India Gate is one of most popular monuments of our country. And it goes without mentioning that it is also the face of Delhi. Delhi as a picture is made of India Gate, Qutab Minar, Bahai Temple and the likes. However, apart from just being the face of Delhi, a monument, a landmark and a picnic site, it has a meaningful history. Surely you must have been there with your family/friends/partner, but very few people know about the history of this place.
Let us take a look at some of the interesting facts that everyone would like to know about India Gate:
1. All India War Memorial
Originally called the All India War Memorial, India Gate is a war memorial which stands tall at 42 meters, thereby, making it one of the largest war memorials in the county.
2. Built in the memory of soldiers
It was built to commemorate 70,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives in the First World War in the period 1914–21 and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
3. The architecture of India Gate is said to be inspired by Arc De Triomphe in Paris.
4. Designed by Edwin Lutyens
It was designed by Edwin Lutyens who was the Chief Architect of Delhi back then. He was also considered to be a leading designer of war memorials at that time.
5. Foundation and completion
The foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Connaught on February 10th, 1921. However, it took a 10 years to complete this monument and it wasn’t completed until 1931.
6. It is made out of sandstone and granite. It stands on a red Bharatpur low base and goes up in levels into a huge moulding.
7. Inscriptions of names on the wall
Inscribed on its gate are the names of 13,218 servicemen, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom.
8. Mention of the dates
The cornices are adorned with the inscription of sun which symbolized the British Imperial Colony. And both sides of the arch, towards the top, have INDIA inscribed on them along with the dates MCMXIV (1914) on the left and MCMXIX (1919) on the right.
Below the word INDIA, inscription reads 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
9. Significance of Amar Jawan Jyoti
The arch of India Gate encompasses a shrine containing a black marble cenotaph, a reversed L1A1 Self-loading rifle placed on its barrel, crested by a soldier’s helmet. The shrine is called the Amar Jawan Jyoti. It was unveiled by the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, on 26 January 1972, in the memory of the martyrs of Indo-Pak war of 1971 and during the liberation of Bangladesh.
10. Flame of the immortal soldier
The flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti keeps burning throughout the days and nights and is kept under a strict vigil of all the three services of the Indian Armed Forces
11. Mandatory homages
It is customary for the President, Prime Minister and visiting guests of the State to visit India Gate and pay homage to Amar Jawan Jyoti on occasions of State ceremonies.
12. Important relevance to Republic Day
India Gate is of utmost importance on 26th of January every year as the Republic Day Parade, originating from the Rajpath, passes around this monument.
13. Tourist and picnic destination
It is also a great picnic venue for people of all age groups. The summers are crowded with families in the evenings and winters during the day time. People come to this place to have a great time with their families and loved ones.