Six decades ago, when Kengal Hanumanthaiah was the chief minister of Karnataka, the iconic Vidhana Soudha structure was conceptualized as a response to the western and colloquial structures in Bengaluru. It was constructed with an ambition to become an imposing structure defining the architecture and culture of India. The chief engineer of Vidhan Soudha, B.R. Manickam mainly made use of granite to get the edifice constructed.
Kengal Hanumanthaiah is the man behind the fabrication of Vidhan Soudha. It is said that Mr. Hanumanthaiah visited the nations like Europe, Russia, and the United States to study the design idea. He incorporated the various designs he studied to formulate the final design of the Soudha.
The design was prepared and signed off by the then government architect and chief engineer, B R Manickam in 1950. The architecture is a mix of the Dravidian and Rajasthani style. On 13th July 1951, the foundation for the Vidhana Soudha was laid by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
5000 unskilled laborers were convicts lodged in the central prison, who were given freedom after the completion of Vidhana Soudha. The Vidhana Soudha took fours years (1952-1956) to complete. Besides the laborers, this project also employed 1500 chisellers, masons, and wood-carvers. The cost of construction at that time was just 17.5 million rupees but presently, annual maintenance cost itself is more than 20 million rupees.
The Vidhana Soudha has four floors above and one floor below ground level and sprawls across an area of 2,300 by 1,150 feet. It is the largest Legislative building in India. Its eastern face has a porch with 12 granite columns, 40 feet tall. Leading to the foyer is a flight of stairs with 45 steps, more than 200 feet wide. The central dome, 60 feet in diameter, is crowned by a likeness of the Indian national emblem.
Constructed purely out of granite and porphyry stones. This gigantic structure was constructed by using granite which is sourced from quarries in and around of the city of Bangalore, while stones were brought from Arahally and Hesaraghatta which were used for exteriors, from Mallasandra the green-bluish granite was brought and used and Magadi porphyry stones were utilized for stonework decoration.
Vidhana Soudha is adorned with four domes on its four corners. Embellishing the entrance of the buildings is the Four-headed Lion, the national symbol of India. The Cabinet room has a huge sandalwood door, which has been beautifully carved. Vidhana Soudha can be accessed from all the four directions. The gigantic building has 22 state government departments with over 300 rooms. The cabinet meeting hall is on the western side which is in third floor and doors are decorated and carved in sandalwood make.
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