|facade of Rastrapathi Bhavan (Viceroy's House),Delhi|
|Full view. Viceroy's House (Rastrapathi Bhavan), Delhi en.wikipedia.org|
|Interior, Rastrapathi Bhavan, Delhi. pinrest.com|
|Pillared Veranda, Rastrapathi Bhavan.credit: Derry Moore.pinterest.com|
Formerly called Viceroys' House, now renamed the Rashtrapati Bhavan, this huge colonial structure is the official residence of the Indian President and is at the western end of Rajpath in New Delhi. A building of mammoth size, there are 340-room in the main building including President's quarters, reception halls, guest rooms and offices, also called the mansion. It is on a land comprising 130-hectare (320-acre). The presidential gardens (Mughal Gardens), large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls come under the Presidential estate. Though debatable, it is said to be the largest residence of any head of state in the world.
|(Rastrapathi Bhavan), Delhi. en.wikipedia.org|
Earlier Calcutta was the capital of the British Raj till 1911. Lord Wellesley who happened to be one of the earliest founders of the British Empire after Robert Cline once said, ‘India should be governed from a palace, not from a country house’. He stuck to his word and had a grand building constructed between 1799 and 1803 and in 1854, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal took up residence there. Now, it is converted into Raj Bhavan where the Governor of West Bengal Bengal resides. Prior to that, the Governor-General of Fort William resided in the Belvedere House, Calcutta, first ever residence of the highest British official during the reign of the East India company.
After the British crown took over the administration of he Indian subcontinent from the oppressive and corrupt East India Company after 1858 -59, with the addition of more Indian kingdoms and vast revenue at its disposal, a decision had been made to shift the capital to Delhi that was strategically located in the center of Northern states. In the follow through the British India administration orderered the construction of the Viceroy's house. It was during the greatest show on the earth the Delhi Durbar in December 1911 that the capital of India was relocated from Calcutta to Delhi and the Darbar was well executed by the able and charismatic British top official Lord Curzon.
Soon after the Delhi Durbar extravaganza as part of developing a new township in Delhi adjacent to the end of old Delhi to house government offices and staff quarters, residences, etc., due importance was given for the construction of the Viceroy of India. To accomplish the big task began the land acquisition, relocating Raisina and Malcha villages that existed there and their 300 families under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Roughly the acquisition included 4,000 acres of land to begin the construction of Viceroy's House, as it was originally called, and near-by Secretariat Building between 1911 and 1916.
The British architect Edwin Lutyens, an active member of the city-planning committee, was entrusted with the primary architectural design and he worked with architect Baker who had joined him in June 1912 from Shimla. Both Lutyens and Baker had similar approach to architectural designs that showed certain flexibility, incorporating local architectural elements along with European styles. Including the structures in Delhi, one can see the influence of Indo-Saracenic designs on many colonial buildings.. Baker was to work on the two secretariat buildings which were in front of Viceroy's House. Why was the original plan of building the Viceroy's House on the top of Raisina Hill, with the secretariats lower down changed? No clear answer was available. One contention was Lutyens preferred the location of the Viceroy's House at a higher level, but was was forced to move it back from the intended position against the wish of Baker. Lutyens was of the view that the front of the building was obscured by the high angle of the road.
|Durbar hall below central dome, Rashtrapathi bhavan. Delhi.mythicalindia.com|
After several deliberations and argument over the steeper gradient between the Viceroy's House and the front buildings, in 1916 the Imperial Delhi committee dismissed Lutyens's proposal to alter the gradient. Lutyens was not happy about the new proposal.. When the construction work was on Lutyens used to visit England every year to work on other projects there. With respect to built-up area, he reduced the building from 13,000,000 cubic feet (370,000 m3) to 8,500,000 cubic feet (240,000 m3). It became a necessity to limit the built-up area on account of budget restrictions proposed by Lord Hardinge. Though he was concerned about financial strains, Hardinge wanted the architects to retain a certain amount of ceremonial grandeur and majesty worthy of the British Royalty.
|chhatri pavilions on the roof , Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Delhi, wikipwedia.|
|Elephant statues on the outer wall, Rashtrapahi Bhavan, Delhi, wikipedia|
The Viceroy's House a four-floored structure has a total floor area of 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2); one billion bricks and 3,000,000 cu ft (85,000 m3) of stone with little steel went into the construction work. . Various Indian elements included are several circular stone basins on top of the building, as water features, an important part of Indian architecture, traditional Indian chujja or chhajja (over hanging projections, to protect rain and sun shine) several chuttris (dome-shaped pavilion) atop the roof, elephant statues on the outer wall, the Jaipur Column (in front of the building) including statues of elephants and fountain sculptures of cobras, etc. The other Indian architectural elements are stone screens (Jalis) in red sandstone, quite well-known in Rajasthan, Ashokan details and Mayuran art designs, the bells as one will find in the Hindu and Buddhist temples of India. Lutyens used red sandstones and cream-colored stones from Dholpur and Agra. This combination accentuated the grandeur of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
|Main gate, Rashtrapahi Bhavan, Delhi en.wikipedia.org|
|cannon at the entrance. Rashtrapahi Bhavan, Delhi.en.wikipedia.org|
| Central dome, Rashtrapathi Bhavanen.Delhi. wikipedia.org|
|Rashtrapahi Bhavan, Delhi,interior. Palladian style. kamit.jp|
Durbar Hall in the main hall directly under the double-dome was known earlier as the "Throne Room" before independence. There were two thrones - one for the Viceroy and Vicereine. A striking feature in this hall is a massive a 2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 m by a 23 m long rope. There are impressive Greek-styled columns made from yellow Jaisalmer marble, The flooring of the hall is made of chocolate-colored Italian marble stones. It was in the Durbar Hall late Jawahar Lal Nehru took the oath of office of Prime Minister of India in August 1947. This hall, steeped in history can accommodate 500 people.
|King George V and Queen. Delhi Durbar 1911. en.wikipedia.org|
Delhi Durbar meaning the'' Court of Delhi" was a grand Indian imperial-style mass assembly organized by the British administration in India at Coronation Park, Delhi, India,. It was held to mark the succession of an Emperor or Empress of India. Also called the Imperial Durbar, it was held in Delhi in December 1911; earlier it was held in in 1877 and 1903. The Delhi Durbar, historically speaking, was the only royal event that a sovereign head, George V attended. It was dubbed as the greatest show on earth at that point of time with lots of pomp and pageantry.
It was on 22 March 1911, a royal proclamation was made officially announcing that the Durbar would be held in December to commemorate the coronation in Britain a few months earlier of George V and Mary of Teck and allow their proclamation as Emperor and Empress of India. In India, the official ceremonies lasted from 7 to 16 December, and the Durbar itself took place on Tuesday, 12 December. The royal couple arrived at Coronation Park in their Coronation robes and they received homage from various Indian royalties