About Vidhana Soudha
“A Temple Dedicated to The Nation,” is what Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru called Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore, which houses the State Legislature along with the Secretariat of Karnataka. In addition to being amongst the top tourist places to visit in the city of Bangalore, it is also the largest Legislative building in the entire country. The conception and construction of Vidhana Soudha was done by the then Chief Minister of Mysore, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, with Nehru laying down its foundation stone on July 13, 1951. Subsequently, the iconic structure was completed in 1956, with a total cost of almost INR 1.84 crore.
Boasting of four different entrances in all the four directions and four storeys, with an additional floor below the ground level, Vidhana Soudha is also popularly known as the “Taj Mahal of South India.” At the moment, the structure stands tall at 150 feet, with an opulent and exquisite Neo-Dravidian style of architecture. Moreover, it has several elements of Indo-Saracenic, Dravidian as well as Rajasthani designs implemented into it.
Spread over an expanse of 60 acres, this stunning white building has many carved pillars, pediments, bases, arches as well as cornices, which add to its immense beauty. With four different floors, the building has a porch on its eastern side, with 12 huge columns of granite. Additionally, the central dome of the building is supported by eight pillars, with a crown of the four-headed lion, the national emblem of the country.
Vidhana Soudha also has almost 300 rooms, which accommodate around twenty-two different departments of the State Government. As of now, its replica, called the Vikasa Soudha has been built by the Karnataka Government adjacent to it, which acts as a secretariat building. Also, it is located right opposite to the High Court of Karnataka.
History of Vidhana Soudha
Influenced by the House of Commons in London, the Vidhana Soudha is spread over 60 acres of land. It is popularly known as the building that houses the State Legislature Assembly and the Secretariat of Karnataka. The foundation stone of Vidhana Soudha was laid down by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1951.
It has been described by many dignitaries in many different ways over the years. Inaugurated on October 10, 1956, Vidhana Soudha is the original seat of power in the state of Karnataka. The construction of such a building was due to the immense amount of nationalist sentiments that were growing amongst people soon after India gained its independence. During that time, the administrative offices were based out of Attara Kacheri, built by the British in 1868.
It is due to this that plans were made for India’s own structure of legislature. However, the plan was mooted during K.C. Reddy’s tenure, who was the first Chief Minister of Karnataka. Regardless, soon after that, Nehru laid its foundation stone down, followed by Hanumanthaiah, who completed the construction of the Vidhana Soudha.
Hanumanthaiah was Reddy’s successor and wanted to shed light to the nationalist sentiments. And so, he asked B.R. Manickram, the chief architect of the project to build the structure right opposite to the Attara Kacheri, that too at a slight elevation. Ultimately, the house of the legislature and secretariat was built, spreading over 5,00,000 square feet, with a total cost of INR 1.84 crore at that time.
How to Reach Vidhana Soudha
From Airport: Vidhana Soudha is located around 34.8 kilometres from the Bangalore Airport. The best way to reach this iconic structure from the airport is by taking the public bus service by BMTC to Ulsoor, which takes around an hour and a half. This is also the cheapest mode of transportation to Vidhana Soudha from the airport.
Alternatively, you can also take a taxi, or hire a prepaid cab like Uber to Vidhana Soudha. Taxis are usually the fastest way to reach here, taking around 35 to 40 minutes depending upon the traffic. Most people also take a prepaid rental car to reach Vidhana Soudha comfortably and quickly.
Best Time to Visit Vidhana Soudha
The best time to visit Vidhana Soudha is in the summer season, between the months of March and May, when the weather in the city is less warm and dry, devoid of any high temperatures or humidity. This is when you can have a lot of daylight to visit the building and see it in all of its glory.
June to August are the monsoon months in Bangalore, when the city experiences heavy and torrential downpours, therefore not being suitable for a day out to visit Vidhana Soudha. However, the temperature remains cool during these months, falling to around 28 degrees Celsius.
The winter months, from October to February, are also some of the best months to visit the Vidhana Soudha. The temperatures remain between 12 to 18 degrees Celsius during the winters, making it quite a pleasant time to visit the iconic South Indian structure.
