The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais.
Kolkata) was the capital of India during the
British Raj until December 1911.
Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of
ancient India and the
Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the
Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the British Indian Empire, as India was officially named, from Calcutta on the east coast, to Delhi.
Government of British India felt that it would be logistically easier to administer India from Delhi in the centre of northern India.
The land for building the new city of Delhi was acquired under the
Land Acquisition Act 1894.
On 12 December 1911, during the
George V, then
Emperor of India, along with
Queen Mary, his
Consort, made the announcement
 that the capital of the Raj was to be shifted from
Delhi, while laying the foundation stone for the Viceroy's residence in the
 The foundation stone
 of New Delhi was laid by
King George V and
Queen Mary at the site of
Delhi Durbar of 1911 at Kingsway Camp on 15 December 1911, during their imperial visit. Large parts of New Delhi were planned by
Edwin Lutyens, who first visited Delhi in 1912, and
Herbert Baker, both leading 20th-century British architects.
 The contract was given to
Sobha Singh. The original plan called for its construction in Tughlaqabad, inside the
Tughlaqabad fort, but this was given up because of the Delhi-Calcutta trunk line that passed through the fort. Construction really began after
World War I and was completed by 1931. The city that was later dubbed "
Lutyens' Delhi" was inaugurated in ceremonies beginning on 10 February 1931 by
Lord Irwin, the
 Lutyens designed the central administrative area of the city as a testament to Britain's
The 1931 series celebrated the inauguration of New Delhi as the seat of government. The one
with the "Secretariat Building" and Dominion Columns.
Soon Lutyens started considering other places. Indeed, the Delhi Town Planning Committee, set up to plan the new imperial capital, with
George Swinton as chairman and John A. Brodie and
Lutyens as members, submitted reports for both North and South sites. However, it was rejected by the Viceroy when the cost of acquiring the necessary properties was found to be too high. The central axis of New Delhi, which today faces east at
India Gate, was previously meant to be a north-south axis linking the
Viceroy's House at one end with
Paharganj at the other. During the project's early years, many tourists believed it was a gate from Earth to Heaven itself.
 Eventually, owing to space constraints and the presence of a large number of heritage sites in the North side, the committee settled on the South site.
 A site atop the
Raisina Hill, formerly Raisina Village, a
Meo village, was chosen for the
Rashtrapati Bhawan, then known as the Viceroy's House. The reason for this choice was that the hill lay directly opposite the
Dinapanah citadel, which was also considered the site of
Indraprastha, the ancient region of Delhi. Subsequently, the foundation stone was shifted from the site of
Delhi Durbar of 1911–1912, where the Coronation Pillar stood, and embedded in the walls of the forecourt of
the Secretariat. The
Rajpath, also known as King's Way, stretched from the
India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Secretariat building, the two blocks of which flank the Rashtrapati Bhawan and houses ministries of the Government of India, and the
Parliament House, both designed by Baker, are located at the
Sansad Marg and run parallel to the Rajpath.
In the south, land up to
Safdarjung's Tomb was acquired to create what is today known as
Lutyens' Bungalow Zone.
 Before construction could begin on the rocky ridge of Raisina Hill, a circular railway line around the Council House (now
Parliament House), called the Imperial Delhi Railway, was built to transport construction material and workers for the next twenty years. The last stumbling block was the
Agra-Delhi railway line that cut right through the site earmarked for the hexagonal All-India War Memorial (
India Gate) and Kingsway (
Rajpath), which was a problem because the
Old Delhi Railway Station served the entire city at that time. The line was shifted to run along the
Yamuna river, and it began operating in 1924. The
New Delhi Railway Station opened in 1926 with a single platform at
Ajmeri Gate near
Paharganj and was completed in time for the city's inauguration in 1931.
 As construction of the Viceroy's House (the present Rashtrapati Bhavan),
Parliament House, and All-India War Memorial (
India Gate) was winding down, the building of a shopping district and a new plaza,
Connaught Place, began in 1929, and was completed by 1933. Named after
Prince Arthur, 1st
Duke of Connaught (1850–1942), it was designed by
Robert Tor Russell, chief architect to the
Public Works Department (PWD).
After the capital of India moved to Delhi, a temporary secretariat building was constructed in a few months in 1912 in
North Delhi. Most of the government offices of the new capital moved here from the 'Old secretariat' in
Old Delhi (the building now houses the
Delhi Legislative Assembly), a decade before the new capital was inaugurated in 1931. Many employees were brought into the new capital from distant parts of India, including the
Bengal Presidency and
Madras Presidency. Subsequently, housing for them was developed around
Gole Market area in the 1920s.
 Built in the 1940s, to house government employees, with bungalows for senior officials in the nearby Lodhi Estate area,
Lodhi colony near historic
Lodhi Gardens, was the last residential areas built by the
After India gained
independence in 1947, a limited autonomy was conferred to New Delhi and was administered by a Chief Commissioner appointed by the
Government of India. In 1956, Delhi was converted into a
union territory and eventually the Chief Commissioner was replaced by a Lieutenant Governor. The
Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi.
 A system was introduced under which the elected Government was given wide powers, excluding law and order which remained with the Central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.
The first major extension of New Delhi outside of
Lutyens' Delhi came in the 1950s when the
Central Public Works Department (CPWD) developed a large area of land southwest of Lutyens' Delhi to create the diplomatic enclave of
Chanakyapuri, where land was allotted for embassies, chanceries, high commissions and residences of ambassadors, around a wide central vista,