Vidhana Soudha is the most imposing building not only in Bangalore but in India. This beautiful building is the legislative and administrative center of the Karnataka State.
When you arrive at Bengaluru for the first time, go for a selfie in front of this marvelous structure. Turn around and you will witness the 19th-century neoclassical Attara Kacheri Building which houses the High Court. It’s a double treat!
K Chengalaraya Reddy Laid the Foundation
The Chief Minister of old Mysore State K Chengalaraya Reddy laid the foundation for the construction of the house of the legislature’. The then Prime Minister Sri Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone on 13th July 1951.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah’s Building
Kengal Hanumanthaiah, the second Chief Minister of the then Mysore State (present Karnataka) was instrumental in the construction of Vidhana Soudha. In one of the interviews, he explained the motive behind this grand construction.
The Russian Delegates
Once the Russian delegates had visited Bengaluru and Kengal Hanumanthaiah took them out to show the city. The delegates, after seeing several European buildings in the city questioned Hanumanthaiah “have you no architecture of your own?”
Stung by their comments, Hanumanthaiah vowed to create a monument so magnificent that it would showcase the best of Karnataka’s indigenous architecture style. He visualized Vidhana Soudha to symbolize the legislative sovereignty of the people like the capital in Washington or the House of Commons in London.
Vidhana Soudha Architect
B R Manickam, a civil engineer and town planner was the chief architect and Hanumanthia Rao Naidu, a graduate from London assisted Mr. Manickam.
One of the interesting features of the building is the grand stairs in its front. The grand stairs have a flight of 45 steps, 204 ft. wide and 70 ft. deep giving direct access to the foyer of the first floor leading to an assembly chamber.
The architecture of the building is based on Neo-Dravidian style, comprising richly carved bases and capitals for pillars, deep friezes, cornices, arches, heavy pediments, domical finials, etc.
The interiors of have some fine specimens of the woodwork. Of special interest are the sandalwood door leading to the cabinet room and the speaker’s chair in rosewood, both beautifully carved and polished by craftsmen from Mysuru.
The massing, proportional systems, and the general layout of Vidhana Soudha with its grand central steps leading to a portico and the dome above are European Classical in Character. However, the detailing is neo-Dravidian.
The four-story plus basement building is massive in plan (220×150 meters) and bulk. The central dome rises to 55 meters above the ground level and there are subsidiary domes. The surrounding verandas are constructed of structural granite except for the central dome which stands on reinforced concrete columns.
The decorative elements of the building – chhajjas, column capitals, and brackets resemble temple architecture.
Masons who were capable of working in the traditional Dravidian manner were recruited from Karaikal and Tiruchirapalli.
The cost of constructing the was estimated at Rs. 50 Lakhs. However, the final project cost rose to Rs. 1.75 crores.
- Vidhana Soudha and its surroundings occupy 60 acres of land
- There are three main floors (each of which measures over 132500 sq. ft.) and the top floor (101165 sq. ft.). The total area adds up to 505505 sq. ft.
- The overall length of the building is 700 ft., width 350 ft. and height (measuring from floor level to top of the central dome) is 150 ft.
- The building’s central dome is 60 ft. in diameter and is support by 8 pillars. It also has 6 smaller domes, 4 in front and 2 behind. There are twelve 14 ft. columns over the entrance steps.
- Vidhana Soudha construction began in 1952 and was completed in 1956 within 4 years. About 5000 laborers and 1500 chisellers, masons, and wood-carvers worked on the project.
- Most of the unskilled laborers deployed in the construction of Vidhana Soudha were prisoners and they were set free after the completion.
- The entire cost of the project was about Rs. 1.75 crores.
Is Vidhana Soudha open to the public?
Vidhana Soudha may not be open to the general public but may be possible with special approvals.
What is written on Vidhana Soudha?
“Government’s Work is God’s Work” is written on the façade of Vidhana Soudha. The then Mysore Government decided to replace it with ‘Satyameva Jayate’. The estimated cost of replacement was Rs. 7000 and so the plan was abandoned.
Who Constructed Vidhana Soudha
- The first Chief Minister of Mysore State K Chengalaraya laid the foundation in July 1951.
- Kengal Hanumanthaiah was instrumental in the construction of Vidhana Soudha.
How many rooms are there in Vidhana Soudha?
There are 172 rooms iand the biggest room is of the Chief Minister.
If you are a tourist, don’t bother much about getting inside this building. It is always good to admire this beautiful building from the outside. Moreover, you get an opportunity to limitless selfies and photographs.
Take a Group Photo
Look out for photographers nearby who can capture your group photos and print them instantly for a small price.
Places to visit near Vidhana Soudha
There are so many things to explore near Vidhana Soudha. If you have come in your vehicle, find a parking space inside Cubbon Park (there’s one near Sheshadari Iyer Memorial Hall). Note the Cubbon Park gates will be closed during the weekends for vehicular traffic. You can still manage to get a parking space near the park gates or inside the Government Museum complex.
Your next destination will be Attara Kacheri, Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological Musem, Government Museum and Venkatappa Art Gallery.