India Gate

Coordinates: 28°36′46.31″N 77°13′45.5″E / 28.6128639°N 77.229306°E / 28.6128639; 77.229306
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

India Gate
For the dead of the Indian Armies who fell during World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War
Established10 February 1921
Unveiled12 February 1931
Location28°36′46.31″N 77°13′45.5″E / 28.6128639°N 77.229306°E / 28.6128639; 77.229306
India Gate is located in Delhi
India Gate
India Gate (Delhi)
Designed bySir Edwin Lutyens
13,313 engraved names, 12,357 Indian[1] and honours 70,000 fallen soldiers of undivided India[2]

The India Gate (formerly known as All India War Memorial) is a war memorial located near the Kartavya path on the eastern edge of the "ceremonial axis" of New Delhi, formerly called Rajpath in Chennai. It stands as a memorial to 74,187 soldiers of the Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921 in the First World War, in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Near and the Far East, and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. 13,300 servicemen's names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate.[2] Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the gate evokes the architectural style of the ancient Roman triumphal arches such as the Arch of Constantine in Rome, and later memorial arches; it is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Following the Bangladesh Liberation war in 1972, a structure consisting of a black marble plinth with a reversed rifle, capped by a war helmet and bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti (Flame of the Immortal Soldier), has since 1971 served as India's tomb of the unknown soldier. India Gate is counted amongst the largest war memorials in India and every Republic Day, the Prime Minister visits the gate to pay their tributes to the Amar Jawan Jyoti, following which the Republic Day parade starts. India Gate is often a location for civil society protests, and is popular with tourists.


Armoured cars passing through the gate, in the 1930s

The India Gate was part of the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC), which came into existence in December 1917 under the British rule for building war graves and memorials to soldiers who were killed in the First World War.[3] The foundation stone of the gate then called the All India War Memorial, was laid on 10 February 1921, at 16:30, by the visiting Duke of Connaught in a ceremony attended by officers and men of the Imperial Indian Army, Imperial Service Troops, the commander in chief, and Chelmsford, the viceroy.[4] On the occasion, the viceroy is reported to have said, "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 valor".[4] 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 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. The land was owned by contractor Sir Sobha Singh who helped construct large tracts of New Delhi and was the primary contractor.[5][6]

India gate, as seen from Kartavya Path

Ten years after the foundation stone's laying on 12 February 1931, the memorial was inaugurated by 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."[7] In the decade between the laying of foundation stone of the 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.[8]

The gate, which is illuminated every evening from 19:00 to 21:30, today serves as one of Delhi's most important tourist attractions. Cars used to travel through the gate until it was closed to traffic.[citation needed] The Republic Day Parade starts from Rashtrapati Bhavan and passes around the India Gate.[citation needed] India gate is often a location for civil society protests, including demonstrations in response to the 2011 anti-corruption movement.[9][10][11]

In 2017, the India Gate was twinned with the Arch of Remembrance in Leicester, England, another Lutyens war memorial, following a very similar design but on a smaller scale. In a ceremony, India's high commissioner to the United Kingdom laid a wreath at the arch in Leicester and the British high commissioner to India laid one at the India Gate.[12]

Design and structure[edit]

Angled view

The memorial gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was not only the main architect of New Delhi but also a member of the Imperial War Graves Commission and one of Europe's foremost designers of war graves and memorials. He designed sixty-six 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.[13] The memorial in New Delhi, like the Cenotaph in London, is a secular memorial, free of religious and "culturally-specific iconography such as crosses". Lutyens according to his biographer, Christopher Hussey, relied on the "elemental mode", a style of commemoration based on a "universal architectural style free of religious ornamentation".

