Rashtrapati BhavanRashtrapati Bhavan or President's Palace is the official residence of the President of India. The entire mansion has an impressive architecture which fascinates every onlooker.
Rashtrapati Bhavan HistoryIn 1911, it was decided at the Delhi Durbar that the capital of the country would be shifted to Delhi. Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens was assigned the task to design the Governor General's House. Though it was scheduled to be built in just 4 years, the construction of Rashtrapati Bhawan actually took 17 years and was completed in 1929.
The construction of Rashtrapati Bhavan was to affirm the permanence of British rule in India and the building and its surroundings were supposed to be ''an empire in stone''. But this ''empire of stone'' was soon converted into an ''institute of democracy'', when in 1950, Dr. Rajendra Prasad sworn in as the first President of India and this Viceroy's Palace was converted into Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Architecture of Rashtrapati BhavanThe entire complex is vast. It houses four floors and 340 rooms in total. Interestingly, this massive bhawan has been built mainly by use of bricks, stone and negligible amount of steel has been used. There are two wings, one of which was originally designed for the Viceroy and his family and the other for the guests. However, in recent times, the President lives in the guest wing. The original residence wing is used as a guest wing.
The Dome is an attractive feature representing a blend of British, European and Indian styling. Some researchers strongly believe that this dome is inspired by the great Stupa at Sanchi. The President's House is surrounded by the Central Secretariat buildings, Parliament House, India Gate.
A lot of Indian designs like Chattris, Chajjas, Jallis, Buddhist railings, etc were incorporated in the making of this pleasant structure. The colors that have been used, water features, statues of elephant, provide an Indian touch. There is also a canopy outside the entrance. The elegantly decorated halls such as the Durbar Hall, Ashoka Hall, Marble Hall and North Drawing Room glorify the beauty of the palace.
The famous Mughal Gardens also lie in the premises of Rashtrapati Bhawan. This beautiful garden designed with a blend of both the British and Mughal art, constitutes European flowerbeds, water fountains, and artificial lakes. The garden is open to visitors in the spring month from February to March. The entry and exit into the gardens is regulated from Gate No. 35 of the President's Estate, which is located near the North Avenue, at the western end of the Church Road.
Ceremonies at Rashtrapati Bhavan
The Rashtrapati Bhawan continues to host many royal ceremonies having distinct national importance. One such attractive ceremony is the Guard Mounting / Change of Guard. The Change of Guard is a military tradition wherein the guards, troops or the sentries at palaces, forts change and allow other troops to take charge. The old and new troops consist of those belonging to the President's Body Guard (PBG). The entire ceremony is accompanied by melodious and inspiring music of the military bands.
The Beating Retreat marks the end of the Republic Day celebrations and takes place on the evening of 29 January. The President of India is the chief guest for the ceremony. A mesmerizing environment is created by the band contingents of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. At the closing of the ceremony, all the flags are brought down and the entire Raisina Hills, Vijay Chowk, North and South Block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan are illuminated with bright lights.
Every President presents a Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner to his bodyguard. The President's Body Guard is the senior most regiment of the Indian Army and is a regiment with horses which carries out all the ceremonial duties for the President. This tradition dates back to 1923 and is conducted in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.