India Gate is an iconic monument, a war memorial situated in the heart of Delhi. India Gate is one of the most popular tourist spots of Delhi. It remains open to visitors 24 hrs throughout the week, there is no entry fee charged to see this landmark monument. India Gate is located across the Rajpath, on the eastern side of the “ceremonial axis” of Delhi, formerly called Kingsway. India Gate is always surrounded by visitors; the Delhiites love to gather around here for picnics, walks in the night time, etc. India Gate lights up every evening from 7 pm to 11:30 pm. Every year the Republic Day Parade passes around India Gate.
History of India Gate:
India Gate is a war memorial that was built to honor the soldiers of the British India army who died in world war I and Third Anglo-Afghan war between 1941- 1921. Names of about 13300 servicemen have been inscribed on this gate.
Following the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1972, Amar Jawan Jyoti (structure made of black marble plinth with a reversed rifle that is capped by a war helmet, enclosed by four eternal flames) was added to the structure. Although it is a war memorial it has the architectural style of the triumphal arch-like Arch of Triomphe of Paris. India Gate is one of the biggest war memorials of India; it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Imperial war Grave commission (IWGC) was formed in Dec 1917 to build memorials and war graves for the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I; India Gate located in Delhi was constructed by IWGC.
The foundation stone of the India Gate was laid by the Duke of Connaught on Feb 10th, 1921 at 4:30 pm, it took 10 years to complete the construction of the monument and was inaugurated on February 12, 1931, by the Viceroy of India Lord Irwin.
The architecture of India Gate:
India Gate is built with yellow and red sandstone. The height of the monument is about 42 meters. The arch is standing on the base made of red Bharatpur stone; it rises to a huge molding in stages. The cornice is inscribed with the Imperial suns while both sides of the arch have INDIA, flanked by the dates MCMXIV (1914 left) and MCMXIX (1919 right). Below the word India written in capital letters following message is inscribed in capital letters:
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
The shallow domed bowl which is placed at the top was originally intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this is rarely done.
Later addition to the monument:
In 1936 a Canopy was added to the structure; about 150 meters farther from India Gate. The British constructed it to pay tribute to then recently deceased King George V. The Canopy which is 73 foot tall had a 70-foot tall marble statue of the King in the coronation robes, wearing imperial crown was placed under it.
The statue had remained at its original spot for quite some time, years after independence it attracted a lot of objections from opposition and politicians. To show their disagreement over the presence of the statue Members of Samyukta Socialist Party attempted to harm the statute 1965 (two days before independence day).
The Indian Govt made an effort to send the statue to the UK but did not succeed; British high commission to India rejected the proposal to take the statue and place in their compound, stating limited space as the reason. The statue finally was removed and relocated in 1968; initially, it was placed in storage and shortly after was placed at Coronation Park in Delhi where other statues of British era are situated.
India Gate is one of few monuments that is synonymous to Delhi. One who visits Delhi has a desire to go to India Gate. This iconic monument is located in central Delhi, reaching this place is no hassle as it is well connected with Delhi Metro the nearest metro station to this place would be Central Secretariat.
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