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New Delhi (Naī Dillī) is the capital of India and an administrative district of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is the seat of all three branches of the government of India, hosting the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, and the Supreme Court of India.
Although colloquially Delhi and New Delhi are used interchangeably to refer to the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), these are two distinct entities, with New Delhi forming a small part of the city of Delhi. The National Capital Region is a much larger entity comprising the entire NCT along with adjoining districts in neighbouring states, including Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad.
The foundation stone of New Delhi was laid by George V during the Delhi Durbar of 1911. It was designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. The new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, by Viceroy and Governor-General Irwin.
Until December 1911 Calcutta was the capital of India during the British Rule. However, it had become the centre of the nationalist movements since the late nineteenth century, which led to the Partition of Bengal by Viceroy Lord Curzon. This created massive political and religious upsurge including political assassinations of British officials in Calcutta. The anti-colonial sentiments amongst the public led to a complete boycott of British goods, which forced the colonial government to reunite Bengal and immediately shift the capital to New Delhi.
Old Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of ancient India and the Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the British Indian Empire, as India was officially named, from Calcutta on the east coast, to Delhi. The Government of British India felt that it would be logistically easier to administer India from Delhi, which is in the centre of northern India. The land for building the new city of Delhi was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894.
During the Delhi Durbar on 12 December 1911, George V, Emperor of India, while laying the foundation stone for the viceroy’s residence in the Coronation Park, Kingsway Camp, declared that the capital of the Raj would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. Three days later, George V and his consort, Queen Mary, laid the foundation stone of New Delhi at Kingsway Camp. Large parts of New Delhi were planned by Edwin Lutyens, who first visited Delhi in 1912, and Herbert Baker, both leading 20th-century British architects. The contract was given to Sobha Singh. The original plan called for its construction in Tughlaqabad, inside the Tughlaqabad Fort, but this was given up because of the Delhi-Calcutta trunk line that passed through the fort. Construction really began after World War I and was completed by 1931. The gardening and planning of plantations was led by A.E.P. Griessen, and later William Mustoe. The city that was later dubbed "Lutyens’ Delhi" was inaugurated in ceremonies beginning on 10 February 1931 by Viceroy Lord Irwin. Lutyens designed the central administrative area of the city as a testament to Britain’s imperial aspirations.
Soon Lutyens started considering other places. Indeed, the Delhi Town Planning Committee, set up to plan the new imperial capital, with George Swinton as chairman, and John A. Brodie and Lutyens as members, submitted reports for both north and south sites. However, it was rejected by the Viceroy when the cost of acquiring the necessary properties was found to be too high. The central axis of New Delhi, which today faces east at India Gate, was previously meant to be a north–south axis linking the Viceroy’s House at one end with Paharganj at the other. Eventually, owing to space constraints and the presence of a large number of heritage sites on the north side, the committee
Sanctuary by Scott Buckley
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