RAJ BHAWAN UTTARAKHAND - An Introduction
The State of Uttarakhand (earlier known as Uttaranchal) came into existence on 9th November, 2000 as the 27th State of the Republic of India. With the creation of the State of Uttarakhand, the Raj Bhawan was temporarily established at Bijapur House situated on New Cantonment Road, Dehradun. Subsequently the Circuit House, Dehradun was redesignated as Raj Bhawan and the first Governor, Shri Surjit Singh Barnala, shifted there on 25th December 2000. The present Raj Bhawan (earlier known as Circuit House) was built in 1902. It was then called "Court House", where the then British Governor of United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) often used to reside. In the post-Independence period, India's first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay in this building whenever he visited Dehradun. From time to time, various Presidents of India and almost all Prime Ministers, so far, have stayed in this historic building. The Rajbhawan is situated at a height of 2305 ft. from sea level.
While the Raj Bhawan was shifted to Circuit House, the Governor's Secretariat continued to function from Bijapur House premises till 27 July 2009, when the new Raj Bhawan Secretariat and Auditorium buildings were inaugurated by H.E. Shri B. L. Joshi (the 3rd Governor of Uttarakhand). Later, a separate Governor's Official Residence was built in this premises which was inaugurated by Smt. Margaret Alva (the fourth Governor of Uttarakhand) on 14 April, 2010. The Old building, previously known as Circuit House, is now being used as Raj Bhawan Guest House.
The sprawling Lawns, Bonsai Garden and rich floral species add to the charm and beauty of the Rajbhawan.
The Auditorium of Raj Bhawan is a special venue where various important events e.g. oath-taking ceremonies, seminars, book-release functions and cultural programmes etc. are organised.
Uttarakhand is one of the few States in the country which can boast of two Raj Bhawans. The second Raj Bhawan of Uttarakhand is situated in Nainital. In the pre-Independence era, Nainital served as the summer capital of United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) and this beautiful building, built like a Scottish castle was christened as the "Government House". After Independence it was renamed as Raj Bhawan. The foundation stone of Nainital Raj Bhawan was laid on 27th April 1897 and the construction took two years to complete. It is built on European pattern and based on Gothic Architecture.
The designers of Raj Bhawan (Nainital) were Architect Stevens and the Executive Engineer FOW Ortel. Burma teak has been used in conjunction with other versions of teak. Local stones have been used in its construction, with Ashler's finishing. Some of the privileged occupants of the Raj Bhawan (Nainital) in the pre-Independence era include Sir Antony Mac Ddonald, Sir James, Sir John Misten, Sir Harcourt Butler, who were the then Governors of the United Provinces. In the post-Independence period, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, the first Governor of Uttar Pradesh, was the first occupant of this historic monument.
Abutting the Raj Bhawan is 160 acres of forest land which has a number of faunal species, besides large number of floral varieties. The Raj Bhawan (Nainital) also has a Golf Course spread over 45 acres. The Golf Course, built in 1936, is one of the vintage golf courses in India, and is affiliated to the Indian Golf Union (IGU). Tourists can enjoy a game of golf after paying a small green fee.