City Landmarks - Jeevan Bharti Office Complex, Connaught Place

City Landmarks – Jeevan Bharti Office Complex, Connaught Place

City Landmarks - Jeevan Bharti Office Complex, Connaught Place

Different perspectives.

[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]

It is post-twilight, and most glass panels of the multi-storey have their lights out.

This is Connaught Place’s Jeevan Bharti office complex as seen from N block. A Charles Correa creation, the glass-and-concrete stands out amid CP’s white colonial-era corridors and columns. The building came up in the 1980s, and has revolutionised the shopping district’s landscape. It pops up in the most unexpected corners and lanes. Each sighting has the potential to give a fresh insight into the building, as well as of that particular corner or lane. For instance, Jeevan Bharti is slender when seen sidewards from a Janpath subway staircase, but balloons into a mountain when seen from Palika Bazar’s gate no. 1. The building’s altogether separate aspect looms over the crowded Regal Cinema arcade—see left photo.

Seeing the same edifice from different places is like watching an arthouse movie in which a single action is perceived through multiple perspectives (saw Rashomon?) Indeed, in the severely disparate Delhi, landmarks are able to stir disparate impressions, depending on the gazer’s location.

Take the lanky Lalit Hotel. One side of the tower overlooks the B block CP strollers; the other side overlooks the roofs of the GB Road red light. When you are among the fellow CP shoppers with access to this view of the hotel, it is hard to imagine the fellow citizens in GB Road with access to the other view.

Or, take this classic Old Delhi monument. It shows up most poetically not in Old Delhi but in CP. Stand on the zebra crossing that connects block C to block D, and look northward. The horizon is framed by a set of minars and a bulbous dome—that’s the Jama Masjid! A sense of unreality dominates the scene, perhaps because CP is so different in character from the cramped Walled City by-lanes.

Similarly, the many perspectives of Mehrauli’s Qutub Minar generously litter that part of the capital. On a clear day however, the 13th century tower is also visible from the rooftops of the distant Hauz Khas Village. The stone minar glimmers dully from behind the village cloth lines, resembling a whirlwind of sandstorm dust.

Truth be told, the dome of Humayun’s Tomb cannot be minutely studied by visitors within the ticketed complex, as it is by the dwellers of adjacent Nizamuddin East colony. In certain tomb-facing barsatis there, it is possible to even count the number of stone slabs on the dome.

Now consider this terrace scene in CP’s Indian Coffee House. What’s that familiar building over there? See the right photo, make a guess.

Lives in hostile weather

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City Landmarks - Jeevan Bharti Office Complex, Connaught Place

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City Landmarks - Jeevan Bharti Office Complex, Connaught Place