradesh.
- BMC had arranged for temporary accommodation at 70 schools around Chaitya Bhoomi for visitors.
- They also provided free transport and medical facilities for followers.