Rashtrapathi Bhawan New Delhi
Rashtrapathi Bhawan was earlier called as Viceroy’s house. This is situated at the Western end of Rajpath in New Delhi. The official residence of the President of India is located in the area of 130 hectares and contains 340 rooms. It is one of the largest residences of heads of the states in the world.
History of Rashtrapati Bhawan
The Rashtrapati Bhawan includes a huge area of President’s Garden or Mughal Gardens, reception halls, meeting halls, residences of security and staff of the president’s office within the perimeter. In 1911, the capital of India was relocated from Calcutta to Delhi. The idea to build the Viceroy House has budded in the minds of the officials in the same year.
About 4000 acres of land was acquired by the government by vacating nearly 300 families to build the Viceroy House. This was earlier called as secretariat building between 1911-1916. The responsibility to finalize the sketches was handed to Edwin Lutyens, one of the chief Architects in the city planning authority of Delhi. The sketches were later submitted to Henry Baker from Simla on 14th June 1912. Luteyns kept on traveling for twenty years once a year from England to India to monitor the construction of the Viceroy House.
The area of the house was reduced to some extent due to budget restrictions of the British government. Dr. C. Rajagopalachari was the first Indian to occupy the Viceroy house as the first and last governor-general of India and Dr. Rajendra Prasad changed the name of this house as Rashtrapathi Bhawan and occupied this house as the president on 26th January 1950.
The design of Rashtrapathi Bhawan is based on classical Indian and Italian Architecture and consists of 340 rooms in an area of 3,000,000 cubic feet. The layout plan of the building is designed around a huge square with a number of courtyards and open spaces inside it. The design of this building depicts Rajasthani and Mughal Styles when it comes to the architecture along with shades of classical European culture. There are a number of halls to organize various meetings and occasions in this building. The Durbar Hall and Ashoka Hall are the prominent ones among those.
The Durbar Hall is known as the throne room before independence which contains separate thrones for the Viceroy and Vicereine. But at present, a single chair was placed there for the President. The interior design of this building is well known for simple but classy stonework. The Ancient Buddha statue and the Bull Statue that depicts the Gupta Architecture are some of the magnificent works in this building.
The building contains many beautiful fountains. The magnificent one among them is fountain near the viceroy’s staircase that has eight marble idols of lions that pour water into six basins. This fountain represents the pride of the British throne.
Some more glimpses
- One of the important section of the President estate is Mughal gardens known for both Mughal and the European landscaping designs. This garden will be open for public for a few days in the month of February.
- The restoration process of Rashtrapathi Bhawan took place between 1985-1989 and the second phase of the architectural restoration of Rashtrapathi Bhawan was carried out in the year 2010.
- A museum was inaugurated in the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2014 July.
Rashtrapathi Bhawan is one of the places for cultural heritage in New Delhi along with the Red Fort, India Gate, and Qutub Minar.