Rajpath Is Soon To Be Renamed “Kartavya”. Here’s A Brief History Of Delhi’s Most Popular Stretch!

The national capital’s age-old stretch currently known as Rajpath is all set to welcome its new name, “Kartavya Path (Path of Duty) of Central Vista.” This will come into effect when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the revamped Central Vista Avenue on September 7, Thursday. The Central Secretariat, other Government offices, the new Parliament building, and the avenue, are all parts of the Central Vista project. Read on to know what changes the three-km stretch went through in the last century.
Rajpath Is Now Renamed As Kartavya
Rajpath Is Now Renamed As Kartavya

While the name formerly used has been there for so many years that no one could ever imagine a different name for the stretch, it is not the first time that the stretch has experienced a change of name. 


The Kingsway

Constructed as a ceremonial boulevard by versatile architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in the 1920s, the age-old stretch was initially called Kingsway. The pathway stretches from Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill through Vijay Chowk and India Gate. On both sides of the avenue, one finds huge lawns, trees, and canals.


The year 1911 was the time when the colonial rule of the British government made a decision to shift their capital to Delhi from Kolkata. Consequently, British rule began building New Delhi for its administrative purposes.


The vision of Lutyens was to build Delhi into a modern imperial city. The city would be centered around a “ceremonial axis”. This ceremonial axis was named Kingsway. 


The Kingsway was one of Lutyens’ finest pieces of art, as, when viewed from the vice-regal palace, it provided a panoramic view of the city. Don’t forget that the vice-regal palace was then the Viceroy’s house and is now the Rashtrapati Bhavan.


Why Was The Stretch Named Kingsway?

The three-km stretch was named Kingsway for a specific reason. The name was given to honor the Emperor of India George V. The Emperor had visited the national capital in 1911 during the Durbar. It was at this time that the Emperor formally announced the decision to shift the capital.


The Rajpath

After the country got its independence from British colonial rule, the stretch was given the Hindi name, “Rajpath”. However, this change cannot be called a literal name change, as the Hindi term “Rajpath” is merely a Hindi translation of “Kingsway”. 


India has proudly made use of the road for the jaw-dropping Republic Day parade held on every January 26, for the last 75 years.


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in February 2021, stated that there have been a few changes carried out on Central Vista Avenue post-independence. These changes include the addition of new rows of trees, alteration of the landscape, and addition of the Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Marg, a new road for the purpose of fostering north-south connectivity.


Not to miss, PM Narendra Modi addressed the abolition of all the symbols related to the “colonial mindset”, this year itself. Moreover, the Rajpath is all set to shed another colonial relic on Thursday, September 8. The Grand Canopy will be fitted with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 28-feet idol. The Grand Canopy once had the statue of George V.


The Kartavya Path

Starting in February last year, the Central Vista Redevelopment Project’s first phase included the redevelopment of central vista avenue and the new Parliament building/


The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs stressed an important issue in a press release in 2021, saying that the avenue is the most frequently visited place and most popular and important tourist attraction in the National Capital. Yet, it does not have public amenities including toilets, designated wedding zones, adequate lighting, parking, pathways, and signages.


The redevelopment of the avenue includes renovation of the landscaping. It will also include increasing green cover to 3.9 lakh square meters from 3.5 lakh square meters, along with a new irrigation system and rainwater harvesting.


Additionally, a sewage recycling plant, drinking water facilities, and public toilets are too ready to come up. One may also find a vending area at 10 spots along the venue.


During Republic Day celebrations which are a major event in this area, foldable seating arrangements will be introduced. Such seating arrangements will replace the temporary structures.


The key objective of this proposal is to create the Avenue, an icon that truly befits New India. The total budget of the Central Vista Avenue Project is Rs 608 crore.

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