The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was built in 1931. Originally known as All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the Indian Empire, or more correctly the British Raj in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is composed of red and pale sand stone and granite.
Originally, a Statue of King George V had stood under the now-vacant canopy in front of the India Gate, and was removed to Coronation Park with other statues. Following India's independence, India Gate became the site of the Indian Army's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, known as Amar Jawan Jyoti (The flame of the immortal soldier).
Burning in a shrine under the arch of India Gate since 1971 is the Amar Jawan Jyoti (the flame of the immortal soldier) which marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The shrine itself is a black marble cenotaph with a rifle placed on its barrel, crested by a soldier's helmet. Each face of the cenotaph has inscribed in gold the words "Amar Jawan" (Immortal Warrior).
This cenotaph is itself placed on an edifice which has on its four corners four torches that are perpetually kept alive. It was unveiled in 1971. After the Indo-Pak war of 1971, The then Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi paid homage on behalf of the whole nation on the eve of 23rd republic day (26 January 1972).
Today, it is customary for the President and the Prime Minister, as well as visiting Guests of State, to pay homage at the site on occasions of State ceremonies.
And specially on each Republic Day, 26 January, the Prime Minister pays homage to the soldiers along with Heads of Armed Forces, before joining the annual parade at the Rajpath. It is noteworthy here that the President of India with the chief guest do not get involved in this ceremony on this day.
The flags represent the 3 Indian military forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), and a soldier from each force guards the gate and tomb for 24 hours, alternating forces every day.
Till 1920s, the Old Delhi Railway Station served the entire city and the Agra-Delhi railways line cut right through what is today called Lutyens' Delhi and the site earmarked for the hexagonal All-India War Memorial (India Gate), on Kingsway (Rajpath), eventually the line was shifted along Yamuna river and open in 1924, and the construction the memorial site could begin. The New Delhi Railway Station was opened in 1926, ahead of the inauguration of the city in 1931.
The 42-metre tall India Gate is situated such that many important roads spread out from it. Traffic passing around India Gate used to be continuous until the roads were closed to the public due to terrorist threats.
The lawns around Rajpath throng with people during the evening, when the India Gate is lit up. Ice cream and street food vendors come out during this time and it becomes a popular picnic venue for families.
The India Gate hexagon complex covers approximately 306000m² in area with a diameter of about 625m.
The Republic Day Parade starts from Rashtrapati Bhavan and passes through India Gate to reach Red Fort.