RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN AND PARLIAMENT HOUSE:

When the British Raj decided to shift its capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, they wanted a new seat of power that would speak of their imperial power to the natives, and the world. The viceroy’s palatial home would make a perfect symbol for such majesty. Among the woods and relocated villages of the Old Raisina and Malcha villages, they homed in on the crest of the Raisina Hill as an appropriately high pedestal for their pre -eminent building. Planners and architects Edwin Lutyens, Herbert Baker, then Viceroy Lord Hardinge and other members of the town planning committee got into the act. They came up with a sprawling edifice, with some 340 rooms: living quarters, state apartments, banquets halls, public areas, courtyards, and a formal terraced Mughal Garden to boot. It was completed by 1929.

Today, the President of India lives in the building, called Rashtrapati Bhawan, but its citizens cannot enter within. Tourists come up Rajpath and look at the massive gates and the front façade that can be glimpsed through them interestingly, due to disagreements between the two architects on the gradient of the hill slope, the palace never actually got to sit grandly on the hill crest, and actually disappears from view for a while as you come up Rajpath! It is believed that Lutyens stopped speaking to baker because of this.

As you approach the building, on both sides are the secretariat buildings: The North and South Block. Designed by Herbert Baker, they are raised on plinths to keep up with the slope. They are stately examples of interpreting classical architecture, and house the home, Finance and Foreign Affairs ministries.

To this array of imperial architecture, Baker added the circular, pillared Parliament House to host the legislative assembly. The building covers nearly 6 acres, took seven years to build, and was inaugurated in 1927. The circular central hall, which has the chambers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, is topped by an impressive dome. Due to security resons, tourists are not allowed within the parliament house.

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