Coronation Park, Delhi

One of my favorite places in Delhi was Coronation Park. It's to the North of the city and a nightmare to get to (few autorickshaw drivers know where it is). The park is a fantastic monument to British hubris.

Coronation Park is where Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India. Later it was the site of a Durbar held to commemorate the coronation of George Vth. There is a large obelisk in park which has the following inscription:
"Here on the 12th Day of December 1911, His Imperial Majesty King George V, Emperor of India accompanied by the Queen Empress in solemn Durbar announced in person to the Governors, Princes and Peoples of India his Coronation celebrated in England on the 22nd day of June 1911 and received from them their dutiful homage and allegiance."

When I first visited the park it was Republic Day. Dozens of cricket games were played in the space around the obelisk. I couldn't work out where one game ended and another began, but the players all knew where the boundaries were. I returned on my last day in India to take some photographs and found the area deserted. I saw only one other person, a man snoozing below a tree.

Near the obelisk is an overgrown garden containing nineteen plinths. This was intended as a place to place the statues of British royalty and officials left over from the British Raj. Most striking is a 15m tall statue of George V (shown in the photograph directly below). This statue used to stand at India Gate.

The empty plinths are particularly striking, begging the question of what happened to the missing statues. Apparently some were stolen or vandalised, and others were never moved.





The eroded statue below is Lord Handinge, Viceroy of India between 1910 and 1916.


If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list

4 thoughts on “Coronation Park, Delhi”

  1. Wonderful hubris indeed! I have a picture of a chinese lion ‘graveyard’ from a park in china, it’s the opposite of this, like a rest home for crumbling symbols of Chinese power … monumentalism is fascinating, isn’t it?

  2. I’d love to see your photographs of the stone lion’s rest home.
    Old memorials fascinate me. As Shelley pointed out, no monument can ever escape time. I saw some fascinating examples of this in India.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *