HISTORY OF RAJ BHAVAN

Raj Bhavan is the official residence of the Head of the State. Before assuming office, Governors are sworn in, at the Durbar Hall of the Raj Bhavan. Oaths of office to newly elected Chief Ministers and Ministers of the State, Chief Justices & Judges of High Court, Chief Information Commissioners,Chaairman of APSC, State Election Commissioner, Lokayukta, Upa-Lokayukta are administered in the Durbar Hall of the Raj Bhavan. Besides these solemn events, the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and other such dignitaries while on a visit to the State Capital, are accommodated at Raj Bhavan.

The Raj Bhavan of undivided Assam at Shillong was constructed over a century ago. With Meghalaya getting bifurcated from Assam in 1972, and Shillong becoming part of Meghalaya, a new Raj Bhavan had to be constructed for Assam, at its new State capital in Guwahati. A suite of rooms at Guwahati Circuit House was kept permanently reserved for the Governor’s stay during his visits to Assam. That arrangement was not found satisfactory and it was decided to have a Raj Bhavan at Guwahati.

This Raj Bhavan was constructed in the year 1980. However, since the two States continued to have a common Governor, who normally stayed at Shillong, the Guwahati Raj Bhavan grew like a Governor’s camp. Shri L P Singh, the then Governor of Assam inaugurated the Raj Bhavan, Guwahati and moved in on 19th October 1980. It was only in 1989 that Assam again started having an exclusive Governor of its own. Moreover, with the then Prime Minister laying the foundation stone for the new capital of Assam at Chandrapur, 20 kms from Guwahati, the State Secretariat housed in old tea warehouse complex at Dispur and the Raj Bhavan at Kharghuli were treated as being in interim locations. Thus, this was not developed to make it to a befitting Raj Bhavan of the State. However, with the commencement of work on building a State Legislative Assembly at Dispur in 1998, work could also be started at Kharghuli for developing the Raj Bhavan.

Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, PVSM, on taking over as Governor of Assam in 1997, in view of the scenic beauty of the mighty Brahmaputra from the existing Raj Bhavan, decided that this should remain at its present location. Then, a four storied building was planned with a view to accommodate Governor’s Secretariat on the first floor which had been functioning from Dispur, a suitable Durbar Hall on the second floor, three VIP suits on the third floor and a large terrace as an extended space for holding receptions during official functions and the basement to provide car parking space. The construction of the building was executed by Assam State PWD. The building was named as Lachit Wing and Gen Sinha inaugurated the building on 14th January 2002. The VIP rooms are named as Brahmaputra, Dikhow and Dhansiri.

The main Raj Bhavan was named as Chilarai Wing which has Governor’s Office chamber on the one part and bedroom, seating room, kitchen, dining hall, and five guest rooms on the other. The rooms are named as Orang, Pobitara, Chakrasila, Kaziranga and Manas.

With the passage of time, requirement of a separate conference hall and a few more guest rooms were felt. The then Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Singh, PVSM, AVSM, took the initiative and a new building came out in the Chilarai Wing. This building was inaugurated on 4th June 2008 by Gen Singh, which has a modern conference hall on the ground floor and five guest rooms on the first and second floors. The rooms in this complex are named as Luhit, Subansiri, Rupahi, Tipkai and Kopili.