Rashtrapati Bhavan, a magnificent compound

The imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. This name is used to signify the mansion itself, or the entire 320 acre compound including the vast gardens, expansive open spaces and other features. Few residences of the Head of State anywhere in the world compare with the Rashtrapati Bhavan in size, magnificence or beauty. Today the compound stands as a symbol of Indian independence and national pride.

The building was constructed in colonial times when it was created as the grand abode of the British Viceroy in India. It was intended to portray the grandeur and power of the British Raj and therefore the mansion was constructed on an impressive scale. It is noteworthy that the building which was scheduled to be completed in only four years, actually took no less than 17 years to complete. The completed mansion features 340 rooms with four floors, and is largely composed of bricks and stone.

The visitor will see that the mansion features a combination of Western and Indian architectural motifs. The most noticeable and distinctive part of the building is its large dome. According to the principal architect, Edwin Lutyens, the dome was fashioned to resemble the Pantheon in Rome; however many have pointed out that the structure more closely resembles the massive Stupa at Sanchi. The influence of Indian style architecture is confirmed by the fact that the dome is surrounded by railings which resemble the structures at Sanchi.

Other obviously Indian-derived design elements are the Buddhist themed railings, chhatris, chhajjas and jaalis. Of these, the chhatris decorate the rooftops, chajjas protect the walls and windows, and jaalis are slabs of stone which are decorated with intricate geometric and floral patterns.

A prominent feature of the compound is the Mughal Gardens, which portray English as well as Mughal landscaping themes. The gardens boast a huge diversity of flowers which add to its exquisite beauty. These gardens may be visited by the public in February each year.

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