India has an extensive history that consists of a lot of glory, honor, victories, and wars. Regardless of what era you look at, you’ll find a war that changed the course of history in its own time. Even in victory, one unfortunate loss that every war brings in is the loss of the soldiers that fight in these wars so that the rest of us can live our lives in safety and peace.
As the residents of this country, it’s not just our duty, but our privilege to pay homage to these brave soldiers and remember them for all they have sacrificed. The culture of our country is such that it can be summarized in the saying ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan’. Translation: victory to the soldier, victory to the farmer. It’s no wonder there are some war memorials that are cultural, historical, and architectural wonders in India.
We’ve curated a list of a few of the countless war memorials to visit in India that will give you an intimate perspective of the wars and the soldiers that fought in the same.
1. Darjeeling War Memorial
2. Chandigarh War Memorial
3. Kargil War Memorial
4. IMA War Memorial, Dehradun
5. EME War Memorial, Bhopal
6. India Gate, Delhi
7. Balidan Stambh, Jammu
8. Victory War Memorial, Chennai
9. National War Memorial, Southern Command, Pune
10. Victory at Sea Memorial, Vizag
Located in the middle of the Batasia Loop Garden, this war memorial was built to commemorate the legendary Gurkha warriors and the 76 soldiers of Darjeeling who sacrificed their lives after the Indian Independence in 1947.
The memorial consists of a 37-foot raised platform that is oval in shape. In the center is a triangular-shaped granite cenotaph which is 30-feet in height. At the base of the cenotaph is a list of the names of the soldiers who died, along with the dates. While you cannot click any photos or videos of the memorial, you can grab a glimpse of it from the Darjeeling Toy Train, as it goes around this place on a circular path.
Also read: Darjeeling Travel Guide
Chandigarh War Memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who have bravely sacrificed their lives for the country since independence and has the names of nearly 8459 soldiers from the Army, Navy, and the Air Force inscribed on it.
Located at the Bougainvillea Garden, the monument is a semi-circular structure that has another 22-foot central structure. It has the names of the martyrs inscribed on black granite. The construction of the Chandigarh War Memorial began in 2004, when the then Governor of Punjab, and War Hero, LT. Gen. J.F.R Jacob laid the foundation stone. The construction took twelve years and the war memorial was inaugurated by Former President, Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam.
Also read: 9 Things To do In And Around Chandigarh
Standing proudly on the side of the highway between Srinagar and Leh, the Kargil War Memorial pays respect to the soldiers in one of the most famed wars in India. It’s the one where the Pakistan Army infiltrated the LoC and taken control of the roads between Leh, Kargil, and Srinagar in 1999.
The memorial itself is a pink sandstone wall that has a brass plate with the names of the martyred soldiers on it. Along with the main memorial structure, there is a war museum and a hoisted Tricolour on the premises. Altogether, with the Tiger hills in the background, the Kargil War Memorial will leave you short of words.
Located inside the premises of the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, this war memorial was inaugurated in 1999 by Field Marshal Manekshaw. It was built to pay homage to all the soldiers who have fearlessly given their lives to protect our country.
The structure of the sanctum sanctorum is a statue of a Gentleman Cadet saluting with a sword. Behind the statue are two arches that carried the names of 832 valiant martyrs, who were also alumni of this institute in 1999. As of 2017, there were 847 names engraved on the memorial.
Located in the Arera Hills of Bhopal, the EME War Memorial is India’s first war memorial to have a light and sound show to give the visitors a view of the life of soldiers and leaders. This memorial has some great depictions of leaders like Maharana Pratap and Tipu Sultan.
The main attraction of this 12-acre wide war memorial is the Siachen Glacier exhibit as it lets the visitors experience the extreme cold seen in that region. The sanctum sanctorum is a 62-feet high structure that represents the three branches of the military. The Army is signified by granite, the Navy in grey, and the Air Force in white. This structure is called the Shaurya Stambh and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016.
Arguably the most well-known war memorial in India, we couldn’t help but have India Gate on this list. Inaugurated in 1931, India Gate is a war memorial that pays homage to almost one lakh soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Indian War.
Since then, the triumphal arch of India Gate has been joined by the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the National War Memorial to pay respects to the many martyrs who lost their lives post-independence. Every year, on Republic Day, the government of India holds a rally with the three branches of the Indian Military performing and showing off their valor. However, even on a regular day, you can visit this place and see it lit beautifully in the golden hue of the lighting, with the eternal flame of Amar Jawan Jyoti in the foreground.
