16 Jun 2024

PM Modi, Amit Shah hail Smritivan earthquake memorial in Kutch for gaining global recognition; know more about this largest museum ever built in modern India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed the inclusion of Smritivan earthquake memorial at Kutch, a tribute to those lost in the tragic Earthquake of 2001,  in the World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024. 

In reply to a post by Prix Versailles Museums, the Prime Minister posted on X :

"Smritivan in Kutch is a tribute to those we lost in the tragic Earthquake of 2001. It is a reminder of human resilience and courage as well. Glad that this Museum has found a place on the World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024."

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also hailed Smritivan in Kutch finding a place in the prestigious World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024.

In a post on X platform, Amit Shah said “It is a touching moment for all of us as Smritivan in Kutch finds a place in the prestigious World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024. Envisioned by PM Narendra Modi, Smritivan is a museum that preserves the memories of the people we lost in the devastating earthquake in 2001. Its inclusion in the World Selection for the Prix Versailles Museums 2024 will spread the fragrance of their memories worldwide.”

Largest memorial and museum ever built in modern India

Smritivan (can be translated as Forest of Memories), adorned as the largest memorial and museum ever built in modern India, covers a vast area over 470 acres. It is situated on the Bhujiyo Dungar (a small hill) in the outskirts of Bhuj. 

Created for the bereaved families of the earthquake victims from 2001, Smritivan is a place of pilgrimage, a praise for the resilience and reverence of the people of Kutch, and a haven for those who find solace in nature. The memorial consists of a Sun-Point that overlooks the city, the sunrises and the sunsets from atop the Bhujiyo Dungar.

Memorial also consists of world’s largest Miyawaki Forest

The memorial also consists of the world’s largest Miyawaki Forest with over 3 lakh plants, spread across the entire memorial to create a living, breathing monument that also serves as the lungs for the city of Bhuj.

There’s a locally installed 1.1 Megawatt solar power plant that powers the museum, and memorial. The objective of this solar power plant is to have a self-sustainable, renewable green energy that leads the way for all future establishments.

Each element of the museum focuses on regeneration, sustainability

The Smritivan Earthquake Memorial features 50 check-dam reservoirs containing the name plates of nearly 13,000 victims of the 2001 earthquake. These reservoirs are strategically designed to replenish the local water levels, nurturing the nearby forests. Additionally, the rocks utilized in these reservoirs will provide a base for new life to emerge from their crevices. Every aspect of the museum emphasizes regeneration, sustainability, and optimism for a brighter tomorrow.

With the opening of the museum, the innocent lives lost more than two decades ago will now be immortalised and commemorated for posterity.

The size of the Smritivan Earthquake Museum is 11,500 sq. mts which encompasses 7 different blocks (further divided into sub-galleries) that constitute the monument, and every one of them is unique, educational, interactive, and something straight out of science fiction. The seven galleries include:

Rebirth:  Here, we observe the history of Earth's evolution, the formation of landforms spanning millions of years, and the creation of the land we now call home. Visitors can glimpse the flourishing ancient human civilizations in the Kutch region, the historic trade routes of Gujarat, and the narrative of its progress and endurance.

Rediscover: Through the Rediscover block, we experience the resilient nature of Kutch, the innovative spirit of Gujarat’s people, and the reasons for the multiple natural occurrences in Gujarat. 

Restore: People from all walks of life were affected by the earthquake in some or the other way. Here we recount the tragic events of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake. It also presents the immediate rescue and relief activities that followed. 

Rebuild: This block gives us a comprehensive understanding of the collective process of rebuilding, reconstructing and reviving Gujarat for long-term disaster mitigation. It also showcases the collective effort channelized towards rebuilding Gujarat in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquake. 

Rethink: The Rethink Block imparts us with the knowledge of global disaster response, and preparedness measures through games and interactive activities. Learn about India's vulnerability to natural phenomena, the various natural hazards in different geographical areas, and how we can prepare ourselves. 

Relive: How the tremors shook Gujarat, how buildings collapsed and how lives turned to fatalities. With the world's largest simulation experience in state-of-the-art 360-degree surrounding simulations, you will feel the earth slip beneath your feet, and experience the tremors that people felt in the 2001 Earthquake in a realistic manner. 

Renew: This gallery is designed to let the visitors pay their respects to the people who lost their lives in this tragedy and to remember the loved ones they might have lost and keep them in their memories with a light spirit. 

Brief History

One of the most catastrophic calamities in Indian history, the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, left the entire nation in shock. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, and with Bhuj as the epicenter, it still sends chills down the spine of anyone who has experienced it. In terms of numbers, it had impacted a total of 15,23,562 individuals from the Kutch district alone, killing around 12,932 people and affecting 890 villages. When we discuss other districts, the list continues.

The museum was also the dream project of the then Chief Minister, and the now Prime Minister of India - Narendra Modi. The project was also inaugurated by the Prime Minister himself, on 28th August, 2022. In a public speech after the inauguration, he also requested the people of Kutch, and their guests to not leave Kutch without paying a visit to Smritivan Earthquake Memorial, and Museum.

The ideal season to travel Kutch is in the winter. From mid-October to early March, these months have ideal weather for tourism because the temperature ranges from 25 to 12 degrees Celsius. Additionally, it also is the perfect time to attend the world famous Festival of Rann Utsav.


Tuesday to Sunday

Smritivan: From 05:00 AM until 11:00 PM

Museum: From 11:00 AM until 07:00 PM

Monday: Closed


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