To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the cinema release of Viceroy’s House on 3rd March, we have created a tour visiting some of the historic sights associated with British rule, which ended in 1947 with the partition of India. Here we walk you through the main locations featured in the film and included on the tour.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha and starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson, Viceroy’s House tells the true story of the end of an empire and the birth of two nations. It is a story that is deeply personal to Chadha, whose own family was caught up in the tragic events that unfolded as the Raj came to an end.
Chadha says, "My personal connection with this story was the main reason I wanted to make Viceroy's House. Given it is about both Britain and India, I believe I am in a unique position to tell this story of our shared history. We were fortunate enough to shoot at Lutyens’ masterpiece, the Viceroy's House, now Rashtrapati Bhavan and home to the President of India. Most of our film was shot in the royal splendour of Rajasthan at the Maharaja of Jodhpur's residence – the Umaid Bhawan Palace hotel. The hospitality and love we receive in India is overwhelmingly warm and affectionate: they make everyone feel like a maharaja."
Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi
Now known as Rashtrapati Bhavan (translated as 'President's Palace'), the building was formally known as the Viceroy's House. Designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens, construction began in 1911. It remained the Viceroy's House until 1947 with the signing of an independent India. An impressive structure, it was built using 700 million bricks, and sits within a 130-hectare presidential estate, including landscaped Mughal gardens.
Today you can walk through the gardens and see Durbar Hall, where Nehru took the oath of office of Prime Minister of Independent India from Lord Mountbatten (the last viceroy of India) in 1947.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur and overlooked by the muscular Mehrangarh fort, Umaid Bhawan Palace is the last of the great palaces of India. The vast marble and sandstone structure is one of the largest private residencies in the world, built in the fashionable Indo-deco style of the 1930s as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family. The palace was built between 1929 and 1943 and over 3,000 artisans worked over 14 years to create this magnificent, and now somewhat faded, edifice.