Rashtrapati Bhawan - President House of India

Called Rashtrapati Bhawan in Hindi, President House is the official residence & office for president of India. A majestic structure built in the late twenties of the century, on an elevated area of 330 acres, this is the dwelling place of the President of the Republic of India and it commands an imposing view overlooking the Rajpath and India Gate. It was built during British for the residence of British Viceroy, when the capital of India was shifted in New Delhi from Kolkata (previously called Calcutta). New Delhi was a new planned city adjacent to Old Delhi. British architect Edwin Lutyens was the key architect for its layout and construction. After Lord Mountbatten left India in 1948, Rajgopalachari was selected as ceremonial governor general and hence he was the first Indian to be the occupant of viceroy house, which was named as the president’s house in 1950. Foreign tourists can obtain entry passes through the Tourist Office of the Government of India. The Military Secretary to the President, at the Bhavan itself, will issue passes to the Indians.

The building contains 340 rooms, large courts, stately apartments for foreign dignitaries, a library and a Mughal style garden. The main constituents of construction are bricks, stone and steel. Along with major English architecture style, many elements of Indian architecture style were also added such as ‘chhatri’, ‘chhajja’ and animal sculptures. Red sandstone jalis are inspired by Rajasthani architecture style. Main dome of the building has reflection of Buddhist architecture. Railings around the dome are inspired by Sanchi Stupa. The front of the building has twelve uneven columns and has windows in the side wings only. The layout plan consisted of two wings one for viceroy residence and other for guests. The resident wing is a four storey building. This complex was so large that ceremonial governor and first Indian occupant of this house chose guest wing to live and after him this became a tradition and is being followed by subsequent presidents. Now the original residence wing is used as guest house for visiting heads of the states. There are several fascinating buildings and halls inside as under...

Halls: There are many halls in the president house which are used for state functions. Durbar hall and Ashoka hall are major among them.

Durbar Hall: It is situated just under the main dome of the building. In front of a wall, a 5th century statue of Buddha is placed. Before independence, it was known as Throne Room and two thrones were placed before the statue. After independence a single high chair is kept at this place for the president. The floor is made of chocolate colored Italian marble. There are life size paintings of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajgopalachari, Rajendra Prasad on the walls of hall. Durbar hall is used for civil and defence ceremonies. Oath of prime minister, council of ministers and chief justices is also conducted here. The hall has three entrances.

Ashoka Hall: It is most beautiful among all the halls. Its walls have fresco paintings and floor was made of woods.

Museum: A museum was added in president house in 2014. People can get a detailed glimpse of art and architecture of president house along with the lives of previous presidents. It has three main complexes - first is the clock tower, 2nd the stables and third the garages.

Gardens: Gardens are spread over 320 acre and are situated at the back front of the President house. The architecture of the gardens is a combination of Mughal and British styles. There are six lotus shaped fountains. Gardens are namely terrace garden and Purdha Garden.

Mughal Garden: Spread over 15 acre, it is said to be the soul of presidential palace. Mughal gardens are inspired from Mughal garden of Jammu and Kashmir, gardens of Taj Mahal and miniature paintings of India and Persia. Rose remains key feature of Mughal Garden and other seasonal flowers like tulips, lilies, daffodils also blossom in the garden. Garden also has varieties of trees and shrubs.

Herbal Gardens: It was the initiative of former president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Azad with the vision to promote natural remedies. Varieties of medicinal plants like Tulsi, Ashwagandha, Bramhi, Harra and Isabagol etc. are there in herbal garden. Variety and benefits of each plant is indicated near the plants. Some herbal trees like chandan, neem, amla etc. are also there in garden.

Musical Garden: It was also the initiative of former president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Azad. He inaugurated it in 2006. It has three fountains.

Except these gardens spiritual garden, rectangular garden, long garden, circular garden are also maintained. The plants of flowers like rose, lily, and tulips are arranged in shape of many beds. Walls are covered with creepers like Jasmine, bignonia, vanista etc.

Location: Rajpath, New Delhi

Opening: The whole building is divided in three parts:

  • Main building and central lawn: open for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Museum complex: open for all days expect Monday
  • Gardens: open from November to march on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sundayand during Udyanotsava from Tuesday to Sunday.

Udyanotsava: Every year Mughal Garden is opened for public for about one month. This annual public opening of garden is known as Udyanotsava. President of India inaugurates the annual Udyanotsava. All other gardens of president house are opened along with Mughal garden during Udyanotsava.

Timing: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Entry: Entry for the garden is through gate no 35 and entry during Udyanotsava is free of cost.

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