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A Sneak Peek at What Awaits Ram Nath Kovind Inside Rashtrapati Bhavan

The Rashtrapati Bhavan, or the Viceroy’s house, as it was earlier called, was built for the Viceroy of India by the Britishers. After India gained independence, it became the official residence of the President of India.

CNN-News18

Updated:July 24, 2017, 8:23 AM IST
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New Delhi: As President Pranab Mukherjee demits office, Rashtrapati Bhavan is all set to welcome its next inhabitant, 14th President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

On the day Kovind was elected President, the heavy downpour in the Capital had reminded him of his humble origins at Paraunkh village in rural Kanpur, where he and his siblings lived in a mud hut. They used to stick to the corners of the hut when it rained as the thatched roof could not keep the water out.

Now, he is all set to reside in the largest residence for any head of state in the world, and a wonder in itself.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan, or the Viceroy’s house, as it was earlier called, was built for the Viceroy of India by the Britishers. After India gained independence, it became the official residence of the President of India.

Built on Raisina Hill, it is named after two villages - Raisina and Malcha. Designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, work on the Rashtrapati Bhavan had started in 1913 and over 23,000 workers worked on it for 16 years. The construction was finally competed in 1929.

The illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan or the 'Presidential Residence' seen before the country's Independence Day celebrations (Photo credit: Arkaprava Ghosh / Barcroft India via Getty Images)

The Illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan or the 'Presidential Residence' seen before the country's Independence Day celebrations (Photo credit: Arkaprava Ghosh / Barcroft India via Getty Images)

The total cost of construction was Rs 1.4 crore at the time. Its current market value is estimated to be a whopping over Rs 77,000 crore. It was declared as a Grade 1 heritage structure in 2009. The entire structure was built with 700 million bricks and three million cubic feet of stone. It was built using almost no steel.

The President’s estate is spread over 330 acres and the total built up area covers 200,000 square feet. There are two main gardens spread over 190 acres with Mughal and English landscaping styles. Thirty seven fountains add to the beauty of these gardens. The Mughal Garden boasts of 250 varieties of roses, making it one of the best rose gardens in the world.

(Picture: Ramesh Sharma via Getty Images) (Picture: Ramesh Sharma via Getty Images)

The 4-storey structure houses 340 rooms, including 63 bedrooms and 63 living rooms. The mammoth construction is supported by 227 columns. Thirty five galleries & corridors connect various rooms. The longest corridor is roughly 2.5km-long.

The Durbar Hall, Ashoka Hall and Banquet Hall are the main halls of this palatial building and are used for most of the official functions:

DURBAR HALL

This is the main hall where most official functions take place. This hall is used for civil and defence investiture ceremonies, and for conferring various national and international awards.

2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 meters in Durbar Hall ( Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in)

2-ton chandelier hanging from a height of 33 meters in Durbar Hall ( Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in)

The first government of independent India was sworn in 1947 in this very hall. It also houses the ‘presidential throne.’ Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, this throne was earlier known as the Vice-Regal’s throne.

LIBRARY

Next to Durbar Hall is the library that has over 40,000 books in its collection. It also houses 2,000 rare books published between 1800 & 1947. Rare maps, photographs are also preserved here. These rare books & photographs are being digitized for posterity. The library is also called the daughter of Durbar Hall.

ASHOKA HALL

Ashoka Hall was originally built as a state boardroom. It is now used to accept the credentials of foreign envoys and state guests. State ceremonies and formal functions are also held in this hall. All original embellishments on the ceilings, chandeliers and carpets have been restored.

The Ashoka Hall, gives the feel of a large jewel box, is a rectangle measuring 32 metres by 20 metres ( Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in) The Ashoka Hall, gives the feel of a large jewel box, is a rectangle measuring 32 metres by 20 metres ( Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in)

BANQUET HALL

Official banquets are hosted in this hall. It has a seating arrangement for 104 guests. There is a kitchen museum on the basement of the 4-storey structure.

Portraits of all former Presidents embellish its walls. An assortment of medieval arms on display (Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in) Portraits of all former Presidents embellish its walls. An assortment of medieval arms on display (Photo: Presidentofindia.nic.in)

PRESIDENTIAL STAFF

The Rashtrapati Bhavan has a staff strength of 750. The President’s secretariat employs 245 people.

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| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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