Guide To Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi

Rashtrapati Bhavan
| 4 min read

Completed in 1929, Rashtrapati Bhavan is formerly known as the Viceroy’s House and built on Raisina Hills on 130 hectares (321 acres) of prime property. Its popular name is the President House and is currently the residence of the President of India. A holiday in Delhi should definitely include a visit to the home of the leader of the largest democracy in the world. The official website states that the Edwardian Baroque building has four floors and 340 rooms. Under the baton of its architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Rashtrapati Bhavan took 700 million bricks and 17 years to build. The H-shaped building is a magnificent achievement. It would take a few days to cover all 76.9 hectares (190 acres) of gardens. You’ll burn a few hundred calories walking the length of 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) of corridors. Our guide to Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, below, will help you plan a great tour itinerary, so keep reading to learn more.

Things to do/highlights

DL, IN : Mughal Gardens @ Rashtrapati Bhavan
Source: Photo by user Vasanth Mohan used under CC BY 2.0

Circuit 1

The palatial Rashtrapati Bhava is a symbol of power and at the same time an emblem of tradition. The mansion is where the President of India resides, receives state visitors, and holds office. There are reception rooms as well for majestic gatherings. Having been opened to the public, the Circuit 1 tour allows access to the Main Building, the Forecourt, Banquet Hall, Ashok Hall, and the Central Lawn. The tour includes the North Drawing Room, Long Drawing Room, Navachara, Library, as well Durbar Hall. Durbar Hall deserves special mention, which leads to India Gate, a memorial dedicated to Indian soldiers. Housed in Durbar Hall is a 4th-century statue of Gautama Buddha.

Circuit 2

Meanwhile, Circuit 2 is all about the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex or RBMC. Recently dedicated to the nation, The Garages and Stables are two of three buildings included in the tour. The third is The Clock Tower. The President is particularly proud of the artifacts and items on display as they make history come alive and allow them to connect to audiences on an emotional level.

Circuit 3

A tour to Circuit 3 takes visitors outside of the grand halls of the mansion for free. Prepare to experience the Garden of Eden on earth. The Mughal Garden of Rashtrapati Bhavan is world-famous and covers 6 hectares (15 acres) of land. It is a veritable Shangri-la. An unparalleled collection of roses, bougainvillea, and even imported blooms such as tulips are showcased during the Festival of Gardens (Udyanotsav) from February to March. Circuit 3 tours bring admirers and aspiring horticulturalists to the Herbal Garden and Long and Circular Gardens. If you’re lucky to gain access during the limited time the gardens are open to visitors, you will also experience the beauty and serenity of the Spiritual Garden and Musical Garden.

Change of Guard Ceremony

For weekend visitors, try to make it before 10.00 am for the changing of the guard, which is open to the public. Gates open 40 minutes prior to the ceremony and close 15 minutes afterward. The ceremony takes half an hour. Note that access points are Gates 2 and 37. Make an online request to witness the event beforehand. The schedule may change, so check the Rashtrapati Bhavan website before heading out. You need to present a valid photo identification card to witness it and be given a seat. Change of Guard Ceremony is a military tradition that goes back to time immemorial.

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South Block, Central Secretariat

Every evening, Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with the North and South Blocks, gets illuminated by vibrant lights that keep changing colours every few seconds. For the most stunning view of the grand residence, I would suggest you take a drive to and from Raisina Hill. Also, keep in mind that the area is usually heavily patrolled, and the police can sometimes stop you from driving up to Raisina Hill due to security reasons.

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Travel tips

Rashtrapati Bhavan
Source: Photo by user Andrew Moore used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Visiting days and timings

Visiting days for Rashtrapati Bhavan are established and available on the official website. Circuit 1 tours are available for booking every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Circuit 2 tours are open to the public daily except on Mondays. At this time, the gardens are accessible only from December to February.

The three gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan that allow visitor entry are gates no. 2, 37, and 38. Foreigners must present their passport and a valid photo identification card on the day of their visit. Online requests for foreigners require them to submit a photocopy of their passport. Indian citizens are only required to present a valid photo ID.

The President’s Secretariat approves the request to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan and confirmation is sent via e-mail. The Secretariat may not approve visits. Tourist Circuits may also be canceled by the Secretariat.

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How to get there

Rashtrapati Bhavan gate close up
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AKS.9955 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

By car

You will find Rashtrapati Bhavan in the eastern end of the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath. You may reach it by rented car or taxicab from anywhere in New Delhi.

By train

If you are taking the railway from other parts of India, plan a route that will take you to the Central Secretariat station on the Yellow/Violet Line.

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Rashtrapati Bhavan Rashtrapati Bhavan

If you're ever in Delhi, cycling from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan is something you shouldn't miss. I often take my bike out early morning or late afternoon and the ride is just peaceful. The parks along the way are perfect for a casual stop and the view of the sunrise or sunset against the backdrop of Rashtrapati Bhavan is absolutely stunning. It's a refreshing break from the city hustle. 

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How to get tickets

Canon outside the entrance to Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user orvalrochefort used under CC BY 2.0

Visit the official website for online booking. Persons with a confirmed online booking will be granted entry to the premises. The registration fee for adults is 50 INR (0.68 USD). This applies to individual visitors and persons in group tours that are less than 30 in number. Children eight years old and younger may enter free of charge, but must still be registered first through the website. The fees are not transferrable and are payable online. There are no refunds available for registration charges.

The registration charges for group tours are as follows;

  • A 20% discount is offered to a group of 30 persons, which only requires them to pay INR 1200.

  • For groups that are larger than 30 in number, the charge is 1200 INR (16.26 USD) plus an additional INR 50 for every added individual on top of the 30th person.

You can also get tickets to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony and military parade from a third-party website. Tickets offered by these websites usually include access museums in Delhi as well as part of a private tour package.

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Rashtrapati Bhavan information

View of the Mughal Garden of Rashtrapati Bhavan in March 1962
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cecil W. Stoughton used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Address: Rashtrapati Bhawan, President’s Estate, New Delhi, Delhi, 110004, India

Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 9am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

Official Website: Rashtrapati Bhavan

Department of Tourism: Delhi Tourism

News & Updates for Rashtrapati Bhavan: Times of India; The Indian Express

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Rashtrpati Bhavan Changing of the Guard, Museum Entry Ticket

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

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Deanna Kathrina, a pediatric physical therapist specializing in neurodevelopmental disability, serves as a teacher and advocate. As a lifelong learner, she enjoys the company of music and aspires...Read more

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