Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
New Delhi, India
December 21, 2010
The main road here is Rajpath (erstwhile King’s Way), connecting the President’s Estate, between the secretariat buildings, past Parliament House, and down to the majestic memorial arch known as India Gate. India Gate sits in the centre of lawns that spread in a vast hexagon. Along the border of this hexagon were built, simultaneously with the other buildings of Lutyens’s Delhi, palaces for the Indian princes who supported the British: the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharajas of Patiala, Jaipur, Bikaner and Jodhpur, and others. In the days of the British, this area was called Princes’ Park; today, the palaces are owned by the government and are given over to government departments. Patiala House, for instance, is a judicial court; Jaipur House is the National Gallery of Modern Art, and the headquarters of Northern Railway is in Baroda House.
And bringing them all together is India Gate. The foundation stone for this structure was laid in 1921 by the Duke of Connaught, and construction took a further ten years. Looking strikingly like Paris’s Arc du Triomphe, India Gate is made of buff-gold sandstone and stands 42 mt high. Across the front of the arch, at the top, is inscribed the dedication:
To the dead of the Indian armies, who fell and are honoured in France and Flanders, Mesopotamia and Persian East Africa, Gallipoli, and elsewhere, in the Near and the Far East, in sacred memory also of those whose names are here recorded and who fell in India on the North West Frontier during the Third Afghan War.
Also engraved across the arch—along the sides, for instance—are the names of thousands of soldiers of the Indian army, both Indians as well as British, who died in war.
Under the arch of India Gate burns the eternal flame, guarded 24 hours a day by soldiers of the army, navy and airforce, two men at a time. A heavy chain forms a circular barricade around the arch itself, so visitors cannot actually go right up to the eternal flame.
Beyond India Gate, in the middle of a shallow square pool of water, stands a domed canopy made of red sandstone. This originally held a white marble statue of King George V, but when India became independent, that was removed (the statue was taken away to Coronation Park, also in Delhi). Thankfully, attempts to either destroy the canopy or to have a statue of Mahatma Gandhi installed under it have been shot down.
India Gate is open to visitors all through the day and night; there are no charges for visiting or taking photographs. Unless you like crowds, try not to visit on a weekend or after sunset on weekdays: that is when hordes of Delhiites descend on India Gate to eat ice cream, stroll about, have little picnics, or generally indulge in a family outing. Around sunset, though, is also when you just may get lucky and see a performance at India Gate: the last time we visited, the pipers and drummers band of the Border Security Force was doing a show for the force’s senior officers. And, since it’s all ‘open air’, bystanders could watch, take photos or videos, and generally enjoy the show.
Delhi: Ten Sights to See for Free,
Celebrating 100 Years of New Delhi
May 2, 2010
Gravesend, United Kingdom
March 22, 2010
From journal Delightful Delhi
Northampton, United Kingdom
April 8, 2009
From journal Major Delhi Attractions
December 1, 2008
The walls of Shahjahanabad were pierced by thirteen gates (a fourteenth was later added by the British). Nearly all the gates were named for the direction they faced: Kashmiri Gate faced faraway Kashmir; Lahori Gate faced Lahore; Ajmeri Gate faced Ajmer; and so on. Today, except for four gates, none remain.
One of the gates that still stands (the others being Ajmeri Gate, Kashmiri Gate and Turkman Gate) is Delhi Gate. This, by the way, also follows the rule for other gates named after a direction: Delhi, in Shahjahan’s time, referred to the old cities of Delhi—all of which lie south of Shahjahanabad. The gate faced what was, in the 17th century, `Old Delhi’.
This is a solid-looking gate, built on what’s now an oblong traffic island on Netaji Subhash Marg. Heavy grey quartzite comprises the bulk of the gateway, which has two faceted bastions at either corner. In the centre is the arched gateway, which in earlier times would’ve been closed with heavy iron-bound wooden doors, guarded by soldiers.
The gateway has minor decorative features: it’s dressed with red sandstone, and you can still see signs of spare carving: little medallions and bosses, niches, and even a row of battlements atop the gate. The battlements have loopholes that could be used to fire from.
Delhi Gate was one of the many historic sites that were occupied by refugees from Pakistan after the harrowing partition of India in 1947. Looking at files in the Delhi Archives a couple of months back, I saw an irate letter from the Assistant Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India, to the Chief Commissioner regarding Delhi Gate: "...everywhere here and there heaps of refuse and peelings mixed with overripe eatables stink badly in the corners; also the smoke coming out of their improvised ovens has defaced the facades spotted here and there with spitting of betels... Some of the headstrongs amongst the refugees have fitted door leaves... and raised unsightly wooden stalls dwindling and cramping upon the aesthetics about these monuments. I shall be grateful if you will kindly arrange to evict these people."
The refugees are gone and Delhi Gate is a protected monument today, but it still breathes history!
From journal Daryaganj: Exploring Mughal and Colonial Delhi
Colombo, Sri Lanka
June 11, 2007
From journal India! India! India!
April 13, 2006
India gate is a fine 42m archway built to commemorate the lives of over 90,000 Indian soldiers who were killed in the First World War. All the names have been carved onto the memorial and the eternal flame, which once was on top of the arch burns permanently guarded now under the archway. Behind the main arch is a smaller canopy, which at one time housed a statue of King George. This was removed after Independence Day in 1929.
On January 26 each year, Republic Day, there’s a large procession down the King’s Road with decorated elephants, camels, cows, horses, and with representatives wearing traditional costumes from every single state in India. There’s dancing and general merry-making, and I guess it’s a spectacular sight. The large parkland around the arch is a popular picnic area in the summer months and the large fountains, redundant at the time of our visit, are fully operable in the summer.
Approximately 2½km down the road is the Presidential Palace and Parliament buildings. The Palace was built by the British Government and was the official home of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India. This grand home is set in 6 acres of splendid parkland, and when Mountbatten was in residence he employed 418 gardeners and a further 50 boys to chase away the birds and the butterflies. Unfortunately, the gardens were not open for viewing – you need to be there in February. The ornate iron gates with the stone elephant sculptures watch over the King’s Road, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were somewhere in the centre of London. This sector is heavily guarded, and although we didn’t see any signs prohibiting photography, our guide was insistent that we shouldn’t "snap" the parliament buildings, and he particularly pointed out the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Food. We observed the warning and complied 100%. However, there is no restriction on taking photos of the Presidential Palace or, indeed, towards Parliament from the Palace gates. The roads close to Parliament are dotted with open park spaces, formally laid-out rose gardens, and surprisingly huge numbers of large bungalows set in huge grounds. These were originally occupied by high government officials, but nowadays they are either privately owned or being acquired by hotel chains for demolition and re-development. The area is also packed with foreign embassies, and at one point it was like watching a tennis match as we turned our heads to look at the embassy being named by our guide. I don’t think I’ve seen before so many grand looking embassy buildings in such a small geographical area!This area of Delhi is well maintained and free from litter – a stark contrast from the regions we’d see as we’d travelled from the airport and around Delhi’s train station. People have told us that the centre of Delhi is even worse but we didn’t have the time, or the inclination, to check that out!
From journal A Couple of Days in Delhi
London, United Kingdom
July 28, 2000
From journal Delhi - exciting, vivid, and hot!