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Thursday, Jan 23, 2020

Imperial Impressions

As New Delhi celebrates its 100 years, Hindustan Times has identified 100 iconic buildings and institutions that have come to define the Capital. As part of our ongoing series, we'll feature 17 icons that Delhi came to be identified with then and now. Today, we present six of them.

delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2011 16:42 IST

Hindustan Times

As New Delhi celebrates its 100 years, Hindustan Times has identified 100 iconic buildings and institutions that have come to define the Capital. As part of our ongoing series, we'll feature 17 icons that Delhi came to be identified with then and now. Today, we present six of them.

The Cathedral church of the redemption
The Cathedral Church of the Redemption traces its origins to the early decades of the 1900s when Rev T.R. Dixon was appointed as the Chaplain to meet the spiritual needs of the British officers in Delhi.

The services were held at the present Toga Ashram, which housed a church room at No.1 the Chummeries, Alexandra Place (Gole Dak Khana), and accommodated about 60 people.

Appeals for donations to make a new church were met with a handsome response from the royalty, viceroys, Christians and people of other faiths. The first few donors were King George and Queen Mary and the Indian Church Aid Association.

In 1925, the chief engineer was asked to prepare the plans for a 300-seater church with provisions for extension at a cost of R1.5 lakh. Soon after, in the presence of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the committee was decided to call for a 'closed competition of designs'.

Architect HAN Medd's design was chosen and it was finally opened to public worship on Sunday, 18 January 1931.
Architect: HAN Medd
Built: 1931

Gole Market
Built a decade before New Delhi's central shopping attraction Connaught Place came up, the Gole Market catered to the day-to-day needs of the thousands of government employees brought to the new Capital from different parts of the country such as the Bengal and Madras presidencies. The octagonal market forms a critical part in the axis planned by Edwin Lutyens as part of New Delhi's layout.

The market, which still has shops dating back to the 1930s, was in a dilapidated condition due to being in constant use and had faced a lot of damage.

The market was recently restored by the New Delhi Municipal Council, which plans to bring the heritage building back to its old glory.
Architect: Edwin Lutyens
Built: 1921

Gole Dak Khana
It is perhaps the only post office in Delhi, or even perhaps the country, where you would have to dodge busy traffic and risk your life and limb to post a letter. The Capital's landmark Gole Dak Khana, officially the New Delhi General Post Office, is situated quaintly amid five converging arterial roads.

Earlier known as Alexandra Place, Gole Dak Khana was part of the original layout for New Delhi made by Edwin Lutyens, who had a penchant for octagonal structures and roundabouts. The post office, however, was designed by Robert Tor Russell, the chief architect of PWD. The building was deliberately built low rise so that it doesn't spoil the view of the Sacred Heart Cathedral next to it.
Architect: Robert Tor Russell
Built: 1931

Sacred Heart Cathedral
It was Lady Willingdon who caused the plans for a post office to be modified so that the adjacent Mission property (in which a Cathedral was to be built) might be spared the proximity of an eyesore in the form of staff quarters behind this office. When the perspective of the new Cathedral was distorted by an error which placed the foundations too close to the boundary, Lady Willingdon once more came to the rescue and also secured a small addition to the property. An interest-free loan of R60,000 was obtained from the government for the Cathedral. The land on which the Jesus and Mary Convent School, the Irish Christian Brothers School and the Cathedral itself now stand, measures more than 14 acres. All this was acquired in 1920 for R7,000, upon a perpetual lease with a yearly rental of R365. Architect HAN Medd's design was chosen and the construction began in 1930. For five years the work went forward.
Architect: HAN Medd
Built: 1935

National Stadium
Built in 1933, the Dhyan Chand National Stadium was originally known as the Irwin Amphitheatre. Situated between the Patiala House and Jaipur House, it was built against the wishes of Edwin Lutyens. The original plan was to build a garden at the site so that it provided a clear view of the Purana Quila in the backdrop. The stadium is linearly situated on the axis beginning from Rashtrapati Bhavan to Rajpath and ending at the India Gate. It's entrance is dominated by five large arches with four chhatris above them. It hosted the first Asian Games in 1951, when it was renamed National Stadium.
Architect: Anthony S DeMillo
Built: 1933

Viceregal Lodge
The Viceregal Lodge served as Circuit House till it became the temporary residence of Viceroy Lord Hardinge who shifted his residence from Calcutta to Delhi after the latter was declared the new Imperial Capital by King George V.

From being a nondescript building, the refurbished Circuit House suddenly became the seat of authority that governed India for almost two decades. In fact, from 1912 to 1929, it was the venue of several functions. It was home to five viceroys.

It now serves as the office of the vice-chancellor of Delhi University.

Six more iconic structures, including New Delhi Railway Station, Delhi Gymkhana Club and Lady Hardinge Medical College.