Raj Bhavan

Raj Bhavan (Bengali: রাজ ভবন Raj Bhôbon, Hindi Rāj Bhavan, 'Government House') is the Governor's palace in Kolkata, West Bengal. Built in 1803 and once the residence of the Viceroy of India, and called Government House, the palatial building is now the residence of the Governor of West Bengal. The present Governor, H.E. Mayankote Kelath Narayanan, resides in the building.


Raj Bhavan used to be 'Government House' in the Raj era, the seat of British imperial power. The structure was built in 1799–1803 to the designs of Captain Charles Wyatt of the Bengal Engineers, during the tenure of the Marquess Wellesley as the Governor-General of India. It now serves as the residence of the Governor of the Indian state of West Bengal, and is referred to by its Hindi name: 'Raj Bhavan'.


The three-storied structure of Raj Bhavan was inspired by Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, Great Britain. Interestingly, Kedleston Hall is the ancestral home of Lord Curzon, who became the Viceroy of India (from 1899 to 1904) and lived in Government House exactly a century after Lord Wellesley.

While the basic features of Kedleston, such as the Palladian front, the Dome, etc., have been faithfully copied, Government House is a much larger, three storeyed structure. Also, the Government of India evidently did not have the funding constraints that forced the Curzons to leave their house incomplete. Government House has all four wings originally conceived for Kedleston. So today, a 'complete' brick-built Kedleston, on a much grander scale, is located in its acres of gardens in the heart of the Kolkata business district. Raj Bhavan has a total area of 27 acres and the building has 84,000 sq ft (7,800 m2) of floor space.


The residential portion is divided into four suites. The Prince of Wales Suite in the north-west wing of the first floor is where the President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister of India reside when visiting the state of West Bengal. The Wellesley Suite is located on the second floor in the north-eastern wing, the Dufferin Suite is on the second floor of north-west wing, and the fourth suite is the Anderson Suite.

Occasional public meetings by the Governor are held in the magnificent marble hall on the ground floor. The Council Chamber used to be the meeting place of the Executive Council of the Governor General. The Brown Dining Room was used as the breakfast room, while the adjoining Blue Drawing Room is the room where the Governor meets guests. The Throne Room is like a Durbar where princes were welcomed and durbars held, and there is also a Banquet Hall and the Ballroom.

There is a gun mounted on a dragon towards the north gate. Around the main gun there are ten guns that were taken from the Chinese, in commemoration of the peace initiated by the Treaty of Nanking by the military and naval forces of Great Britain and India under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker and Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Gough.

Photography and books

A few vintage photographs dating back to the British Raj era, mostly taken by Samuel Bourne and Johnston & Hoffmen, are available at some libraries and Universities. Some post-Independence photographs are also there as official records.

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
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    yzyd updated a digital reference
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    dptrowbridge updated a digital reference
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  • updated and updated 2 digital references
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