The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil released 4 commemorative postage stamp on Rashtrapati Bhavan in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan today. The postage stamp marks the 80th Anniversary of the commissioning of the building, when the then Governor General of India, Lord Irwin became its first occupant. This year also marks the 100th Anniversary of New Delhi. Also the President of India recently completed 4 years in office.A Miniature sheet and Presentation Pack also issued.
The Viceroy\’s House christened as Rashtrapati Bhavan on 26 January 1950 was conceptualized in 1911 (after the Delhi Durbar) under Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India. Construction began in 1913 on 130 hectares of land to build the 340 room building spread over 200,000 square feet.
The use of pink sandstone and Dholpur buff or cream stone establishes the kinship of Rashtrapati Bhavan with Mughal and Rajpur edifices. The most outstanding feature of the House, the large Neo-Buddhist Dome that rises over a vast frontage pays homage to the Stupa at Sanchi. Another typical Mughal edifice is the use of projecting cornice or Chajjas, Chattries and Jallies. The Mughal Garden, as its name indicates, has the geometric decorum of the gardens at Taj Mahal and Shalimar Gardens at Srinagar. Made with some 700 million bricks, 3 million cubic feet of stone and very little steel, Rashtrapati Bhavan is an \”H\” shaped structure with 4 floors.
Marking the entry point of precincts of Rashtrapati Bhavan is the wrought black lace like grille, acclaimed to be a work of art in itself. It leads into a \”T shaped\” court with its horizontal portion forming the forecourt, a stage for Ceremonial Guards of Honour held for the visiting Heads of State and Government. In the centre of the jutting section of the T stands the mighty Jaipur Column.The forecourt stands out with its 31 steps and colonnaded frontage which comprises a posse of 20 pillars -12 at the front followed by 2 rows of 4 each. In the midst of these and in front of the entrance to the Durbar Hall stands the Ashokan Bull, also known as the Rampurva Bull capital, which dates back to the Asokan period. Built under the dome with a magnificent chandelier suspended from the top of the dome, it hosts the statue of Gautam Buddha belonging to the Gupta age.
The Ashoka Hall was earlier a ballroom, and at present hosts all major ceremonial functions like Swearing-in Ceremonies and Defence and Civil Investiture ceremonies. It has an elaborately painted ceiling with an oval shaped 9 piece canvas Qajar painting at the centre. The State Banquet Hall has a teak panel wainscoting on which the portrait of the earlier Presidents are displayed, and above the wainscoting is exhibited an assortment of medieval arms.Lutyens was very fond of using geometrical permutation in his designs especially the trade mark circular shape. Indeed Rashtrapati Bhavan is a widely acclaimed master piece of architecture, a glorious achievement of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens.
The Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal was also present at the function.