Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, India

Rashtrapati Bhavan

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The Rashtrapati Bhavan (pronunciation , rásh-tra-pa-ti bha-vun; lit.'Presidential Palace'; originally Viceroy's House and later Government House) is the official residence of the President of India at the western end of Rajpath in New Delhi, India. Rashtrapati Bhavan may refer to only the 340-room main building that has the president's official residence, including reception halls, guest rooms and offices, also called the mansion; it may also refer to the entire 130-hectare (320-acre) Presidential Estate that additionally includes the presidential gardens, large open spaces, residences of bodyguards and staff, stables, other offices and utilities within its perimeter walls. In terms of area, it is the largest residence of any head of state in the world.

The Governor-General of Fort William resided in Belvedere House, Calcutta, until the early nineteenth century, when Government House, Calcutta (now Raj Bhavan, Kolkata) was constructed. Lord Wellesley, who is reputed to have said that ‘India should be governed from a palace, not from a country house’, ordered the construction of a grand mansion between 1799 and 1803 and in 1854, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal took up residence there. The decision to build a residence in New Delhi for the British Viceroy was taken after it was decided during the Delhi Durbar in December 1911 that the capital of India would be relocated from Calcutta to Delhi. When the plan for a new city, New Delhi, adjacent to the end south of Old Delhi, was developed after the Delhi Durbar, the new palace for the Viceroy of India was given an enormous size and prominent position. About 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of land was acquired to begin the construction of Viceroy's House, as it was originally called, and adjacent Secretariat Building between 1911 and 1916 by relocating Raisina and Malcha villages that existed there and their 300 families under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

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