PARLIAMENT HOUSE ESTATE
The Parliament House Estate comprises the Parliament House, Reception Office Building, Parliament House Annexe, the Parliament Library Building, and the extensive lawns around it where ponds with fountains have been provided. The entire Parliament House Estate is enclosed by an ornamental red sand stone wall or iron grills with iron gates.
The Parliament House is one of the most magnificent buildings in New Delhi which has one of the brightest clusters of architectural gems possessed by any country in the world. The building was designed by two famous architects – Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker – who were responsible for the planning and construction of New Delhi. Parliament House is a massive circular edifice, 560 feet (170.69 metres) in diameter. Its circumference is one-third of a mile and it covers an area of nearly six acres (24281.16 square metres). The open verandah on the first floor is fringed with a colonnade of 144 creamy sandstone columns, each 27 feet (8.23 metres) high.
The Central Hall of Parliament House has been witness to many historic events. The Central Hall, located at the centre of the circular Parliament House, is surrounded by three Chambers and three well laid-out courtyards with lush green lawns and fountains. You will find short passages radiating from three equidistant points on the circumference of the Hall connecting with the Lok Sabha Chamber, the Rajya Sabha Chamber and the earlier Library Hall. Its dome, 29.9 metres (98 feet) in height, is one of the most magnificent domes in the world. It was in this Central Hall that India began its tryst with destiny on the midnight of 14-15 August 1947. Our Constituent Assembly which framed the Constitution of India met in this very Hall. One finds it adorned with portraits of eminent national leaders whose memories we dearly cherish. The President of India addresses members of both Houses of Parliament assembled together in this Hall which is also used for other ceremonial occasions. When the Parliament is in session, the Central Hall is used by members of Parliament as a common lobby for informal discussions among themselves.
The Chamber of the Lok Sabha is semi-circular in shape with a floor area of about 4800 square feet (446 square metres). The Chair of the Speaker is placed conspicuously at the centre of the diameter connecting the two ends of the semi-circle. In the pit of the Chamber just below the Speaker’s Chair is the table of the Secretary-General of the House. The Chamber has seating accommodation for 550 members. In the wood work around the Lok Sabha Chamber, there are 35 gilded designs representing the various Provinces of Undivided India, the Dominions and certain other British Settlements.
The Rajya Sabha Chamber is almost on the same pattern as that of the Lok Sabha Chamber but it is smaller in size, with a seating capacity of 250.
As one enters the Parliament House, one is fascinated by a row of beautiful paintings adorning the walls of the outer circular corridor on the ground floor. The paintings are the works of eminent artists of India, depicting scenes from the long history of this country right from the Vedic age down to the British period culminating in the attainment of Independence in 1947.
There are several passages of noble words described on the Parliament Building which serve as the guiding spirit for the deliberations in the two Houses
PARLIAMENT HOUSE ANNEXE
The Parliament House Annexe or the Sansadiya Soudha was inaugurated on 24 October 1975. The building which, without disturbing the identity of the main Parliament House, attempts to bridge the gap between the traditional and the modern, radiates a new sense of aesthetics and a message of peace with its beautiful façade of mosaic jali reminiscent of Buddhist Chaitya Arches. The complex provisions required to be made in a Legislature building have been fused in this modern structure which consists of a central 7-storeyed rectangular block rising above a 3-storeyed block in front and a 3-storeyed block at the rear. A plaza paved with red and white sandstone in traditional Indian pattern with a grassy plot interwoven with a water pool forms a podium for the building. Slender double-height, free standing RCC columns in front of the mosaic jali, which support a projected roof above the podium, add a touch of grandeur and monumental effect to the entire structure. Ceramic and fire-brick tiles on the façade of the building lend a pleasing colour scheme and texture, besides giving a permanent finish requiring minimum maintenance. The building is located on a plot of 3.85 hectares (9.8 acres) with a total floor area of 35,400 square metres.
PARLIAMENT LIBRARY BUILDING
Till May 2002, the Parliament Library was functioning from the Parliament House. With time, the library service expanded into what is now familiarly known as LARRDIS or the Library and Reference, Research, Documentation and Information Service. The accommodation available to the Parliament Library and its allied services in the Parliament building was too limited to cope with the volume of literature being acquired by it. Besides, there had been a growing demand for making available to the members of Parliament a more effective, efficient and modern Research, Reference and Information Service. In order to satisfy these requirements, the new Parliament Library Building or the Sansadiya Gyanpeeth was conceived. The new building was formally inaugurated on 7 May 2002.
Externally, the Library building is related to the Parliament House and uses similar materials of red and beige sandstone. The general height is restricted to the podium of the Parliament, below the circular colonnade. The roof of the Library building has a series of low profile bubble domes sitting on steel structures complementing the existing domes of masonry on the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The main entrance of the Library is directly linked to one of the gates of the Parliament. It leads to an atrium covered with a circular roof rightly placed above a stainless steel ring, allowing muted light.
The focal centre of the complex is built with sun-reflecting, state-of-the-art, structural glass and stainless steel. It is composed of four petal which are tied together with delicate tension rods. The upper part of the glass dome has a symbol of circle representing the Ashoka Chakra.