Towering over lush green grass, Delhi’s India Gate is a sight to behold. But if you get the feeling that you’ve seen it before, it’s probably because you have. Or at least something a bit like it. Designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, the India Gate was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and was built as a memorial to Indian soldiers who lost their lives in 20 th century wars.
This magnificent structure rises above its surroundings, and is even more impressive at night. Uplighters bathe the Gate in an iridescent golden glow, and sometimes in colour depending on the time of year.
As you walk up to it, your eyes slowly begin to make out the intricate designs on the stonework, with the words engraved at the top of the monument gradually becoming legible. This is one monument that brings several episodes of India’s history to light. Below the Gate burns an eternal flame – the Amar Jawan Jyoti – in honour of those who died in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
You can really feel the weight of history here – the Gate’s sense of gravitas and grandeur certainly takes your breath away. The sheer size of it – it’s 42m high – is enough to make you stop and gasp. But what makes you keep on looking are the carvings. Alongside the beautiful engravings on the creamy stone, there are thousands of names – it’s worth taking the time to gaze up and acknowledge their
As an unofficial symbol of Delhi, a trip to the city would be incomplete without seeing the India Gate.
You’ll get a glimpse of it on your full day tour of Delhi, but it’s worth returning to see it properly, as the experience is as much about the lively surrounding area as it is the monument itself.
As a popular hangout spot for Delhiites and tourists alike, it’s busy – people are trying to sell you things on every corner – but it’s a lovely place to people-watch and feel part of the local street culture.
Bring a picnic, or grab yourself a bhutta (sweetcorn) and chuski (crushed ice lolly) from one of the many street vendors in the surrounding gardens, and spread out your rug on the luscious grass.
Or just chill by the fountain. Watch children flying kites, or join in with a game of cricket if you have any energy left – more often than not, there’s a match going on.
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India Gate is in eastern New Delhi, surrounded by roads that are often heaving with traffic, so it’s easy to get a rickshaw or taxi. But a good tip is take the metro and get off at Central Secretariat if you’re up for a scenic stroll along the Rajpath, a walkway to the west of the Gate that gives you a great view as you approach it. If you’d rather not walk that far (it takes about 40 minutes), get the bus to Akbar Road, a mere five-minute trot to the Gate.
India Gate is open to visitors all dayevery day. To really see it at its best, go at sunrise or sunset. It’s cooler and less busy in the early morning, and the slanting sunlight makes the monument look truly spectacular. The evening is an even better time to go, as you can watch the vivid colours of the sunset sinking behind the monument. Plus it’s uplit every day between 7pm-9.30pm, giving the whole area a truly magical feel.
If you’re in Delhi at the end of winter, make sure you go to India Gate on 26 January to take in the Republic Day Parade along the Rajpath.
India Gate is in the middle of a public space, so is totally free to visit.
There is no specific dress code, but it is always good to dress respectfully.
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