THE ROYAL IDURBAR , held in 1911 to proclaim the accession of George V as King Emperor of India, was held at this site. A red sandstone obelisk commemorates the coronation. More than 100,000 people thronged to see the King Emperor and Queen Empress sit beneath a golden dome mounted on a crimson canopy. Today, it is a dusty and forlorn spot, surrounded by statues of former viceroys, including Lords Hardinge and Willingdon (distinguished for their role in the construction of New Delhi).
Towering over them all is the 22-m (72-ft) high statue of the King Emperor himself, which was removed from the Statue Canopy at India Gate (see p74) and installed here in the 1960s. About 3 km (2 miles) southeast is a forested park area known as the Northern Ridge, cut through by Ridge Road and Rani Jhansi Road. At its southern end lies the Mutiny Memorial (known locally as Ajitgarh), a Victorian Gothic tower which commemorates the soldiers “both British and native. who were killed” in 1857. Panoramic views of Old Delhi can be enjoyed from here.
Running parallel to the Northern Ridge is the sprawling Delhi University area. St Stephen’s College, the most distinguished of the colleges dotting the campus, was designed by Walter George in 1938. The office of the Vice Chancellor, once the guesthouse for British officials, is also the spot where the young Lord Louis Mountbatten or000sed to Edwina Ashley in 1922. A plaque celebrates the event. They eventually became India’s last viceroy and vicereine.