Walking Tour: Lutyens' New Delhi
- Start Connaught Place
- End India Gate
- Length 5.5km; three to four hours
If you plan to incorporate your pre-booked guided tour of Rashtrapati Bhavan into this tour, then bear in mind that it takes around 45 minutes to walk there from Connaught Place, and that you should arrive at least half an hour before your tour begins to give yourself time to get through all the security procedures.
Begin this walk at Connaught Place, the confusing circular shopping district that was named after George V’s uncle, the Duke of Connaught, and fashioned after the Palladian colonnades of Bath. The greying, whitewashed, colonnaded streets radiate out from the central circle of Rajiv Chowk; you want to aim for F-Block, before walking directly south, down Janpath.
Before long, you'll reach the splendid Raj-era hotel, the Imperial, built in 1931. Its classicism-meets-art-deco design was the work not of Lutyens himself, but of one of his associates, FB Blomfield. For an extra touch of British Raj, time your visit to take in high tea at Atrium.
Continue south to the large roundabout, Windsor Place, and take the second right (Raisina Rd) to the next roundabout. Go straight over that until you reach the fountain. Sansad Bhavan is to your right. This circular, colonnaded building, designed by Lutyens and Herbert Baker, was where the 1947 handover of power from Britain to the newly independent India took place, and parliament still meets here. It isn't open to the public, though, so turn left instead to reach Rajpath, where you should be able to spot India Gate in the distance to your left. Before that, though, turn right, and climb the slope to the twin government buildings of North Secretariat and South Secretariat, both of which were designed by Baker in 1912, and are lit up attractively in the evening.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan grounds are directly ahead of you. If you've booked a tour online, show them your confirmation slip at the gate. Otherwise, make an about turn and begin your long march along the parks flanking Rajpath to India Gate, Delhi's iconic war-memorial archway designed by Lutyens in 1921.