Dr. Karan Singh took over as the first Governor of Jammu and Kashmir on March 28, 1965. Prior to that he functioned as the Regent and then as the Sadar-i-Riyasat of the State. The office of the Sadar-i-Riyasat came to be known as the Governor’s Secretariat.
Like the Summer and Winter capitals, the UT has two Raj Bhawans- one in Srinagar and the other at Jammu. The Raj Bhawan at Srinagar, adjacent to one of the famous Mughal Gardens, Cheshmashahi, is located at the outskirts of the City away from the maddening crowd and the noise and air pollution. This Raj Bhawan, in the lap of Zabarwan hill range at its back and overlooking the beautiful and majestic Dal Lake in the front, commands a breath-taking view. Its other surroundings are the Parimahal Monument and the Shankracharya Temple on a hill-top on the left, the Hariparbat Fort and the famous Hazratbal Mosque across the Dal Lake in the front and the mountain ranges to Zojila Pass and Ladakh on the right. The Raj Bhawan is a small two-storey building mostly made of wood and serves as the office and residence of the Governor. The President and the Prime Minister of India usually stay in the Raj Bhawan on their visits to Kashmir. The Raj Bhawan has lush green lawns having different varieties of roses and other beautiful flowers and ornamental trees besides the majestic Chinar trees. The ceremonial functions such as the swearing-in ceremonies of the Council of Ministers and of the Chief Justice, At Home Receptions, Award of Medals and Commendation Certificates and similar other functions are conducted in these lawns. Below these lawns is a small orchard having fruit-bearing trees of various species including Apple, Cherry, Almond, Walnut, Peach, Apricot, etc. The approach road to Raj Bhawan on the Cheshmashahi Garden route is lined up with Poplar trees on both sides. The exclusive private small gradient road to Raj Bhawan on the other side runs through a thick forest with the exquisitely laid out Royal Springs International Golf Course on its left.
The Raj Bhawan at Jammu, the City of Temples, also has an ideal location and view. It is one of the Maharaja’s Palace buildings, Ranbir Mahal, which is presently under the tenancy of the Government. The landmarks surrounding this Raj Bhawan are the All India Radio, Jammu Station, the famous Amar Mahal Museum and the Hari Niwas Palace Hotel. The Raj Bhawan overlooks the famous river Tawi(Toushi) across which is the uninterrupted view of the Bahu Fort, the Mahamaya Forests and the Mahamaya Temple. The President, the Prime Minister of India and other dignitaries stay in the Raj Bhavan when on visit to Jammu. The Raj Bhawan complex is spread over an area of 126 kanals and 7 marlas and has a spacious and beautiful lawn in front where all the ceremonial functions are held. This Lawn is circled by a drive way and is flanked on either sides with full-grown mango trees of different species spread over a huge area.