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North and South Block Delhi

Location: On Raisina Hill, at the western end of Rajpath, adjacent to Rashtrapati Bhavan
Famous as: British Secretariat Buildings that are now offices of the Government of India
Time to Visit: Open on all days

Preferred Timings: Subject to official permission
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.
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: Approx 1 hour

Built on Raisina Hill either side of Rajpath, North and South Block, also known as the Secretariat Buildings are among the most impressive state office buildings of the world. North Block houses the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance while South Block houses the Ministry of External Affairs.

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, the buildings are raised on a plinth about 30 feet above ground level. North and South Block along with Rashtrapati Bhavan were built at a overwhelming cost of over 17.5 million rupees. Completed in 1929, it is said that the design of this 'two-tone' buildings are based or similar to the Union buildings in Pretoria in South Africa.

In total the buildings consists of about 1000 rooms and have miles of long corridors and inner fountain courts. Classical in style, each block has four floors and is crowned by an imposing central baroque dome. The gateways of both the blocks are designed in a typical majestic Mughal style. The gateway of the North block has an inscription which reads as follows: " Liberty will not descend to a people: a people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing which must be earned before it can be enjoyed".

The other important architectural features of the buildings are the beautiful lotus motifs, elephants and Mughal chhatris or kiosks. There are four sandstone columns surmounted by a bronze ship sailing east, two in front of each blocks representing the dominions of the British empire namely Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. There are stone tablets fixed at the sandstones bases of the buildings on which the names of the architects and builders are inscribed.

The Secretariat Buildings are not only impressive and majestic from the outside but their interiors are also equally interesting. North Block contains some very well preserved paintings depicting various themes like justice, war and peace. The South Block too has paintings on different cities of the country and emblems of old kingdoms.

Special Attractions/ Annual Event: At dusk during the National Festivals of the country North and South Block and with Rashtrapati Bhavan are floodlit. The Beating of the Retreat Ceremony takes place every year on 29th of January at Vijay Chowk or the Victory Square- the large open area at the foot of Secretariat buildings.

Nearby Tourist Attractions: Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, 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.

Last Updated On: 2011/09/01