Other Essential Information About Vidhana Soudha
- Location: The Vidhana Soudha is located at Ambedkar Veedhi, near Sampangi Rama Nagara, in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It has the Karnataka High Court located opposite to it.
- Timings: You can visit Vidhana Soudha from 09:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. during Monday To Friday.
- Price: There is no entry fee to visit the Vidhana Soudha.
Tips for Visiting Vidhana Soudha
When visiting Vidhana Soudha, you need to take care of certain things and follow certain tips:
1. Always take special permission to visit the interiors of Vidhana Soudha. This is because it is a government building, which always has something important going on inside.
2. Bangalore is prone to sudden downpours and rains. So, to protect oneself from the sudden rain spells, it is always advisable to carry an umbrella or a raincoat.
3. Always carry sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and heat if you are visiting Vidhana Soudha during the mornings.
4. It is recommended to carry water bottles, along with light snacks to remain energetic and satiate your hunger while on a visit to Vidhana Soudha.
5. Additionally, littering and spreading waste in Vidhana Soudha is a punishable offense. So, visitors are advised not to dispose of their litter here and there.
6. Since you will be walking for long hours, it is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes.
Lighting of Vidhana Soudha
The Vidhana Soudha is very famous for its magnificent lighting. Every Sunday evening, along with other special occasions, like Republic Day, Independence Day or Diwali, the entire structure, gets lit up in millions of colourful lights, offering a stunning view to visitors and onlookers.
The lighting of Vidhana Soudha is one of the most popular things that attracts thousands of people, locals and tourists alike. In addition to the lighting, there is also a mesmerising light show, where numerous bright and vibrant lights engulf the structure. You can also see numerous colourful spotlights shoot across the sky on these days. However, this stunning sight can be witnessed only during the evenings on the mentioned special occasions and Sundays, that too between 06:30 p.m. and 08:00 p.m. Also, keeping in mind the power shortages across the country, the city has planned to run the entire light show fully on solar energy.
Slogan of Vidhana Soudha
The slogan of Vidhana Soudha is “Government’s work is God’s work,” which was engraved at the entrance of the Vidhana Soudha during the regime of the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, R. Gundu Rao. This slogan, along with its Kannada equivalent, is richly carved at the entrance of the magnificent structure that Vidhana Soudha is. In 1957, the Mysore government tried to get the government to change this slogan to “Satyamev Jayate,” which means that “The Truth Always Prevails.”
However, at that point of time, this change would have cost the government around INR 7,500, which was a huge figure. And it is due to this that they eventually decided to keep the slogan untouched. Later on, in 1996, George Voinovich, the U.S State Governor of Ohio, visited the Vidhana Soudha. That is when he noticed the encrypted slogan and got inspired by it. Then, he etched the slogan, “With God, all things are possible” at the entrance of the Ohio State House.
Construction of Vidhana Soudha
Sprawled across an expanse of 60 acres, the Vidhana Soudha is a glorious and opulent example of Neo-Dravidian style of architecture, with hints of Indo-Saracenic, Rajasthani and Dravidian elements adding beauty to the place and making it even more elegant. Consisting of four upper levels, and an additional one below the ground, Vidhana Soudha is surrounded by lush green lawns. It boasts of 172 rooms, and is built completely out of porphyry and granite.
The floor area itself spans across 47,000 square metres. The four-headed lion, which is also the national emblem of India, embellishes the entrance of Vidhana Soudha. However, the most attractive feature of the interiors of this magnificent building is its grand staircase, which leads us up to the building’s foyer. Forty-five steps, which are 70 feet deep and 200 feet wide lead you up to the foyer which opens up to the exquisite and luxurious Assembly Chamber. This chamber is equally opulent, with twenty huge columns, standing tall at forty feet each. Next comes the central dome, which is supported by eight granite columns with a diameter of 60 feet each, thereby making up the roof of the State Banquet Hall. This dome also has the four-headed lion crowning it, adding up to its overall glory.
The Vidhana Soudha artistically interweaves modern architecture with its ancient counterpart. Comprising of richly carved bases and pillar, along with kapotha cornices, jharokha style arches and parapets, the entire structure was built by 5,000 unskilled workers, all of whom were convicts. Furthermore, after the completion of rhea Vidhana Soudha’s construction, all of these convicts turned labourers were given freedom.