Rashtrapati Bhavan New Delhi is the official home of the President of India, located in New Delhi, India. It may refer to only the mansion (the 340-room main building) that has the president’s official residence, halls, guest rooms and offices; it may also refer to the entire 130-hectare (320 acre) 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. The main palace building was formerly known as Viceroy’s House. In terms of area, was the largest residence of a head of state in the world until the Presidential Complex of Turkey opened 29 October 2014.
Consisting of four floors and 340 rooms, with a floor area of 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2), it was built using 700 million bricks and 3,000,000 cu ft (85,000 m3) of stone with little steel.
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. The column has a “distinctly peculiar crown on top, a glass star springing out of bronze lotus blossom”
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 massive columns with the Delhi Order capitals. These capitals have a fusion of acanthus leaves with the four pendant Indian bells. 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 Sir Sobha 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 Viceregal 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 m²). The structure includes 700 million bricks and 3.5 million cubic feet (85,000 m³) of stone, with only minimal usage of steel.