Kristian Bertel | Photography
Archive story
In this archive story we are portraying a sleeping man at Connaught Place in Delhi, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
At the circle in Delhi the photographer caught this photo of a sleepy-eyed Indian man resting up against a steel fence at Connaught Place also known as 'Rajiv Chowk'. With a gaping mouth he is inhaling plenty of the unhealthy Delhi smog from the traffic just behind him. Rajiv Chowk is a place in Delhi where the modern circle bounds with the old traffic-rushed Qutab Road, almost as a mark between the rich and the poor.
At the circle in Delhi the photographer caught this photo of a sleepy-eyed Indian man resting up against a steel fence at Connaught Place also known as 'Rajiv Chowk'. With a gaping mouth he is inhaling plenty of the unhealthy Delhi smog from the traffic just behind him. Rajiv Chowk is a place in Delhi where the modern circle bounds with the old traffic-rushed Qutab Road, almost as a mark between the rich and the poor.
Kristian Bertel, Photographer By Kristian Bertel, Photographer
– Updated on March 22, 2024

Connaught Place in Delhi

Connaught Place officially 'Rajiv Chowk' is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centres in Delhi, India. It is often abbreviated to 'CP' and houses the headquarters of several noted Indian firms. The former location of the headquarters of the British Raj, the area's environs occupy a place of pride in the city and are counted among the top heritage structures in Delhi.

How is Connaught Place recognizable in Delhi?

The area of Connaught Place is instantly recognizable on any map of Delhi as a big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions. 8 separate roads lead out from Connaught Places's inner circle, named Parliament Street and Radial Roads 1 through 7.

Located in the heart of Delhi
Connaught Place is one of the most famous and popular landmarks in India and it is the most important commercial and financial center in the country and it is also a major tourist attraction with hundreds of shops, restaurants and other attractions. Connaught Place was built by the British in 1931 as a grand shopping and entertainment center and it was designed by Robert Tor Russell, the renowned British architect and the area was named after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who had visited India during the construction of the place.

"Connaught Place is divided into two concentric circles, the Inner and Outer Circle. The Outer Circle is the main shopping area, with more than 200 shops, restaurants and other attractions and the Inner Circle is home to several government and financial institutions, including the Reserve Bank of India, the Income Tax Department, the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Stock Exchange"

An area is always buzzing with activity
On any given day, you will find people shopping, eating and enjoying the sights. Connaught Place is also home to some of the best restaurants in the city, including the iconic Moti Mahal and the iconic 'Kwality'. Connaught Place is also home to many cultural attractions, including the National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Science Centre. It is also home to a number of parks, including the Central Park and the Lodhi Gardens. During the winter months, the area is adorned with festive lights and decorations, adding to the charm of the place. Connaught Place is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Delhi and it is the perfect place to shop, eat and explore the cultural and historical attractions of the city.

Circles of Delhi, India
The Outer Circle is known as the Connaught Circus officially Indira Chowk having rows of restaurants, shops and hotels. The Middle Circle has offices and small eating outlets. Connaught Place's central park has long been a venue for cultural events. That station, Rajiv Chowk, is the interchange for the 'Yellow lines' and 'Blue lines' of the Metro and one of the largest and busiest stations in the network. Connaught Place today plays host to various cultural programs in the central park area. Early commercial establishments belonged to traders. Most of the rulers of the Indian princely states had their local homes in the nearby areas around King's way modern day Rajpath and would frequent shops for designer clothes, artifacts, shoes and pianos. Regal cinema, the first cinema in Connaught Place, opened around this time and went on to host popular concerts, theatre groups and ballet performances.

Poverty in India is still pervasive
Despite the country's growth rate about 9 percent, poverty in India is still pervasive, especially in Rural areas of India where 70 percent of India's 1.2 billion population live, but also in the cities where the above portrait was taken. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and yet its riches are hardly redistributed across the population. India's government has used 60 years of fighting Indian poverty well aware that poverty is a giant barrier to overcome if it is to fully develop the nation. A wide range of anti-poverty policies have been introduced since the 1950s, which nonetheless took effect after 20 years of implementation. If the decline in poverty went from 60 percent to 35 percent between the 1970s and the early 1990s, globalization and liberalization policies have made this trend go backwards in the 1990s.

Poverty in India is measured by a poverty line that is probably one of the most disputed and incessantly attacked measure in the world. A controversial poverty line has its origins in the Indian model. It is simply what some call a starvation line, a line that accounts for the feeling of satiety, measured in calories. You may be eating bread all year or all your life and use up your body in a few years, you may be living in a flimsy house that flies away at the first storm and you may not have access to clean water or education.

As with many developing countries, urban poverty in India is a direct effect of rural migrations fleeing poverty. This creates a massive unemployment and underemployment issue but also a disproportionate housing problem. One of the few things that has helped with the housing shortage has been micro-finance at any rate it has reduced uncertainties, though it is far from enough to solve the problem of poverty and inter-class or caste marginalization and discrimination.

Spectacular growth of cities in India
The spectacular growth of cities has made poverty in India incomparably more visible and palpable through its famous slums. If, proportionally speaking there are less urban poor nowadays, their sheer number has been increasing. They spend 80 percent of their income on food and the waning of public services creates new unbearable costs that in the end lead to extreme situations where Indians are denied basic services they once were able to access easily. Getting used to selling your dignity for a rupee's work is one thing and living on the edge of precariousness another. But witnessing the rest of the population reaping the benefits of formidable growth is probably the most dangerous and unstable feature of poverty in India.

"Challenges of urban poverty in India are intimately tied with challenges of the country's fast development. Indian cities have come to dominate the charts as the world's biggest cities for the first time in modern history"

See this video about Connaught Place in Delhi made by Walking in India.

"- Such high-speed, colossal growth, as impressive as it may be, poses several problems if not threats such as pollution and a disproportionate concentration of poverty, among others. Those two issues stem directly from the fact that by growing that fast it makes it hard to plan for everything all at once, housing for a while some cities grew a lot and the slum areas came", the Photographer says.

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More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a sleeping man at the Connaught Place in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.