Exploring the Enchanting Raj Bhavan of Ranchi: A Storied Legacy

 President Droupadi Murmu, on her recent visit to Jharkhand from May 24-26, expressed her sheer delight upon revisiting the remarkable Raj Bhavan in Ranchi. Having resided in this architectural marvel for six years during her tenure as the Governor of Jharkhand, President Murmu couldn't help but be overwhelmed by a wave of nostalgia as she stepped foot on its hallowed grounds. Let us embark on a journey to uncover the captivating history and allure of Ranchi's Raj Bhavan, an edifice that has captivated hearts since the British era.

While Jharkhand may have emerged as an independent state on November 15, 2000, the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi boasts a heritage that spans over nine decades. Due to its pleasant climate and natural splendor, Ranchi served as the summer capital of undivided Bihar, and it was during this period that the Raj Bhavan found its inception.

Exploring the Raj Bhavan reveals intriguing secrets concealed within its walls. As one steps into the Durbar hall and adjoining office, a fascinating sight awaits—an impression of two sealed trapdoors, remnants of an era long gone. Legend has it that these trapdoors were once part of secret tunnels, providing a clandestine escape route from the Raj Bhavan in times of crisis—a remnant of the British rule's cautious preparations.

The Raj Bhavan, an architectural masterpiece, was constructed during the British era under the expert guidance of Sadlow Ballerd. While it predominantly reflects British design sensibilities, it seamlessly integrates elements tailored to the local climate. The roof, adorned with double Raniganj tiles, serves as a shield against the region's scorching heat.

Encompassing an expansive area of 62 acres, the Raj Bhavan campus comprises the main Raj Bhavan covering 52 acres and Audrey House spanning 10 acres. As one delves deeper into the building, the grandeur becomes evident. The ceilings soar to heights of 18-20 feet, while the walls stand strong at a thickness of 14 inches. Notably, some of the ceiling tiles bear the inscription 'Made in England,' echoing the building's colonial past.

The ground floor of the Raj Bhavan houses various notable spaces, including the Durbar Hall, dining hall, recreation room, waiting room, sitting room, and offices. Ascending to the first floor reveals the Governor's living quarters, the presidential office, and guest suites—living spaces that have witnessed the ebb and flow of history.

Within the hallowed halls of the Durbar Hall, a treasure trove of art awaits. The walls proudly display paintings by the renowned French-British artist Daniel, harkening back to 1796. Furthermore, the frames, skillfully captured by celebrated photographer Bishu Nandi, depict the rich traditions and vibrant tribal life of Jharkhand.

A symbol of the bygone British era, a resplendent chandelier graces the Durbar Hall, illuminating the room with a touch of regality. The grand dining table, accommodating up to 32 people, bears witness to countless discussions and banquets. Meanwhile, the recreational room houses a billiards table that has stood the test of time, a relic from the colonial era.

The Raj Bhavan premises, a haven of natural beauty, boasts meticulously nurtured gardens that flourish with over 15,000 roses, representing a staggering 250 varieties. Each garden is thoughtfully named after eminent personalities, paying homage to their significant contributions.

The Raj Bhavan's enchanting landscape further unfolds as we discover its thriving kitchen garden. Here, plants of clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaf flourish, cultivated through organic farming techniques. Carrots, brinjals, and tomatoes thrive alongside, adding a vibrant touch to this cornucopia of flavors. Organic compost, derived from dung, nourishes the plants, ensuring sustainability.

In its commitment to preserving nature's blessings, the Raj Bhavan hosts a cow shelter and a herbal medicinal plant area boasting 35 different varieties of herbs. Nestled amidst the grounds, one can find rudraksha and kalpataru trees, along with exotic offerings such as oranges, Thai guavas, apples, berries, and an array of lemon varieties.

Nine fountains grace the premises, their gentle streams weaving a tapestry of tranquility. The Raj Bhavan thoughtfully caters to the needs of all visitors, providing spaces for children to revel in joy and playfulness, ensuring an inclusive and welcoming environment.

As President Droupadi Murmu reminisces about her time spent within the Raj Bhavan's embrace, we are reminded of the enduring legacy and majesty that Ranchi's Raj Bhavan represents. From its awe-inspiring architecture to the hidden stories woven within its walls, this iconic edifice serves as a testament to history, art, and the beauty of Jharkhand. Embarking on a journey through the Raj Bhavan leaves one captivated by its grandeur and enveloped in the timeless charm that exudes from every corner.