Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s newly alloted bungalow was once the residence of the architect of Parliament House during the construction of the new imperial capital of India, according to historian Swapna Liddle.
The bungalow which currently falls under the address 6A, Krishna Menon Marg was initially known as the 8, Hastings Road Bungalow during the British-era. The last resident of the bungalow was former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Delhi-based historian and author Liddle claimed that the bungalow had many notable occupants and architect Sir Herbert Baker resided in it while the new centre for British Raj was being built. While Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens was the main architect of the new imperial capital, Baker and other architects also assisted in designing several iconic buildings dotting the landscape.
Baker is known for designing the iconic North Block and South Block of the government Secretariat on the Raisina Hill and the Parliament House (then called Council House) next to it. While narrating the historical significance of the bungalow.
The British monarch King George V had announced shifting of the imperial capital from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911 at an impressive Delhi Durbar, and Lutyens was assigned the task to design 'New Delhi'. Liddle, who is the author of 'Connaught Place and the making of New Delhi' said that she had also mentioned about the bungalow in her book:
"This sprawling bungalow (6A, Krishna Menon Marg) is one of a series of bungalows that were built on this road for secretaries to government. It is one of the prime addresses in Lutyens' Delhi today," said Liddle.
She further added:"Through a photograph of this house preserved in the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), I had later learned that Herbert Baker had lived in this bungalow when it was newly built."
The foundation stone of the Parliament House was laid on 1921 by the Duke of Connaught and it was inaugurated in 1927 by Viceroy Lord Irwin. Shah, who took charge as a Union minister for the first time last week following a landslide victory of the BJP-led NDA, is currently staying at 11, Akbar Road residence.
As per sources last week, he's likely to be allotted the 6A, Krishna Menon Marg bungalow. Its last occupant Vajpayee, had moved to the house in 2004 after his government was voted out, and stayed there with his family for nearly 14 years. His family vacated the house last November after his death in August.
When Vajpayee had moved to the Krishna Menon Marg house, he had got the municipal number of the bungalow changed from 8 to 6-A. Liddle, also convener of INTACH Delhi Chapter, says, the bungalow, besides Vajpayee, has been occupied by several other noted personalities as well.
"My father-in-law, Milon Banerji had lived therefrom 1979-89 (as additional solicitor general and as solicitor general); Ashok Desai from 1989-90 (as solicitor general). Dr Manmohan Singh, had also occupied it sometime later before he became the prime minister," she said.
The historian said, when she used to hang out in the bungalow in the late 80s, along with her friends, she would see an intriguing sandstone fountain in the back garden.