Where is National War Memorial?
National War Memorial is located in the heart of the capital of India, New Delhi. You can find it adjacent to the famed India Gate. For now the entry points to both the attractions are different but in future they will be merged. The National War Memorial is strategically located and can easily be reached from Central Secretariat, Janpath, Udhyog Bhawan, Mandi House, Khan Market and Pragati Maidan Metro Stations. All these violet, yellow and blue line metro stations are located within the range of 2-3 kilometers. My taxi driver dropped me at India Gate. But then I realized the entrance was not there. I walked down towards the east side of India Gate and it hardly took me 10 minutes to be there.
My Visit to National War Memorial
On Women’s Day, I had a chance to take a complete tour of it, learn about its various features and understand its structure. I am glad I could make it for the special event organized by India Tourism, Delhi. The landscaping of the whole structure gets to the eyes and soul. In the night it looks all the more impressive with all the lights on. The structure sends out simple, solemn and very powerful messages. It is a wonderful addition to the coveted list of our country’s historical and cultural assets. I loved the design, the distinctive thought-process behind every feature of its structure, especially the four concentric circles. Each of them has a special significance – Amar Chakra (immortality), Veerta Chakra (bravery), Tyag Chakra (sacrifice), and Rakshak Chakra (protection). The experience evoked patriotic zeal and lots of gratitude towards the armed forces. I was touched to see thousand of names of martyrs. By the end of the tour, I was emotional, inspired and overwhelmed. I returned home with great memories and a whole lot of respect and admiration for the soldiers of our country.
Must Know – THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE for National War Memorial! It opens at 9 a.m. but evenings are the best time to enjoy the lighting scheme and watch ‘Retreat drill’ that takes place every day. During winters, it closes at 7:30 P.M. and during summers, it closes at 8:30 P.M. Sundays evenings are important. If you can plan your visit on Sundays, that would be the best experience. You will also get to see the ‘Change of Guard Ceremony’ and band display before the Retreat Drill.
There are no guided tours inside. The signages and descriptions on the murals are self-explanatory. It is best to download the NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL APP and you will get all the information related to it. You can also do a self-guided tour with the help of the app.
What is National War Memorial?
It is a greatest temple of the martyrs. It is an epitome of sacrifices made by the soldiers of India. It is a symbol of pride and bravery. It is a dream project of India which was first proposed in 1960. National War Memorial is one-of-its-kind memorial site which has been built to honor all the martyred soldiers who have lost their lives in the wars that have taken place in and after 1947 – Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indo-China War in 1962, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka, Kargil Conflict in 1999 and more. Also, every lost life of a soldier and their sacrifice has been recognized here if they were associated with UN Peace Keeping Missions, relief operations, counter-insurgency strikes, etc. It lists the names of thousands of soldiers who died in the line of duty. The site does not mourn the death of the heroes, but celebrates and honors their glorious lives.
Soldiers protect our country day and night and due to them, we enjoy our freedom and independence. They face tough weather, harsh conditions, life threating situations, and despite all of this, they protect our borders and serve the country in every way they can. And when the time comes, they lay down their life with smiling faces. How often do we think of them? Seldom! This is the most wonderful project ever done for our soldiers and their sacrifices. This is the best way to pay tribute to the martyrs.
For all these years, we all have been paying homage to soldiers at the India Gate but that was built by the British as a memorial to 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in between 1914 and 1921, especially World War I. After 73 years of gaining freedom, this National War Memorial came into being and this one pays homage to the Indian soldiers. It was inaugurated by our Prime Minister on 25th February, 2019.
What is Retreat Ceremony, ‘next-of-kin’ and the change of Guard ceremony?
A ‘retreat’ ceremony takes place every evening at the National war memorial. During this event, the flags of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the national flag are slightly lowered before sunset. The ‘next-of-kin’ ceremony is one where a family member of a soldier who died in the line of duty is present at the National War Memorial and he/she lays a wreath at the Amar Chakra. The latter is part of the retreat ceremony. When the family members or the relatives share anecdotes about the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country, one gets goosebumps. A guard (soldier) stands by the flame day and night. The trio services *Army, Navy and Air Force) shoulder all the duties here and divide the responsibilities among themselves. For one week, if the Army takes care, next week the duty is passed on to the Air Force and then Navy, then again to Army. So this change of duty from one to another is called ‘Change of Guard’.
I loved these significant features about the structure of National War memorial
- The names of 25,942 war casualties, have been inscribed in gold, on granite tablet in the 16 walls in the Tyag Chakra. Tyag Chakra (circle of sacrifice has been made entirely of granite bricks. There is scope for more names to be added.
- Amar Chakra (circle of immortality) comprises of a15-metre tall obelisk and the eternal flame. This eternal flame is similar to India Gate. The flame represents the purity, victory and immortality of the sacrifices of the armed forces.
- The overall structures represents a Chakravyuh, with 16 walls.
- The Param Yodha Sthal is unique, with the idols of the 21 Param Vir Chakra Awardees.
- Tyag Chakra Totems and Veerta Chakra bronze murals are exemplary.
- The Veerta Chakra (circle of bravery) showcases six bronze murals depicting different battle actions. Each mural weighs between 600 kg and 1000 kg.
- The Rakshak Chakra (circle of protection) is the outermost wall. It surrounds the other three chakras. It owns over 600 trees that are symbolic of our soldiers who protect our country day and night.
- The entire stone work is extremely impressive.
- The lights are in sync with the relevance of each wall.
DO YOU KNOW?
- A global competition was launched through MyGov.in portal and the winning design was selected from the entries.
- Also, a whooping 170 crores were spent in the making of it.
Do share your experience after your visit!
More stories from Delhi
Sunny Saturday at Dilli Haat