"This is the first sunken museum in the country with two storeys underground. This is a high-tech and green museum," said President's Secretary Omita Paul. The museum would be thrown open to the public from October 2 this year, she said.

The museum, which has a whopping 1,20,000 square feet carpet area between its three floors, could not be constructed on the ground floor as it was difficult to occupy such a huge area in the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises, according to curator Saroj Ghosh."So we made it two storeys underground," he said.

Some of the key features of the museum include an augmented reality hall where the visitors can virtually walk alongside Mahatma Gandhi as the Mahatma comes out of Rashtrapati Bhavan (then Viceroy's House) after signing the historic Gandhi-Irwin Pact on March 5, 1931 with then Viceroy, Lord Irwin.

Also, the visitors can pose with President Pranab Mukherjee and hitch a ride in the President's buggy through augmented reality.  A theatre in the museum shows a 3D animated film on Mahatma Gandhi starting with the famous Dandi March in March 1930 and taking the viewers through various milestones in India's Independence struggle.

There are other attractions as well, such as a 3D holographic projection of all the 13 Presidents giving short speeches, various artefacts and gifts received by different Presidents over the years and things associated with them and interactive digital interfaces showing art works and pictures housed in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The visitors would be allowed in from gate number 30 and would be welcomed at the reception inside the clock tower. From there, they can take a bus or ride a bicycle to reach the museum," Paul said.

A man of rich experience in governance, Poltu, as he is fondly known, has the rare distinction of having served at different times as Foreign, Defence, and Commerce and Finance Minister. He was a member of the Congress Working Committee for a period of 23 years.

(With agency input)


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