Often referred to as the largest business, commercial and the financial centers in India, the Connaught Place one of the hottest property in the Middle of New Delhi. Officially known as the Rajiv Chowk, this place is often referred to as CP by Delhiites. Home to headquarter some of the biggest Indian firms, this place is a hotshot property in the hands of Business developers. Officially regarded as the costliest property in India for office space, it is also said that this place ranks an astounding No. 4 for the costliest office space in the entire world. In the year 2013, the Forbes listed the market place in Connaught place in New Delhi as the fifth highest priced market in the world. Known to be a part of the Lutyens’ Delhi, this part of New Delhi was especially developed as the Central Business District.
The history of the place states that the Connaught Place was named after the H.R.H Field Marshal and the 1st Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, thereby getting its name “Connaught”. The construction work for the place started in the year 1929 and it was completed in the year 1933. The place began to attract many companies during the British Raj and thus it started to gain popularity. However, later down the line, Union Minister S.B. Chavan renamed the place from Connaught Place to Rajiv Chowk, which was named after Rajiv Goswami. The outer circle of Connaught was soon renamed to Indira Chowk as well. The area, before it was constructed was covered with kikar trees and the main animals that were found here were the wild pigs and Jackals. However, these animals were got rid of and the villages of Jaisingh, Mashoganj and Raja ka Bazaar were cleared to implement fast construction of the place. However, three structures were spared of demolition in the entire process which included the historical Jantar Mantar, the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place and the Jain temple in Jaisinghpura.
Entertainment in Connaught Place is never a minus point. Ever since the construction, there has been quality entertainment in the Connaught Place. One of the first inception of theatre was done by Regal cinema, /which was then followed by Rivoli and Odeon. These groups went on to put up popular concerts and other ballet dance performances which made these groups pretty famous in the Connaught Place in the late 1930’s. Slowly after the advent of these groups, small time snack facilities started popping up in the area and it became a huge star attraction to the general public. With the advent of the United Coffee House, Kwality and other Mughal and Continental restaurants around the Inner circle of the Connaught Place, the Place started to become the Business center of the town. One of the first shops and the most famous of them all is the Wenger’s confectioners, who supply original Swiss made chocolates and confectioneries to the city of New Delhi.
Soon after the advent of these restaurants in the Connaught Place, richness started to symbolize the standard of living among Delhiites. One of the first luxury hotel that popped up in the city was The Imperial in 1931. This hotel was regarded as the symbol for royalty among people and politicians, who held their meetings there. As a matter of fact, it was here that the discussion about the partition of India took place and both India’s and Pakistan’s leading men including Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Mountbatten, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi met to discuss the sensitive issue of birth of Pakistan.
Today, Connaught Place is one of the most recognised and crowded place in New Delhi. When viewed from a map, this place stands out to form a circle in the middle of New Delhi and looks like a circle with spokes in it to the human eye. It is recognised by almost everyone when viewed from a distance. The inner circle of the Connaught Place is separated from the outer circle, also known as the Connaught Circus by 8 different roads. The Connaught Place also houses the Palika Bazaar, which is the first underground market in India. In between the Inner Circle and the Outer Circle lies the Central Park of Connaught Place, which is home to some of the famous cultural events in New Delhi. In the year 2005, the Central Park was cleared for the construction of Metro and later the Park was given a revamp and reopened to the public. The station in the Central Park, known as the Rajiv Chowk Station is the interchange for the Delhi Metro which houses the Blue and Yellow lines and it is one of the busiest and the largest stations in the Metro network. Starbucks Coffee opened its first outlet in New Delhi in the Hamilton House in Connaught Place.
The revamp project of the Connaught Place was taken up before then 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. However due to the cost overruns, it was not completed on time and the renovation works were stopped. Soon after the Commonwealth Games, the renovation works were completed and a global art project by the United Buddy Bears was presented in Connaught Place in 2012.