India Gate is one of the most important and celebrated monuments in Delhi. In the recent years it has become a major tourists attraction in India. India Gate is a war memorial and is located on the Rajpath in New Delhi.
Millions of local and foreign tourist visit India Gate every year. Here is a list of unknown and amazing facts about India Gate you would love to know!
India Gate – War Memorial
India Gate is a war memorial which was built to pay tribute to the soldiers of undivided Indian Army who got martyred during the World War I. It is dedicated to the honour of 70,000 soldiers who fought and got martyred between 1914 – 1921 in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and the Second Anglo-Afghan war.
The Duke also read out a message by the King, which said, “On this spot, in the central vista of the Capital of India, there will stand a Memorial Archway, designed to keep”, in the thoughts of future generations, “the glorious sacrifice of the officers and men of the British Indian Army who fought and fell”
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History of India Gate
India Gate is one of the biggest war memorials in the world. Imperial War Graves Commission (I.W.G.C) established in December 1917 was given the task to build war graves and memorials to the soldiers who were killed in the World War I and India Gate was part of their work.
Earlier, India Gate was called All India War Memorial. Its foundation stone was laid by Duke of Connaught on 10 February 1921, at 16:30. Foundation ceremony was attended by officers and men of the British Indian Army. Then Viceroy of India Chelmsford said on the occasion
“The stirring tales of individual heroism will live forever in the annals of this country”, and that the memorial which was a tribute to the memory of heroes, “known and unknown”, would inspire future generations to endure hardships with similar fortitude and “no less valour”.
During the ceremony, many brigades and regiments were honoured with the title of “Royal” for their distinguished services and gallantry.
It was inaugurated by Lord Irwin on 12 February 1931 almost ten years after the foundation stone laying ceremony.
India Gate – Design & Architecture
India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was the main architect of New Delhi also. He was Europe’s most prominent and leading designers of war memorials. He was the designer of Cenotaph, in London which was the first national was memorial build after World War I. He had designed sixty-six war memorials in Europe and was a member of I.W.G.C. also.
The architectural style of the India gate is similar to the triumphal arch such as the Arch of Constantine, in Rome. It is often called the creative rework of the Arc de Triomphe and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
India Gate is 42 metres high and 9.1m in width. It is made of red and yellow Bharatpur sandstone. India Gate stands in the centre of a hexagonal complex. The complex has a diameter of about 625 metres and covers 306,000 m² of area approximately.
India Gate stands on a low base and rises in stages to a huge moulding with a shallow domed bowl on its top.
Inscriptions on India Gate
Imperial suns are engraved on the cornice of the India Gate which symbolises the British Imperial Colony. India is inscribed on both the sides of the arch with the dates MCMXIV (1914) on the left side and MCMXIX (1919) on the right side. Below these following letters are inscribed.
“TO THE DEAD OF THE INDIAN ARMIES WHO FELL AND ARE HONOURED IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS MESOPOTAMIA AND PERSIA EAST AFRICA GALLIPOLI AND ELSEWHERE IN THE NEAR AND THE FAR-EAST AND IN SACRED MEMORY ALSO OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE RECORDED AND WHO FELL IN INDIA OR THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND DURING THE THIRD AFGHAN WAR”
Names of 13,218 soldiers are inscribed on the walls of India Gate to pay homage to the martyrs for their sacrifices.
Amar Jawan Jyoti
Amar Jawan Jyoti was built after the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 to commemorate the martyred and unknown soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces who died during the war. It is located under the India Gate and was constructed in December 1971.
The Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial was inaugurated by then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi in 1972.
It consists of a black marble cenotaph and Amar Jawan is written in gold on all four sides of it. On the top, an L1Ai self-loading rifle is placed on its barrel and it has a helmet of an unknown soldier on the top. The pedestal has four urns, out of which one flame is burning continuously since 1971.
During Independence and Republic days all the four flames burn simultaneously. Amar Jawan Jyoti is manned by soldiers from the Army, Air Force and the Indian Navy round the clock. LPG was used as a fuel source from 1971 to 2006 and from then, CNG is used as the source.
There is a 73-foot canopy about 150 meters east of the India Gate. It is inspired from the 6th-century pavilion of Mahabalipuram and it is placed at a junction of six roads near India Gate. The domed canopy rests over four Delhi order columns.
It was constructed in 1936 and a marble statue of British Emperor of India King George V was placed to pay homage to him.
The statue was later removed and relocated to Delhi’s Coronation Park due to opposition from some Indian political parties.
National War Memorial
On 25 February 2019, Government of India build the National War Memorial near the India Gate to pay tribute to Indian Armed Forces. It is spread over 40 acres of land around the canopy.
The names of armed forces personnel martyred during the armed conflicts of 1947–48, 1961 (Goa), 1962 (China), 1965, 1971, 1987 (Siachen), 1987-88 (Sri Lanka), 1999 (Kargil), and other operations such as Operation Rakshak, are inscribed on the memorial walls.
The National War Memorial complex has four concentric circles which are called
- Amar Chakra (Circle of Immortality)
- Veerta Chakra (Circle of Bravery)
- Tyag Chakra (Circle of Sacrifice)
- Rakshak Chakra (Circle of Protection)
These four concentric circles are designed as a Chakravyuh, an ancient Indian war formation.
There is a gallery which has bronze murals which portray the battles of Gangasagar, Longewala, Tithwal, Rizangla, Operation Meghdoot and Trident.
The Param Yodha Sthal houses the busts of the 21 recipients of the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military honour.
A war museum is also under construction and will be completed soon.
Republic Day Parade
After 1972, it has been a custom that on every Republic Day, President, Prime Minister, Chiefs of Amry, Navy and Air force and other dignitaries place a wreath at Amar jawan Jyoti and honour the dead and unknown soldiers