Visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan Delhi
Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi now has opened it’s doors to Indians for visiting. There hasn’t been much publicity around this and was really surprised that this was allowed when my travel agent suggested this as part of my Delhi itinerary. Needless to say, we were intrigued and went right ahead with the plans.
I’ll briefly touch upon how you can go ahead and book the visit and then share my experiences.
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You need to visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan HERE and enter your details.
This is open only from Friday, Saturday and Sunday, excluding holidays. Entry is subject to approval. You need to enter all your details and will get an acknowledgment SMS. Within 24 hours you normally get an approval. Proof of ID needs to be carried for the visit, the best option is to carry your Adhar Card.
The entry charges are Rs 25 per adult. There are discounts available for school groups etc.
The website also gives you guidance on which gates you may use to enter the property. Its best that you take a print out of all these pages on the day of your visit.
We entered through gate number 37. There are a number of gates listed, however you can enter in your car through this gate. There is a security guard who checks your name and ID against the list for the day. My driver was also allowed into the gate and the car was allowed to park right near the final entry point.
Cameras, phones, bags and purses are not allowed. Neither is water – even if your are visiting with a child, so you may want to keep that in mind. There is a small cloak room / rack where you can deposit your belongings. I did carry my camera into the waiting area before so I could take images upto the last possible point. Just before we started the tour, I handed over my bag and phone.
Each tour group has around 50 people and we moved from room to room. There were amazing artworks on the walls and some sculptures from the time of British Rule in India. I can’t recall everything we saw, but I was amazed by the magnificence of the Ashoka and the Darbar halls. For the larger banquet areas, we were able to view only from the outside of the hall.
The whole tour inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan took about 1 hour. It ended in the Moghul gardens outside which were really beautiful.
There is a nice souvenir shop in the main waiting area that sells plaques, caps, T-shirts, pens etc. It also sells cold drinks, water and juice in case you want to get something while you wait. I picked up some key chains just for fun.
The Rashtrapati Bhawan Museum
After we were done with the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself, we went to visit the Museum. The entry for this was from Gate 30. We had to take the car to get there. This has much lower number of visitors than the Rashtrapati Bhavan itself. This is housed in an old horse shed and is near the living quarters of the staff.
Again no cameras are allowed here. The stables each contain gifts received by the various Presidents’ from all over the world during their tenure. A much smaller tour, by well worth it. If you don’t have the time to do both, I recommend you only visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan, but if you do have the time then please do both.
I’m really glad I visited the Rashtrapati Bhawan while in Delhi. I think it gives you a great sense of pride – truly inspiring. If you intend to visit, please set aside almost half the day for this. Although it the total time taken was an hour, the security checks etc take a large chunk of your time. I even got images right outside.