British Architecture in India

Exact Match

  Udaigiri Caves
  Sanchi Stupa
  Karle Chaitya
  Bharhut Stupa
  Ajanta Caves
  Ellora Caves

  Agra Fort
  Fatehpur Sikri
  Taj Mahal
  Red Fort

  Maratha Forts
  Marine Forts

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British Architecture                                                                                                         

Equally popular with their highnesses, predictably, was 'Rajput Revival'. The palaces of Alwa or Varanasi, where major building campaigns originated early in the 19th century, provide two of the many links between the two great periods of princely building. The main compound of the Udai Vilas at Dungapur falls into the same category but late in the century, the court was paved and a tower pavilion constructed which, as at Datia, provides a perfectly formal re-statement of the prasada (a large palace) prototype.

A similar model prasada provides the main tower of the accomplished new palace, built early in the 20th century by Jaisalmer's Maharawal Salivahan: the 'Rajput Revival' presides over a 'Saracenic' arcade with attached debased Corinthian columns. Far purer - 'academic' if that word were admissible in the context - are the great symmetrical piles produced for Bikaner and Kotah by the master of the style, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob.

Many other princes preferred the more daring Eurasian hybrid styles being developed in the public buildings of the last decades of the 19th century. At the turn of the century, the Maharaja of Mysore called upon Henry Irwin for an extravaganza that ceded nothing in scale or prolixity to that master's masterpiece in Madras.

Irwin's mentor, Robert Chisholm, was employed by the Gaekwad of Baroda to complete his Lakshmi Vilas. This had been begun in the late 1870s by Major Charles Mant, Royal Engineers, fresh from his triumph in the service of another Maratha prince at Kolhapur. The latter work was a dazzling asymmetrical composition combining late Mughal and Deccani Muslim arcades and domes with Gujarati trabeation. In the confection at Baroda, ironically enough in the Gujarati seat of the Protector of the Sacred Cows, it is the Bengali and Deccani Muslim elements of the late Mughal style which predominate.

An essential ingredient in all these stupendous works of architecture was the Classical portico, extended to form the sun-shielding verandah in more elevated permutations, asserting the dignity of the ruler without ostentation.

This modesty is equally well illustrated by the Viceroy's seat - for half the year - at Shimla. Here the informal clutter of a minor English seaside resort sprawls between the quaint little reproduction of a rural parish church and the pseudo-Elizabethan great house - like that of some newly-rich northern industrialist at home. How very different was to be the last capital of British India laid out from 1913 by Sir Edwin Lutyens in collaboration with Sir Herbert Baker, who was fresh from his imperious triumph at Pretoria.


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