The erstwhile State of Bhopal and the Britishers signed an agreement under
which the Britishers had appointed a Political Agent at Bhopal. This
administrative decision was taken during the rule of Nawab Major Mohammad Khan
(1816-1819). As per the agreement, a British armed force was also stationed at
Sehore Cantt. Upto 1880, the area where the Raj Bhawan stands at present was a
military cantonment area. No private construction was allowed in the area.
In 1880, the present Raj Bhawan was constructed by Nawab Shahjahan Begum of
Bhopal, as a place of stay for the British officers. It was initially named Lal
Kothi. Thus, 1880 onwards, Lal Kothi became the official residence of the
British Political Agents posted at Bhopal.
Lal Kothi in Olden Days
Name based on Appearance
The Raj Bhawan's original name Lal Kothi was very much apt to the situation,
for the following reasons :-
- It was the first Kothi in the city of Bhopal with roof made of red China
- Besides, the predominant colour of the Kothi was red.
For these reasons, it came to be called as Lal Kothi in common parlance, and the name
stuck with it for many years - up to the time India became independent.
Some of the facts related to the construction of the Lal Kothi are as follows :-
- Built in 1880 by the Nawab of Bhopal State, Begum Shahjahan.
- It was based on European architecture.
- It was built over an area of 15,423 sq. ft. (0.354 acres)
- The total cost incurred on construction was Rs. 72,878,3 annas and one
- A prevalent custom in the then State of Bhopal (a Muslim State) was that
whenever the State or the feudal lords constructed any building, the
foundation stone for a mosque was laid first.
- Thus, first of all a small mosque was built around the campus of Lal
- The erstwhile Bhopal Government had sought the help of the British and PWD
authorities in decorating the Kothi on European lines.
- Austate Cook (a French Engineer) was posted in those days as water works
engineer at Bhopal.
- In consultation with Mr. Cook, the map of Lal Kothi was prepared.
- Construction of Lal Kothi was taken up under Mr. Cook's supervision.
- Special attention was paid to providing full and complete security to the
British guests who would stay in Lal Kothi.
- In 1880, the city of Bhopal was confined to Fort Fatehgarh (the remnants
of this fort can be seen today around Hamidia Hospital and Gandhi Medical
- Nawab Jahangir Mohammad Khan (1839-1840), father of Nawab Shahjahan Begum
Sahiba built Kothi Jahangirabad outside the Fort Fatehgarh as a Cantonment for
the Bhopal Regiment. (These days, the Headquarters of Madhya Pradesh Police is
located in this Kothi)
Kothi Jehangirabad - Now P.H.Q., M.P. Police
- Nawab Jahangir also established a Mohalla Jahangirabad (Civil habitation)
thereon - at that time the only road leading to Jahangirabad from the old city
of Bhopal passed through the Banganga Pullia. Till then Pul Pukhta was not in
use for the road facility or transport - today, of course, it is a major link
between Jahangirabad and the old city of Bhopal.