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Lord Curzon and Lady Curzon arriving at the Delhi Durbar, 1903. The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais. Calcutta (now Kolkata) was the capital of India during the British Raj until December 1911.

Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of ancient India and the Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the British Indian Empire (as it was officially called) from Calcutta to Delhi.[8] Unlike Calcutta, which was located on the eastern coast of India, Delhi was at the centre of northern India and the Government of British India felt that it would be logistically easier to administer India from the latter rather than the former.

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