Location: Ashoka Hall
The Ashoka Hall is one of the most beautiful rooms in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It has been called the Jewel Box of Rashtrapati Bhavan because of the beautiful murals decorating its ceiling. Originally conceived as the State
Ballroom, the ceiling of the room has a central square painting of Fath Ali Shah and his twenty-two sons.
It is surrounded by frescos done by Tomasso Colonnello, an Italian artist whose family had lived in India for almost eighty years. They were suppliers of ships of the Italian merchant navy serving India from Bombay warehouses. Four more hunting scenes were
also added on each side of the focal painting, with Persian inscriptions.
The central square painting was a gift from the Shah of Iran to King George IV (1762-1830). This painting was transferred in 1929 from the India Office Library, London and installed on the ceiling of the then State Ballroom on the instructions of Lady Willingdon.
The bearded emperor mounted on a horse is seen killing a lion with his lance. His twenty two sons are shown around hunting deers. Adorned with a sophisticated crown in gold and pearl, Shah portrays his authority over others by his upright posture. Both his
hands embrace a lance while striking the upturned lion.