Those who know about Coronation Park have some idea about its historical importance. There were events which set in motion, 143 years back which affected the entire Indian subcontinent. But as time goes by, the significance of this place will get lost to history.
Three durbars were held here by the British, first on Jan 01, 1877 to proclaim Queen Victoria as Empress of India. Next durbar was held on 1903 and finally the last one was held on 11 Dec 1911 for coronation of King George V as the Emperor of India. The circumstances under which the park has come up is also very interesting.
Location of Coronation Park, Model Park, New Delhi
The interesting story of statue of King George V
King George V was one of the British monarch who was also the Emperor of India. On 11 Dec 1911, during the third durbar at this location, he announced the shifting of capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi. Have you ever seen the empty canopy behind India Gate.
This canopy housed the statue of King George V installed there in 1930. After independence there was a growing clamor to remove all traces of British Raj and replace them with symbols of Indian Freedom struggle. Officials even approached the staff at British embassy, but they expressed their inability to help relocated the statue in their embassy premises. After threats to damage the statue, authorities removed it and shifted it to its present location, Coronation Park.
What is the Coronation Park
British wanted to make it a grand occasion to announce their arrival in India. After the turbulent rule of East India Company, India was declared as a colony directly under the British rule. This was the first durbar held on the open grounds on the outskirts of Delhi. It was to mark the occasion of declaring her as the Empress of India. The third durbar was even a grander show with massive arrangements and parades with all the rulers of princely states in full attendance. A commemorative Obelisk marks the spot where the durbars were held and where King George V along with Queen Mary sat on a golden throne under a golden umbrella. The pomp on display was to make a show to the country of the power of British Raj. A number of important announcements were made including the creation of a new seat of power designed by an architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. What he created is what we now know as New Delhi also known as Lutyens-Delhi. This part of Delhi is now the seat of power for our Govt too, the govt of free India.
Nineteen pedestals were build to accommodate statues from various parts of Delhi. But only five of them are installed. Rest might have been either damaged or stolen. They are placed in a semi circle around the statue of King George V.
Present state of the park
The park has been the center of many issues in the past. Under the management of the DDA now, over the years, it has made lots of improvements especially in the last few years. It now has a proper boundary wall and gates. There is a parking inside for cars and bikes. A park of the magnitude and size needs a lot of care and maintenance. It is delight for people who like huge spaces and landscapes. There is an information center at the gate which provides some insight into its history. Interestingly, the best collection of pictures is at The Imperial which has an art gallery and museum. It has a bar named “1911” to mark the occasion of the Great Delhi Durbar. Do go to visit this place for a historical perspective. A place that stood witness to the monumental changes for our country.