After years of losing its lustre to the more glittering malls and shopping complexes of the national capital region, Connaught Place in Delhi is once again shining bright
Connaught Place has woken up from its long slumber. After years of being relegated to the sidelines of the city’s commercial map by the more upwardly-mobile malls and shopping hubs of the national capital region, CP, as it is widely known, is once again seeing some action.
This is no longer the CP that Lutyens had in mind when he first designed the showpiece central business district of the British Raj. Gone also are the days when a big, fat Indian family would casually stop by at CP to get their weekend dose of chole bhature at Kwality or an evening cheese sandwich at United Coffee House before heading off to India Gate for a leisurely saunter or some shopping at the underground Palika Bazaar.
Although the cinema halls (Plaza, Regal, Rivoli and Odeon), the central park area (for its cultural events and green lungs) and an air-conditioned Metro train connectivity ensured that the foot traffic didn’t go down drastically, CP had lost much of its old glory by the late 2000s. That its redevelopment work, originally slated to be completed in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, took a long time to see the light of the day—missing several deadlines—the landmark centre had also fallen off the radar of the in-crowd.
All that is changing. CP is not just a place any more that is instantly recognisable on any map of Delhi as a big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions. It is now also a foodie’s heaven, a patriot’s unwavering dream, a driver’s solace, a techie’s hotspot and a fitness freak’s playground. This is not to forget the polished white facade, wide pavements, uncluttered archways, giant billboards, ample parking and a central location that have become so synonymous with the legendary area.