Of all the places in Delhi, India Gate has to be my favorite. I feel it has a certain power that takes your breath away whenever you see it, or at least, it does mine. I’m not too sure why but perhaps it’s the pride I feel for the soldiers of my country who lost their lives in the war.
Located in Central Delhi, India Gate is a war memorial that commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British in World War I. It bears the names of more than 13,000 British and Indian soldiers killed in the First World War and the 1919 Afghan war. The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1912.
Ten years later, Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy, dedicated the monument to the nation.
“TO THE DEAD OF THE INDIAN ARMIES WHO FELL AND ARE HONORED 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”
After India attained independence, another memorial, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was added below the arch. A flame burns day and night under the arch in memory of the soldiers who laid their lives down in the Indo-Pak war of December 1971.
No matter what time of the day you go here, there is always a crowd of people. Tourists of course, but also all those who make profit off them, like the ice cream wallas, the photographers eager to click you and your family and of course the usual peddlers who sell all sorts of items from souvenirs to post cards to mini smoking filters! It’s the enthusiasm and the constant bustling of activity that adds to the already pleasent atmosphere. I am always bemused to note how quickly people land up to sell (sometimes irrelevant and out of the blue) products anywhere they see a crowd of people!
Opposite India Gate, down a 2.3 km road is the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the home to the President of India. It was built in 1931 to be the central point of the British power in Delhi (then called the Viceroy’s house). The Rashtrapati Bhavan, like India Gate was designed by a British architect, Edwin Lutyens. Though I haven’t visited it yet, it’s most definitely on my list!
India Gate is one structure that has the ability to make me feel better no matter what. I’m quite certain that I can sit and stare at the structure for hours on end each day and not get bored of it. It is one place worth visiting at least once in your life!