The India Gate stands in the heart of New Delhi and is a prominent structure that welcomes everyone to the historic city. Most of New Delhi roads seem to converge to this large monument whose architecture drew inspiration from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Today, the India Gate stands in a middle of a large and open garden space.
The India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of Britain’s greatest architects. He also designed several monuments and structures in New Delhi including the Rashtrapati Bhavan which is the official residence of the president of India. Sir Edwin Lutyens was very much involved in planning the city of New Delhi that a large zone in New Delhi is now called Lutyen’s Delhi.
The 42-meter structure of the India Gate is a monument dedicated to the 90,000 soldiers who fought in World War I. The India Gate used to be referred as the ‘All India War Memorial’ where granite and red sandstone were used to support this massive structure. Today thought, the large columns of the structure support the arch where ‘INDIA’ is prominently etched on the top. On the very top is also a large bowl which is supposed to be filled with oil so flame can burn during special events of the city. Unfortunately, the large symbolic bowl has been rarely used.
Within the walls of the gate, a closer inspection reveals the names of the 90,000 soldiers who dedicated their lives for their country. The foundation was laid in 1921 and the work was completed in 1931. In 1971, a shrine called Amar Jawan Jyoti which translates to the flame of the immortal soldier was added. The shrine is actually a cenotaph or empty tomb for the Unknown Soldier whose flames burn on each corner of the cenotaph day and night. Indian Armed Forces also guard the tomb gate 24 hours a day.
During National Holidays, parades around India Gate are always expected. The most notable holiday is every January 26 during India’s Republic Day, where the Prime Minister lays a wreath of flowers to honor the fallen heroes. A grand parade along the Rajpath then showcase India’s Armed Forces’ strength as many visiting heads of state pay tribute to the war heroes by visiting the India Gate.
The India Gate is a popular tourist destination in New Delhi as locals enjoy the nightly walks in the area to quell the summer heat. The India Gate turns into a marvelous sight by night as lights illuminate the beautiful structure. The Rajpath or boulevard leading to the India Gate is then lined with street lights as it adds extravagance to an already magnificent monument.
The area around India Gate is especially lively during the night as it is a great place to observe and experience Indian culture. Visitors can then enjoy the different Indian refreshments being hawked on the streets. Because the India Gate lies in the middle of New Delhi, it is easily accessible using local buses within New Delhi, auto taxis, rickshaws and the metro rail. There are no fees when you visit the area. Although it is open all day and all night, the best time to visit is from seven to nine at night.