A cenotaph is a tomb or a
monumenterected in honour of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάϕιον ("kenos", one meaning being "empty", and "taphos", "tomb"). Although the vast majority of cenotaphs are erected in honour of individuals, many of the best-known cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the war dead of one country or empire.
The Cenotaph, London
Probably the best-known cenotaph in the modern world is the one that stands in
Whitehall, London. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who conceived the idea from the name of a structure in Gertrude Jekyll's garden [http://www.purtonmagazine.co.uk/2006-04_apr.pdf] , and constructed from Portland stonebetween 1919 and 1920 by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts. It replaced Lutyen's identical wood-and-plaster cenotaph erected in 1919 for the Allied Victory Paradecommissioned by David Lloyd George, and is a Grade I listed building. ["buildings of outstanding or national architectural or historic interest"] It is undecorated save for a carved wreath on each end and the words "The Glorious Dead", chosen by Rudyard Kipling.
The sides of the Cenotaph are not parallel, but if extended would meet at a point some 1 mile above the ground. Similarly, the "horizontal" surfaces are in fact sections of a sphere whose centre is 900 feet below ground. [ [http://www.stpetersnottingham.org/misc/cenotaph.html The Cenotaph - Churches of St Peter and All Saints, Nottingham, England on-line magazine ] ] The joints of the
masonryare all within one-fourteenth of an inch (1.8 millimetres). [ [http://www.memorial-urns.com/Cenotaph_Garden_Marker_353.html Cenotaph Garden Marker ] ]
It is flanked on each side by various flags of the
United Kingdomwhich Lutyens had wanted to be carved in stone. Although Lutyens was overruled and cloth flags were used, his later Rochdalecenotaph had stone flags. In the years following 1919, the Cenotaph displayed a Union Flag, a White Ensign, and a Red Ensignon one side and a Union Flag, a White Ensign, and a Blue Ensignon the other side. On 1 April 1943, an RAF Ensignwas substituted for the White Ensign on the west side of the monument. The flags displayed as of 2007 represent the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force, and the Merchant Navy.
The Cenotaph is the site of the annual national service of remembrance held at 11:00 a.m. on
Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November ( Armistice Day).
Uniformed service personnel (excluding fire and ambulance personnel) always
salutethe Cenotaph as they pass. It was, for example, very noticeably the only salute made by the Royal Horse Artillerydriver of Princess Diana's funeral carriage during that procession; on that occasion he did not salute even the queen.fact|date=April 2008
A replica/miniature model of this cenotaph can be found in
Cookstown, Northern Ireland.
Cenotaphs around the world
Cenotaphs have been erected in many countries around the world since ancient times. It was a common tradition in the ancient world, with many examples built in
Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greeceand across in Northern Europe (in the shape of Neolithicbarrows). The practice is still continued around the world. Lutyens' cenotaph influenced the design of many other war memorials in Britain and the British sectors of the Western Front. The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorialin Dallas is often described as a cenotaph. The Cenotaph in Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kongand the Cenotaph in Singapore were erected in memorial of the war dead in World War I. A cenotaph in Yale University's Hewitt Quad (or Beinecke Plaza) honours the Men of Yalewho died in battle.
The cenotaph concept is by no means confined to
Europe. One of the most famous non-European examples is the concrete Memorial Cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, designed by Kenzo Tangeto commemorate the 200,000 victims of the August 1945 atomic bomb attack.
Victory Square Cenotaph, located in Victory Square in Vancouver, BC, Canadawas built as a memorial to the Canadian soldiers who died in World War I. The India Gateis a war memorial in New Delhicommemorating the Indian dead of the First World War.
Voortrekker Monumentstands in Pretoria, South Africa. The two main points of interest in the building are the Historical Frieze and the Cenotaph Hall. The unique marbleHistorical Frieze is an intrinsic part of the design of the monument and is situated in the Hall of Heroes. The focus point of the monument is the cenotaph. On top of the Hall of Heroes is a dome from where one can view the interior of the monument. It is through an opening in this dome that the sun shines at twelve o'clock on December 16each year onto the middle of the cenotaph and the words 'Ons vir Jou, Suid-Afrika' or Afrikaans for 'We for Thee, South Africa'. The ray of sunshine symbolises God's blessing on the lives and endeavours of the Voortrekkers. 16 December was chosen as it is the date in 1838 that the Battle of Blood Riverwas fought.
Church of Santa Engrácia, in Lisbon, Portugal, turned into a National Pantheon since 1966, holds six cenotaphs, namely to Luís de Camões, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Afonso de Albuquerque, Nuno Álvares Pereira, Vasco da Gamaand Henry the Navigator.
