Connaught Place
Kashmiri Gate
Raj Ghat And Associated Memorials

Connaught Place

Connaught Place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centers in Delhi. It is often abbreviated as CP and houses the headquarters of several Indian firms. Its surroundings occupy a place of pride amongst the heritage structures of the city. It was developed as a showpiece of Lutyens' Delhi featuring a Central Business District. Named after the Duke of Connaught, the construction work was started in 1929 and completed in 1933. The Connaught Place of today is one of the most vibrant business districts of Delhi. But with the development have also come certain problems, like dispute over property rights, encroachments, haphazard development, unauthorized construction, traffic congestion and others

Urban Struture

Robert Tor Russell, chief architect to the Government of India designed Connaught Place in 1932 based upon an outline by W.H. Nichollas (the committee's architect from 1913-1917). The area is instantly recognizable on any map of Delhi, being the big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions, like spokes on a wheel. Eight separate roads lead out from Connaught's inner circle, named Parliament Street and Radial Roads 1 through 7. Twelve different roads lead out from Connaught Circus, the outer ring; the most well-known of these is Janpath, the continuation of Radial Road 1. Despite the logically planned area, over time specific shops became frustratingly hard to find due to the various one way streets and heavy traffic. Connaught Place's obvious Georgian architecture is modeled after the Royal Crescent in Bath, England. The central park of Connaught Place, has long been a venue for cultural events, in 2005-006 it was rebuilt after the construction of Delhi Metro station below it. That station, Rajiv Chowk, is the interchange for the Yellow and Blue lines of the Metro and one of the largest and busiest stations in the network. The Connaught Place is famous for its varied restaurants of each culture and community. A person from any community can relish his/her own country foods.

Redevelopment Plan

By the late 2000s, Connaught Place may have lost its old glory but the charm of the market still works on the people. As a part of its 'Return to heritage Project', the New Delhi Municipal Council has prepared a plan to revamp and redevelop this proud landmark of Delhi. The plan includes provision of heritage sensitive signages, engineering improvements of roads, drainage sewerage, water supply and sub-stations etc, development of a traffic management plan, provisions of street furniture's including adequate parking, walkways etc and enhancing the structural stability of all buildings including retrofitting for earthquake resistance. All these components have been identified based on studies conducted by various reputed agencies like SPA, RITES, CMCCC, NTPAC etc.

Kashmiri Gate

The Kashmiri Gate is a gate located in Delhi, it is the northern gate to the historic walled city of Delhi. Built by Military Engineer Robert Smith in 1835, the gate is so named because it used to start a road that led to Kashmir. Today it is also the name surrounding locality in North Delhi, in the Old Delhi area, and a an important road junction as the Red Fort, ISBT and Delhi Junction railway station lie in its vicinity. It was the area around the North gate of the walled city of the Delhi, leading to the Laal Quila, the Red Fort of Delhi, the gate was facing towards Kashmir, so it was named as Kashmiri Gate. The southern gate to the walled city, is called Delhi Gate. When Britishers first started settling in Delhi in 1803, they found the walls of Old Delhi city. They gradually set up their residential estates in Kashmere Gate area, which once housed Mughal palaces and homes of nobility. The gate next gained national attention during the Mutiny of 1857, considered to be the first war of Indian Independence. Indian freedom fighters fired volleys of cannon balls from this gate at the British and used the area to assemble for strategizing fighting and resistance. The British had used the gate to prevent the mutineers from entering the city. Evidence of the struggles are visible today in damages to the existing walls. Kashmere Gate was the scene of an important assault by British Army during Indian rebellion of 1857, during which on the morning of September 14, 1857 the bridge and the left leaf of the Gate were destroyed using gunpowder, starting the final assault on the rebels towards the end of Siege of Delhi. After 1857, the British moved to Civil Lines, and Kashmere Gate became the fashionable and commercial centre of Delhi, a status it lost only after the creation of New Delhi in 1931. In, 1965, a section of the Kashmere Gate was demolished to allow faster movement of vehicular traffic, since then it has become a protected monument by ASI.

St. James Church: St. James Church also known as Skinner's Church, was commissioned by Colonel James Skinner (1778-1841), a distinguished Anglo-Indian military officer, famous for the cavalry regiment Skinner's Horse. It was designed by Major Robert Smith and built between 1826-36.

ISBT: The Maharana Pratap Inter-state bus terminus or ISBT is the oldest and one of the the biggest Inter State Bus Terminals in India , operating bus services between Delhi and 6 states viz. Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan states.

Railway Station: The Old Delhi Railway Station of Delhi, i.e. the Delhi Junction Railway station, built like a fort, stands here, with two opposite sides namely Kashmere Gate, Chandni Chowk. The two localities are linked by an elevated pedestrian bridge called Kodiya Pul.

Metro Station: The Kashmere Gate station of the Delhi Metro,is a junction for the Red Line 1 (Shahdara - Rithala) and Yellow Line 2 (Vishwa Vidyalaya - Central Secretariat) lines. Kashmere Gate also serves as the Headquarters for the Delhi Metro.

GPO: The place also has the General Post Office of Indian Postal Service, which is one of the oldest in the country.

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha university: Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University formerly known as Indraprastha University, the state University of Delhi is also located in Kashmere Gate. It is housed in the building which was formerly DCE or Delhi College of Engineering. The University has plans to shift out to bigger campus and it is unclear if this walled city complex shall remain with University or shall be handed over to Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, which currently shares the building with the University. Also exists close by at Sham Nath Marg, is the Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, established in 1938.

Raj Ghat And Associated Memorials

Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. It is a black marble platform that marks the spot of Gandhi's cremation on 31 January 1948. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. It is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi in India on Ring Road officially known as Mahatma Gandhi Road. A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the walled enclosure that houses the memorial. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi, including the National Gandhi Museum, are located near by.

Raj Ghat

The memorial has the epitaph He Ram, believed to be the last words uttered by Gandhi. The memorial was designed by Vanu G. Bhuta. It was originally designed to reflect the simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi's life. The design that won the government of India invitational competition had the black marble slab surrounded by red earth as none of Gandhiji's ashram residences had any "English lawn". The memorial has gone through a number of design changes since then, a few at the behest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. In recent years, it has become customary for foreign dignitaries visiting India to pay their respects to Gandhi at the Raj Ghat by laying flowers or wreaths on the platform. As a sign of respect, visitors are required to remove footwear before approaching the memorial. A commemorative ceremony is held every Friday. Prayer sessions are held at the Raj Ghat on Gandhi's birth and death anniversaries.

Other Memorials Raj Ghat loosely translates to King Court. Several other samadhis or cremation spots of other famous leaders can be found in the vicinity of Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna. The landscaping and planting of these memorials was performed by Sydney Percy-Lancaster, the Secretary of the Agri Horticultural Society of India, and the last Englishman to hold the post of Superintendent of Horticultural Operations, Government of India. Jawaharlal Nehru's samadhi is to the north of the Raj Ghat and is known as the Shantivan or Shanti Vana meaning the forest of peace. The area has a beautiful park adorned with trees planted by visiting dignitaries and heads of state.

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Last Updated : 23 Mar,2014