India Gate

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Not to be confused with Gateway of India.
India Gate
India
India Gate clean.jpg
India Gate
Used for those deceased 1921 –
Established 1921
Unveiled 1931
Location 28°36′46.31″N 77°13′45.5″E / 28.6128639°N 77.229306°E / 28.6128639; 77.229306
Designed by Edwin Lutyens
India Gate is located in Delhi
India Gate
India Gate (Delhi)

The India Gate, originally called the All India War Memorial, is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the ‘ceremonial axis’ of New Delhi, formerly called Kingsway. The names of some 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I, in "France and Flanders, Mesopotamia, and Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the near and the far-east", between 1914–19, are inscribed on the memorial arch. In addition, the war memorial bears the names of some 12,516 Indian soldiers who died while serving in "India or the North-west Frontier and during the Third Afghan War".[1] The India Gate war memorial, the architectural style of which has been compared with the Gateway of India in Bombay, and the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe in Paris, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.[1]

In 1971, following the Bangladesh Liberation war, a small simple structure, consisting of a black marble plinth, with reversed rifle, capped by war helmet, bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the soaring Memorial Archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the Flame of the Immortal Soldier, has since 1971 served as India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

History[edit]

The Indian Gate in New Delhi, was part of the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC), which, came into existence in May 1917 for building war graves and memorials of soldiers killed in the First World War.[2] The foundation-stone of the All-India War Memorial was laid on 10 February 1921, at 4:30 PM, by visiting Duke of Connaught in a solemn soldierly ceremony attended by Officers and Men of the Indian Army, Imperial Service Troops, the Commander in Chief, and Chelmsford, the Viceroy.[3] On the occasion, the viceroy said, "The stirring tales of individual heroism, will live for ever 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".[3]

The King, in his message, read out by the Duke 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 Indian Army who fought and fell". During the ceremony, the Deccan Horse, 3rd Sappers and Miners, 6th Jat Light Infantry, 34th Sikh Pioneers, 39th Garhwal Rifles, 59th Scinde Rifles (Frontier Force), 117th Mahrattas, and 5th Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force), were honored with title of " Royal " in recognition of the distinguished services and gallantry of the Indian Army during the Great War".[3]

Ten years after the foundation stone laying ceremony, on February 12, 1931, the All India War Memorial was inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Irwin, who on the occasion said “ those who after us shall look upon this monument may learn in pondering its purpose something of that sacrifice and service which the names upon its walls record.” [1]

In the decade between the laying of foundation stone of the War memorial and its inauguration, the rail-line was shifted to run along the Yamuna river, and the New Delhi Railway Station was opened in 1926.[4][5]

Cars passing through India Gate 1930s

The India gate, which is illuminated every evening, from 19:00 to 21:30, is a major tourist attraction. Motor cars, moved through India Gate, till it was closed to traffic. The Republic Day Parade starts from Rashtrapati Bhavan and passes around the India Gate.

Design[edit]

The All-India War Memorial in New Delhi made by the viceroy of India Surya Kant Gangania designed in the triumphal arch style, by Edwin Lutyens, who was not only the main architects of New Delhi, but a leading designer of war memorials. He was a members of the IWGC, and one of Europe’s foremost designer of war graves and memorials. He designed sixty-five war memorials in Europe, including the highly regarded Cenotaph, in London, in 1919, the first national war memorial erected after World War I, for which he was commissioned by David Lloyd George, the British prime minister.[2] All-India War Memorial in New Delhi, like the Cenotaph, in London, is secular memorial, free of religious and "culturally-specific iconography such as crosses". Lutyens according to his biographer, Christopher Hussey, relied on "elemental Mode", a style of commemoration based on "universal architectural style free of religious ornamentation". The India Gate, which has been called a "creative reworking of the Arc de Triomphe" has a span of 30 feet, and lies on the eastern axial end of Kingsway, present day Rajpath, the central vista and main ceremonial procession route in New Delhi.[2]

The 42-metre tall India Gate, stands on a low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in stages to a huge moulding. The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this is rarely done. The India Gate hexagon complex, with a diameter of about 625 metres, covers approximately 306,000m² in area.