Chhatris (cenotaphs) in India
India, cenotaphs are a basic element of Hindu architectureborrowed from Islam. They are termed chhatris, meaning "canopy", and are found throughout the northwestern region of Rajasthan. In the Shekhawatiregion of Rajasthan, chhatris are built on the cremation sites of wealthy or distinguished individuals. Chhatris in Shekhawati may consist of a simple structure of one dome raised by four pillars to a building containing many domes and a basement with several rooms. In some places, the interior of the chhatris is painted in the same manner as the Havelis.Some of the best-known chhatris in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan are located at the following cities and towns:
Bissau, Rajasthan- The Raj ki Chhatriof the ShekhawatThakurs
Parasrampura- Rao Shekha Ji's descendent Sardul Singh's chhatri.
Kirori- Chhatriof Thakur Todarmal(Ruler of Udaipurwati)
* Ramgarh - Ram Gopal Poddar Chhatri
Dundlod- The beautiful chhatri of Ram Dutt Goenka
Mukungarh- Shivdutta Ganeriwala Chhatri
Churu- Taknet Chhatri
Mahansar- The Sahaj Ram Poddar Chhatri
Udaipurwati- Joki Das Shah ki Chhatri
* Fatehpur - Jagan Nath Singhania Chhatri
Many other chhatris exist in other parts of Rajasthan. Their locations include:
Jaipur- Gaitore is an enclosed area in a narrow valley where the cenotaphs of Jaipur's rulers are located. The cenotaphs of the former rulers of Jaipur consist of the somewhat typical chhatri or umbrella-shaped memorials. Jai Singh Chhatri is particularly noteworthy because of the carvings that have been used to embellish it.
Jodhpur- White marble Chhatri of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II
*Bharatpur- the cenotaphs of the members of the Jat royal family of Bharatpur, who died fighting against the British in 1825, are erected in the town of Govardhan. The chhatri of
Maharaja Suraj Malof Bharatpur has fine frescosilluminating the life of Surajmal, vividly depicting darbar and hunting scenes, royal processions and wars.
*Udaipur-. Flanked by a row of enormous stone elephants, the Lake Pichola island has an impressive chhatri carved from gray blue stone, built by Maharana Jagat Singh.
Haldighati- a beautiful Chhatri with white marble columns, dedicated to Rana Pratap, stands here. The cenotaph dedicated to Chetak, Rana Pratap's famous horse, is also noteworthy.
Alwar- Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri is a beautiful red sandstone and white marble cenotaph of the rulers of Alwar.
Bundi- Suraj Chhatri and Mordi Ki Chhatri, Chaurasi Stambh Chhatri and Nath Ji ki Chhatri are located in Bundi. Rani Shyam Kumari wife of Raja Chhatrasal on the northern hill constructed the Suraj Chhatri and Mayuri the second wife of Chhatrasal on the southern hill erected Mordi Ki Chhatri.
Bikaner- Devi Kund near Bikaner is the royal crematorium place with a number of cenotaphs. The chhatri of Maharaja Surat Singh is most imposing. It has the spectacular Rajputpaintings on the ceilings.
Nagaur- Nath Ji ki Chhatri, Amar Singh Rathore-ki-Chhatri
The region of
Madhya Pradeshis the site of several other notable chhatris:
Shivpuri- Intricately embellished marble chhatris erected by the Scindiarulers in Shivpuri.
Gohad- The Jat rulers of Gohadconstructed the chhatri of Maharaja Bhim Singh Ranaon the GwaliorFort.
Cenotaphs for the missing
Although most notable cenotaphs commemorate notable individuals buried elsewhere, many cenotaphs pay tribute to people whose remains have never been located. One of the most striking cenotaphs to be found in
Arlington National Cemeteryis that of RMS "Titanic" victim Major Archibald Butt, aide to President William Taft, whose body was not recovered after the sinking.
Cenotaphs in art
Cenotaphs have also been the subject of a number of famous illustrations, notably:
* "The Cenotaph to Reynold's Memory" (
John Constable, c. 1833)
* "Elevation for Newton's Cenotaph, Perspective" (
Etienne-Louis Boullée, c. 1785)
* and "The Cenotaph of Jean Jacques Rousseau" (
Hubert Robert, 1794).
Chhatris (cenotaphs) in India
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Shrine of Remembrancein Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
New London School explosioncenotaph [http://www.nlse.org/monument.html Memorial]
* [http://www.cromp.com/work/pdfdocs/Secret.pdf "The Secret of the Cenotaph" by Andrew Crompton, 1999]
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