Connaught Place and its Surroundings

A glance at any map of Delhi, drawn after the 1920s, will show clearly what is probably the most prominent landmark of Delhi, the distinctive wheel-like structure of Connaught Place. Although it’s been officially renamed Rajiv Chowk, after India’s former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Connaught Place continues to be referred to by its original, colonial name or by its popular acronym, CP.

While Connaught Place itself is one of the city’s largest and most important commercial and business districts, the area surrounding this hub is equally interesting. Dotted across this stretch are a number of significant buildings (many of which formed part of Lutyens’ Delhi). In addition, there are places of worship, important government offices, and even a few interesting medieval structures. Initially a part of the Delhi Ridge, this area was an expanse of keekar trees, home to jackals and wild pigs.

This was where the rich and powerful of Delhi came to hunt partridge on the weekends and devotees came to worship at the Hanuman Temple. At the Delhi Durbar of December 1911, King George V publicly announced the decision to shift India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi. Along with that came the announcement that a ‘new city’—New Delhi —would be built. Although the royal couple did lay the foundation stone for New Delhi at the place where the Durbar was held (Coronation Park),

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