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India to get its first national war memorial; PM Narendra Modi calls it a 'place of pilgrimage'

The National War Memorial is a state-of-art monument spread over an area of approximately 40 acres and is a tribute to Indian soldiers. Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 24, 2019, 05.40 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India will have its first national memorial dedicated to the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice since 1947—The national war memorial in Delhi's India gate circle. 

The memorial which will pay homage to 29542 soldiers, will be dedicated to the nation by Prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening. 

Announcing the development a day ahead PM Modi in his monthly Mann Ki Baat said, "I do believe that for our countrymen a visit to the National War Memorial will be akin to a pilgrimage to a holy place. The National Soldiers’ Memorial is a symbol of the nation’s gratitude to those men who made the supreme sacrifice after we gained Independence."

This is the first national memorial since Independence. Till now there was no memorial at national level encompassing the sacrifices made by India's soldiers since 1947.

The only one was British built India gate which was completed in 1931 to commemorate world war one and third Anglo-Afghan War. January 1972 India added the Amar Jawan Jyoti after the 1971 India Pakistan war as a tribute to personnel killed in the action.

PM called on countrymen to visit the place in a manner as going to a pilgrimage.

He said, "I do believe that for our countrymen a visit to the National War Memorial will be akin to a pilgrimage to a holy place. This place stands testimony to a series of sacrifices of men who laid down their lives for the sake of their country, so that we could live so that the country could be safe & secure, paving the way for development."

The demand for a national memorial has been 6 decades old but got the cabinet approval in October 2015 under the Modi government. The construction for the memorial which is situated in India Gate circle in Delhi started in February 2018. Built at the cost of Rs 176 crore it spans 40 acres and has been built by combining 2 lawns at the India Gate circle.

National war memorial

Structure

The national war memorial consists of four concentric circles which depict the journey of a soldier from coming into being, culminating in his martyrdom. 

At the centre of the circles is an obelisk where the eternal flame is present. The first circle is the Amar Chakra around the obelisk, the second is Veerta chakra which depicts courage and bravery of the Indian soldiers. It is followed by Tyag Chakara which stands for the sacrifice of soldiers and last is Rakshak Chakra which depicts the spirit of security.

The complex is partly subterranean since according to rules the architecture should be such that it should not disturb nearby vistas. It is interesting to know that 22 trees were removed to develop the area for which 715 trees were planted.

A Param Vir Yodha Sthal is located near which have busts of 21 war heroes who got Param Vir Chakra.

Brick with name! 

The Tyag and Rakshak chakra are made up of 16 walls with granite bricks. Each brick has a name of a soldier, his ID, regiment and rank. An app will be available once its dedicated to the nation by which one can type the name of the solider and find the location of the brick. A provision also exists by which new names can be added. For this periodically names will be compiled.

Daily retreat ceremony

The memorial will also have a retreat ceremony daily, which is expected to become a major attraction. Change of guard will take place every Sunday at 9.50 am with a ceremonial wreath laying to commemorate the important days. Though it will be open daily, there are timing, 9 am to 7.30 pm in summers while 9 am to 6.30 pm in winters.

Story highlights

This is the first national memorial since Independence. Till now there was no memorial at national level encompassing the sacrifices made by India's soldiers since 1947.