On June 27th 1964, the Teen Murti Bhavan, which was the official residence of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, was converted into the Nehru Memorial Museum.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of Independent India and was born on November 14th 1889 in Allahabad. Nehru remained an important figure in Indian politics for the better part of the 20th century and has been credited for establishing Indian as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. Panditji, as Nehru was fondly known, passed away on May 27th 1964, following a heart attack.
The Teen Murti Bhavan was the official residence of Pt. Nehru, who lived there for 16 years, until his death. Teen Murti Bhavan was originally known as “Flagstaff House” and was built in 1930 for the Commander in Chief of the British forces in India. The building was designed by Robert Tor Russell, the same architect behind the designing of Connaught Place and the Eastern and Western courts of Janpath during the Raj. The house gets its name from Teen Murti, which means Three Statues, a memorial created by British sculptor Leonard Jennings. This memorial was built in 1922 in memory of Indian soldiers from the then three princely states of Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Mysore and those who served in what is today known as the Gaza Strip during World War I, under the British India Army.
Situated in a palatial estate, the Teen Murti Bhavan is constructed using stone and stucco and faces the south side of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The house has elaborated arched entrances and beautiful pillared verandahs. The back of the building overlooks a spacious lawn.
After Independence in 1947, the Teen Murti Bhavan was taken over as the house of the Prime Minister and upon Nehru’s death in 1964 was converted into a museum, a library and a planetarium (which operates under the Indian Ministry of Culture).
On the ground floor of the Nehru Museum, Nehru’s South Block office has been recreated, using the same furniture and other items he used, along with several other objects and manuscripts. The Teen Murti Bhavan headquarters the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund which was established in 1964. The complex is also home to the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship and the Nehru Memorial Library frequented by students and researchers and is home to some extremely popular and rare books on modern as well as ancient Indian history. The library is home to published work on Nehru, his writings and collections of his speeches and correspondence. The Library was established in 1966 and it functioned from the main building for the longest time, but was moved into a separate building in 1974.
The Nehru Planetarium (of which there are four across India) is also situated on the grounds of the Teen Murti complex. The Nehru Planetarium was constructed with the aim to promote astronomical education. One of the major attractions of this planetarium is the Soyuz T-10 which carried Rakesh Sharma, India’s first cosmonaut to space, along with his space suit and mission journal. The Sky Theatre at the planetarium is also very famous and attracts around 20,000 visitors every year. After renovations in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games the planetarium now has a Definiti optical star projector which can show 2 million stars.
Within the complex of the Bhavan and close to the Nehru Planetarium is the Shikargah, also known as the Kushak Mahal, which was essentially the hunting lodge of the 14th century ruler of Delhi, Firoz Shah Tughlaq. Firoz Shah’s fort, Firoz Shah Kotla is situated at a distance away near the banks of the Yamuna River. The Shikargah is protected by the Archeological Survey of India.
All in all, this complex remains an important destination for students and history enthusiasts and is considered to be one of the architectural marvels of Delhi.
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