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Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. Built on a very large scale - 600 meters long and 180 meters wide - it was the former residence of the Viceroy of India during the British regime. Lord Irwin was the first occupant of this building. Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built on Raisina hill, which he saw as an Indian Acropolis with the Viceroy's house as the Parthenon. Bigger than any palace of Indian Princes and one of the biggest palaces of the world, Rashtrapati Bhavan has a large court to its front and a Mughal style garden at its back

Popularly known as the 'Mughal Gardens' or 'Butterfly Garden', this garden behind Rashtrapati Bhawan is designed after the terraced gardens of Kashmir and spreads over an area of 130 hectares. It has a number of rare species of flowers especially roses, which are found nowhere else in India. Visitors can visit this beautiful garden only in the month of February when it is open to the public.

Built in a neo-classical style, Rashtrapati Bhavan 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 as there are pillars and domes but with very few arches and where one find arches, they are round and not pointed. According to the historian Laura Sykes, it seems that Lutyens was designing some vast opera set for an Indian version of 'The Mikado'.

The dominant feature of the building is its central dome, which is said to be inspired by the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. Lutyens introduced stone elephants and a row of lions on sentry duty outside the building, taken straight from the iron railings of London's Natural History Museum. It is said that he borrowed the idea of red sandstone construction from the Mughals and cream stone from the palaces of Dholpur, Bharatpur and Agra.

The Durbar Hall or the Throne room is the most magnificent room of the Bhavan and is the venue for all official functions of the President of India. It is situated directly under the main dome. Lutyens invented a pillar design for the house incorporating stone bells in the columns at the entrance to the Durbar Hall to recall a legend that the reigning dynasty would survive only so long as the bells remained silent. However, the bells never rang and despite that the empire came to an end after sixteen years. The other rooms open to the public are the Ashok Hall and the Dining Hall or the Banqueting room. Permission to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan can be taken from the Deputy Military Secretary to the President.

This best proportioned building of the city is also famous for its Jaipur Column, which is in the tradition of commemorative pillars 'replete with Indian and Imperial allegories'. Surmounted by a star made of glass, it was presented by the Maharaja of Jaipur and hence its name.

Rashtrapati Bhavan is grand in every sense, whether it is the ceiling with its amazing design or the beautifully carved furniture. The extensive lawns of the Rashtrapati Bhavan include the Mughal gardens, which are opened to the public in February-March every year. The gardens are famous for their prize-winning roses, herb garden, spiritual garden and collection of plants from all over India and the world.

Rashtrapati Bhavan Location: Built on Raisina Hill, less than a mile from Connaught Place at the western end of Rajpath.
Famous as: Official Residence of the President of India
Admission Fee: Free but prior permission required
How to Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach the monument, which is located near Connaught Place (CP), the heart of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail.
Special Attraction: Change of Guard Ceremony on every Saturday
Photography Charges: nil (prior permission required)
Nearest Railway Station: New Delhi Railway Station
Nearest Metro Station: Central Secretariat
Functional Metro Station: Central Secretariat
Nearest International Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport
Time required for sightseeing: 2 hours

Special Event / Annual Event:

Republic Day Parade/ Visitors can also see the change of guard ceremony on every Saturday between 10.35 am to 11.00 am in winter and 8.30 am to 9.15 am in summer.

Nearby Tourist Attractions:

India Gate, Parliament House, National Museum, Jantar Mantar, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and Hanuman Mandir.

Nearby Places to Eat:

Hotel Le Meridien, Imperial Hotel, Hotel Inter-Continental, Parikrama Revolving restaurant, Gaylord, El Rodeo, Bercos, Zen restaurant, Delhi Darbar, Nizam's Kathi Kebabs and Standard Restaurant. For snacks and fast foods: Bengali Market (sweets and chat), Kake da hotel (Indian food), Wenger, Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Nirula's, Ruby Tuesday, Sona Rupa, Starbeans, Barista, Café Coffee Day and innumerable roadside foodstalls.

Nearby Shopping Venues:

Connaught Place offers everything from jewelry, books, art, leather goods and a wide choice of Indian and international clothes stores. Central Cottage Industries Emporium has Indian handicrafts and curios. Baba Kharak Singh Marg houses the emporia of all the states of India, dedicated to each state's unique art and craft created by traditional and skilled artisans. Janpath offers clothes, low priced gifts and souvenirs and Palika Bazaar offers a wide range of electronic items.

Parking: Rs 10 for 4 hrs. (Rates are subject to change)

Last Updated On: 2011/07/01


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Posted on 2011-08-03very good