Popular as a ceremonial boulevard in the national capital of India, New Delhi, Rajpath runs the length between the Rashtrapti Bhawan on Raisina Hills to the National Stadium. It literally means the kings way and is located in the heart of the city.
It is one of the well developed regions in capital city, boasting of lush green surroundings and beautiful architectural displays. The supposedly royal road was constructed by Sir Edward Lutyens, who is believed to have been responsible for building many designs in New Delhi.
It is also known that some of the notable architectural structures around New Delhi, such as India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan were built and designed under his architectural talent and supervision.
Lutyens designed Rajpath such that one could get a panoramic view of the Viceroy’s Palace and an unhindered view of New Delhi. Rajpath is the site where the yearly proceedings on the Republic Day takes place. Rajpath is centrally placed and bordered by secretariat buildings on its north and south block sides.
The iconic location is further accentuated by the presence of choicest plantation of trees on either side, which gives the lane a sleek and long look. Rajpath happens to be one of the most visited tourist destinations in New Delhi.
Several tourists book economic packages for a tour around Rajpath, whereby children can enjoy themselves at the various playgrounds beside the structures. If you are a tourist visiting New Delhi, do not miss out on taking a stroll around this popular place.
Republic Day Parade at Rajpath:
One of the best times to visit Rajpath is during the republic day event which is held in New Delhi, each year on 26th January. It marks the day when the Indian people adopted the constitution of India, which protects them by defining their duties and rights.
During this event, Rajpath undergoes a significant change and overhaul. The streets leading up to Rajpath and the iconic structures surrounding the road are decorated with impressive flowers and lights.
The grounds witness the attendance of a large number of people, who flank from different parts of the country and several important dignitaries. Each year, a person of prominence is also invited by the president of India, to act as the chief guest of the event and grace the occasion with their presence.
The Parade that ensues, gives a spectacular display of various arms and defence systems and different weaponry that is owned by the Indian army, rich display of ‘jhanki’ from different states and departments in India and various dance forms, which are performed by students from different schools all over the country.
Also prominent is the beating retreat event that is held each year on the 29th of January, which originates from the Vijay Chowk and passes through Rajpath.
Landmarks at Rajpath:
1. Secretariat Building: The central secretariat is the house of cabinet for officials who administer the functioning of the Government of India. It was built in 1910 and currently it is home to the important dignitaries who administer the official cabinet of India.
It is situated at Raisina Hills on Rajpath. Architecturally, the secretarial buildings consist of two blocks of buildings, built in symmetry, known as the North Block and South Block. The buildings incorporate a typical Mughal and Rajasthani style architecture, which are prominently observed by the number of Jali structures used to build the building. It is often compared to the Bell tower of Pretoria.
2. Parliament House: Popular as ‘Sansad Bhawan’ it is home to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, which are the two main houses of the parliament. The building was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. It is believed that the Chausath Yogini Temple of the eleventh century was the inspiration behind the construction of the administrative structure.
At the centre of the structure, the central chamber is located and is currently used as the library hall. The present building is being proposed to be replaced by another in the years to come. The attack on the parliamentary building in 2001 by LeT and JeM terrorist groups remains one of the largest attacks attempted on the building.
3. Rashtrapati Bhawan: Known as the presidential palace, this building is the official residence of the president of India. It is located at the western end of the Rajpath. The bhawan consists of 4 floors and up to 340 rooms and covers a floor area of 2 lakh square feet.
Earlier in the year 2014, the then president, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurated a museum inside the building. Visitors can get an inside view of the Rashtrapati Bhawan and its art displays by visiting the museum.
History of Rajpath:
The British Imperial government and Viceregal administration expressed the view to shift the centre of the British Indian Empire from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1911. In accordance to the decision, the construction in the district of New Delhi was started with the purpose of constructing an administrative centre around the city. It is believed that the British Raj turned upon Sir Edward Lutyens to begin construction of the perceived city.
As per the perception of Sir Edward Lutyens, the structure was meant to develop as a ceremonial axis, which was developed around the present day Rajpath. It is said that Lutyens wanted to create a design that would give a panoramic view of the city from the palace on Rajpath.
This is why, one can get an unhindered view right from Raisina Hills, running from Rajpath to India Gate. Most structures that surround Rajpath are designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. Initially, the road was named the King’s way in honour of the Emperor George V who was part of the Durbar when the decision to move the capital to Delhi was made.
After the independence of India from the British rule, the pathway was renamed as Rajpath, which is merely a translation of its erstwhile English name.
