Governmental Modernisms Along Asaf Ali Road

Asaf Ali Road runs along the southern edge of Old Delhi, and is in a way part of the transitional space between Old Delhi and the late-colonial architecture and urban space of Lutyens’ New Delhi to the south. From Old Delhi’s Delhi Gate all the way to Ajmeri Gate (with Turkman Gate in between), Asaf Ali Road is lined with modernist commercial and office buildings from the 1940s/50s all the way to the 1990s. These buildings occupy the space that once would have been the thick walls of Shahjahanabad. These modernist buildings are a relatively humble but representative collection of the type of modernisms that were employed by so many governmental commercial and office buildings around India through the decades.

The first iteration of this line of buildings was probably the two or three story high structures from around the 1940s, with colonnaded commercial space on the ground floor and either residences or office spaces above, a few examples of which still exist. After these came larger commercial buildings in later decades. The photos were taken in an east to west order, from Delhi Gate to Ajmeri Gate.


Location of Asaf Ali Road to the south of Old Delhi

shah whole asaf ali


Asaf Ali Road buildings along the edge of Old Delhi

asaf ali road



01 01 asaf ali road

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A horrendous later example, probably from the 1990s

01 09 asaf ali road

Typical 1970s/80s governmental commercial architecture

02 01 asaf ali road

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03 01 asaf ali road

This is probably one of the original buildings on the line, from the 1940s/50s

03 02 asaf ali road

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Kamala Market near Ajmeri Gate, now in pretty dilapidated condition

04 01 kamala market

04 02 kamala market

04 03 kamala market

A new building near the New Delhi Railway Station, seen from Kamala Market

04 04 kamala market

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