During the famous Delhi Durbar of the 1911 A.D. it was decided that the capital of India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. King George V himself made the announcement regarding the same. The announcement came as a shock to many for that meant erecting a whole new city in the ravines of the central ridge. As the plan for New Delhi took shape, detailed contours were drawn for each building. The Governor-General's residence was given an enormous scale and prominent position because of prestige attached to the position. The British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens, a key member of the city-planning process, was given the daunting and challenging task to erect the magnificent building on the paper.
Lord Irwin was the first occupant of this building and Lord Mountbatten
became the last British to occupy the building. Bigger than any palace
of Indian Royalty and one of the biggest palaces of the world, the
palace was made entirely out of the indigenous building materials. Named
Viceroy House, and later christened Rashtrapati Bhawan, it has a large
courtyard to its front and a Mughal style garden at its back. The garden
is popularly known as the 'Mughal Gardens'. This garden behind
Rashtrapati Bhawan is based on the model of Bagh-e-Bahu in Kashmir and
is spread over an area of 130 hectares.
The layout of the palace is designed around a massive square.
Nevertheless you will find many courtyards and open inner areas within.
There are separate wings for the the President, and another wing for
guests. The President's wing is a separate four-storey house in itself,
with its own courtyards. The wing was very large. It is said that the
first president, Dr. Rajendra Prashad, decided not to stay there.
Apparently he felt lonely there and started staying in the guest wing.
The tradition was then followed by subsequent presidents and is still
At the centre of the main part of the palace is Durbar Hall. This is
the main structure in this part of the palace. Earlier it was called
throne room.The interior of this room and almost all the rooms of the
palace are bare. The architecture is influenced with objectivism where
the architect rely on the stonework and shapes to show austerity.
Similarly, you will notice that the columns are made in the original
'Delhi' order which combines vertical lines with the motif of a bell.
Built in a neo-classical, Victorian-gothic style, Rashtrapati Bhawan
has 340 large rooms, 37 salons, 74 lobbies and loggias, 18 staircases
and 37 fountains. To some extent, the style can be said to be Classical
or Greek. This claim is supported by the presence of large pillars and
domes. There are very few arches and even if they are, they have round
arch and not pointed as in case of pure Victorian Architecture.
President House Delhi
|Location||New Delhi, near India Gate|
|How to Reach||Take an auto or cab or disembark at Central Secretariat Metro station|
|Timing||Anytime from outside, but out of bound for the tourists|