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Balidan Stambh, or ‘Pillar Of Sacrifice’, is located in the heart of the city of Jammu, and pays homage to the countless soldiers who have lost their lives since the Indo-Pakistan War in 1947.
The construction of this war memorial started in 2008 after the proposal for a war memorial at the center of the town was passed. The memorial, consisting of a 60-meter high pillar that is shaped to look like a bayoneted rifle, was inaugurated and opened to the public in 2009.
The mesmerizing tower has the backdrop of a black granite wall that has the details of every war fought in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947. To the continuously troubled lands of Jammu and Kashmir, this memorial is a fitting addition that reminds people all over the country of not just the wars we won, but also the brave soldiers we lost.
Located south of Fort St. George, at the beginning of the 13km-long Marina Beach, the Victory War Memorial stands tall. It pays respects to the brave soldiers of the Madras Presidency who lost their lives in World War II. However, the Victory War Memorial also has inscriptions from the 1948 Kashmir Aggression, the 1962 China War, the Indo-Pak war, and Kargil Operation, making it a symbol of respect to soldiers all over the country.
The memorial itself is a circular rock and marble structure, with a huge tricolor, and squat tower in its company. Beyond those, are steps leading to a plaque inscribed with the names of those brave soldiers who lost their lives in the two World Wars, and in some wars later.
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The National War Memorial is the only war memorial in South Asia to be built with people’s money. This memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in the many altercations on Indian borders post-independence. Thanks to the War Memorial Fund raised by the Express Citizen Forum of Pune, the construction of this memorial started in 1997 and was completed in 1998.
Within the complex of the memorial, there is also the National War Museum, which holds a lot of equipment used in wars, like uniforms, guns, medical kits, and vehicles ranging from land vehicles to an actual decommissioned MIG 23 Jet Fighter used in the Kargil War.
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Located close to Ramakrishna Beach, this is a one-of-a-kind memorial dedicated to the martyrs of the 1971 war with Pakistan. The Victory At Sea Memorial was inaugurated in 1996 and consists of a tri-service representation of artifacts and decommissioned equipment from all three branches of the Military.
On the seafront, a T-55 Tank used in the Second World War stands in all its glory to represent the three services. Other artifacts include a P-21 ground-to-ground missile and the RZ-61 missile used in the rehearsal of the Republic Day Parade. Very close to the memorial, there is the INS Kurusura Submarine Museum. It’s a great location to learn about the life of soldiers living in the confinement of a submarine under the water.
While the places mentioned in this article are known for a specific war, we think that they are much more. They are not just representations of a victory or a loss, but the bravery, courage, and ruthless effort of the Indian Military in every aspect of protecting and serving our country. The memorials are a representation of every soldier that stepped into the battlefield, to never come back.
As the residents of this country, it isn’t just our duty, but our privilege to read the names inscribed on each of these memorials and pay homage to them. We recommend you to visit at least one of these places and see them in their own glory. When you do so, take your time and experience the places, and the stories they hold as much as you can. We’re sure you’ll want to visit all the places on this list, as soon as you’re back.
What Is The Tagline Of The Indian Army?
Indian Army - ‘Sewa Paramo Dharma’
Indian Air Force - ‘Nabha Sprsham Deeptam’
Indian Navy - ‘Sham-no Varuna’
How Many War Memorials Are There In India?
There are around 120 war memorials spread across the country of India.
Which Is The Biggest War Memorial In India?
National War Memorial - India Gate is the biggest war memorial in India, consisting of three artifacts and the names of almost one lakh soldiers in total.
Why Do We Have War Memorials?
We have war memorials because they link the past of a place to its present. These memorials also allow people to learn and remember the sacrifices of those who participated in wars in any way, shape, or form.
Which Monument Is Known As The All India War Memorial?
India Gate is also known as the All India War Memorial. In fact, originally it was called Delhi Memorial and was built to commemorate the sacrifice of the Indians during the British era.
Which Is The Oldest Monument In India?
The Ajanta caves located in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra are the oldest monument in India. It dates back to around the 2nd century BC and is a sight your eyes will always behold.
Is National War Memorial Free?
Yes, there are no entry fees to witness the magnificent National War Memorial.
Who Designed The National War Memorial?
Yogesh Chandrahasan, an Indian architect deserves all the credit for designing the stunning National War Memorial.