The new parliament building - the foundation stone for which was laid Thursday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi - will be the highlight of the ambitious Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista project that PM Modi said will become "a symbol of a new and self-reliant India".
To be built over 64,500 sq m, it will be located a stone's throw from Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India. The four-storey building will be triangular and its interiors will have three national symbols - the lotus, the peacock and the banyan tree - as its themes.
The parliament building alone will cost an estimated Rs 971 crore and will, the government hopes, be ready before India's 75th Independence Day (in 2022). However, construction cannot yet begin as a legal challenge is pending in the Supreme Court.
To be constructed (when the top court gives the green light) by Tata Projects Ltd, the new parliament building will overlook the old - which was built nearly 100 years ago at a cost of Rs 83 lakh and will be turned into a museum.
The new Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha halls will have increased seating capacities (888 and 384 seats, respectively) in anticipation of an expanded Parliament; a 25-year-old freeze on increasing state-wise distribution of seats ends in 2026.
In addition, seating in the Lok Sabha hall can be expanded to 1,272 to host joint sessions.
Architect Bimal Patel said the triangular shape of the new parliament was a reference to "sacred geometries in various religions and cultures of India".
"In the Lok Sabha chamber, we have used the national bird (peacock) as the theme. In the Rajya Sabha we have used the national flower (lotus) and in the central lounge we have used the national tree (banyan)," Mr Patel added.
The national emblem will crown the new parliament, the ceiling of which will have fresco paintings (similar to those in Rashtrapati Bhawan) and carpets with traditional designs. Interior walls will have shlokas inscribed - to retain some of the characteristics of the existing parliament.
Dholpur stone will be the primary construction material (as it was with the current building) and red granite may replace red sandstone in some interior sections. Special care will be taken during construction to ensure minimal disturbance and environmental safeguards.
The building will be equipped with modern audio-visual communication systems and will house committee rooms, offices of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Lok Sabha Secretariat and Rajya Sabha Secretariats, as well as dining facilities and museums and exhibitions for the public.
A central Constitution Hall will showcase the history and heritage of the country.
Within the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha halls, special provisions will be made for smart displays and biometrics to make voting easier and safe.
The technological improvements will include language interpretation facilities and programmable microphones - which will give the Speaker more control in managing the House. Virtual sound simulations will help set the right levels of reverberation and limit echo and voice feedback.
The central courtyard will include an open-air meeting space for MPs and also a cafe.
MPs' chambers will have VVIP access at subterranean levels, thereby freeing up ground floor access for government officials and members of the public. There will also be ceremonial entrances for the President, the Prime Minister, the Speakers of the two Houses and MPs.
The new parliament will also be fully wheelchair- and disabled-access friendly.
(With ANI, PTI inputs)