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The Design of Rashtrapati Bhavan : The official home of the President of India

The Design of Rashtrapati Bhavan (The official home of the President of India)
Jul 23, 2012 11:50 IST
    • The Rashtrapati Bhavan is a large and vast mansion with four floors and has 340 rooms. It is built on a floor area of 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2). Situated to the west of India Gate, the building faces east.

     

    • Various Indian designs were added to the building. These included several circular stone basins on top of the building, as water features are an important part of Indian architecture. There was also a traditional Indian chujja or chhajja, which occupied the place of a frieze in classical architecture; it was a sharp, thin, protruding element which extended 8 feet (2.4 m) from the building, and created deep shadows. It blocks harsh sunlight from the windows and also shields the windows from heavy rain during the monsoon season. On the roofline were several chuttris, which helped to break up the flatness of the roofline not covered by the dome.

     

    • There were grilles made from red sandstone, called jalis or jaalis. These jalis were inspired by Rajasthani design. The front of the palace, on the east side, has twelve unevenly spaced columns with the Delhi order capitals. These capitals have a fusion of acanthus leaves with the four pendant Indianbells. The bells are similar in style to Indian Hindu and Buddhist temples, the idea being inspired from a Jain temple at Moodabidri in Karnataka. One bell is on each corner at the top of the column. It was said that as the bells were silent British rule in India would not end. The front of the building does not have windows, except in the wings at the sides. Lutyens established ateliers in Delhi and Lahore to employ local craftsmen, The chief engineer of the project was Sir Teja Singh Malik, and four main contractors included SirSobha Singh.

     

    • Lutyens added several small personal elements to the house, such as an area in the garden walls and two ventilator windows on the stateroom to look like the glasses which he wore. The Vice regal Lodge was completed largely by 1929, and (along with the rest of New Delhi) inaugurated officially in 1931. Interestingly, the building took seventeen years to complete and eighteen years later India became independent. After Indian independence in 1947, the now ceremonial governor-general continued to live there, being succeeded by the president in 1950 when India became a republic and the house was renamed "Rashtrapati Bhavan".

     

    • Lutyens stated that the dome is inspired by the Pantheon of Rome. There is also the presence of Mughal and European colonial architectural elements. Overall the structure is distinctly different from other contemporary British Colonial symbols. It has 355 decorated rooms and a floor area of 200,000 square feet (19,000 m⊃2;). The structure includes 700 million bricks and 3.5 million cubic feet (85,000 m⊃3;) of stone, with only minimal usage of steel.

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