This vast, intricate work of mixed Mughal and Western architecture is one of the largest presidential residences in the world.
The Indian Presidential House (Rashtrapati Bhavan) in New Delhi is one of the world’s largest residential head-of-state houses. The building is 19,000 square metres (200,000 square feet) in size, with four floors and 340 rooms, and sits on 130 hectares (320 acres) in the city centre. The architectural style mixes Mughal and European traditions in an intriguing fashion.
The palace was initially built to house the British Viceroy in India and was designed by a British architect. The building was intended to symbolise the permanence of British rule in the East. In 1950, following independence, the first president of India took up residence there and the palace was renamed Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The whole palace has representations of Indian architectural patterns running through it. They include Buddhist railings and chhajjas, which are stone slabs below the roof that protect the walls and windows.
As you walk in, take a look at the dome on top of the building. The dome is a prominent feature of the palace and is visible from a distance.
The expansive Mughal Gardens, designed according to both English and Mughal landscaping styles, are located on the west side of the palace. The colourful and carefully landscaped gardens are filled with flowers, bonsai trees, shrubs, decorative fountains and exotic roses.
Choose between two guided routes to take you through Rashtrapati Bhavan. The first covers the main rooms of the building itself, including the Children’s Gallery, the library, Marble Hall and the banquet hall. The second includes all of those places as well as the Mughal Gardens. Guides are provided for all visitors, and entry is free.
Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Mughal Gardens are open to visitors on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You need to book before arrival and carry your passport for identification. Bookings can be made online, by email or on the phone.
The palace is a 15-minute drive from central New Delhi. A bus from Super Bazaar, in the city centre, takes 30 minutes to reach South Avenue, which is just a few minutes’ walk away from the palace.