Delhi Historical Adventure Travel And Backpacking Exploring "Raisina Hill, Rajpath And Rashtrapati Bhavna"

Delhi Travel Guide

Raisina Hills:

The barren treeless grounds around raisina hill were selected by the British as the site of the new capital. Now a heavily guarded verdant area it is dominated by stately buildings such as the twin North & South Blocks of the secretariat.


It is a ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi, India, that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill through Vijay Chowk and India Gate to National Stadium, Delhi. The avenue is lined on both sides by huge lawns, canals and rows of trees.

Rashtrapati Bhavna:

It may refer to only the mansion that has the president's official residence, halls, guest rooms and offices; it may also refer to the entire 130-hectare.  President Estate that additionally includes huge presidential gardens (Mughal Gardens), large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls. In terms of area, it is one of the largest residences of a head of state in the world. This decision to build a residence in New Delhi for the British Viceroy was taken after it was decided during the Delhi Durbar in December 1911 that the capital of India would be relocated from Calcutta to Delhi. When the plan for a new city, New Delhi, adjacent to end south of Old Delhi, was developed after the Delhi Durbar, the new palace for the Viceroy of India was given an enormous size and prominent position. About 4,000 acres of land was acquired to begin the construction of Viceroy's House, as it was officially called, and adjacent Secretariat Building between 1911 and 1916 by relocating Raisina and Malcha villages that existed there and their 300 families under the Land & Acquisition Act.

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Viceroy of India:

Commonly shortened to Viceroy of India; was originally the head of the British administration in India and, later, after Indian independence in 1947, the representative of the Indian head of state. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William. The officer had direct control only over Fort William, but supervised other British East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over all of British India was granted in 1833, and the official came to be known as the "Governor-General of India". In 1858, the territories of the East India Company came under the direct control of the British government; see British Raj. The governor-general headed the central government of India, which administered the provinces of British India, including the Punjab, Bengal, Bombay, Madras, the United Provinces, and others.However, much of India was not ruled directly by the British government; outside the provinces of British India, there were hundreds of nominally sovereign princely states or "native states", whose relationship was not with the British government, but directly with the monarch. To reflect the governor-general's role as the representative of the monarch to the feudal rulers of the princely states, from 1858 the term Viceroy and Governor-General of India  was applied to him.

The British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens, a major member of the city-planning process, was given the primary architectural responsibility. The completed Governor-General's palace turned out very similar to the original sketches which Lutyens sent Herbert Baker, from Simla, on 14 June 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 Viceroy's House and the Secretariats began on friendly terms. Baker had been assigned to work on the two secretariat buildings which were in front of Viceroy's House. The original plan was to have Viceroy's House on the top of Raisina Hill, with the secretariats lower down. It was later decided to build it 400 yards back and put both buildings on top of the plateau. While Lutyens wanted Viceroy's House to be higher, he was forced to move it back from the intended position, which resulted in a dispute with Baker.

Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens:

He was born on 29 March 1869 in Kensington, London & was died on 1 January 1944. He was an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses, war memorials and public buildings. In his biography, the writer Christopher Hussey wrote, "In his lifetime  was widely held to be our greatest architect since Wren if not, as many maintained, his superior".  The bulk of Lutyens' early work consisted of private houses in an Arts and Crafts style, strongly influenced by Tudor architecture and the vernacular styles of south-east England. This was the most innovative phase of his career. Important works of this period include Munstead Wood, Tigbourne Court, Orchards and Goddards in Surrey, Deanery Garden and Folly Farm in Berkshire, Overstrand Hall in Norfolk and Le Bois des Moutiers in France.After about 1900 this style gave way to a more conventional Classicism, a change of direction which had a profound influence on wider British architectural practice. His commissions were of a varied nature from private houses to two churches for the new Hampstead Garden Suburb in London to Julius Drewe's Castle Drogo near Drewsteignton in Devon and on to his contributions to India's new imperial capital, New Delhi. Here he added elements of local architectural styles to his classicism, and based his urbanisation scheme on Mughal water gardens. He also designed the Hyderabad House for the last Nizam of Hyderabad, as his Delhi palace.

The design of the building fell into the time period of the Edwardian Baroque, a time at which emphasis was placed on the use of heavy classical motifs in order to emphasise power and imperial authority. The design process of the mansion was long, complicated and politically charged. Lutyens' early designs were all starkly classical and entirely European in style. His disrespect for the local building tradition he dismissed as primitive, is evident in his numerous sketches with appended scrawls such as 'Moghul tosh' and his short remark that 'they want me to do Hindu – Hindon't I say!' In the post-Mutiny era, however, it was decided that sensitivity must be shown to the local surroundings in order to better integrate the building within its political context, and after much political debate Lutyens conceded to incorporating local indo-Saracenic motifs, albeit in a rather superficial decorational form on the skin of the building. 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. Lutyens appropriated some Indian designs, but used them sparingly and effectively throughout the building. There were also statues of elephants and fountain sculptures of cobras in the gar of the retaining walls, as well as the bas-reliefs around the base of the Jaipur Column, made by British sculptor, Charles Sargeant Jagger.Durbar Hall is situated directly under the double-dome of the main building. Known as the “Throne Room” before independence, it had two separate thrones for the Viceroy and Vicereine. Presently, a single high chair for the President is kept here under a 2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 m by a 23 m long rope. The flooring of the hall is made of chocolate-coloured Italian marble. The columns in Durbar Hall are made in Delhi Order which combines vertical lines with the motif of a bell. The vertical lines from the column were also used in the frieze around the room, which could not have been done with one of the traditional Greek orders of columns. The columns are made from yellow Jaisalmer marble, with a thick line running along the centre. It is said that the line thus drawn on the floor perfectly divides the mansion into two equal parts. It houses a 5th century Buddha statue from the Gupta period. This ancient Buddha statue is in a perfect straight line to the Gupta-period Bull placed outside and onto the India Gate at the end of Rajpath. The elevation of Raisina Hills is so much that the top of the India Gate lies at the same level as the feet of the Buddha’s statue placed in the Durbar Hall. The interior of this room and almost all the rooms of the palace are bare, relying on stonework and shapes to show austerity rather than intricate decoration. The Mughal Gardens are situated at the back of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, incorporate both Mughal and English landscaping styles and feature a great variety of flowers. The Rashtrapati Bhavan gardens are open to the public in February every year.

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