Heritage & Monuments

India Gate

India / Asia

The India Gate is a war memorial across the Rajpath, at the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis of the city.  Officially called Delhi Memorial, it was originally called the All-India War Memorial. It is a monumental sandstone arch, dedicated to the 70,000 troops of British India who died in wars fought between 1914 and 1919.  India Gate is one of many British monuments built by order of the Imperial War Graves Commission (later renamed the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). The architect was Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), the British architect responsible for the overall planning of New Delhi.  Lutyens declined to incorporate pointed arches or other Asian motifs in his design but strove instead for classical simplicity. The result is often described as similar in appearance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. On the rooftop above the archway is a broad shallow domed bowl which was intended to be filled with flaming oil on ceremonial occasions.  No fires have been set on the rooftop in recent years, but four eternal flames are now sheltered at the base of the structure.

The cornerstone was laid in 1921 by HRH the Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria.  Construction of the memorial was completed in 1931. 

Nearby is the Canopy, also designed by Lutyens, a 73-foot cupola, designed in 1936 as a memorial to the King-Emperor, George V, who had died in January that year.  A marble statue of the King was removed in 1968.  The King’s statue was moved to a plinth in Coronation Park, near Nirankari Sarovar, where the Delhi Durbars took place.

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