Awestruck by the towering height of the Qutb Minar? Now get ready to crane your neck at a mammoth tricolour nearly as high.
The 22-metre-wide, 14.6-metre-high national flag, made of specially knitted polyester at a cost of Rs.10 million/Rs 1.crore, will be hoisted 63 metres above the ground in a park in Haryana's Kaithal town, about 150 km from the national capital.
That will place the saffron-white-green flag with the Ashok Chakra in the middle at almost the same height as the top of New Delhi's Qutb Minar, which stands 72 metres tall.
The flag will be hoisted in public for the first time some day in the third week of February. The exact date is still being worked out.
An initiative of the Flag Foundation of India (FFI), an NGO started by parliamentarian Naveen Jindal, the tricolour will be the "largest and tallest in the country", FFI Chief Executive Officer Commander (Retd) K.V. Singh told IANS.
As of now, the tallest spot at which the Indian tricolour flies is a 46-metre flagstaff built by the East India company at Fort St George in Chennai, he added. The foundation plans to apply to the Limca Book of Records for an entry.
"It is an initiative to spread awareness about the national flag. By watching the tallest and largest flag in the country being hoisted, I think people would get curious and are likely to develop a feeling for it," Singh said.
The tapered flagstaff with a base diameter of 3.7 metres has been made of high-tension steel by Bajaj Electricals and is fitted with aviation lights and lightning conductors.
"The flag has a motorised mechanism for hoisting and lowering the tricolour. The process will take 13 minutes," said Singh. An 8-mm thick stainless steel wire will be used for hoisting and lowering the mammoth flag.
A Mumbai-based company has fabricated the 40-kg flag by stitching together three bands of saffron, white and green, each 4.9 metres wide.
After Kaithal, the foundation has plans to erect similar flags in Ladwa, Kurukshetra and Yamuna Nagar in Haryana.
"We have sent a request to the Limca Book of Records to measure the flag so that we can enter the record books," Singh said.
"The flag was hoisted for the first time on a trial basis on Republic Day Monday and we'll hoist it daily in February. The flagstaff has a steel box fitted near the base so that the tricolour lands directly into the box once lowered and does not touch the ground," Singh added. It is considered a sign of disrespect to the national flag if it touches the ground.
Naveen Jindal is known for his passion for the national flag. He fought a decade-long legal battle to get every Indian citizen the right to fly the tricolour throughout the year. Earlier, it could be flown by any citizen only on special occasions such as Independence Day or Republic Day.
(Richa Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com )