Not often does the residence of a former politician command little if any attention, or elicit much respect. The Teen Murti Bhavan also known as the Teen Murti House is, however, a glaring, though proud exception to this rule. Having served as the residence of the first Prime Minister of India, the beloved Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who called this place his home for 16 years, right until his death on May 27, 1964, the Bhavan evokes memories of India’s rich past, while also giving a hint of the freedom struggle that ensued. It was designed by Robert Tor Russell, the British architect who also designed the now historic Connaught Place, as well as the Eastern and Western Courts on Janpath during the former rule of the British Raj. The Bhavan was built in the year 1930, symbolising the new capital of India, New Delhi as well as housing the then Commander In Chief of the Indian Army, and was known as the Flagstaff House.
The imposing structure sits prettily in the middle of a beautifully maintained garden. A colonial structure by design, it is complemented beautifully by the arched entrance, with panels of teak, verandas supported by sturdy pillars and high ceilings having been used generously within the Bhavan. Inside, one can trace the life of Pandit Nehru, as it unfolds beautifully before the observer’s eye, brought forth by the carefully laid out interiors, with the study, the drawing room and the bedroom having been left untouched, just as they were at the time of Nehru’s death.
Moving forward, one catches glimpses of Nehru’s childhood, with his multiple achievements on display, along with the countless gifts he received both in India and abroad. Also displayed is the Bharat Ratna that he received in 1955 and a Jawahar Jyoti that burns day and night, eternally representing the ideals that Nehru stood for and held so dear. The Bhavan also houses a Planetarium that organises daily shows showcasing India's might, and recent developments in its Space Program and Astronomy. There is also a Nehru Memorial Library, which has one of the most detailed collections on Modern Indian History.
The Teen Murti Bhavan is named so after the Teen Murti ("three statues") Memorial, which stands on the junction in front of the Bhavan’s grounds. The memorial was built in memory of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Also, in the front lawn, is a granite rock on which is inscribed Nehru’s first speech after India won her independence.