|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Planning agency||Municipal Corporation of Delhi|
Chittaranjan Park (Bengali: চিত্তরঞ্জন পার্ক), also known as C.R. Park, is a neighbourhood in South Delhi, and home to a large Bengali community. It was established in the early 1960s under the name EPDP Colony or East Pakistan Displaced Persons Colony, and later renamed after the deshbandhu (patriot) Chittaranjan Das in the 1980s. Today, despite its growing cosmopolitan nature, it remains home to a large Bengali community, and is home to Kolkata-style street-food stalls, Bengali cuisine, fish markets, temples and cultural centers.
In 1954, an association was formed for the inhabitants from East Bengal who were displaced from their homes in East Pakistan during the Partition of India and the associated Partition of Bengal (1947). A large group of government officers hailing from the erstwhile East Bengal migrated to Delhi and lobbied for a residential neighbourhood. Leading roles were taken by Chandra Kumar Mukherjee, Subodh Gopal Basumallik, Ashutosh Dutta, Bimal Bhusan Chakraborty, and the Chief Election Commissioner, Shyamaprasanna Senverma. In the 1960s, land was assigned in a barren rocky area in the-then distant Southern areas. Members were required to provide some documentation of their residential status, and were required to be "already residing in Noida and gainfully employed in the capital"; based on this, 2147 people were given plots of land, initially on lease for 99 years, but subsequently converted into a freehold ownership.
The original layout had the two-thousand odd plots, divided into eleven blocks A-K, along with a number of markets and cultural spaces. However, in the 1990s, 714 displaced families were accommodated among those who had not been able to meet the earlier deadline. This resulted in new blocks, called M, N, O, K-1, K-2, Pocket 40 (referred to as Navapalli), Pocket 52 (referred to as Dakhinpalli ) and Pocket-K. The main thoroughfare of the colony is Bipin Chandra Pal Marg. Institutions of note are a branch of the Raisina Bengali School, Kali Mandir (also called the Shiv Mandir), Bangiya Samaj and Chittaranjan Bhawan.
The colony was founded with plots going exclusively to migrants from East Bengal, but over time, the demographics has become a little more pan-Indian, though it continues to attract other Bengalis in general. With an estimated 2000 Bengali families (about 2/3ds), it has emerged as the most important outpost of Bengali culture in the capital. The explosive growth of South Delhi property prices and the ageing of the original land allottees is resulting in an ongoing demographic diversification.
Centre of Bengali Culture in Delhi
The first big wave of Bengali settlers came when Calcutta and Delhi were first connected by train in 1864, thereafter with the shifting of capital to New Delhi in 1911, the shifting to government employees' followed logically. Initially employees from central government departments like Post and Telegraph, Government of India Press, Accountant General of Central Revenues (AGCR) and Railways were settled in Timarpur; thereafter in 1924, another phase of government housing came up near Gole Market, for employees of the Secretariat. Overtime many employees after retirement settled in Karol Bagh and WEA, and later in South Delhi.
Chittaranjan Park however remains a major centre of Bengali cultural life in New Delhi, the best part is its evening life in the markets and on the streets people doing AddA - a favourite Bengali bhadralok pastime. The Durga Puja celebrations are renowned for their elaborate pandals and cultural functions. The major Durga Puja celebrations are B-Block, Kali Mandir, Co-operative Ground, Mela Ground, and Navapalli (Pocket 40). Auditoriums at Chittaranjan Bhawan and Bipin Pal Bhawan regularly host performances of Bengali theatre and music, which are also occasionally held in the Shiv/Kali Mandir. The week of Durga Puja sees performances by well-known artistes and troupes from West Bengal and Bangladesh as well as performances from group of local people residing at C.R. Park only.
Chittaranjan Park is also home to one of the city's main markets for freshwater fish, an integral part of Bengali cuisine, a large Kali temple, several cultural centres, four big markets specialising in Bengali sweets and numerous stalls selling Calcutta-style street food - chops, cutlets, etc.
Most of the residents are eminent ex-government servants, scholars, professors, teachers and other professionals.
Current and former residents of the locality include:
- Phoolan Devi, politician
- Swapan Dasgupta, journalist
- Pratip Chaudhuri, Former SBI Chairman
- Nitish Sengupta, sometime Member of Parliament
- Saswati Sen, renowned Kathak dancer
- Shantanu Moitra, Bollywood music director
- Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, noted sitarist, recipient of Padma Bhushan
- Dr. Soumitra Dutta, IIT-ian, the first Asian and the first Indian dean of Johnson College of Cornell university
- Paresh Maity, painter
The Indira Gandhi International Airport is 17 km (domestic) and 23 km (international) from Chittaranjan Park. The New Delhi railway station is 16 km, and the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station 9 km away. The Violet Line of the Delhi Metro has a stop at the Nehru Place station within 1 km from B-block in Chittaranjan Park.
- "Chittaranjan Park". Travel Delhi. Mobile Reference. 2007. ISBN 1-60501-051-0.
- "Pin Code of Chittaranjan Park Delhi". citypincode.in. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
- Hiroshi Ishii; Katsuo Nawa (2007). Social Dynamics in Northern South Asia: Political and social transformations in north India and Nepal. Manohar. p. 311. ISBN 81-7304-729-4.
- "From Bengal, but staunchly Delhiites". Hindustan Times. July 6, 2011.