History of India gate
India Gate, originally known as the All India War Memorial is a famous monument located in the center of New Delhi, India. It was built to commemorate the former British India Army members who laid down their lives for the Indian Empire in various wars. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens, one of the most famous designers of war memorials who was also the main architect of New Delhi.
The India Gate situated in Delhi,was part of the work of the Imperial War Graves Commission (I.W.G.C), which came into existence in December 1917 for building war graves and memorials to soldiers killed in the First World War
The foundation stone of the All-India War Memorial was laid on 10 February 1921, at 4:30 PM, by the visiting Duke of Connaught in a solemn soldierly ceremony attended by Officers and Men of the British Indian Army, Imperial Service Troops, the Commander in Chief, and Chelmsford, the viceroy. 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”.
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 British 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 honoured with title of “Royal” in recognition of the distinguished services and gallantry of the British Indian Army during the Great War”.
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.”
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.
The India gate, which is illuminated every evening, from 19:00 to 21:30, is a major tourist attraction. Cars, traveled through India Gate until it was closed to traffic. The Republic Day Parade starts from Rashtrapati Bhavan and passes around the India Gate.
The construction of India gate was part of the activities of Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC), which was formed in 1917 for erecting war graves and memorials to soldiers killed in the First World War. The foundation stone of the war memorial was laid in 1921 by the visiting Duke of Connaught in the presence of the members of Indian Army, Imperial Service Troops, and the viceroy. In February 1931, ten years after its foundation, the All India War Memorial was inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Irwin.
Today, India Gate is the foremost tourist attraction in New Delhi, which is illuminated every evening.
Amar Jawan Jyoti
The India Gate is the site of Amar Jawan Jyoti or the Flame of the Immortal Soldier, India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Erected below the Memorial Archway in 1971 following the Bangladesh Liberation War, the structure comprises black marble plinth with an upside down Self-loading rifle, the top of which contains a war helmet bounded by four urns each containing a permanent light from flames which are burning since 1971.
The cornice of the India Gate 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, in capital letters, is inscribed:
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
Inscription on top of India Gate.Names on the India Gate
13,218 war dead are commemorated by name on the India Gate. Due to security reasons access to read the names on the memorial is restricted. The names can be however be seen on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate website, which lists the names with date of death, unit, regiment, place on gate where name is inscribed, location, and other information). The names on the gate include that of a female staff nurse from the Territorial Force, killed in action in 1917