Looking up, through the main arch

The India Gate, which has been called a "creative reworking of the Arc de Triomphe" has a span of 30 feet (9.1 m) across the larger opening and lies on the eastern axial end of Kingsway, present-day Kartavya Path, the central vista and main ceremonial procession route in New Delhi.[13] The 42-metre-tall (138 ft) India Gate stands on a low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in stages to a huge cornice moulding above a frieze with sunburst motifs. The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries, but this is rarely done.[citation needed] The memorial-gate hexagon complex, with a diameter of about 625 metres (2,051 ft), covers approximately 306,000 m2 (3,290,000 sq ft) in area.[citation needed]

The India Gate structure is oblong, with a large archway on each of the four faces, but the arches on the long sides are larger and higher. The arches on the shorter sides are blocked at the bottom, with doorways, but open higher up. Technically the four arches make the building a tetrapylon. There is a large ornament in stone above the blocked bottom of the arches on the shorter sides. Mouldings run around the building at the levels from which both sizes of arch rise, and the keystones of the arches protrude slightly. The top of the keystones on the short sides' arches touch the bottom of the moulding at the base level of the higher long sides' arches. The ceilings and undersides of the arches are decorated with well-spaced coffers.


The cornice of the India Gate is inscribed with Imperial suns while both sides of the arch have INDIA, flanked by the dates MCMXIV ('1914'; on the left) and MCMXIX ('1919'; on the right). Below the word INDIA, in capital letters, is inscribed:

Inscription at top of the gate

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 Far East and in Sacred Memory also of those whose names are here recorded and who fell in India on the North West Frontier and during the Third Afghan War.

13,313 names are engraved out of which 12,357 are Indian.[1][2] Access to read the names on the memorial is restricted, though they can be seen on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website, which lists the names with their respective date of death, unit name, regiment, place on gate where name is inscribed, location, and other information).[14]


Canopy behind India gate
Canopy in the vicinity of the gate

About 150 metres (490 ft) east of the gate, at a junction of six roads, is a 73 feet (22 m) cupola, inspired by a sixth-century pavilion from Mahabalipuram. Lutyens used four Delhi Order columns to support the domed canopy and its chhajja.[15][16]

Statue of King-Emperor George V[edit]

Canopy in 1952 with the George V statue still in place

In the autumn of 1930, Jagatjit Singh, the Maharaja of Kapurthala State, organized an appeal amongst the Indian princely rulers to erect a statue of King-Emperor George V in New Delhi to commemorate the sovereign's recent recovery from sepsis.[17] As originally conceived, the statue would have depicted the monarch in marble riding in a howdah atop a red stone elephant; a canopy was not then included in the design.[18] The final concept, approved by George V before his death, dispensed with the elephant, instead incorporating a red stone canopy and pedestal, with the pedestal standing 34.5 feet (10.52 m) tall.[19] An 18.75 feet (5.72 m) tall marble statue of the King-Emperor wearing his Delhi Durbar coronation robes and Imperial State Crown, bearing the British globus cruciger and sceptre, was placed atop the pedestal, which bore the Royal Coat of Arms and the inscription GEORGE V R I, the "R I" designating him as 'Rex Imperator' or 'King Emperor'.[19][20]

The combined height of the statue and pedestal was 53.25 feet (16.23 m); while the pedestal and canopy were designed by Lutyens, the statue was designed by Charles Sargeant Jagger of the Royal Academy of Arts. The canopy was topped by a gilded Tudor Crown and bore the Royal Cyphers of George V,[21] with the completed monument intended to "mark the loyalty and attachment of the Ruling Princes and Chiefs of India to the Person and Throne of the King-Emperor."[19] Following the premature death of Jagger, the statue's head and crown were completed by one of his assistants in England and then shipped to India, while the remainder of the monument was carved in India.[22]

The statue's installation in the autumn of 1936,[22] amidst the Indian independence movement, made it a target for Independence activists; on the night of 3 January 1943, during the Quit India movement, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and Manubhai Shah scaled the statue, smashed its nose and draped it with a large black cloth inscribed "Death to the Tyrant."[23] The statue remained standing at its original site for two decades following the nation's independence in 1947, but certain political factions increasingly objected to its continued presence in its central location, particularly after the tenth anniversary of Independence and the centennial of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[20] On the night of 12–13 August 1958, the royal insignia of George V and the Tudor Crown atop the canopy were removed.[21]

