Government House/Raj Bhavan, Calcutta, India

Government House. Calcutta.
7026. Photo Johnston & Hoffmann
Posted 1904

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The Raj Bhavan is not just a heritage building, it is Kolkata’s outstanding landmark evoking the past and sublimating it.Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, the erstwhile Government House, used to be the seat of British Imperial power. Built in the years 1799-1803 when Marquis Wellesley was the Governor General, this historic and magnificent building was designed on the lines of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the ancestral house of Lord Curzon who later lived here as the Viceroy and the Governor General exactly 100 years after Wellesley.

This three-storied building with a magnificent central area consisting of large halls has curved corridors on all four sides radiating to detached wings, each constituting a house in itself. Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, was built over 1799 and 1803. Governor General Lord Wellesley took up residence in Government House, as it was then called, in 1803, even before the last of the artisans had vacated the mansion. Such was his impatience to live in a home worthy of a ruler of the British Empire in India. The magnificent edifice of Kolkata’s Raj Bhavan, or the Government House, was completed on January 18, 1803. Twenty-three Governors-General and, later, Viceroys lived in this house, until the capital shifted to Delhi in 1912.

In keeping with Lord Metcalfe’s imperial vision, this meticulously structured building was specially created away from the rest of the metropolis, magnificently proportioned amidst acres of formal gardens. Tall intricately patterned wrought iron gates with massive lions perched atop reiterated the same regal majestic message. The ‘plebeian’ and the ‘common man’ were to be kept out of what was the abode of the Governor General, the symbol of the power and might of the Monarch and the Throne.
Raj Bhavan, West Bengal (official website)

Story of Governor’s House (pdfs), Raj Bhavan, West Bengal website

In the early nineteenth century Calcutta (Kolkata) was at the height of its golden age. Known as the City of Palaces or St. Petersburg of the East, Calcutta was the richest, largest and the most elegant colonial cities of India. It was during this time that one of Calcutta’s finest colonial structures, Government House (later Raj Bhavan), was constructed. Before 1799, the Governor-General resided in a rented house, called Bukimham House, located in the same location. The land belonged to Mohammad Reza Khan, a Nawab of Chitpur. It was in 1799 that the then Governor-General of India, The 1st Marquess Wellesley, took the initiative of building a palace, because he believed that India should be ruled from a palace and not from a country house. Lord Wellesley wanted to make a statement to the imperial authority and power and so the building was done on a grand scale. After 4 years construction it was completed at a colossal cost of £63,291 (about £3.8 million in today’s estimate).

After the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858, it became the official residence of the Viceroy of India, shifting here from the Belvedere Estate. With the shifting of capital to Delhi in 1911 it became the official residence of Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.
Wikipedia

Fitzgerald Bridge, Pune, India


The Bund Bridge. Poona

Google Maps

The Fitzgerald Bridge (also known as the Bund Garden Bridge) is an historic structure located in Pune, India. It was constructed in 1867 during the British India period. It was the first spandrel arch bridge in the city of Pune, connecting the Bund Garden to the Chima garden. The bridge crosses the Mula-Mutha River. It features a representation of a Medici lion at each end of the bridge. The bridge was designed and constructed by Captain Robert S. Sellon of the Royal Engineers. It was built for the sum of ₹ 2 lakh. The Bridge is named for the Governor of Bombay at the time, Sir William Robert Vesey Fitzgerald.
Wikipedia

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madura, India

On back:
OUR GLORIOUS EMPIRE
Madura (South India)–Temple Entrance

Madura is a particularly interesting Hindu temple, as it is a centre of South Indian culture.
This is No. 12 of a series of 30 cards issued with the larger packets of the brands manufactured by Godfrey Phillips Ltd., and Associated Companies.
1930s.
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Meenakshi Temple (also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple), is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the center of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts.
Wikipedia

According to ancient Tamil literature, the Meenakshi Amman Temple was originally built 2,500 years ago by survivors of the lost continent Kumari Kandam, a mythological triangle-shaped continent that was said to span the Indian Ocean, touching Australia, Madagascar and India. Although this continent’s existence is currently disproven, members of the Tamil Renaissance Movement once believed it to be the hearth of Tamil culture.

