The mammoth Multi-Volume Documentation Project of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340-room resplendent official residence of the President of India, is all set for a digital avatar.
The ambitious project, executed by Sahapedia in association with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), will be available shortly as concise web-based modules on the nonprofit body’s website, a great value addition to those seeking information on the iconic architectural grandeur designed and constructed by legendary British architect Edwin Lutyens.
Sahapedia, an open online resource on the arts, cultures and heritage of India, began the project in 2014, compiling in beautifully illustrated books facets like architecture, art, gardens and history of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. These are now available for purchase on Amazon India and at Publications Division sales counters.
“Along with the books we have produced a series of web modules and will be shortly uploading all of them on the Sahapedia site. These will be valuable for both researchers and laypersons to gain a better understanding of the history and heritage of the building,” said Yashaswini Chandra, Project Manager, Sahapedia.
The 11 volumes of well-designed books comprise seven main volumes and four additional volumes, including two books for children, all detailing the historic building that was formerly known as Viceroy’s House.
The list of books include —‘Right of Line: The President’s Bodyguard’; ‘The Presidential Retreats of India’; ‘First Garden of the Republic: Nature in the President’s Estate’; ‘A Work of Beauty:The Architecture and Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhavan’; ‘The Arts and Interiors of Rashtrapati Bhavan: Lutyens and Beyond’;‘Around India’s First Table: Dining and Entertaining at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’; and ‘Life at Rashtrapati Bhavan’.
Last week, the President had hosted the core project team from Sahapedia as well as associated experts to mark the completion of the project. The project team successfully managed a group of about 50 scholars, academics, photographers, researchers, editors and designers.
“On the occasion, Omita Paul, Secretary to the President, noted that the project had been a challenging but rewarding experience. A group photo was taken with President Pranab Mukherjee to mark the occasion,” Yashaswini said.
“All told it is a very unique and complex project involving top experts in each field. We had highly specialised photographers working on the books and we used all fresh pictures as well as rare archival ones. We are pleased to bring it out on time and are grateful to the IGNCA for the funding support,” said Dr. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, Sahapedia. Generous illustrations and photographs accompany the texts, all sourced from primary sources and aided by archival research.
Some of the leading names associated with the project include S. Kalidas, Kuldeep Kumar, Sharmishta Mukherjee, LeelaVenkatraman, SqnLdr (Retd.) Rana T.S. Chhina, Dinesh Khanna, Gillian Wright, Prof. Amita Baviskar, Narendra Bisht,Pradip Krishen, Dr. Narayani Gupta, Ram Rahman, Prof. A.G.K. Menon, Prof. Partha Mitter, Prof. Naman P. Ahuja and Dr Lizzie Collingham.
Sahapedia, as a nonprofit institution, has taken up a lot of documentation of the cultural heritage of India and aims to create a knowledge resource base of the visual and performing arts, literature and languages of the country.
In the current calendar year, the encyclopaedic body has plans to simultaneously work on around 20-25 projects spread across the country. “We will be working to documenting the Bhakti traditions in the country and also document other institutions. It is the first time ever that a private institution is putting in such a big
effort to reflect the multiple aspects of India’s cultural heritage and art,” Dr Gopalakrishnan
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