expressed a rational, well-planned city, where the Viceregal Palace
symbolized the paramountcy of the British empire over the native rulers,
who affirmed their loyalty to the King.
With its wide, straight, tree lined boulevards the city has often been
compared to Paris of Haussman. The resemblance is strengthened by the
enormous All-India War Memorial Arch (now known as India Gate, it was
built to commemorate soldiers killed in World War I) that stands in
Prince’s Park, astride the Kingsway.
But much of Lutyens’ Delhi eventually remained on paper, because the
rapid decline of the British Empire meant that Delhi remained an
unfinished city. The Delhi that might have been – the institutions,
hospitals, libraries, museums, offices that were doubtless intended to fill in
The post-Independence period saw the emergence of two schools of
thought in architecture – the Revivalist and the Modernist.
• The Revivalists, who advocated “continuity with the past”, could not
break the shackles of the colonial legacy and left no significant impact on
the neo-Indian architecture.
• The Modernists too depended heavily on the European and American
models and tried to adopt them in India without taking into consideration
the regional aspirations, diversities and requirements.
The contemporary Indian architecture was also beset with other problems
like population explosion, lack of vision among the planners, lack of
support from the government and a less than satisfactory standard of
architecture education. The result was that during the initial years after the
Independence, foreign architects continued to play a leading role in Indian
Jawaharlal Nehru had called for an open architectural competition for the
design of the Ashoka Hotel in 1956, which was won by B.E. Doctor, an
architect from Bombay. Using technology to create large pillar-less
spaces, Doctor created a facade that borrowed from Islamic, Hindu,
British and modern architecture.
Indian architecture witnessed a revolution when the Punjab government
engaged Le Corbusier to design the new city of Chandigarh. Built in