But that’s all mythology. In fact, the temple was built by Tamil Hindus native to southeastern India, and it first appeared in recorded history in the 600s AD. In the 1300s, the sacred structure was ransacked and destroyed by the Muslim general Malik Kafur in a successful attempt to spread Islam to Madurai. It wasn’t until nearly 250 years later, in 1559, that the structure was rebuilt by the first Nayak king of Madurai.
Atlas Obscura

More information:
Website.
Cultural India
Just Fun Facts

Taps Nose (Monkey Point), Kasauli, India

Kasauli, Taps Nose

Google Maps, approximate location

One of the most famous attractions in Kasauli is the Monkey Point which is the highest point in this place. One of the highest peaks in Kasauli is Monkey Point that falls at the distance of 4 km from Kasauli bus stop. Located in ‘The Air Force Station’ close to the Lower Mall region, the point offers breathtaking views of Chandigarh and the Sutlej River. There is a small temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman that sits on this hill. As per a legend of the Ramayana, when Lord Hanuman was returning from the Himalayas after getting the magical herb ‘Sanjivani Booti’, his foot touched Kasauli hilltop and that’s the reason this place is named as Monkey Point.

This point is famous for hosting a small temple that is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. This temple is set on the top of the hill and crowded by a number of monkeys that keep busting the place. On a starry and clear night, the striking view of Chandigarh is viewed from Monkey Point. This point is the major attraction for nature lovers and honeymooners as this place flaunt everyone with its wonderful scenic views, calm ambience and hopping monkeys.
Tour My India

St Mary’s Church, Pune, India

St Marys Church, Poona
Published: F.B. Stewart & Son, Poona. c.1910

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St. Mary’s Church (CNI) located in the Cantonment-Camp area of Pune city is the oldest standing church structure in the mid-western region of India and was called ‘The Mother Church of the Deccan’ by the former Metropolitan of the then Anglican Communion in this part of the world, The Most Reverend Bishop Reginald Heber.

Built in the early 1820s and consecrated on the 3rd of July, 1825, this church building has since then been a place of worship for people from different walks of life even as it has served as a historical landmark. Initially it was built for the purpose of worship for British military officers who were from the Protestant denomination of the Church of England, i.e. the Anglican Church. Gradually, apart from military officers, civilians too who were Christians and subscribed to the faith and practice of the Anglican Church in India, began to worship here.
St Mary’s Church, Camp, Pune (official website)

The British originally came to India to trade. Gradually they worked themselves into power, and India became one of the countries of the British Empire. In Pune [Poonah, Poona] and its suburb Khadki [Kirkee] they had a large military set-up. It was therefore only natural that the British felt the need to have a church for their military personnel. Thus garrison churches came into existence. This is the oldest established Church in Poona or its neighbourhood. The Church was built by Lieut. Nash of the East India Company’s Engineers. The tower at the west end of the church is surmounted by a mixture of lath and plaster.

On the north and south of the tower are respectively vestry and lamp room on the ground floor, with a staircase on the south leading up to the gallery. The interior of the church is 97 feet long from the west door of the church step, and transept 88 feet long from north to south. The width of the naive is 15 feet and transept 35 feet. The top of the spire is 103 feet from the ground. The eight round pillars, four on each side of the nave, are remarkable for the excellency of the chuna plastering with which they are covered having a surface almost like marble.

The church accommodates over 1000 worshippers. The bell in the tower at present replaced the original one and was brought from Kaira Church. The Church foundation were laid by Bishop Reginald Heber in 1825. The Bishop has left an excellent account of his journey up to Poona from Bombay. He describes the Church as spacious, convenient building but in bad architectural taste.
St Mary’s Church, Camp, Pune

British Infantry Lines, Belgaum


The British Infantry Lines, Belgaum

Not dated. Roughly about 1910. Published S. Mahadeo & Son

The city served as a major military installation for the British Raj, primarily due to its proximity to Goa, which was then a Portuguese territory. Once the British left India, the Indian government continued and still continues to have armed forces installations in Belgaum.

