The central business district of the national capital, Connaught Place, did not exist a century ago.
Instead, along the sides of the Qutb Road — the main road since the Mughal era which connected Shahjahanabad, the Walled City area, to Qutb Minar in south Delhi - were three villages: Madhoganj, Jaisinghpura and Raja Ka Bazzar.
The centuries-old Hanuman Mandir, now a prominent feature on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, had a steeple with the ceiling ornamented with gold paintings and glasswork.
Raja Ka Bazzar incorporated what are today’s areas between the Baba Kharak Singh Marg and parts of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Marg and also chunks of southwest the side of Connaught Place.
In the 1920s, the residents of these villages were evacuated for the building of Connaught Place and relocated to Karol Bagh. However, the Hanuman temple, a Jain temple in Jaisinghpura and the heritage monument of Jantar Mantar were left untouched and incorporated into the New Delhi’s plan.
Tapan Roy, who passed Class 11 in 1966-67 from the Union Academic Senior Secondary School in the Raja Bazzar area and is now parts of its management, remembers his school report card mentioned ‘Raja Bazzar’ in the address part.
“The area had densely populated government bungalow accommodation (small bungalows). The state emporia came up much later, after the 1970s,” Roy recalls and adds that this was a cosy residential bungalow area unlike the chaotic commercial hub that it is now.