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Connaught Place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centres in New Delhi , India. It is often abbreviated as CP and houses the headquarters of several noted Indian firms. The main commercial area of the new city, New Delhi, occupies a place of pride in the city and are counted among the top heritage structures in New Delhi.
Named after Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught and Strathearn , construction work began in and was completed in A metro railway station built under it is named Rajiv Chowk after Rajiv Gandhi. Prior to the construction of Connaught Place, the area was a ridge, covered with kikar trees and populated with jackals and wild pigs.
Residents of the Kashmere Gate , Civil Lines area visited during the weekends for partridge hunting. Residents of villages including Madhoganj , Jaisingh Pura and Raja ka Bazaar were evicted to clear the area for the construction of Connaught Place and the development of its nearby areas.
The villages were once situated along the historic Qutb Road, the main road connecting Shahjahanabad , the walled city of Delhi now known as Old Delhi to Qutb Minar in south Delhi since the Mughal era.
The displaced people were relocated in Karol Bagh to the west, a rocky area populated only by trees and wild bushes.
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However, three structures were spared demolition. Plans to have a central business district were developed as the construction of the new capital of Imperial India began to take shape. Headed by W. Nicholls , the chief architect to the Government of India , the plans featured a central plaza based on the European Renaissance and in the Classical style.
Connaught Place's Georgian architecture is modelled after the Royal Crescent in Bath , designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between and While the Royal Crescent is semi-circular and a three storied residential structure, Connaught Place had only two floors, which made almost a complete circle intended to house commercial establishments on the ground with residential space on the first floor.
As per the original plan, the different blocks of Connaught Place were to be joined from above, employing archways, with radial roads below them. However, the circle was 'broken up' to give it a grander scale.
Government plans to have New Delhi Railway Station built inside Central Park were rejected by railway authorities as they found the idea impractical, and instead chose the nearby Paharganj area.
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Finally construction work began in , with construction of the Viceroy House present Rashtrapati Bhavan , Secretariat Building , Parliament House , and All-India War Memorial, India Gate were completed by , long after the inauguration of the city in Early commercial establishments belonged to traders from the Kashmere Gate area: Kanter's, Galgotia and Snowhite.
Most of the rulers of the Indian princely states had their local homes in the nearby areas around King's way modern-day Rajpath , and would frequent shops for designer clothes, artefacts, shoes, and pianos.
Regal cinema, the first cinema in Connaught Place, opened around this time and went on to host popular concerts, theatre groups, and ballet performances. Originally established in as Spencers in Kashmere Gate, Wenger's was owned by a Swiss couple and introduced Delhi to pastries and homemade Swiss chocolates , though in its early years it too was patronised mostly by British officers, Indian royalty and some foreign-returned businessmen, for Delhi was still the city of classical taste within the walled city.
Davico's across Connaught Plaza, and the Standard restaurant was popular for decades before fading away. Another old timer, the Embassy Restaurant, opened in The Imperial, New Delhi 's first luxury hotel opened in on Queen's Way, modern-day Janpath and eventually became a haunt for the royalty and a place for political discussions.
It was here that Jawaharlal Nehru , Mohandas K. Residents gradually moved into first floor quarters, which were almost full by , but it was another decade before the plaza became the busy marketplace that it became later, as World War II started and the Independence movement reached a feverish pitch.
Markets experienced dwindling sales, but post-independence business began to increase in the s. Until the s, a Phatphat Sewa , a Harley Davidson rickshaw service, took visitors from Connaught Place to the Red Fort and Chandani Chowk , before it was stopped due to pollution concerns. Stretching up to the Outer Circle, it also came with an adjoining underground parking lot.
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In , it towered over the low-lying and predominantly white Connaught Place and was criticised for being too futuristic, but gradually as other skyscrapers were built on the periphery, the debate faded away. After the introduction of talkies to Indian cinema in , the new medium became a craze and in the s and the 40s, four theatres opened within Connaught Place Plaza: Regal, Rivoli, Odeon and a short-lived "Indian Talkie House" that opened in Connaught Place became the entertainment hub of New Delhi.