Belgaum’s salubrious climate, proximity to the coast and strategic position near Portuguese Goa commended it to the British as a suitable location for an army training centre and cantonment, which it continues to be today for the Indian Armed Forces, along with an air force station of the Indian Air Force. The British had a sizeable infantry post here, having realised the military importance of its geographical location.

Wikipedia.


This map of Belgaum (from Wikipedia Commons) shows the location of various military camps around the city (which can be match to locations on Google Maps (e.g. “New Artillery Barracks” is the same area as “BM School Playground”). Which particular camp the postcard is showing is a little harder to determine.

Agra Fort, India


Agra Fort – View showing Dewan Khas & Saman Burj Gaj in the distance
1910s

Cultural India: Agra Fort
Wikipedia (Agra Fort)
Maps: 1901 & 1909

Building location

The “Dewan Khas” or “Private Hall of Audience” is situated at one end of a broad stone terrace overlooking the river. At the other, alas! is a vacant space; on it formerly stood a corresponding pavilion, which, according to tradition, was constructed of green marble, if there be such a substance; at all events, of some rare material. It had shared the fare of the Zenana of Akbar; it had become dilapidated; it was pulled down. The “Dewan Khas” is of white marble, a large open room, whose flat roof is supported by a double row of slender twelve-sided columns.
The Personal Adventures and Experiences of a Magistrate During the Rise, Progress, and Suppression of the Indian Mutiny (originally published 1884)

Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that at first a small marble palace built by Akbar was situated at this site, which was later demolished by Jehangir to erect new buildings. Shah Jahan in his turn chose this site to erect the multi-storied marble tower inlaid with precious stones for Mumtaz Mahal. It was built between 1631–40 and offers exotic views of the famous Taj Mahal….It is here that Shah Jahan along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum had spent his last few years as a captive of his son Aurangzeb. He lay here on his death bed while gazing at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Wikipedia (Musamman Burj)


Interior of Dewan Khas and its inscription (Agra Fort)
Postmarked & letter dated 1905

Read moreAgra Fort, India

Taj Mahal


Agra. The Taj – The Grille (Interior)
Not sure on date. Mid-20th century

The extracts below are from Taj Mahal. For more information and details.

“The naturalistic decoration of the interior culminates in the central ensemble of the cenotaphs of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan and the screen that surrounds them. It attracts all visitors today with its spectacular flowers and plants inlaid in semi-precious stones.

“The perforated marble screen (mahjar-i mushabbak) was set up in 1643 to replace the original one of enamelled gold made by the goldsmith and poet Bibadal Khan on the occasion of the second anniversary of Mumtaz Mahal’s death in 1633, which was obviously deemed too precious. It took ten years to make and cost 50,000 rupees, less than one-tenth of the cost of the gold screen. Since 1994-1995 AD it has been protected from the hands of visitors by an ungainly aluminium grille in a wooden frame.”

“Within the screen are the upper cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan – what Lahauri and Kanbo call surat-i qabr, ‘the likenesses of tombs’. As usual in imperial Mughal mausoleums, the actual burials are below, in the lower tomb chamber, under cenotaphs of similar design.”

“Each cenotaph consists of a single block of stone, shaped like a sarcophagus, set on a stepped plinth which is placed in turn on a wider platform. The cenotaph of Shah Jahan is characterized as a male tomb by the symbol of a pen case on its top. While the cenotaphs conform to an established Mughal type, no other Mughal, nor any other personage in the Islamic world, was commemorated with such exquisite decoration. The lower cenotaph of Jahangir at Lahore is the only one that comes close; it was created at the same time as that of Mumtaz, probably by the same artists. The decoration of the cenotaphs with hardstone inlay was reserved for mem bers of the Mughal imperial family.”


ताज की कवर, आगरा
Cenotaphs Inside Taj Mahal Agra

No date. Postcard is printed on very thin card, more like paper.
(Hindi is probably wrong but it’s the closest I could get to what is on the card. Don’t rely on it for anything important.)

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