Empty Canopy, Delhi
Just a few meters away from India Gate, there is a beautiful canopy or domed kiosk, with a roof of red sandstone, under which the marble statue of George V once stood. The canopy was also designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was built in 1936. The statue has been removed from beneath the canopy to the Coronation Memorial Park in North Delhi. The emptiness of the canopy is symbolic of the British retreat from India.
The empty canopy besides India gate once housed a statue of king George the fifth. However, soon after independence, the `symbol of imperialism' was removed and the statue was relegated to a place somewhere on the outskirts of town (Coronation park).
The canopy has remained empty for many years now, and it has been in the news many a time- from the time when a life-size statue of mahatama Gandhi was comissioned by the government to be placed in the empty space, and then again more recently, a plan to possibily of dismantle it altogether. It survived the attempt at dismantling- thanks to the timely intervention of the courts and a public interest litigation filed by groups of concerned people...
The India gate has become one of the landmarks that identify Delhi, the canopy on the other hand has been thru tougher times!
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 baldachino.
Close to the India Gate is an empty canopy, it used to have a statue of King George V in it but this was removed some years ago. There is a great deal of discussion about putting a statue of Mahatma Ghandi in it but as yet, and no doubt for some time to come, no decision has been made
Even without any statue it is a very elegant structure