New Delhi, July 25: The Rashtrapati Bhavan will welcome its new occupant — the President-elect Ram Nath Kovind as he will take oath on Tuesday. The official residence of the President of India is one of the most iconic buildings in the country and is the second largest in the world after the Quirinal Palace in Rome, Italy.
The Race to Raisina Hill was a cakewalk for National Democratic Alliance nominee Kovind as he defeated Opposition candidate Meira Kumar by over 3 lakh votes. Kovind will now reside in the H shaped building, covering an area of 5 acres on a 330 acre estate. The mansion has a total of 340 rooms spread over four floors, 2.5 kilometres of corridors and 190 acres of garden area.
Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee will leave for his new residence at 10, Rajaji Marg. It is an eight-room, two-storey villa spread over an expansive 11,776 sq feet.
Here are some interesting facts about Rashtrapati Bhavan:
The masterwork was completed in 1929. Originally built as the residence for the Viceroy of India, Viceroy’s House as it was then called, has metamorphosed into today’s Rashtrapati Bhavan. The erstwhile Viceroy’s Rooms have been converted into the Guest Wing for stay of Heads of State and Government and their delegations. As the first president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad took Rashtrapati Bhavan as his abode in the year 1950 after assuming office.
It took more than seventeen years to build the Presidential Palace. It is estimated that seven hundred million bricks and three million cubic feet of stone had gone into building this palatial structure with around 23,000 labourers working. The estimated cost of building the Viceroy’s House was Rs 14 million.
When the building constructed, it was called the Viceroy’s House. On August 15, 19476 when India became independent, the name was changed to Government House. Finally, its name was changed to Rashtrapati Bhavan during the term of former President Dr Rajendra Prasad.
The mansion has a floor area of 200,000 square feet and was built with 700 million bricks and 3 million cubic feet of stone. The Rashtrapati Bhavan was built using almost no steel.
The 145 feet tall Jaipur Column which stands on the Rashtrapati Bhavan Forecourt was gifted by Maharaja of Jaipur, Siwai Madho Singh.
Viceroy Lord Irwin was the first occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Since independence, Rashtrapati Bhavan has hosted defence investiture ceremonies, swearing in of its leaders, honoured its bravehearts and achievers, has heard the speeches of world leaders, signed pacts and treaties with various countries, celebrated India’s Independence and Republic Day functions along with other festivals.
The 330 acres of land at the President’s Estate harbours a rich biodiversity. Open spaces, forest cover, parks, gardens, patches of wilderness, numerous fruit bearing trees and water bodies, have all contributed in supporting rich flora and fauna at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Hundred and thirty six wild and cultivated plant species and 84 animal species comprising 42 invertebrates and an equal number of vertebrates like frogs, garden lizards, snakes etc have been sighted along the trail. A total of 32 bird species have also been sighted along the trail which includes Myna, Red vented Bulbul, Indian Grey Hornbill and others.
Spread over a vast expanse of 15 acres, Mughal Gardens has often been portrayed, and deservedly so, as the soul of the Presidential Palace. The Mughal Gardens draw its inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal and even miniature paintings of India and Persia.