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.
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.
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