Inscriptions[edit]

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, is inscribed, in capital letters:

TO THE DEAD OF THE INDIAN ARMIES WHO FELL 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 RECORDED AND WHO FELL IN INDIA OR THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND DURING THE THIRD AFGHAN WAR

Amar Jawan Jyoti[edit]

Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the flame of the immortal soldier, is a structure consisting of black marble plinth, with reversed rifle, capped by war helmet, bound by four urns, each with the permanent light (jyoti) from (CNG) flames,[6] erected under the India Gate in the wake Liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971 to commemorate Indian soldiers killed in the defense of their country. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 26 January 1972, the 23rd Republic Day. Since the installation of the Amar Jawan Jyoti, in 1972, it has served as India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Amar Jawan Jyoti is manned round the clock by soldiers drawn from the three services of the Indian armed forces. Wreaths are placed at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas, and on 26 January, by the Prime Minister of India, Chiefs of Armed Forces, and other dignitaries.[7]

Canopy[edit]

The canopy, with India Gate behind

About 150 metres East of the India Gate war memorial, at a junction of six roads, is a 73-foot cupola, inspired by a sixth-century pavilion from Mahabalipuram, under which was a fifty-foot tall statue of King George V, by C.S. Jagger, until it was removed to Coronation Park, in which are located a number of other British Raj-era statues. In recent years rumours of placing a statue of Mahatma Gandhi or another national hero have circulated, but as of September 2013 no plans have been made to do such a thing.[8]

Lutyens used four Delhi Order columns to support the domed canopy and its chhajja.[9] The Delhi Order, which he had devised while designing Rashtrapati Bhavan, was his own new order of classical architecture, with small bells hanging from the capitals of the columns.[10]

Statue[edit]

From its opening until the 1960s, the canopy opposite India Gate housed a fifty-foot tall statue of King George V designed, like the Gate, by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The statue now stands in Coronation Park. The statue is made of marble and features King George standing on a very tall pedestal wearing his coronation robes and the Imperial State Crown. On the pedestal is the Royal Coat of Arms and the words GEORGE V R I ('R I' standing for 'Rex Imperator', Latin for 'King Emperor'). Near the top is the emblem of British India, the Order of the Star of India. Originally King George held the British orb and sceptre, but some time during or after the statue's removal these were broken off.

Gallery[edit]

Other[edit]

Robert Garside, a British runner, also known as "The Runningman" began the first run around-the-world run from India Gate in October 1997.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Metcalf, Thomas R. (31 March 2014). "WW I: India's Great War Dulce Et Decorum Est India Gate, our WW-I cenotaph, now stands for an abstracted ideal". Outlook (31 March 2014). Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c David A. Johnson; Nicole F. Gilbertson (4 August 2010). "Commemorations of Imperial Sacrifice at Home and Abroad: British Memorials of the Great War". The History Teacher. 4 43: 563–584. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Connaught, Duke of, Arthur (1921). His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught in India 1921 Being a Collection of the Speeches Delivered by His Royal Highness.. Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. pp. 69–71. 
  4. ^ "A fine balance of luxury and care". Hindustan Times. 21 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "When Railways nearly derailed New Delhi. It was also designed by BRIG V.K SHENOY.". Delhi Weekend Getaways. 18 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Gupta, Geeta (10 June 2012). "Keeper of the flame". indianexpress. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Goswami, Col (retd) Manoranjan. "War memorial". Assam Tribune. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.indiagate.org.in/canopy-at-india-gate.htm
  9. ^ Stamp, Gavin (1981). "King George V Memorial, Princes' Place, New Delhi". Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944). London: Arts Council of Great Britain. p. 180. ISBN 0-7287-0304-1. 
  10. ^ Gradidge, Roderick (1981). Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: George Allen and Unwin. p. 151. ISBN 0-04-720023-5. 

External links[edit]