With increasing pressure from Socialist members of Parliament, then-Deputy Minister Home Affairs Lalit Narayan Mishra stated in May 1964 that all British statuary would be removed from the national capital by 1966.[20] Two days before Independence Day in 1965, members of the Samyukta Socialist Party overpowered two constables guarding the site, covered the statue in tar and defaced its imperial crown, nose and one ear, also leaving a photo of Subhas Chandra Bose at the monument.[20] Despite the resulting adverse publicity and the growing controversy over the situation, the matter of relocating the statue dragged on for several years.[20] The British government rejected a proposal to repatriate the monument to the United Kingdom, citing the lack of an appropriate site and sufficient funds, while the British High Commission in New Delhi declined to have the statue relocated to their compound, due to limited space.[20] Efforts to move the statue to a Delhi park were strongly opposed by the nationalist Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which then held power in the city.[20] Finally, in late 1968, the statue was removed from its position beneath the canopy and briefly placed in storage before being moved to Delhi's Coronation Park, where it joined other British Raj-era statues.[20]

During and after the statue's removal, it was often suggested that a statue of Mahatma Gandhi be placed under the canopy.[20] The suggestion was even discussed in the Indian Parliament.[citation needed] In 1981, the government had in response to a question in the Parliament, confirmed that it was considering the installation of a Gandhi statue under the empty canopy, but nothing came of it.[24]

Subhas Chandra Bose statue[edit]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate, during the inauguration of the 'Kartavya Path', in New Delhi on 8 September 2022.

On 21 January 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that a statue of Subhas Chandra Bose would be installed in the canopy at India Gate. The announcement came two days before the 125th anniversary of his birth. A 28 feet high and 6 feet wide 3D holographic statue of Bose was inaugurated at the site on 23 January 2022, celebrated as Parakram Diwas (Courage Day).[25][26] On this occasion, an award in the name of Bose was instituted for the exemplary work in disaster management. On 8 September 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly made statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose near the India Gate.

Amar Jawan Jyoti[edit]

Amar Jawan Jyoti, beneath the arch of the gate

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 compressed natural gas flames,[27] erected under the India gate to commemorate Indian soldiers martyred in the war of the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 26 January 1972, the twenty-third Indian Republic Day.[citation needed]

Since the installation of the Amar Jawan Jyoti, it has served as India's tomb of the unknown soldier.[citation needed] It is staffed around the clock by the Indian armed forces.[citation needed] Wreaths are placed at the Amar Jawan Jyoti every Republic Day, Vijay Diwas, and Infantry Day[a] by the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of the Armed Forces.[28]

On 21 January 2022 the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate was merged with the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the National War Memorial.[29]

National War Memorial[edit]

About OpenStreetMaps
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Children's park
C - Hexagon
India Gate
Param Yodha Sthal
(Ultimate Warrior Site)
Amar Jawan Jyoti
National War Memorial
National War Memorial (NWM) complex and India Gate within the C-Hexagon, with Amar Jawan Jyoti and Netaji hologram statue. The rings of the NWM form a chakravyūha.

In July 2014, the government announced plans to construct a National War Memorial in the C-Hexagon (India Gate Circle), and an adjoining National War Museum. The cabinet allocated 500 crore (US$63 million) for the project.[30] The National War Memorial was completed in January, 2019.[31][32] Since January 2022, it houses the Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the "Flame of the Immortal Soldier".[29]


