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The North and South Block in Delhi

Fast Facts

Built In 1929

Built By Herbert Baker

Architecture Moghul-Rajputana and British

Raised on Raisina Hill, at the western end of Rajpath, The North Block and South Block are the two secretariats adjacent to Rashtrapati Bhavan. Also known as, British Secretariat Buildings, these two blocks are among the most impressive state office buildings of the world. Facing each other with a huge square or plaza known as "Vijay Chowk" in between, the North Block houses the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance while the South Block houses the Ministry of External Affairs.


The British who moved the capital of the country from old Delhi to New Delhi built the present Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with the two neighboring North and South blocks. These long classical buildings, crowned by an imposing baroque 217feet-high dome, were designed by Sir Herbert Baker. Inspired by Christopher Wren's Royal Naval College at Greenwich, this 'two-tone' buildings also remind of the imperial edifices of the Union buildings Baker created in Pretoria in South Africa. Completed in 1929, North and South Block along with Rashtrapati Bhavan, were built at a whooping cost of over 17.5 million rupees.


The architecture combines the best of English school of architecture and the traditional Indian forms of Moghul and Rajputana style. The use of Jali, Chajja and Chatri are typically Indian, tailor-made for the Indian climate.The exquisite lotus, elephants and other motifs boast of a distinctive Moghul style. Raised on a plinth about 30 feet above ground level, the buildings have four sandstone columns topped by a bronze ship sailing east, two in front of each blocks representing the dominions of the British empire namely Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. There are stone tablets posited at the sandstones bases of the buildings on which the names of the architects and builders are inscribed. The gateways of both the blocks are designed in a grand Mughal style, with the gateway of the North block having an inscription which reads, " Liberty will not descend to a people: a people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing which must be earned before it can be enjoyed".

The buildings, classical in style and each having four floors, consists of about 1000 rooms and have stretches of long corridors and inner fountain courts. The North Block features some very fascinating paintings depicting themes like justice, war and peace. The South Block too has paintings on different cities of the country and emblems of old kingdoms.

Don't Miss

The floodlit North and South Block with the Rashtrapati Bhavan during the National Festivals, are sheer visual treat. The Beating of the Retreat Ceremony takes place every year on 29th of January at Vijay Chowk. offers all the information on The North and South Block in Delhi. For more information, please enter your query in the form below.