The Regal, the first theatre in the area, was opened in by Sir Sobha Singh. It was designed by architect Walter Sykes George and mainly hosted stage performances. In the coming years it hosted Western Classical music artists, Russian ballet and British theatre groups, and soon started morning and afternoon movie shows.
It was owned by director and actor Sohrab Modi until the early s. The Odeon was built in and had the city's second 70mm screen after the "Shiela Cinema" in Paharganj. The Rivoli, close to the Regal, was the smallest theatre in the area.
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Half a century later most of the theatres were still running, although most had changed ownership. The area is instantly recognisable on any map of Delhi as a big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions. Eight separate roads lead out from Connaught Places's inner circle, named Parliament Street and Radial Roads 1 through 7. Twelve different roads lead out from Connaught Circus, the outer ring.
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The best known of these is Janpath , the continuation of Radial Road 1. It is a logically planned area and houses one of India's first underground markets, the Palika Bazaar Municipal Market , named after nagarpalika. Connaught Place's central park has long been a venue for cultural events and is a popular hangout for locals. In —06, it was rebuilt after the construction of the Delhi Metro station below it.
Connaught Place, New Delhi
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. Prior to independence, when Connaught Place was considered the heart of imperial British India, he would hoist the tricolour at the bandstand in Central Park each year on 26 January.
Two of the five terrorist blasts that occurred during the 13 September Delhi bombings were in Connaught Place.
There was also one bomb blast in nearby Central Park. Authorities also discovered two undetonated bombs in Delhi, one located at the Regal cinema complex in Connaught Place. By the late s, Connaught Place had lost much of its old glory, although the charm of the market continued to attract foot traffic. The plan included provision of heritage sensitive signage, engineering improvements of roads, drainage sewerage, water supply and substations, development of a traffic management plan, provisions of street furniture including adequate parking, walkways etc.
The redevelopment work was slated to be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games held at Delhi, but due to huge cost overruns and undue delays,  this deadline was not met.
The Performance Audit Report prepared by Controller and Auditor General, India , on the Commonwealth Games concluded that there were "significant deficiencies in contract management, with consequent avoidable expenditure". Moreover, the mis-management and delays caused great inconvenience to shoppers and shop-owners alike, and led to a decline in trade. Work on the renovation was resumed soon after the Commonwealth Games, and is currently scheduled to meet the new deadline of December By all the six blocks of Connaught Place would be renovated and brought to their original glory.
On 5 January , the Union Urban Development Ministry announced a plan to convert the middle and inner circles of Connaught Place, into an exclusive pedestrian zone, starting February As a result, people driving into the area will now have to park their vehicles at designated parking slots like Shivaji Stadium , Palika Bazaar and then either walk to Connaught Place or use the shuttle bus service.
However, Bicycles will be allowed in the pedestrian zones. This move however does not have any planning as of 24 January and may be totally scrapped as the current infrastructure is insufficient to support the pedestrianisation of Connaught Place, Naresh Kumar Chairman of NDMC Reported Hindustan Times.
Over the years, Connaught Place has been location many films including sequences in Dil Se.. Agrasen Ki Baoli is hidden among the high-rises of Connaught Place.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about a location in New Delhi , India. For other places with the same name, see Connaught Place. Place in Delhi, India. Panoramic view of inner circle and central park in Connaught Place.
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Connaught Place. Central Park, Connaught Place. Main article: 13 September Delhi bombings. This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.
June Retrieved 29 December The Hindu. Retrieved 15 July The Financial Express. Deseret News.
Associated Press. Retrieved 14 July Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 3 January Archived from the original on 2 July Archived from the original on 9 January Retrieved 23 September Hindustan Times, Metro. Archived from the original on 11 February Business Line. Lonely Planet. Archived from the original on 21 May Retrieved 9 February Archived from the original on 23 October Retrieved 19 April The Indian Express.