Connaught Place (Popularly referred to as CP) was built in 1933. The construction started in 1929 and took four years to be completed in 1933. It was named after the Duke of Connaught, a member of the British royal family, third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Robert Tor Russell designed the market in collaboration with WH Nicholls. Before this Connaught Place was a ridge covered with kikar trees and inhabited by jackals and wild pigs and was visited by residents of Kashmiri Gate and Civil Lines areas during the weekends for partridge hunting and now it has become the favourite shopping haunt for many. After Independence, it was renamed as Rajiv Chowk, but the name Connaught Place hasn’t faded out.
Robert Tor Russell built other structures in Delhi, like the eastern and western courts, Teen Murti House, Safdarjung Airport, National Stadium.
Connaught Place acts as an entry point to the whole of Lutyens’ Delhi. Being the Central Business District of Delhi, Connaught Place is the main shopping and recreational centre of Delhi. It is believed the Connaught Place was constructed as a display of power
Initial design ideas:
It is also interesting to note that it was proposed during the construction of Connaught Place that a railway station be built inside the Central Park which in the middle of the inner and outer blocks but this was rejected because it was thought the shopper should be able to relax in the park and today, there are many events that take place in the Central Park like concerts, laser shows etc. The railway station came to be built in the nearby Paharganj area while Connaught Place is the busiest metro interchange station today.
Veteran town planner and architect, AK Jain describes Connaught Place as a “ 1,100-foot diameter circus with pure white colonnades, palladian archways, rounded pillars and symmetrical two-storeyed buildings. The market was designed as a double-storeyed structure with an inner, middle and outer circle with seven radial roads connecting it with other parts and the ground floor was to be commercial, and the first floor was to be residential. Today, the market is entirely retail.