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Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial opens to public

Last updated on: February 3, 2012 15:34 IST

Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial opens to public

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Haresh Pandya in Chorwad

Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial, which was inaugurated with much fanfare in the otherwise sleepy coastal town of Chorwad in Junagadh district of Gujarat on the occasion of the renowned industrialist's 80th birth anniversary on December 28, was thrown open for the public on Friday by Kokilaben Ambani, the matriarch of the Reliance Group, amid a relatively quiet, simple ceremony.

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Image: Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial in Chorwad, Gujarat.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya

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While the creme de la creme of the entire Ambani clan (including the estranged brothers Mukesh and Anil, who were joined by their wives Nita and Tina, sisters Dipti Salgaonkar and Neena Kothari and other family members) had landed in Chorwad (where the patriarch of the family was born on December 28, 1932, and had spent his early days when he was nobody) to grace the grand inauguration of the memorial by well-known Bhagvadacharya and their spiritual guru Rameshbhai Oza, only Kokilaben was present when it was dedicated to the public.

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Image: Dhirubhai Ambani was born in Chorwad in 1932.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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"Whatever progress we have made and whatever we have achieved is all thanks to the blessings of Lord Srinathji and the vision of Dhirubhai Ambani," a visibly delighted Kokilaben said after declaring the memorial open for public.

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Image: Kokilaben dedicated the memorial to the public.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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"I am sure this memorial will inspire all those who visit it to create a path of success in their life and strive hard to reach their goals. This memorial has always been close to my heart and I am happy to dedicate it to the public today."

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Image: She said the memorial was always close to her heart.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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Chorwad is already a tourist place, although the Gujarat government has done nothing to develop it.

She expressed her desire to see the Dhirubhai Hirachand Ambani Memorial appear on the tourist radar in Gujarat.

"Efforts are on to tie up with the Gujarat government to make the memorial a tourist destination," said Kokilaben, according to PTI.

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Image: She hopes people will derive inspiration from the memorial.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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The RIL group president (corporate affairs) Parimal Nathwani was also present on the occasion and was constantly by Kokilaben's side.

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Image: Kokilaben was delighted to dedicate the memorial to the public.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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"There are so many memorable things on display here that it is hard to single out any one particular as the best of all. For me, all of them have their own importance. The whole memorial enlivens Dhirubhai's life in detail," Nathwani said.

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Image: Anil Ambani was present at the ceremony. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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The long cherished dream of the Ambanis to create a memorial in Dhirubhai's name at the very place where he showed signs of a tycoon in the making has finally been realised.

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Image: The memorial was a long cherished dream of the Ambanis. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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The old house in Chorwad, where he spent his childhood and early married life, is renovated, beautified and transformed into a memorial.

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Image: His old house has been renovated. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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It was in a rented section of the bungalow - called 'Mangrolwalo Delo' at the time and was owned by former Bombay Stock Exchange vice-president Bharat Sheth - that Dhirubhai had been living till 1949 before setting off for Aden (now Yemen) at the age of 17.

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Image: He lived in a rented section of the bungalow. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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The founder of the country's largest industrial behemoth had purchased the bungalow for an undisclosed amount, just before he passed into ages in July 2002, which is now befittingly renamed as 'Dhirubhaino Delo'.

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Image: Mukesh Ambani was also present at the event. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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Spread in an area of one acre, the monument has three main sections - a pictorial gallery, an auditorium and the tycoon's old residence.

Treasured in the sepia gallery are photographs showcasing Dhirubhai's inspiring saga of success as the ultimate businessman.

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Image: The monument has three main sections. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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One section of the gallery contains Dhirubhai's family photographs and the other portion displays pictures of his lifetime activities and achievements. The mini auditorium is meant for screening a 15-minute documentary about his eventful life.

Dhirubhai's old abode is renovated and arranged in such way that both its original settings and old world charm remain intact.

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Image: One section of the gallery contains Dhirubhai's family photographs. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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Although a part of the dwelling has been converted into a museum, the Ambanis have kept some rooms for their private residences. Dhirubhai's gaddi (mattress) along with a pillow, the old well from which Kokilaben used to draw water and the stove used by her in the kitchen have also been retained.

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Image: Ambanis have kept some rooms for their private residences. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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They remind the visitors of the humble, simple and traditional middle-class life Dhirubhai and his wife were living before the fortune began smiling on them.

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Image: The museum reminds visitors of Dhirubhai's humble life. (File photo from December, 2011)

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The memorial, which is completed in about 30 months, will function under the auspices of Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation. It will remain open between 9.30am to 5pm with a weekly close on Monday.

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Image: Memorial was completed in 30 months. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel
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There is a token ticket of rupees two for the visitor - "more to keep the trouble-makers away than to make any profit", an official said. There is also a sales counter where souvenirs of the memorial like pens, T-shirts, caps, shoulder-bags, etc will be available at a "reasonable" price.

A cafeteria is also there in the memorial's premises.

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Image: There is a token ticket of two rupees. (File photo from December, 2011)
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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There is also a sales counter.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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There is also a cafeteria.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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Memorial will function under the auspices of Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.


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Dhirubhai's old abode retains its old charm.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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Old things have been retained.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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There is also a mini auditorium.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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It is spread in an area of one acre.

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Image: File photo from December, 2011.
Photographs: Kalpesh Gohel

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