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Vidhana Soudha

The magnificent Vidhana Soudha is the largest legislature-cum-secretariat building in the country. Situated in the heart of the city, the state secretariat building is essentially Indian in style. It is built mainly on the union of Dravidian, Rajasthani, Chola and Kannada styles of architecture, which evolved in India. The ornamental motifs, floral patterns and chiselled geometric designs are all distinct and not a single design has been repeated. The woodwork throughout the monument is exceptional, particularly the sandalwood doors, which are famous for their intricate carvings. The floral motifs of the stone-carvings are Dravidian in style and are drawn entirely from the temple-craft of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

During an interview, the Chief Minister of the erstwhile Mysore State (1951 to 1956), Kengal Hanumanthaiah, explained the reasoning behind the architectural styles of the monument. A Russian cultural delegation was visiting Bangalore and K Hanumanthaiah took them around to show the city. Every now and then they queried, "Have you no architecture of your own? They are all European buildings". Stung, K Hanumanthaiah, vowed to create a monument so magnificent that it would showcase the best of South India's indigenous architectural styles.

The stone-structure is built entirely with the granite excavated from the vicinity of Hesaragatta and Mallasandra. The grand entrance of the Vidhana Soudha faces the Attara Kacheri (now called the High Court), another imposing structure. There was a debate on constructing a separate building foVidhanaSoudha - Underconstructionr the Secretariat and the Legislature, the latter being a simple building and the former having decoration and adornment. K Hanumanthaiah was of the view that by having two separate buildings, time, space and expenditure would be doubled and there would be inordinate delay in going from one building to the other.

The entire building of Vidhana Soudha covers an area of 720x360 ft. At the centre of the building is an open quadrangle of 260x250 ft. The building consists of three floors, each over 1.3 lakh sq. feet, and a top floor of 1.01 lakh sq. ft and storage rooms in the cellar. The Banquet Hall (192x120 ft.) has to be approached from the east, while the Assembly Hall above this measures 132x125 ft. and the Council Hall to the South measures 100x78 ft. On the third floor is the Cabinet Meeting Hall and on all the floors in the northern wing are halls measuring 80x40 ft. On the eastern side is a porch with eight tall decorated cylindrical granite columns of 40 ft. in height.

Granite stones of different colours found in and around Bangalore were used for the building. The building's four corners have four towers, supporting domes topped by metallic kalashas, one of which is bigger and taller than the others and has been placed at the front (east). Two small towers flank it. The metallic gold glittering national emblem atop the majestic dome was artistically wrought by a sculptor from Bangalore, Shilpi Shamachar.The ideas from many old Indian buildings were borrowed and incorporated in this dream building of Kengal Hanumanthaiah.

The average cost of construction was Rs 30 per square feet. About 5,000 labourers and 1,500 sculptors worked for it under a team of engineers led by B R Manikam.

The Vidhana Soudha project, from conception, execution and completion can be attributed completely to the dynamic leadership of late K Hanumanthaiah. His grand vision was of an imposing monument vital on the city's sightseeing map combined with a seat of excellence from which the government secretariat functions.

For a 360° panoramic view of the Vidhana Soudha, click here.

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