Architecture of Rajpath:
It was in 1911 that the transfer of the capital of India was sought from Calcutta to New Delhi by the proclamation of King George V, at the imperial Durbar meeting. During the earlier perceptions of the capital city of the British rulers, various Anglo Indian designers were summoned to synthesize a blend of Eastern and Western styles of construction.
The principles of the modern English Garden city were perceived to be included in the designs of the prominent structures which were to be built in the new capital city.
Sir Edward Lutyens designed the ceremonial, commercial and administrative centre of the new capital city in the form of an equilateral triangle. The north direction was believed to form the apex of the centre. Rajpath is strategically located on the east to west axis of the power centre and provides a base.
A diagonal on the North to east section serves as the administrative centre while the bypass is the place where the parliament was built. Rajpath is in direct alignment with Purana Qila. It is evident from its location which runs from the India Gate war memorial and the buildings on the Baker’s secretariat.
The boulevard of Rajpath runs between the Rashtrapati Bhawan, passes through the Vijya Chowk and the National war memorial up to the National Stadium. The Rajpath is crossed by Janpath as well. Geographically, Rajpath runs from the east to west direction. Various roads from prominent places like Connaught place, also run into Rajpath.
Flanked on both sides by the secretarial buildings, Rajpath finally comes to an end at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. As per the plans of the British architect, Sir Edward Lutyens, the construction of Rajpath and its adjacent buildings was supposed to be done such that it would provide a panoramic view of the surrounding city.
How to Reach Rajpath
Rajpath can be easily accessed from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. It takes a time span of approximately 30 minutes to reach the destination via Sardar Patel Marg and covers a distance of 13.4 km. Another route, via the Rao Tularam Marg can take you to Rajpath in 30 – 40 minutes, covering a distance of 15 km. In order to reach there, one may consider the following:
Cab: Easily hire a cab outside the airport and head to Rajpath. Services like Ola and Uber will help you rent a cab in minutes.
Bus: Regular bus services operate within the city, providing a means to reach Rajpath from Airport.
Metro: One can also hop on at the metro and get down at Patel chowk station or Udyog Bhawan station to reach Rajpath.
What Not to Miss at Rajpath
Places to visit near Rajpath:
1. Lal Bahadur Shastri Smriti: Established in 2007, the museum was built in dedication to the second Prime Minister of India. The museum portrays the life and achievements of the Bharat Ratna awardee. A timeline of the life and events of this eminent leader in the history of India can be viewed at this museum which remains open on all days of the week except Tuesdays and takes up to 2 hours for a complete detour.
2. India Gate: Located close to Rajpath, India Gate is a war memorial located at the eastern edge of the ceremonial axis. It is believed that the memorial lists the names of more than seventy thousand soldiers who died between 1914 – 1921.
The structure was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and is an exemplary display of triumphal arch style of architecture. It was in 1972 that an additional structure, consisting of a black marble along with a reversed rifle and a war helmet, bound by four flames was also built under the archway. The structure came to be known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
3. Cathedral Church of Redemption: Also known as the Viceroy Church, it is located at the east end of the Parliament House. The architectural beauty of the church has been lauded by one in many. The high arches and domes of the church were designed by Henry Medd.
4. National Museum: Also known as the National Museum of India, it is one of the largest museums in the country. The museum is known to be home to some very rare artefacts from the prehistoric era. You will find the museum located on Janpath. Over here, you will find an overwhelming display of more than 2,00,000 works of art, which range back to as far as 5000 years. The museum was established in the year 1949.
Other Essential Information About Rajpath
Location: Near Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, Delhi 110004, India
Price: There is no applicable entry fee for visiting Rajpath.
Timing: Rajpath is open for viewing from the exterior at all times of the day. You can spend up to 1 – 2 hours at a time for viewing the architectural display.
Tips For Visiting Rajpath:
-If you arrive at Rajpath in your own vehicle, you will be able to find a parking spot quite easily. A nominal fee is also charged from all visitors who wish to park their vehicles at the premises.
-If you arrive at Rajpath to visit India Gate as well, it will be better to arrive either early in the morning or in the evening when the premises are lit up with lights and become a happening picnicking ground for the visitors. The display of lights is worth viewing especially around the time of the Independence Day and Republic day.
-Numerous street vendors can be found at both sides of the roads leading up to Rajpath, so you may stop to have a quick take away from them or carry your own food.
-Water bottles can also be purchased from roadside vendors.