The National War Memorial is a monument construct by the Government of India in the vicinity of the India Gate, New Delhi, to honor its Armed Forces. New Delhi’s National War Memorial spread over 40 acres of land, east of the Amar Jawan Jyoti and in India Gate complex.
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Architecture and Design
It draws inspiration from the ‘Chakravyuh‘ formation. The main structure in the form of four concentric circles, each chakra signifying different values of the armed forces. Let’s get into:-
Rakshak Chakra, National War Memorial
Firstly in Rakshak Chakra 600 trees planted in outer chakra that represents the soldiers who protect the country at borderlines. Rakshak Chakra also called (Circle of Protection).
Secondly in the Tyag Chakra (Circle of Sacrifice) made of granite bricks with names of 25,942 heroes. Their rank and regiment, engraved in gold. Besides soldiers who was a martyr in wars of 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999.
The names of heroes who was martyr while on Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka are also inscribed at the Tyag Chakra.
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Thirdly the Veerta Chakra (circle of bravery) is about the six important battles of the army, air force, and navy. Which is depicted in bronze in gallery walls about the battles Indian forces have fought.
After that, the Amar Chakra (Circle of Immortality) is the innermost circle. It has a 15.5m tall granite obelisk with an eternal flame to pay homage to the heroes who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
The construction of the memorial is based on granite and sandstone, which were transported from Rajasthan. The entire stonework of the memorial was done by Star Mercantile of Kishore Kapur, including the obelisk.
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22 trees were cut to build the memorial and 715 saplings were planted to replace them.
Param Yodha Sthal
In addition next to the main memorial lies the Param Yodha Sthal. A site that pays homage to the Param Vir Chakra Awardees with bronze busts dedicated to each one of them with stories of their valor. And this place on lush green pathways.
National War Museum
A War Museum also constructed in the Princess Park area. The Princess Park is a 14-acres area north of India Gate. National War Museum and Memorial are connected by a subway.
Names of martyrs during 1947–48, 1961 (Goa), 1962 (China), 1965, 1971, 1987 (Siachen), 1987-88 (Sri Lanka), 1999 (Kargil), and similarly in other operations such as Operation Rakshak, are engraved on the walls.
It is not India’s first war memorial
There are many more War Memorial constructs before this Memorial, Delhi. Chandigarh has a war memorial with names of 8,459 martyrs etched on it. Pune Cantonment has the National War Memorial Southern Command, dedicated to martyrs of wars fought after Independence.
Tawang, Bhopal, Visakhapatnam, Darjeeling, and Drass are some of the other places where you can pay homage to India’s martyr soldiers.
And the most famous of them all is India Gate in New Delhi. Which is a tribute to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army, fell during various campaigns before Independence.
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Proposal to Completion
1960: The proposal for this War Memorial was first made; the demand repeated several times in the decades that followed.
2012: Defence Minister said that Memorial will be constructed at India Gate, but activists oppose the choice of site.
2015: The government had approved the project for building a National War Memorial at C-Hexagon and a National War Museum at Princess Park near India Gate in 2015 in memory of soldiers who laid down their lives post-Independence.
2016: International competition was held to decide the design of the Memorial.
2017: In March, the jury led by architect and planner Christopher Benninger picked entry by Yogesh Chandrahasan of WeBe Design Ltd.
2018: NCC Ltd, Hyderabad began construction in February with Chandrahasan as Project Consultant. Yogesh Chandrahasan who designed the project said –
“The whole concept is based on the thought that the war memorial should be a place where we don’t mourn the death, but celebrate the life of the soldiers and pay respect to the sacrifices made by them.”
2019: 25 February 2019 – The National War Memorial was inaugurated on 25 February 2019
Entry Fee – Timing
The entry fee of the National War Memorial is free. So you do not have to pay for anything.
You can visit the National War Memorial from 9 am to 6:30 pm (November to March) and from 9 am to 7:30 pm (April to October).
How to Reach
Delhi is a state well connect through metro and state-run buses. The nearest metro stations to the National Museum in Central Secretariat or the Udyog Bhavan Metro, both of which are on the yellow line. And from there local Rickshaw available to India Gate.
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