Indian Monuments

Indian Monuments



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Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan (Sanskrit for 'President House / Presidential Palace') is the official residence of the President of India, located in New Delhi, Delhi, India. Until 1950 it was known as "Viceroy's House" and served as the residence of the Governor-General of India. It is at the heart of an area known as Lutyens' Delhi.


Mounted Guards in Front of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Official Residence of the President of India
Mounted Guards in Front of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Official Residence of the President of India Photographic Print
Blomqvist, Anders
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During the Delhi Durbar year of 1911, it was decided that the capital of India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. This was announced on December 12 by King George V. As the plan for New Delhi took shape, the Governor-General's residence was given an enormous scale and prominent position. The British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens, a key member of the city-planning process, was also given the prime architectural opportunity of designing the building.

The original plans of the viceroy's house called for something which would be a mixture between western and eastern styles. There were some who wanted the palace to be a classically designed one, in the tradition of the Greeks. This would clearly show western power in India. Others desired a palace which would be modelled on Indian architecture. It was also suggested for various degrees of mixing the two styles. The Viceroy declared that the palace was to be classical, but with an Indian motif. This was what the design eventually developed into. The palace developed very similarly to the original sketches which Lutyens sent Baker from Shimla on June 14 1912. Lutyens' design is grandly classical overall, with colors and details inspired by Indian architecture.

Lutyens and Baker who had been assigned to work on the Viceroy's House and the Secretariats, began on friendly terms, although they later quarrelled. Baker had been assigned to work on the two secretariat buildings which were in front of Viceroy's House. Early on in the design process, Viceroy's House was decided to be moved from the original position on the top of Raisina Hill. The original plan was to have Viceroy's House on the top of the hill, with the secretariats lower down. It was decided to move it back 400 yards, and put both buildings on top of the plateau. While Lutyens wanted the Viceroy's house to go higher up, he was forced to move it back from the intended position due to a dispute with Baker. Following the completion of the palace, Lutyens fought with Baker, because the view of the front of the palace was obscured by the high angle of the road.

Lutyens regarded this as his 'Bakerloo' (a reference to Waterloo) because he campaigned for its fixing, but was not able to get it to be changed. Lutyens wanted to make a long inclined grade all the way to Viceroy's house with retaining walls either side. While this would give a view of the house from further back, it would also cut through the square between the secretariat buildings. The committee with Lutyens and Baker established in January 1914 said the grade was to be no steeper than 1 in 25, though it eventually was changed to 1 in 22, a steeper gradient which made it more difficult to see the Viceroy's palace. While Lutyens knew about the gradient, and the possibility that the Viceroy's palace would be obscured by the road, it is thought that Lutyens did not fully realise how much the front of the house would not be visible. In 1916 the Imperial Delhi committee dismissed Lutyens' proposal to alter the gradient. Lutyens thought Baker was more concerned with making money and pleasing the government, rather than focusing on making a good architectural design.

Lutyens travelled between India and England almost every year for twenty years, to work on the building of the Viceroy's house in both countries. Lutyens had to reduce the building size from 13 to 8.5 million cubic feet because of the budget restrictions of Lord Hardinge. While he had demanded that costs be cut, he nevertheless wanted the house to retain a certain amount of ceremonial grandeur., 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
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