Connaught Place

A visit to the Connaught Place market in central delhi- a relic of the colonial era

 

The Britishers were a bunch of aristocrats who liked to splurge resources of the Golden Bird in an extravagant form. The luxurious shopping complex  known as Connaught Place is one such example.

A photo walk was planned to visit Connaught Place. Few of my friends accompanied me for it, and the basic aim was to understand the importance of this historic market and its relevance to this date. On the day of the photo walk we all rendezvoused at Rajiv Chowk metro station for a pleasant evening that followed.

 

Our group ready to rediscover Connaught Place

 

On reaching the surface from underground station you have some part of the arcade in front of you. With its tall white pillars and circular buildings the feeling of aristocracy surrounds you as you take a step in one of the most expensive markets in the world. 

There is no place quite like CP anywhere in the world for its combination of sheer architectural splendour and an increasingly egalitarian shopping experience.

The Connaught Place is  one of the major highlights of  New Delhi, conceived and built by the British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker.

 

A splendid side view of the white colonnades

 

 

A glance of the market

 

Connaught Place, named after the Duke of Connaught after he visited Delhi in 1921, is a 1,100-foot diameter circus “with pure white colonnades, palladian archways, rounded pillars and symmetrical two-storeyed buildings”, in the words of veteran architect-town planner A.K. Jain in his 2010 book ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’. Modelled after the Royal Crescent of Bath, with its imposing Georgian architecture, Connaught Place is a shopping arcade built as two concentric circles.

 

A column depicting Georgian architecture beautifully lit up

 

The Indian flag proudly fluttering in the central park of the arcade

 

Noted conservation architect and town planner, AGK Menon told PTI that the place maybe a market, but it is also an “iconic city landmark” and in many ways linked with the history of  New Delhi.  After the British capital was shifted here from Calcutta in 1911, the building was designed by Robert Tor Russell, who also built the Parliament House. It was completed in 1933. 

Connaught Place, Inner Circle and Middle Circle is also home to several old famous  restaurants, and old film theatres.  Plaza and Odeon are located on radial roads, while Regal and Rivoli are on the Outer Circle.

 

The famous Plaza film theatre

 

Wengers the famous Swiss bakery since 1926

 

The Embassy Restaurant which was established an year after independence, in 1948

 

The Statesman house in the backdrop which is located in the outer circle of CP

The recent decision by the NDMC to make CP a car free zone is a welcome news from the heritage perspective as people would now be able to admire the architectural grandeur of this iconic building complex, which is obscured by huge number of cars and vehicles on a daily basis.

This walk enabled us to look  into the architectural beauty of the 20th century modern India and the wonderful culture and heritage imbibed in the shopping arcade.

 

  • Chayan is an Economics Honors undergraduate student from Delhi University. He is an academic, as well as a lover of sports. His hobbies include playing football and listening to music. He is also an avid quizzer and a Karate Black Belt. He believes in, “Live and Let live”. He appreciates humor, loves to laugh, and have fun in life.

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