Brief History of India Gate (All-India War Memorial)

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Brief History of India Gate (All-India War Memorial)

One February 10, 1921 the Duke of Connaught laid the foundation-stone of an All-India War Memorial (popularly known as India Gate) at the southern end of the Central Vista. The possibility of a great Indian war memorial had been accepted as early as January 1917. The design of the arch was approved in March 1920. Sir Edwin Lutyens designed the memorial in the form of a triumphal arch spanning the Kingsway (now called Rajpath), the avenue running down the centre of the Vista.

India Gate has grandeur of its own and is 48.7 meters high. The height of the arch is 42 meters, it inner height is 26.6 meters and its breath is 21.3 meters. The main tunnel, which acts as a bridge for the processional route, is 9.1 meters wide.

The arch commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I. While around 13 thousand names engraved form a memorial to the Indian and British soldiers killed on or beyond the North-West Frontier. The arch was completed in 1931.

Another memorial ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ was added under the arch of India Gate on January 26, 1972 as the nation’s tribute to Indian Jawans who died in the Indo-Pak War of December 1971.

The memorial consists of a base 4.5 meters square on which is a platform 1.29 meters in height. In the centre of this platform is a pedestal 0.96 meters in height on which rests a reversed rifle with a helmet placed on its butt. On all the four sides of the memorial are inscribed the words ‘AMAR JAWAN’ in Hindi.

At each of the four corners of the main platform on which rests the pedestal, burns the eternal flame. On top of India Gate is a 1.2 meters high flame which burns from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Behind the memorial are three 7.3 meters high masts flying the flags of each of the three Services:

  • The Army,
  • The Navy and
  • The Air force.

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