Presidential Palace Home > Delhi > Attractions > Architectural Buildings > Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace or Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of Indian President. The Palace is situated in New Delhi, India. The name denotes the complete 340 room building carrying President’s Official residence, offices and guest rooms along with 320 acre President Estate, huge Mughal Garden (Presidential garden), residence of stables, staff and bodyguards, wide open spaces, other utilities and offices inside the wall. Earlier, this main palace was referred as Viceroy’s house. This is known to be 3rd largest residence of State Head after Buckingham Palace (London) and Quirinal Palace (Rome).


In 1910, they decided to shift Indian capital from Calcutta to Delhi and decided to construct a British Viceroy residence in this New Capital. During early 20th century, they designed a brand new palace for Indian Viceroy in the most prominent position and that too in a huge size. They acquired approximately 4000 acres to initiate the construction from 1911 to 1916 after relocating Malcha and Raisina villages which existed at this place with 300 families as per Land and Acquisition Act.

The most primary architecture responsibility was handed over to British architect, Edwin Landseer Lutyens, the well known member of city-planning process. After completion, this Governor-General Palace seemed to be the exact copy of original drawing sent to Herbert Baker by Lutyen on June 14, 1912 from Shimla. The design developed by Lutyens is highly classical with details and colors inspired from Indian architecture. Baker and Lutyens developed friendly terms after they were assigned to work together on Secretariats and Viceroy’s house.  Baker was asked to work on 2 secretariat buildings opposite to Viceroy’s house. The actual plan was to place Viceroy’s house towards the top of Raisina Hill with Secretariats at lower end. Later on they decided to construct it to be 400 yards backward and develop both buildings on top of hill. Lutyens wanted Viceroy building to stay at higher altitude but forced to shift from actual position resulting in dispute between Baker and Lutyens. Following the completion of work, Lutyens had a word with Baker as the front view of building was hidden by high road angle.

Though Lutyens tried to alter the position, but he could not win his decision. He wanted to have long inclined path to Viceroy’s house along with retaining walls both sides. This may give a good view to the house even from back by cutting through square in between secretariat buildings. In January 1914, a committee was established with Baker and Lutyens who agreed to have grade not steeper for 1 in 25 but eventually altered to 1 in 22 making it extra difficult to visualize Viceroy’s Palace. Though Lutyens was aware of this gradient, he was not fully aware of the little view of house front.  Imperial Delhi Committee kept aside Lutyens proposal of gradient change in 1916. However, Lutyens came into conclusion that Baker was more concerned in pleasing government and earning money than making better architectural design.

He travelled between England and India every year for almost 20 years in order to design buildings inside Viceroy’s house situated in both the countries. Lord Hardinge restricted the budget and Lutyens should compromise the building size to 8,500,000 cubic feet from 13,000,000 cubic feet. Lord Hardinge looked for a house with ceremonial grandeur at lower budgets.

The first Indian Governor General, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari became occupant of Viceroy building. During his term, he made use of very few rooms which has now become the President’s family wing. They transformed Viceroy’s apartments to Guest Wing accommodating other country heads during their stay in India.

When the first Indian President, Rajendra Prasad took over this building on January 26, 1950 he renamed it to be Rashtrapati Bhavan – the President’s House.


Occupying 200,000 square feet with 340 rooms in 4 floors, the entire building was constructed with 700 million bricks along with 3 million stone of one cubic feet. They almost kept aside steel while constructing this building.

This building was designed during Edwardian Baroque period where they make use of heavy motifs of classical touch to showcase imperial authority and supreme power. The mansion design was complicated, long and also charged politically. The early designs of Lutyens were completely classical with complete European touch. He disrespected the local tradition by commenting them to be very primitive. His ideas were showcased in various sketches carrying appended scrawls like ‘Moghul tosh’. He also remarked, ‘they want me to do Hindu –Hindon’t I say!’. Later on, they integrated this building within political context by introducing motifs from local Indo-Saracenic resulting in superficial decoration on building skin. They also inoculated various Indian designs into this building. They replaced frieze with chhajja or chujja resulting in thin, sharp protruding element extended 2.4 m creating deep shadows from building. This set up blocks sunlight from windows and also acts as shield during heavy rainy season. There were various chuttris on roofline breaking the flatness of roofline which was uncovered by dome. Lutyens used Indian designs sparingly but appropriately. There were elephant statues and cobra fountain sculptures in retaining walls along with bas-reliefs at base of Jaipur Column, developed by Charles Sargeant Jagger, the British Sculptor. There were peculiar crown lying on the top and a glass made star emerging out of the bronze made lotus blossom. They made grilles from Jaalis or Jalis, a kind of red sandstone. Jaalis were from Rajasthan architecture. There are 12 uneven massive columns on eastern side of Palace front with Delhi Order Capitals. This capital carries a blend of acanthus leaves together with 4 pendants Indian made bells. The bells look similar to Buddhist and Indian temple styles but carry the main inspiration from Moodabidri jain temple In Karnataka. Every corner is decorated by each bell at column top. The silence of bells says that British rule will never end in India. There are no windows at building front but for wings on sides.  Lutyens employed local craftsmen from Lahore and Delhi to design ateliers. Sir Teja Singh Malik served as Chief engineer and Sir Sobha Singh was one among the 4 major contractors. Lutyens designed various small sized personal elements like 2 ventilator windows and area in garden walls. By 1929, they largely completed Viceregal Lodge and were officially inaugurated in the year 1931. It took 17 years for its completion and 18 years from that time to have independent India. Following independence in 1947, the ceremonial Governor-General lived there till 1950 when Indian President took over the place and renamed as “Rashtrapati Bhavan’.

Lutyens confirmed that dome was designed from Rome’s Pantheon. There was also presence of European and Mughal colonial architectural designs. All together this is a different structure from other British colonial contemporary symbols. Occupying 200,000 square feet with 340 rooms in 4 floors, the entire building was constructed with 700 million bricks along with 3 million stone of one cubic feet. They almost kept aside steel while constructing this building.


Mughal Garden

Located at back side of Rashtrapati Bhavan, this Mughal Garden is blend of both English and Mughal landscaping styles featuring wide variety of beautiful flowers. Once in every year, during February month, the garden is open for public.


Indian President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated this museum inside Rashtrapati Bhavan during July 2014. It helps its visitors to grab the inside visual of Rashtrapati Bhavan, its architecture and art and acquire good knowledge about past Indian Presidents.

Online Bookings

For Rashtrapati Bhawan

For Rashtrapati Bhawan Museum

How to Reach

By Air

There is an international airport in the name of Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi. One can avail A.C and Non A.C coaches, pre-paid taxis, coach and taxi transfer to reach Rashtrapati Bhavan from international airport.

By Rail

Delhi junction is the main hub for railways network as various trains run to and from almost all parts of India towards Delhi.

By Road

Roadways connect Delhi with all major North Indian destinations like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. It is recommended to make use of air-conditioned buses during summer season.  There are special bus services operated by Delhi Transport Corporation from Delhi railway station to various parts inside the city.

Related Image


Related Topics

Diwan-i-Am Hall of Public Audience

The beautiful city of Delhi boasts numerous historical and amazing must visit places. Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience)....

Tibet House

The Tibet House is situated at Lodhi Road Institutional Area in New Delhi. It is a great resource center that renders a fine....

Diwan-i-Khas Hall of Private Audience

Diwan-i-Khas is constructed within the famous Red...

Parliament Building

Parliament Building holds regular parliament...