Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India designed by Edward Lutyen in imperial style, stands at the opposite end of Rajpath
from India Gate
in New Delhi
. Haroun-al-Rashid, Sujan Singh and his son Sobha Singh were involved in the construction of Rashtrapati Bhawan, apart from Edwin Lutyens and Chief Engineer Hugh Keeling.
During the British rule, it was the official residence of the Viceroy. When Dr Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India and occupied this building, it was re-christened Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is a gigantic structure with 340 rooms and 12 separate courtyards. The most prominent and distinguishing aspect of Rashtrapati Bhavan is its dome, which is superimposed on its structure. The dome is visible from a distance and this most enamoring round roof with a circular base has become a symbol of New Delhi.
Spread over an area of about 330 acres, the palace has been decorated with chandeliers from Belgium, marbles from Italy and the teakwood from Myanmar. To cool the palace, the courtyard has 37 fountains in fancy shapes like lotuses and snakes. With a floor area of 200,000 sq ft it is built by using 700 million bricks and three million cubic feet of stone. Hardly any steel has gone into the construction of the building.
Rashtrapati Bhavan contains a circular Durbar Hall, Ashoka Hall, three state drawing rooms, a huge bathroom, a private auditorium, a complete Edwardian kitchen with dairies, bakeries, sculleries, game larders, wine cellars and a dining room, which can seat 104 people at a time. The whole of Rashtrapati Bhavan embodies in it Indian architectural patterns such as Buddhist railings, chhajjas, chhatris and jaalis. Another redeeming feature of the architecture of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the use of Indian temple bells in its pillars. Jaipur Column, in the T-shaped forecourt, is another attraction.
To the west of the building is Mughal Gardens and visitors are allowed to visit the Mughal garden in the complex, only in the month of February and early March. This splendid garden is well equipped with lush green lawns, mini waterfalls, fruit-laden canopies and paved pathways.