Patna GPO, Bihar - Gothic styled heritage building

Post & Telegraphic building Patna.

Above image: This iconic Post & Telegraphic  Office (Commonly GPO)  building in Patna is 104 years old and was built during the British Raj under the Crown administration, London.  Viceroy Charles Hardinge laid the foundation in 1912.   Serving as an important economic and administrative link between United Provinces of Agra & Oudh and Bengal Presidency, Patna GPO was a major postal center then.  According to  senior official, “Besides the grand structure with 1.93 lakh square feet built-up area, Patna happens to be the first postal unit in the world to have evolved a prepaid system for postal services.”.............................  

The Patna GPO building.

The General Post Office (GPO) also called, Patna GPO), Bihar,   is functioning in a  British colonial building  on  the intersection of Buddh Marg and New Market Station Road  in Patna; the Hardinge Park is on west side of the GPO campus.   Being the central post office of the city of Patna and the headquarters of India Post's Bihar Circle,  it  handles most of the city's inbound and outbound mails and parcels. Completed in 1917 (work  began in 1912) at a cost of Rs. 2.69 lakh and opened to public on 1 July 1917 with 17 employees,  the building was designed by New Zealand-born architect Joseph Fearis Munnings, a consultant architect to the state of Bihar and Orissa in 1912.  As a matter of fact in 1911 itself at the Delhi Durbar King George V officially announced the creation of a new province of Bihar and Orissa under a lieutenant-governor with as the capital of the new province for administrative purpose.   Accordingly, the British established a new city in 1912  and the PO  known as  Post and Telegraph Office began functioning there. It celebrated its anniversary in 2017. 

GPO, Patna, Bihar.

The Postal building in the new Patna city  designed by Joseph Fearis Munnings., came up on a plot of 22 acres of land, now a prime area. The work began with the laying of foundation stone by Lord Hardinge on 1 December 1912. According to official records the first post office in  Patna was near Anisabad area, later it was shifted to Bankipore. The PO near  Hazaribagh - now part of the state of Jharkhand, was the   first post office of the province of Bihar and Orissa. The P & T Office  building was designed in Gothic Revival architectural style by the architect Munnings and it was not a well embellished structure. Part of the reason is Britain  was in the midst of WWI and the treasury of the  British Empire  had experienced financial constrains on account of war expenses, part of which was borne by British India. So, the architect followed  a simple design and used the local construction materials as much as he could, thus saving money for war efforts in the European theater.  

Featuring arcade and flat roof the design of the building includes Mogul  elements,  plastered brick walls and  fine  Chhajja (an overhanging eave or roof covering) common in Delhi. The original building is designed with three   porticoes - north, south and east, and each one functioning as the main entrance to the main building. The western side was a later addition. The ground floor  with  seven rooms  has  four halls with counter areas. On the other hand the 14 halls on the first floor are big.  The chief postmaster's office is in the central portion, while the deputy postmaster's office is  underneath it.

GPO Patna Commemorative stamp 2017

Above image: An envelope issued by India Post with  a printed 500 Paise (or Rs.5/-) Stamp at top right depicting the Patna GPO, a Heritage Building. The envelope is titled "Commemorative Envelope - 09.10.2017". The envelope is printed at the Security Printing Press, Hyderabad, as is mentioned at extreme right in vertical print............................

The built-up area is around 2.5 lakh sq ft and and 296 employees are working there. The building was renovated way back in 2000 at a cost of  INR 1.25 crore. This included two fountains five gardens, including one with  medicinal herbs within the complex. In 2017   GPO Patna delivered 1 lakh letters and parcels daily through 96 postmen. and had  more than 12 lakh savings accounts. There are separate counters for students and senior citizens.,_Patna