Princely Palaces in New Delhi

Paper Type: 130 gsm Art paper (matt) | Size: 254 mm x 229 mm
All colour; 140 photographs; 264 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 9383098910 | ISBN-13: 978-93-83098-91-0

 2500 |  75 |  45

Rajas and maharajas from all over the British Indian Empire congregated in Delhi to attend the great Delhi Durbar of 1911. A new capital city was born—New Delhi. Soon after, the princely states came up with elaborate palaces in the “new” Imperial capital—Hyderabad House, Baroda House, Jaipur House, Bikaner House, Patiala House, to name a few. Why did the British government allot prime land to the princely states and how? How did the construction come up and under whose architectural design? Who occupied these palaces and what were the events held? What happened to these palatial buildings after the integration of the states with the Indian Republic? This book delineates the story behind the story, documenting history through archival research, interviews with royalty and unpublished photographs from royal private collections. These princely palaces form an integral part of New Delhi’s urban topography. Built about a century ago for purposes that may not be of relevance anymore, these palaces are the relics of the past passed on to posterity, speaking of a time that was part of the continual process of knitting an unstitched destiny. A colourful procession in full regalia, uniformed men guarding the palaces, fluttering flags of myriad hues, saxophones regaling the guests, the tinkling of wine glasses … slip into a time-warp till you encounter the modern New Delhi.

Sumanta K. Bhowmick
Sumanta K. Bhowmick

Sumanta K Bhowmick spent his early life in Bhagalpur before moving to Delhi to work in the Parliament, in 1996. He studied science and literature, and has written his doctoral thesis on the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore and Emily Dickinson. He has published books of translation, and has written research articles, short stories and essays for various journals. Driving down to his office regularly through Central Vista triggered his imagination, taking him to the days when kings rode the roads of New Delhi, then the Imperial capital, and led him to the story of the princely palaces in Princes’ Park. His passion for the history of Delhi grew with friends in the group Knowing and Loving Delhi Better (KLoDB), walking together every Sunday. He has contributed to the plaques put up at Mandi House metro station and Cochin House. He has also delivered a lecture at the University of Oxford on the princely palaces in New Delhi. The spirit of Delhi, past and present, fascinates him endlessly.