India Gate View Point

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Infantry Day is the day Indian infantry air landed at Srinagar on 27 October 1947 to stop and defeat the Pakistani mercenaries' attack on Jammu and Kashmir.
  1. ^ a b Chhina, Last Post. Indian War Memorials Around the World (2014), pp. 78.
  2. ^ a b c "Delhi Memorial (India Gate)". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  3. ^ David A. Johnson; Nicole F. Gilbertson (4 August 2010). "Commemorations of Imperial Sacrifice at Home and Abroad: British Memorials of the Great War" (PDF). The History Teacher. 4. 43: 564–584. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b 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. OL 17945606M.
  5. ^ Rahman, Nadia (27 January 2013). "Khushwant Singh: An Unequivocal Spokesman of Politics in <i>Truth, Love & a Little Malice: An Autobiography</i>". Stamford Journal of English. 4: 111–123. doi:10.3329/sje.v4i0.13492. ISSN 2408-8838.
  6. ^ Tiwari, Rajiv (2020). Delhi A Travel Guide. Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9798128819703.
  7. ^ 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). Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ "A fine balance of luxury and care". Hindustan Times. 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011.
  9. ^ Dutta, Aesha (23 December 2012). "India Gate turns war zone as protests swell". The Hindu BusinessLine Online. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  10. ^ Ghosh, Dwaipayan (28 August 2012). "Limit public access to India Gate: Delhi Police". Economic Times. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  11. ^ PTI (29 July 2019). "Protest held at India Gate to demand justice for Unnao rape survivor". India Today. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Leicester and New Delhi war memorials links ceremonies". BBC News. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  13. ^ a b David A. Johnson; Nicole F. Gilbertson (4 August 2010). "Commemorations of Imperial Sacrifice at Home and Abroad: British Memorials of the Great War" (PDF). The History Teacher. 4. 43: 564–584. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Find War Dead: DELHI MEMORIAL (INDIA GATE)". Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  15. ^ 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 978-0-7287-0304-9.
  16. ^ Gradidge, Roderick (1981). Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate. London: George Allen and Unwin. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-04-720023-6.
  17. ^ "The Indian Princes and the King-Emperor". The Times. 4 October 1930. p. 9.
  18. ^ "King-Emperor's Statue In Delhi". The Times. 3 April 1932. p. 11.
  19. ^ a b c "Delhi Statue Of King-Emperor". The Times. 25 August 1934. p. 9.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i McGarr, Paul (2015). "The Viceroys are Disappearing from the Roundabouts in Delhi: British symbols of power in post-colonial India". Modern Asian Studies. 49 (3): 787–831. doi:10.1017/s0026749x14000080.
  21. ^ a b "Crown over Delhi Statue Removed - George V Memorial". The Times. 14 August 1958. p. 6.
  22. ^ a b "Delhi Statue Of King George". The Times. 21 January 1936. p. 14.
  23. ^ Joshi, Naveen (1997). Freedom Fighters Remember. New Delhi: Government of India. p. 76. ISBN 81-230-0575-X.
  24. ^ India. Parliament. House of the People (1981). Lok Sabha Debates. Lok Sabha Secretariat. pp. 197–.
  25. ^ "Netaji birth anniversary: PM Modi to unveil hologram statue today at India Gate". Livemint. 23 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti: PM Modi to install hologram statue at India Gate today". Business Today. 23 January 2021. Archived from the original on 23 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  27. ^ Gupta, Geeta (10 June 2012). "Keeper of the flame". Indian Express Archive. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  28. ^ Goswami, Col (retd) Manoranjan (30 August 2009). "War memorial". Assam Tribune. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  29. ^ a b Bose, Joydeep (21 January 2022). "In historic move, Amar Jawan Jyoti merged with National War Memorial flame". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  30. ^ Joseph, Josy (7 October 2015). "Cabinet clears Rs. 500 crore for National War Memorial". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  31. ^ Pandit, Rajat (1 January 2019). "Delhi: War memorial ready, 60 years after it was first proposed". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  32. ^ Bhatnagar, Gaurav Vivek (21 April 2018). "National War Memorial Takes Shape Six Decades After Being Conceived". The Wire. Archived from the original on 30 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.


External links[edit]