Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla
The building was completed
in 1888 to serve as the Vicaregal lodge. The whole Indian subcontinent
was ruled from the Summer Capital of Shimla, from this building in fact.
The basic plan of this
building was conceived by the Ninth Viceroy, The Marquess of Dufferin and
Ava, with the sanction of Lord Randolph Churchil. The Principal Architect
was Henry Irwin of PWD. Grey limestone was quarried from a site five miles
away and transported on mules to create this huge edifice in a mock-Tudor
or Scottish baronial style much favoured by Victorian Britain. It was the
first Government Building to have electricity, also European style kitchen
and laundries housed in their own five-storey wing.
The surrounding lawns,
gardens and terraces, which form part of the 331 acres were expanded during
the Viceroyalty of The Marquess Of Lansdowne (1888-1894). Successive Viceroyalties
continued to alter and add but the main building never lost its Victorian
Lord Irwin added the Main
Entry in 1927. A staff of 800 including 40 gardeners were employed here
at that time. Mainly used for entertainment of the Viceroy’s guests
The Lodge witnessed many
historical events as well. In the struggle of Independence and the negotiations
that led to the partition, crucial meetings with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawarharlal
Nehru and Mohammed Jinna took place here.
After Independence in
1947, the building became part of the estate of the President Of India
and was renamed Rashtrapati Nivas. It was our second President, Dr. Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan himself, an eminent scholar who was instrumental in establishing
here the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in 1965 as a residential
centre for research in the humanities and the Social Sciences. It has one
of the best libraries in the country, with books in Philosophy and Religion
and other subjects, which are ancient texts as well.
The woodwork in the building,
was all done with red wood brought from Burma. This 120 years old building
is in the hands of ASI and needs lots of repairing and renovation which
may cost the Govt of India, huge sums of money. Hence, the work is slow.
In my opinion, having seen the structure and majesty with which it still
stands, it is a world heritage building