From a refugee colony to a popular student hub

Locality watch

From a refugee colony to a popular student hub

What Kota is to Rajasthan, so is Guru Tegh Bahadur or GTB Nagar to Delhi---a student hub, where regular students and Civil Service aspirants, hoping to crack professional entrance exams, flock either to find accommodation or enroll in one of the many coaching centres. 

Located in North Delhi, near Civil Lines and Delhi University, before it was officially named as GTB Nagar in 1970, this historic area was famously known as Kingsway Camp, a name that remains stuck even now with old-timers who have many memories to recount of the transformation of this essentially a refugee camp for victims of Partition of yore to a student hub of today. 

It was also known for the Coronation Park, where the foundation of the new capital of British India, New Delhi, was laid in December, 1911, by King George V. Post-independence in 1947, it became the venue of the largest refugee camp in Delhi, housing 3,00,000 refugees. Today, the posh Punjabi-dominated residential locality has become a students’ hub with a large number of students residing in the area owing to its proximity with the Delhi University.

Students from North-Eastern states and Bihar seeking home away from home prefer to take up accommodation here because they can manage to get great rent deals, or live in hostels of their respective colleges. The Rajiv Gandhi Hostel for girls, Dhaka Hostel Complex, S.R Girls Hostel, and PG Men’s Hostel etc. have played a huge role in transforming the character and demography of the locality. 

Add to this the numerous coaching institutes and tuition centres that dot the area, including the Paramount Coaching and Chanakya for IAS, known for their faculty and teaching regimen. Almost every CAT, IIT JEE and IAS coaching centre is present. Recently many CA/CS/CWA coaching classes have also been set-up.

Residents of the area recount with a certain amount of pride the transformation their area has undergone in recent time. “Earlier whenever we went out for shopping or to chill out, we mostly saw families with their little ones. But the story is different now. The only people you see are young students with their books and notes. It seems like we’ve entered a city called ‘Outside Delhi Nagar’”, says an old resident.
 Batra Market known for its pocket-friendly family restaurants, fast-food outlets, shopping malls with showrooms of branded items and numerous educational institutes is a favourite hangout zone for the students and residents alike. Spicing up the picture is the famous Batra Cinema hall which has been delighting everyone over the last 32-odd years.

Himanshu Grover, student of Delhi University who lives in a PG says, “The area lacks for nothing. We can shop, eat and chill out with friends. And if you want to catch a movie then you don’t have to go far. That’s the beauty of GTB Nagar.”

“It is fun staying here and many of my friends are also living here. We can party, roam around, and study together. The locality is student-friendly and people here are always ready to help. I am living on the ground floor and my roommates are also very kind,” says Rashmi, who is preparing for IAS. Truly, the students are well-justified in calling GTB Nagar their ‘second home’.

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