08 06 2009 884

Exhibitions - The Imperial New Delhi


Exhibitions presents online picture archvies of The Most Famous Hotels in the World.

Visit the online gallery of the IMPERIAL NEW DELHI, India's legendary hotel, take a tour through the interesting past of New Delhi and learn how the IMPERIAL was built. A large part of the collection shows the contemporary hotel. All photographs are downloadable as high-res files. Visit the Exhibition hall.


The privileged among us experience a special feeling of ‘coming home’ when checking into a hotel, just as lovers of fine art are struck with profound admiration when confronted with a particularly beautiful piece on a gallery wall. These are two equally pleasing emotions.
Ever thought about checking into a museum?
Follow us to The Imperial in New Delhi. Here Jasdev Singh Akoi had the idea of merging his hotel with a stunning museum of historic India. Over 4,000 items of art are on display.

It was one of the most ambitious hotel projects ever realised. Jasdev Singh Akoi had to steer the hotel from a severe depression into safe waters, transforming a ghost of a grand hotel into one of the rejuvenated maidens of the Asian hospitality industry. His wife Mira became the master designer, while faithful workers including the housekeeper Mrs Sandhu and the carpenter Ratti Ram were at hand to complete the Herculean task. Against all the odds Jasdev Singh came to arrangements with demanding trade unions, found budgets for renovation work, scoured the hills around Delhi for old British house ware to decorate the Garden Party coffee shop and then rose rates to revamp the hotel even more. The Akois secured enough funds to start a master renovation, create The Spice Route, the most sensational of all Asian restaurants, and Patiala Peg, revive The Tavern by opening Daniell’s and finally put their private art collection on display at the hotel. Their efforts changed the hotel into a white swan, proudly floating on the lake of Indian hospitality.

The year 1911 plays a key role in the history of India – and it is prominently displayed here and there at The Imperial. A restaurant, a bar and the veranda called ‘1911’ commemorate the fabled 1911 Coronation Durbar. What is a Durbar? It is a massive propaganda event designed to form a direct link between the British Emperors and the Moghul Emperors before them.
There were three particularly impressive Durbars in Delhi. The first marked the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India in 1887. The second was Edward VIII’s Coronation Durbar in 1903, presided over by Lord Curzon. The third Durbar was George V’s Coronation Durbar in 1911. George V actually attended this Durbar in person and used it to announce the moving of the capital of British India from Calcutta to New Delhi.

The 1911 restaurant is today the preferred meeting point of the local business community as well as hotel guests. The resident chef de cuisine and famous visiting French chefs make it the haunt for gourmets. Its terrace is guarded by mighty blue pillars, which are part of the Imperial since its opening day.

Let us take you from the early days to the moment a certain Lady Willingdon arrived and shook up the the social world of Delhi by convincing the eminent constructor Narain Singh to build this hotel. Let’s travel from the Delhi of India’s independence to today’s buzzing capital of a superpower, with a bewitching, romantic and yet modern revolving point, called the Imperial.
Andreas Augustin



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