India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh joined the leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party L K Advani in New Delhi at Rajghat, the memorial to the Mahatma (meaning Great Soul).
Others who attended included the country’s vice president and leader of the main ruling Congress Party Sonia Gandhi.
US ambassador Timothy Roemer was also seen offering tributes at the memorial of the Father of the Indian Nation.
American President Barack Obama reportedly said the US had “its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi”.
The event is also celebrated as World Non-Violence Day and Obama urged all nations to “live his ideals and celebrate the dignity of all human beings”.
Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the man characterised by his dhoti – a loose cloth around his waist – and spectacles, was the pioneer of a mass civil disobedience movement based firmly on total non-violence.