From the First Indo-Pak war in 1947, Operation Polo in 1948, Sino-Indian war in 1962 to Third Indo-Pak war in 1971 and Siachen War in 1984, India has been ravaged by war many times over, but it was the Kargil one that was the first televised war viewed extensively by the country.
On this day, 18 years ago, the Indian Army recaptured all the Indian posts in Kargil that had been occupied by Pakistan's army and since then, July 26 has been observed annually in honour of the Kargil War heroes.
In May-July 1999, an armed conflict between India and Pakistan took place in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC). India launched 'Operation Vijay' to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by the Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri terrorists.
More than 520 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives, while the death toll on the Pakistani side was around 450.
With the war clocking 18 years today, the nation is remembering its brave heroes. The Indian Army organised several functions across the country to honour them, while others saluted the bravehearts in their own ways.
To help you mark this Kargil Vijaya Diwas and pay tribute to the great souls, Paytm Travel and Wandertrails have listed down 12 war memorials that you can visit.
1. India Gate - Memorial to Undivided Indian Army soldiers who died during World War I between 1914 and 1921, the India Gate, is located at the heart of India's capital city, New Delhi. About 2.3 kms from the Rashtrapati Bhavan, it is located on Rajpath. India Gate is a war memorial dedicated to honour the soldiers and pay tribute to those who died or were injured during the war. Today, India Gate is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Delhi.
2. Chandigarh War Memorial - Chandigarh War Memorial is perhaps the largest War Memorial of the country. A total of 8459 names of the deceased soldiers are inscribed in this war memorial since 1947. Located in the beautiful Bougainvillea garden of Chandigarh, the war memorial was inaugurated by Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on 17th August, 2006.
3. Tawang War Memorial - A splendid monument, Tawang War Memorial, stands tall amidst the snow-capped peaks at Tawang, in Arunachal Pradesh. The memorial was built as a tribute to the martyrs of the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Locally known as Namgyal Chortan, the 40-feet high war memorial is constructed as a stupa. The memorial reserves names of 2420 Indian soldiers engraved in gold on 32 black granite plaques.
4. Darjeeling War Memorial - Located in Darjeeling, West Bengal, the War Memorial stands as a quite reminiscence of the Gurkha martyrs of Darjeeling, who forfeited their lives for the country in the operations and wars that took place since independence. In 1976, Manish Gupta, the then Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling, constructed the War Memorial to pay a tribute to the 76 brave sons of Darjeeling who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the nation. With photography strictly prohibited, you can catch its glimpse while on the famous Darjeeling Toy Train, as it goes round this place on a circular path.
5. War Memorial, IMA, Dehradun - The war memorial located within the boundaries of Indian Military Academy was inaugurated in 1999 to honour those brave soldiers of the Indian Army who sacrificed their lives, fighting for the country. The face of the main structure replicates the Chetwode Tower. Names of several officers from the academy who have laid down their lives are inscribed here. The sanctum sanctorum has a bronze statue of a Gentleman Cadet carrying a sword.
6. Kargil War Memorial, Drass - Also known as the Vijaypath, Kargil War memorial is a war memorial located in Drass, in the foothills of the Tololing Hill. The memorial is located about 5 km from the city centre across Tiger Hill, Kargil. The memorial is in the memory of the soldiers and officers of the Indian Army who were killed during the 1999 conflict between India and Pakistan. The memorial has a huge epitaph with names of all the officers and soldiers who died in war.
7. Victory At Sea Memorial, Vizag - Victory at Sea War Memorial was built in the year 1996 to pay homage to all Indian Martyrs who lost their lives during the 1971 War with Pakistan It is located near Ramakrishna Beach near to the Submarine Museum and consists of a tri-service representation of artefacts on the seafront. A T-55 tank symbolising the land component, and a fighter plane embodying the power in air, are displayed here, among other exhibits.
8. Eme War Memorial, Bhopal - The EME War Memorial, Bhopal, is first of its kind in India as it has a light and sound facility to narrate stories of bravery of the nation's valiant soldiers, who lost their lives fighting for the nation. An Interpretation Centre has also been set up on the premises, designed as a semi-open congregation space with an information display system, providing a preview to visitors.
9. War Memorial, Chennai - Formerly known as the Cupid's Bow, the Victory War Memorial in Chennai was originally erected to commemorate the victory of the Allied Forces in World War I and later became the victory memorial of World War II in memory of those from the Madras presidency who lost their lives in the war. Situated south of Fort St. George it marks the beginning of the 13 km-long Marina beach.
10. National War Memorial, Pune - The only war memorial erected with the money of the citizens, in South Asia, it is dedicated to the post-independence martyrs. Located in Pune cantonment, the National War Memorial Southern Command was recently renovated with a new lawn, landscaping and pathways for visitors.
11. War Memorial, Jammu - Situated in the state which has been the battleground of several wars, Balidhan Stambh is the first war memorial in India. Balidhan Stambh, which literally translates to 'Sacrifice Pillar,' consists of a memorial pillar that can be seen from different parts of the city. It epitomises the past, the sacrifices and the pride of the Jammu region.
12. Rezang La War Memorial: The war memorial in Gurugram's Palam Vihar commemorates the action and sacrifices of the battalions fighting an outnumbered battle of Rezang La against the Chinese in 1962. It is a symbol of the undying spirit of the soldiers who were battling a lost cause yet bravely laid down their lives for the safety of their nation.