Parliament of India – Architectural Science

Parliament of India
India may get a new Parliament building with latest technological facilities if a proposal mooted by current Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is anything to go by. She has said the existing 88-year-old structure is showing signs of “distress” and will no longer be able to meet the growing demand for space 10 years hence. However, Parliament is in “distress” for another reason. Its construction has been at variance with Vaastu principles. A revamp is called for and is unavoidable.
“It has to be done some day if the sad state of affairs of criminals making it to the top body has to be avoided,” says renowned Ahmedabad based Astro-Vaastu expert Dr Ravi Rao.

“Highest in commanding respect the Parliament is the weakest building possibly ever built. Unfortunately, Edwin Lutyens and his team did not have proper understanding about directions,” says Dr Rao.
The present structure which began in 1921 and commissioned in 1927 faces deficiencies as per vaastu. Its circular format has worked against harmonization of the five vital elements Air, Water, Fire, Space and Earth. “The building with angular structure and 45 degree roads is a weak building and that is why we are weak and backward compared to other countries like Japan despite our rich natural resources. The building at the least requires modification or has to be rebuilt,” says Dr Rao.

Parliament of India

For reasons best known to him, circular design seemed the best option for Edwin Lutyens who also designed the Rashtrapati Bhavan and North and South Blocks of the Secretariat.
Round shape do not augur well for a building as important as a nation’s Parliament. It is the most important building that comes to represent the repository of democracy supposed to enhance quality of democracy. “Square and rectangle are good while the circular shape is the problem, though the dome atop has not much to do with instability,” says Dr Rao.

ENTRANCES

“Even if the building was built wrong as per Vaastu yet the entrances could have been put in the right direction as a redeeming feature. There are two ways of understanding directions: angular and straight. Angulars are not good. Had the roads been 90 degrees to North they could have given good results. But they are jagged at 45 degrees. Architects selected wrong directions aligning the building. Further they made a mistake of taking N-W entrance for Lok Sabha entrance, S-W for Rajya Sabha and East for inner assembly. First two entrances are weak and third above average. I would say these have resulted in the formation of a ‘limping state,’” says Dr Rao.

This massive Victorian building has seen more turmoil than any other country’s parliament when it came to symbolise a free India in 1947. Political instability, internal dissensions, communal disharmony, terror attack, rising unemployment, poverty and illiteracy are some of the issues that can be traced to its design. Not a day passed in recent history when there was no bedlam. Indeed India’s temple of democracy is ailing. We at Vaastuyogam have tried to decode ‘What ails India’s temple of democracy’.

Parliament of India – Internal Layout

THE BUILDING

For the British-built Parliament, foundation stone was laid on 12th February, 1921 by the Duke of Connaught and built by two famous architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The construction took six years and the opening ceremony was on 18th January, 1927 by the then Governor-General of India Lord Irwin. The cost was `83 lakhs.

What we call Parliament is actually known as the Parliament House Estate comprising Lok Sabha (House of People), Rajya Sabha (Council of States), Parliament Library, Parliament House Annexe, the twin Secretariat Blocks and the Presidential Estate.

THE SIZE

The circular edifice or the Parliament House is massive 560 feet in diameter. Its circumference is 537m and covers nearly six acres. The open verandah on first floor is bordered with a colonnade of 144 creamy sandstone columns each 27 feet high. The building has 12 gates among which Gate No. 1 on the Sansad Marg is the main gate.

DESIGN

Built with indigenous labour, the building bears imprint of Indian tradition with “Chhajjas” (overhanging eaves of a roof/window) that shade the walls and windows and the varied forms of jali (carvings) in marble. Ancient Indian art has been fused with modern acoustics and air-conditioning.

“The energies coming from all directions converge at the center, be it a house or factory. These energies are essential for inhabitants of the house which is why it is also known as Point of life.”
FACTS

The centre of the building is circularly designed Central Hall from which radiate the three Chambers: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Parliament Library Hall.  Surrounding these three is a four-storied circular structure providing accommodation for ministers, Chairman, Parliamentary Committees, Party Offices, important offices of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats and also the Offices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

Three Committee Rooms on the first floor are used for meetings of Parliamentary Committees. Three other rooms on the same floor are for Press Correspondents who come to the Press Galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.The outer wall of the corridor on the ground floor of the building is decorated with a series of panels depicting the history of India from the ancient times and cultural contacts with her neighbours.

POWER

This bicameral body is the supreme legislative authority and is headed by the President. The Speaker is the Presiding Officer of Lok Sabha and Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha.