|Monuments in Delhi|
Rashtrapati Bhavan or President House is an official residence of the President of India. Located at West end of Parliament Street in New Delhi, Rashtrapati Bhavan is one of the largest residential houses of any Head of the State in the world in terms of its area and grandeur. It was during the Delhi Durbar of 2011 that a decision was taken for constructing a residence for Viceroy and relocate the capital from Bengal to Delhi. This led to acquisiton of about 4000 acres of land from the Raisina and Malcha villages for constructing Viceroy Residence and the two Secretriate buildings. This massive mansion was designed by famous British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Hugh Keeling, Chief Engineer and many Indian contractors were also part of its designing and construction. There was some disagreement between Lutyens and Baker on location of Rashtrapati Bhawan. Baker prepared plan to locate the Secretriate buildings on high plateaus which required shifting back of Viceroy Residential complex. This meant that the high angle of the road will obscure a large part of the architecture. Lutyens did not want the main building to be obscured by shifting back. But, Baker prevailed ultimately.
It was officially inaugurated in the year 1931. The total cost of building this marvelous piece of architecture was of Rs 877,136 pounds (Rs. 12.8 million).
The total area of the President House complex which also includes Mughal Gardens, bodyguard residences, offices, utilities and large open spaces is about 320 acres.
During 1950, it was the residence of the Viceroy of India therefore it was called as the Viceroy’s House during that time. There are so many surprises and interesting facts associated with Rashtrapati Bhavan. The building of this mansion was supposed to be constructed in four years but it took a long 17 years and one year later of its construction, India got its independence.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is a magnum opus of equilibrium, discipline, outline, colour and concord. With the combination of the architectural work of Mughal and British era, it is undoubtedly one of the best known monuments of the country.
With a floor space of 200000 sq ft, Rashtrapati Bhavan has four floors and 340 rooms. The hugeness of this mansion can be noticed with the fact that it has more than 54 bedrooms together with additional accommodation for guests. It is said that over 700 million bricks and three million cubic feet of stones were used in the construction of Rashtrapati Bhavan. What is even more remarkable is that no steel was used in its construction.
Though Lutyens was inspired by European style of architecture, he had to incorporate the Indian elements of architecture in constructing Rashtrapati Bhawan. He incorporates Ind-Saracenic motifs on walls of building. “Chajja” or balcony, and, “chhatris” (domes) on roof top periphery were also incorporated in the design. “Jallis” from the Rajasthan architecture of buildings was also incorporated. He also place 12 massive columns unevenly with Delhi Order (inspired by Mauryan time Ashoka pillars) marked on these.
Durbar Hall and Ashoka Hall
Though there are many halls and rooms in the structure, two most commonly used are the Durbar Hall and Ashoka Hall. Durbar Hall has a capacity of 500 people and India’s first PM, Jawahar Lal Nehru took oath on declaration of Independence here. Ashoka Hall is a rectangular room of 32 by 20 meter.
The first occupant of this mansion was Lord Irwin. First Indian occupant was Governor General C. Rajagopalachari. First President of India to be occupying this office was Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan also comprises a huge Mughal garden at the west end of its main building which was also designed by Sir Lutyens. This lovely and attractive garden has a number of diverse flowers and shrubs, along with exquisite fountains which make it more beautiful. There are innumerable of beautiful flowers including different species of colorful roses that make entire surrounding simply amazing. Amidst tight security, the garden opens for public during the months of February and March.
Metro Connectivity and Location
Reaching Rashtrapati Bhavan is quite easy. The nearest metro station is Central Secretariat on Yellow and Violet Lines of the Delhi Metro Rail Network. People can also take auto, taxi or city buses to reach there. However, the entry is strictly banned in the Rashtrapati Bhavan but visitors are allowed visit its outer gate. The reception office of Rashtrapati Bhavan is at Raisina Hill. From its main gate towards east, the view of Rajpath till India Gate is magnificent. The best time to visit this master piece is January and February because during this time, one can get a chance to visit Mughal Garden.