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Friday, September 28, 2012

Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. A palace with 340 rooms- used by the President of India


India's Most Expensive Official Residence.
The president lives in a palatial 340-room palace.
It is the largest residence of any chief of the state in the world.
Even as population of people in India's slums is projected to rise to 93 million in 2011 or 7.75 percent of the total
population, our head of the state lives in a grand palace maintained at a cost that runs into crores.
In 2007, the maintenance cost of the presidential palace was estimated to be more than Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion)
per year!
The electricity bill of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2007-2008 stood at Rs 6.30 crore (Rs 63 million) followed by
Rs 6.88 crore (Rs 68.8 million) in 2008-2009 and Rs 6.67 crore (Rs 66.7 million) in 2009-2010.
Besides the Rashtrapati Bhavan at New Delhi, the President has official residences in two other states -
Rashtrapati Nilayam near Secunderabad and The Retreat at Mashobra, near Shimla.

Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. A palace with 340 rooms- used by the President of India
Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST

It is the largest residence of any chief of the state in the world.
Even as population of people in India's slums is projected to rise to 93 million in 2011 or 7.75 percent of the total
population, our head of the state lives in a grand palace maintained at a cost that runs into crores.
In 2007, the maintenance cost of the presidential palace was estimated to be more than Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) per year!
The electricity bill of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2007-2008 stood at Rs 6.30 crore (Rs 63 million) followed by
Rs 6.88 crore (Rs 68.8 million) in 2008-2009 and Rs 6.67 crore (Rs 66.7 million) in 2009-2010.
Besides the Rashtrapati Bhavan at New Delhi, the President has official residences in two other states - Rashtrapati
Nilayam near Secunderabad and The Retreat at Mashobra, near Shimla.
Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is one of India's best architectural marvels. A magnificent four-storeyed mansion,
it has a floor area of 200,000 square feet. It was built by using 700 million bricks and
three million cubic feet of stone.
Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST

The cost of building this architectural wonder escalated to Rs 12.8 million, much higher than the
projected cost.


The building along with the Mughal Garden and the staff quarters together coast a whopping Rs 14 million at that time.
At the present rates, its value would runs into thousands of crores. The building was scheduled to be completed in four years. However, it took 17 years to complete this magnificent building.

st updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST

Edwin Lutyens was the chief architect of this impressive residence and Hugh Keeling was the chief engineer.
The most prominent and distinguishing aspect of Rashtrapati Bhavan is its dome which is superimposed on its structure.
Indian contractor Haroun-al-Rashid did most of the work of the main building and the forecourt was built by Sujan Singh and his son Sobha Singh.

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST

The British decided to build a palatial residence in New Delhi for their Viceroy. They wanted 'an empire in stone' to establish their colonial footprint in the Indian soil. It is interesting to note that the building which was scheduled to be completed in four years took seventeen years and on the eighteenth year of its completion India became independent.


After independence when C Rajagopalachari assumed the office as the first Governor General of India, he refused to stay in the Ashoka Suite used by the British Viceroy terming it as too luxurious. He preferred to stay in one of the guestrooms.
The tradition was followed by successive presidents.


On 26 January 1950, when Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India, the building was renamed, Rashtrapati Bhavan - the President's House. Click NEXT to read on

The sprawling edifice has 74 lobbies and galleries, one and a half miles of corridors, 18 staircases and 37 fountains. The building was made with materials from India. Only the Italian marble was imported for the flooring. Steel is hardly used in the building.


The luxurious apartments that were used by the British Viceroy were converted into a guest wing where the Heads of State
of other countries stay during their visit to India.


An interesting feature of the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the fusion of Indian and European designs. Temple bells, which are part of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions have been perfectly blended with the Hellenic style architecture. The idea to design bells in the pillars of Rashtrapati Bhavan came from a Jain temple at Moodabidri in Karnataka.


The highlight of the building is Chhajja. These are stone slabs which are fixed below the roof of a building
and are designed for the purposes of preventing the sunrays from falling on the windows and protecting the walls from the rains. Chhatris adorn the rooftop of the building.


Jaalis are also of typical Indian designs, which add beauty to the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
These are the stone slabs containing lot of perforations, designed with delicate floral and geometric patterns.

The chhajjas, chhatris and jaalis give building a historic look. In some of the jaalis, Lutyens used European styles to enhance their beauty and utility. Click NEXT to read on
Last updated on: May 26, 2011 10:30 IST

The Durbar Hall, Ashoka Hall, Marble Hall, North Drawing Room, Nalanda Suite are famous for its aesthetics and grandeur. The Yellow Drawing Room is used for smaller state functions like swearing-in of Comptroller and Auditor General, Chief Election Commissioner and induction of a solitary Minister in the Union Council of Ministers.


The lavish Banquet Hall can accommodate 104 persons. The Ashoka Hall gives the feel of a large jewel box.
It was originally built as the State Ballroom. It has a wooden floor, a central dance space, and three vestibules.
Click NEXT to read on


Unlike most halls and chambers in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Ashoka Hall has a painted ceiling. The painting is in the Persian style. The main painting on the roof depicts a royal hunting expedition while those towards the corners show scenes from court life.
The painting done on leather was commissioned by Lady Willingdon when her husband was the Viceroy.


The North Drawing Room is used for receiving visiting heads of state. Two striking paintings are - The Transfer of power on August 14 by S N Goshal and swearing-in ceremony of First Indian Governor General.


The Rashtrapati Bhavan has a museum with autographed photographs of several heads of states. The gifts
received by the President during visits abroad or in India and from visiting heads of state at New Delhi are exhibited here.


Leaving a trail of the imperialist past are Statues of King George V and Queen Mary, oil portraits of former viceroys and governors General, the silver chair for the Queen, the brass replica of British Crown.


The Durbar Hall has a 2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 meters. This room was called the Throne Room during the British era.
There were 2 separate thrones for the Viceroy and Vicereine, which have now been replaced by a simple
chair for the President. The hall is used for state functio
ns. Click NEXT to read on


The Mughal Gardens spread across 13 acres is a blend of Mughal and British styles. The Mughal Gardens
are open to the public in February-March every year
. Click NEXT to read on


Two channels running north to south and two running east to west divide this garden into a grid of squares.


There are six lotus shaped fountains. The fountains add to the beauty of the tranquil surroundings,
rising up to a height of 12 feet.
A nature trail has been developed in the President's Estate to create awareness
about the environment. The trail is open for visitors on Saturdays.


The garden has a variety of exotic flowers and roses. The Rashtrapati Bhavan also has nine tennis courts,
a polo ground, a 14-hole golf course and a cricket field.

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