India Gate | Attraction Guides | History Hit

India Gate

Delhi, India

Sarah Roller

19 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Mukul Banerjee / Shutterstock.

About India Gate

The India Gate is a war memorial in the style of a triumphal arch, designed by the English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It stands in New Delhi, India.

History of the India Gate

Commissioned as part of the Imperial War Graves Commission to remember the 70,000 soldiers from the British Indian Army who lost their lives during the First World War, the foundation stone for the memorial was laid in February 1921, by the visiting Duke of Connaught.

Designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who had worked extensively both in New Delhi and on war memorials in Europe, it has been described by some as a reworking of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is 138 foot tall and 38 meet wide, built on a base of red Bharatpur stone.

In 1931, the memorial was inaugurated by Lord Irwin, and remains an important focal point in the city today. It is often used as a focal point for contemporary protests, and several have started at the India Gate in recent years.

India Gate today

The India Gate today is at the centre of a large roundabout: cars can no longer pass under the gate, but instead go round it. It remains one of Delhi’s most visited tourist attractions, and there are plenty of street hawkers around selling their wares. It’s illuminated every evening between 19:00 and 21:30, which many visitors enjoy seeing.

The names of 13,218 war dead are inscribed on the memorial, although it’s difficult to see them today as access to the memorial itself is restricted due to security concerns. The full list of names can be found online however.

Under the gate you might spot Amar Jawan Jyoti, otherwise known as the flame of the immortal soldier. This was added in 1971 to commemorate the Indian soldiers martyred during the liberation of Bangladesh. Wreaths are placed there every Republic Day, Infantry Day and Vijay Diwas.

Getting to the India Gate

India Gate is at the heart of Lutyens’ New Delhi and remains a focal point in the city. It’s not desperately close to any of Delhi’s other major tourist attractions, although it does remain a popular area for visitors to stay. It’s easiest to get a tuk-tuk there, although beware extortionate prices being quoted when you try and make your way onwards!

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With a history dating back to the 10th century, and the 3rd largest city in the world today, Delhi remains a popular starting or finishing point for travellers exploring Northern India. Beyond the chaos and the smog, Delhi is crammed with rich and varied historic sites which help tell the story of this remarkable city.