A fine balance of luxury and care
When creating some stunning and grand structures in the new Imperial capital, the rulers did not forget the basic essentials — healthcare and women’s education.Updated: Aug 30, 2011 16:39 IST
When creating some stunning and grand structures in the new Imperial capital, the rulers did not forget the basic essentials — healthcare and women’s education.
LADY HARDINGE MEDICAL COLLEGE
After the shifting of the Imperial capital to Delhi from Calcutta, a need was felt for a separate medical college for women.
The initiative was taken by Lady Hardinge, who laid the foundation for the college but died before it could even start. On the suggestion of Queen Mary of England, the college was named after Lady Hardinge.
The college started in 1916 and its first principal was Dr. Kate Platt. In its first year, 16 students were enrolled for the seven-year course.
While the duration of the course came down to five by 1960, the number of graduate admissions stands at 150 currently. The college was affiliated to the University of Delhi in 1950 and from 1954, post-graduate courses were started.
The Imperial, which is a unique blend of Victorian, Old colonial and Art Deco styles, was New Delhi's first most iconic luxury hotel. Designed by FB Blomfield, it was built and run by Ranjit Singh, son of Narain Singh, a leading contractor of Lutyens' New Delhi. The hotel was given its name by Lady Willingdon and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936. The hotel, which exudes the aura of a 19th century English manor, has earned its name as 'museum hotel', thanks to its matchless art collection. Perhaps there is no establishment in the city that celebrates the creation of New Delhi as The Imperial. The hotel also has suites named after personalities associated with the creation of New Delhi, including Lutyens. It also boasts a '1911 Restaurant' and a '1911 bar' that celebrates the historic year 1911, the year Delhi was declared the new Capital.
Architect: FB Blomfield
Designed by British architect Walter Sykes George, who worked with both Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, chief architects of New Delhi, Hotel Ambassador is one of the earliest hotels of New Delhi along with The Imperial and Hotel Marina in Connaught Place. Built in 1945, in colonial and Art Deco style, the hotel boasted of rich, famous and the royals among its clients. In fact, the royal family of Indore even had a suite permanently reserved for them. The heritage building, which has retained much of its old world charm, is one of Lutyens' Delhi's most important landmarks. For the past several decades, it has been a favourite haunt of travellers from all over the world who love to soak in its colonial charms.
Architect: Walter Sykes George
LOK NAYAK HOSPITAL
Located in central Delhi and catering to both Delhiites and patients from neighbouring states, the sprawling Lok Nayak Hospital began as the 350-bed Irwin Hospital in 1936. The foundation for the hospital was laid by Lord Irwin in 1930 and started in 1936 under Lt. Col. Cruickshank.
Irwin Hospital also became the venue for the Maulana Azad Medical College in 1957. Though it was renamed Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) in November 1977, old timers still know it as the Irwin Hospital.
The facilities and infrastructure at the hospital had to be expanded after the partition in 1947 due to the huge influx of refugees. By the 1950s, it became one of the largest hospitals in north India and was the mainstay for residents of the walled city and the central and eastern parts of Delhi. The hospital today has 1,597 beds in all its medical and surgical specialties and caters to nearly 20 lakh patients every year.
NEW DELHI RAILWAY STATION
Before New Delhi was established, the Delhi main station in the old city served as the railway head of the city. The capital had the Agra-Delhi chord line, which crisscrossed much of the present Lutyens' Bungalow Zone, Rajpath and India Gate. Officials realised that the new township would need a railway station and much of the Delhi-Agra line realigned to make way for buildings.
A long bureaucratic battle later, the East India Railway Board, which controlled the railways at the time, sanctioned the making of a one-story building around a single platform near Ajmeri Gate in 1926. It was later known as New Delhi Railway station.
This was made as a point of entry to the new city for Viceroy and the royals during the inauguration. In 1927-28, New Delhi Capital Works project involving construction of 4.79 miles of new lines was completed.
The road linking the station's original solo platform and Connaught Place was thus named State Entry Road, which still exists. The original station building hid behind years of building of super-structures and served as a parcel office.
DELHI GYMKHANA CLUB
The Imperial Delhi Gymkhana Club was established on July 3, 1913, at Coronation Grounds, Delhi, for use of the ruling elite comprising officers of the Indian Civil Service, Armed Forces and Civil Residents of the then Delhi.
When New Delhi was built, the Imperial Delhi Gymkhana Club was allotted 27.3 acres of land in the new city in 1928 on perpetual lease.
Spencer Harcourt Butler, first governor of the then United Provinces of Oudh and Agra, was its first president. When India gained Independence in 1947, the word "Imperial" was dropped and it was simply known as Delhi Gymkhana Club. As per site plan made on the drawing board by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens as part of his grand design for Imperial Celebrations, Lutyens Delhi — the eighth in line — was built in an area littered with stones, tombs, domes, ruined walls and gardens of former Capitals - the historic cross roads and battle grounds of India.
Architect: Edwin Lutyens