Bringing back the old charm to CP


It was Britain’s addition to the famous bazaars of Delhi during colonial era in 1933, quite different though from the narrow, congested ones of old Delhi. Connaught Place thus over the years became main commercial hub of the city.
According to the historical texts, before Connaught Place was built, people from the Walled City, Nizamuddin and Mehrauli used to come here for partridge shooting for it was a wilderness with a profusion of babool trees. In 1857 many of the so-called mutineers hid here after escaping from Shahjehanabad via the Delhi, Ajmeri and Turkman gates, until they could escape to the Punjab, Rajputana or the United Provinces.
In these 75 odd years, the British built Connaught Place has lost its sheen and granduer. So, the upcoming Commonwealth Games have come as a boon for this market. NDMC was long planning for a true makeover to bring back lost glory and lustre. As a part of its ‘Return to heritage Project’, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has prepared a plan to revamp and redevelop this proud landmark of Delhi.
“The idea is to bring the glory back to CP,” says Anand Tiwari of the NDMC. However, everyone does not seem pleased by the renovation work which was completed on the pilot basis in C-Block of CP.
“Restoration is a good aim but it’s been terribly executed,” Devinder Khanna, owner of New Delhi Stationary Mart says. “There’s almost no effort in preserving heritage and traditional look of CP,” he added.
‘Return to Heritage Project’ includes provision of heritage sensitive signages. engineering improvements of roads, drainage, sewerage, water supply and sub stations etc., development of adequate parking, new look walk ways and more.

Renovated Connaught Place will look like this

Renovated Connaught Place will look like this

However everyone does not seem to be happy with the ongoing restoration work. There has been huge debate over flooring of the verandahs of the heritage buildings in CP. While Delhi Urban Arts
Commission (DUAC) advocated that sandstone be used to re-develop the area, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) has opposed this said Sandstone flooring would be difficult to maintain and granite should be used instead. Granite flooring was used in the C-Block pilot project.
“The sandstone flooring in B-block has already degraded though the it was changed only a few months back. Sandstone is porous and is difficult to clean. We want granite flooring as used in C-block, but it should not have any design and should be of uniform colour,” NDTA president Atul Bharghav said.
Conceived as a ambitious project, the “redevelopment of Connaught Place” implies a complete renovation of all blocks, and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has said time and again that its deadline remains 2010, before the Commonwealth Games get underway.

Credits: NDMC Website for Renovated CP Image & “In the corridors of time” by R.V. SMITH for Historical References

— Gaurav Shukla


~ by Fotoramus on October 5, 2009.

2 Responses to “Bringing back the old charm to CP”

  1. Like the first image – wish you could shoot a perspective from a tall building – you think thats possible? It will be great of you can document all the old sign boards of CP – if things are going to change, then among the first to go will be the signage – they’ll want to get boring, characterless and uniform typage etc

  2. waise mujhe niche se 2 n 5 bhi achcha laga.last waale me plaza ka naam kyun cut kar diya?

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