Connaught Place is situated in Central Delhi and known as a hub for big brand names as well as high profiled showrooms and outlets that retail a wide variety of items. This place was built by the British during their rule in India and was named after the Duke of Connaught who was a member of the British Imperial family. This British Commercial centre was designed by Robert Tor Russell in collaboration with W H Nicholls. It is circular in shape and known as the largest commercial hub of its kind in India.
The British wanted this Commercial Market place of Connaught Place to be made in the shape of a horse shoe owing to its good luck belief and hence would prove very lucky for its shopkeepers as well as the shoppers. This could be true as this 60+ year old market place still remains as one of the most visited and famous shopping zones in Delhi despite its high prices.
Besides being the business and commercial hub of New Delhi, Connaught Place [CP] also features numerous food outlets, International Standard Restaurants, Emporia and Movie Theatres / Multiplexes too. Today, Connaught Place has been renamed as the ‘New Delhi Rajiv Chowk’, but is still known by the locals as ‘CP’. The Market Place is designed in the shape of two circles known as the ‘inner circle’ and the ‘outer circle’ or ‘Connaught Circus’. This design is based on Victorian architecture that was influenced by the architecture of the Royal Crescent situated at Bath in England. The place has been redone after the installation of the New Delhi Metro Station situated underground within the heart of the circular market place. This Metro Station also serves as a metro link that has interchangeable trains that connects to other parts of the city.
Further, describing the shape the CP market place, one will notice eight roads that stretch out as tendrils and also lead out from the inner circle whereas twelve road tendrils lead out from the outer circle or Connaught Circus.
Connaught Place is fringed with small as well as large shops and showrooms that retail goods ranging from clothing to accessories and shoes. It is also dotted with many street food outlets and roadside Dhabas [Indian Restaurants] including swish restaurants that serve a variety of food to satisfy your palates.
Famous Shopping zones within Connaught Place
The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle Shops and Outlets retail numerous international brands such as showrooms of Allen Solly, Benetton, Nike, Reebok, Lee Cooper, Levi’s, Adidas and many more. Name a brand and you would find it here. It is also fringed with one of the finest restaurants, bars and eateries joint as well as bookshops ideal for book enthusiasts.
Janpath is a famous name when it comes to purchasing all kinds of cotton clothing and curios that visitors can take home as souvenirs. The garments found here are of export quality that is surplus and hence are purchase by the shopkeepers at wholesale prices. These surplus garments are then retailed in Janpath hence bargaining is a must. The market place also features numerous kiosks that retail silver and artificial jewellery studded with semi precious stones and small Tibetan shops too. However, it is advisable for shoppers to be able to identify the fake silver jewellery from the real ones. Shopkeepers seen here are mainly Refugees who fled to India after the Partition and several Tibetans who fled from China after the invasion of Tibet. They later settled here as traders and set up their own small shops here that makes the Janpath Market place seen today. Janpath also features an Emporium of the Central Cottage Industries that is famous for its Indian handicrafts and is a must visit. This emporium is situated in Jawahar Vyapar Bhavan that lies across the road from Janpath.
Baba Kharak Singh Marg
Baba Kharak Singh Marg is dotted with a string of various state-run emporia that retail the country’s best handicrafts representing the various Indian States and their culture. Visitors can purchase excellent souvenirs or various garments and traditional Indian clothing here such as Bronze lamps and icons from ‘Poompuhar’ which is the Tamil Nadu Emporium, Exquisite Silks from ‘Cauvery’ which is the Karnataka Emporium, Madhubani Paintings and Gemstones from ‘Amrapali’ which is the Bihar Emporium, Printed Cottons, Miniature Paintings and Jewellery items from ‘Rajasthali’ which is the Rajasthan Emporium, Exquisite Shawls from ‘Zoon’ which is the Kashmir Emporium, Varied Tea products from ‘Manjusha’ which is the West Bengal Emporium and Wood Carvings from ‘Mrignayani’ which is the Madhya Pradesh Emporium and so forth.
Palika Bazaar is a famous underground market place that retails very affordable electronic goods, clothing, jewellery, accessories and many more. It is fringed with 400 shops lined around the circumference of this circular market place on the lower as well as upper floor. Bargaining is a must as items are sold twice to thrice the amount of the original price.
Connaught Place marks as a very popular landmark for adjacent areas and is definitely a very significant business hub for New Delhi; hence, a trip to Delhi is incomplete without a visit to this famous shopping zone. Please note that Connaught Place and its market zones remains closed on Sundays.