(Last Updated on : 17/02/2012)
Raj Bhawan is the residence of the Governor of WestBengal. It is located in the Dalhousie area of Kolkata and this edifice was completed on January 18, 1803. Since Bengal was the capital of the British Raj earlier in its days in India, this was the Government House and the residence of the Indian Governor Generals of India till the year 1912. The building was built during the office of Marquess Wellesley, the then Governor-General of India, between 1799 and 1803, based on the designs of Captain Charles Wyatt of the Bengal Engineers.
The huge mansion was in use till the capital got shifted from Kolkata to Delhi in the year 1912. Which saw the mansion being inhabited by twenty-three Governors-General and later, Viceroys. The Raj Bhawan is built on a total area of 27 acres of land, between vast tracts of greens rather formal gardens. This became the symbol of power of the British Imperialism, meant to instill fear in the common men. Lord Wellesly was very eager to move in to this domain of power so much that he could even wait for the last of the artisans to leave the mansion.
The structure of the Raj Bhavan is palatial with very tall intricately patterned wrought iron gates topped with massive lions conveying the air of majesty and royal heritage. There is a gun mounted on a dragon towards the north gate. The Raj Bhavan drew its inspiration from Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, which is the ancestral house of Marquess Curzon, the Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1904, who lived in the Mansion after Wellesly. The total floor area of the bhavan is 84,000sq.ft. In the four corners of the second floor are contained the residential suites. On the first floor, in the north west side is situated the main floor known as the The Prince of Wales suite which is resided by the President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister when they are on a visit to West Bengal. The central area in the first floor consists of the Throne Room, Banquet Hall and the Blue Drawing and Brown Dining Rooms. The North East corner has the Council Chamber, where major Government decisions were taken during the colonial regime. On the second floor we find the Wellesley suite, on this floor itself we have the Dufferin suite. The fourth suite of the Raj Bhawan is the Anderson suite. In the ground floor the central area is called the Marble Hall, where the Governor holds public meetings. In the colonial period, The Council Chamber was the place where meetings of Executive Council of the Governor General used to be held. In the Blue Drawing Room the Governor meets guests and The Throne Room is like a Durbar, which was previously used to welcome the princes.
The Raj Bhawan has the first ever elevator of Kolkata and the throne of Tipu Sultan was also exhibited here. The Bhawan` compound is restricted from visitors. Very recently the Bhawan has been beautified by the inclusion of an innovative an attractive herbal garden abounding in twelve very rare varieties of herbal as well as wooded plants. The décor of the Bhawan makes it look stunningly majestic, the architecture and design also portrays the excellence of ideas behind this exquisite monument. The Raj Bhawan has enthralled people in India and abroad.