Having photographed a bit of the Rashtrapati Bhavan exteriors in 2012, I was super excited to have been given access to the interiors in 2017! All thanks to Instagram India. Nitin Saluja and Tara Bedi of Instagram, alongwith Venu Rajamony the Press Secretary to the President of India, made this happen. I still can’t get over that fact that I was part of only ten Instagrammers who were invited for this exclusive preview!
Yes, I know this photo feature took a long time to load completely on your device – after +50 images, it’s kind of expected. I tried to reduce the number of images. Really. I did. But clearly, I’m more a photographer than an “editor” who can ruthlessly cut out images that don’t really add to a story. There were at least 30 more images that I wanted to add to tell the story of our day the Rashtrapati Bhavan comprehensively. I’ve also include a handful of images of the exterior, for context, from my 2012 feature because our trip this Sunday gave us hazy skies. It was hot and humid and yellow. So, some blue skies from 2012 July!
The officer to the left above? I met him again this Sunday! Five years apart – he of course didn’t remember me – I’m sure many people approach him for photographs. I got to photograph his face for my EyesForPeople.com series! ( Scroll away and you’ll see it below apart from in the series, whenever it shows up there. )
All photographs above are from the 2012 feature. All photographs below are from 2017. Photographed on the Nikon D810, the Go Pro Hero 5 and the Google Pixel XL. Just with the first photograph you’ll understand what I mean by hazy skies. And this is super early in the morning – around 0700 hrs if I remember correctly.
Horsie cleaning/grooming tools and implements. We spent an inordinate amount of time at the stables that are currently occupied by horses of the Sikh, the Rajput and the Jat Regiments.
Above, a May Flower blooming in the kitchen garden cum nursery grounds of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. They also have their own fishery and whatnot! So much scope for documenting the entire place and having a whole chunk of photographs to share on their very own Instagram account – they don’t have one yet but who knows, that might change soon!
This is all at the Durbar Hall where many an investiture ceremony has taken place.
In the Library at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The table legs are more ornate than anything at my apartment! And the books! Oh man.
At the Ashok Hall above and below. Take a moment. The people that have walked these corridors since 1929! The things they might’ve talked about. The history they’ve written. The things they’ve seen. To my mind, it’s a bit incomprehensible and very awe-inspiring.
The patterns on the ceilings in the forms of lights and windows, on the floors in the form of tiled and marbled formations and carpets and the patterns and textures of the furniture and upholstery – I could spend hours photographing everything and even then I’m certain I would miss something from the documentation.
The walls of corridors and rooms and the ceilings at the Rashtrapati Bhavan are virtually dripping with beautiful, original art from all over the world. Detailed, intricate and stunningly beautiful.
Above, Venu Rajamony, the current Press Secretary to the President of India and almost the Indian Ambassador to Netherlands soon! Yes, he is also on Instagram. Below, me with Tara Bedi of Instagram India.
I generally don’t go into places where there’s a blanket photography prohibition. So when I’d visited in 2012, I’d happily sauntered around on the outside photographing away but had been told that I couldn’t as much as take my mobile phone with me if I wanted to go see the insides. I’d considered asking for a favour to try my luck with photographing indoors, but never got around to following that up. Super stoked to have not only gained access to photograph the insides, but to have done it in the company of other Instagrammers in collaboration with Instagram India! It was a treat to be able to see first-hand, the history behind the walls and even more exciting to be able to share it with the audience on my blog and on Instagram among other social media networks. I love being able to live life as a photographer! Being able to collaborate with Instagram to discover gems hidden away in plain sight right here in India is icing on the cake. Ms. Rosie, who gave us the tour of the insides of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, was excellent. This was probably the first time I’d gotten a tour from a prospective PhD! Meeting and hanging out with one of the coolest Govt. officials – the current Press Secretary to the President of India, Mr. Venu Rajamony was the highlight of the day. When someone over the age of 35 asks me how many followers I have on Instagram, I get excited, but when that someone also happens to work for the Indian Govt., my mind is BLOWN! A very exhausting and fun day that I will never forget. Here’s hoping more doors open for Instagram in India!
I’m on Instagram as Naina.co if you’d like to follow along! If you’re reading this and you already follow along, THANK YOU!
The Rashtrapati Bhavan ( official home of the President of India ) is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is a very nominal registration fee but no photography is allowed. Mainly due to security concerns. The place is so massive that even though there is security at every corner and security cameras even more so, one could get lost. I’m sharing links to the official Rashtrapati Bhavan website, which you should visit for updated visiting hours and details of how to get there.