Today, Delhi completes its eighty six years of being the capital city of India. The foundation stone of New Delhi was laid by George V, Emperor of India, during the Delhi Durbar of 12 December 1911. Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin inaugurated Delhi as the capital of British India, on 13 February 1931.
The city was designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The Statesman had covered the news eighty six years ago today and shared the pictures taken during the celebration. Before Delhi, Kolkata remained the capital of India till 1911. As Delhi has remained an important location for political and financial subjects for many Indian emperors, therefore, in the early period of the 1900s the British administration thought of changing the National capital of the British Indian Empire from Calcutta to Delhi.
Another important reason for shifting the capital to new delhi was that Calcutta was located in the eastern coastal part of the country, whereas, Delhi was located in the northern part. British rulers found ruling India would be better and easier from Delhi than Calcutta.
The idea was very well accepted by the British Raj during the Delhi Durbar on 12 December 1911, by George V, then ruling Emperor of India, along with Queen Mary, they together announced that the India’s capital would be shifted from Calcutta to New Delhi. The foundation stone for Coronation Park, Kingsway Camp, was also laid and that was regarded as the Viceroy’s residence.
During the Mughal empire, Delhi was known as Shahjanabad (Old Delhi), as it was quite big enough to contain all the British. Therefore British architects such as Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herber took the charge of designing the capital city. They chose the southern plains beyond the old walled city of Shahjahanabad as their site, which is majority of South Delhi now. The roads were to be huge, in contrast to the walled city’s narrow lanes like that we have in Chandni Chowk.