King George V Memorial
¤ The Attraction of Cenotaphs
Facing the elephantine arch of India Gate is a classical version of
the chhattri or cenotaph so dear to Hindu kings and the sure symbol of
regality in India. Lutyens perhaps designed it as a token gesture to
keep the King who wanted oriental features happy. But chances are he
would still have preferred to describe it as an open cupola or a
¤ The Construction
Made of cream and pink stone, it is set in a rectangular pool with
fountains and once contained an excellent marble statue of King George
V by C.S. Jagger. However thanks to Indian politicians, who frequently
break out into a rash of wanting to undo history or more aptly its
reminders, the statue was dispatched to Delhis junkyard of
history the Coronation Memorial Park beyond Kingsway camp.
The canopy of course stands unmolested and is decorated with
allegorical sculpture and symbols of kingship. The nautilus shells
symbolize Britains maritime prowess Britain was, after
all, at one time the undisputed queen of the seas. The canopy is a
pleasant counterpoint to the bulk of India Gate and you can frequently
spot pigeons perching on it.
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