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87 years ago 'New Delhi' was inaugurated as capital city

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

New Delhi, the modern capital of with the complex as its architectural centrepiece, took over 20 years to build, and was inaugurated on this day in 1931 by

The new imperial city was born on December 12, 1911, during a grand ceremonial 'Durbar' here when British monarch had announced the shifting of the capital from to

"The meaning of imperial reached both its fullest expression as well as its fullest contradiction in February 1931, when the new capital was opened to the world in an inauguration that lasted a week," D and say in the book 'New Delhi: The Last Imperial City'.

The ceremony was held at the Raisina Hill, with the Viceroy's House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan), and North Block and South Block witnessing opulent functions to mark the occasion.

"From the city's earliest beginning in 1911, the capital was meant to be much more than a place to do work of the imperial government. It was destined to be a crowning achievement in colonial architecture and colonial town planning, a capital worthy of the British Empire," the book says.

Designed by Sir and Sir Herbert Baker, the city was, incidentally christened 'New Delhi' on December 31, 1926.

On the day of the inauguration, four iconic Dominion Columns, each made of red sandstone and topped by replica of a ship, were unveiled by Lord Irwin amid fanfare of trumpets followed by the playing of the (British) national anthem, according to the book 'Glittering Decades: in Love and War'.

"The four columns which are the immediate purpose of our meeting today are tokens of something wider than anything which the past cities of represent," says the book, quoting the Viceroy's speech at the unveiling.

The columns, each a gift from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, marked a gesture of friendship and unity within the

"People come to the for admiring the architectural elegance of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the grandeur of North and South Blocks, but hardly anyone notices the four columns, which are still standing," said Shashank Gupta, a city-based colonial history enthusiast, who conducts heritage walks in Lutyens'

On February 25, he is holding the event 'Walk to Lutyens' Delhi: A Journey of the Making of an Imperial City' as part of the month-long Heritage Walk Festival that started early this month.

"The use of Order in building columns, the jharokhas in Secretariat Complex, the elephant motifs in the and the North and South Blocks, the dome of the Bhavan inspired from the Sanchi Stupa and the Column in the forecourt, it's a fascinating story," Gupta said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 19:35 IST