You are on page 1of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Comparison between the Pre 1857 Colonial Architecture and Post 1857 Colonial Architecture
Term Paper for History of Architecture (AP131) Nitya Bali
Roll Number: 24 Sushant School of Art and Architecture

ABSTRACT
The paper discusses about the long relationship between the peoples of one of the great ancient civilizations of the East, largely Hindu but part Muslim, and the representatives of a vigorous Western trading nation which, faced with the dissolution of Mughal Empire and how it developed in the course of time, i.e. from Company to crown. The paper enquires about the differences between the pre 1857 and post 1857 architectural styles. It details out the styles in terms of function, construction materials, styles and the cause or purpose of the difference. Below is a brief on the two styles: PRE 1857The period focuses on the Mughal rule on the Indian subcontinent followed by the British Raj. It briefly discusses about the Mughal style The major pioneer being Barbur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, and the BRITISH style: Architecture under early British rule in India was primarily mastered under east India company with the coastal towns with facilities being major targets e.g. Surat (East India Companys factory- the earliest British architecture), Bombay (Cathedral of St.Thomas), later Madras (Fort St.George) the purpose being trade requirements. The paper also briefs about the British architecture in India- from using features of Mughal and Hindu architecture (influence of local architectural style on colonial) to importing European styles like Gothic, Roman, etc. and incorporating a blend style of the two, i.e. Indo-Saracenic style. E.g.: Taj Mahal, Dargah of Bakhtiyar Kaki, Chepauk Palace, etc. POST 1857Architecture under later British rule in India was more of creating supremacy over the native country and to demarcate their power. The buildings were more based on performance and created a social disparity. As the purpose changed, so did the functions like colleges, hospitals, government buildings, railway stations, etc. What had begun in the early days as utilitarian architecture like forts and military buildings was now being transformed to solid forms. E.g.: The General Post office, The Royal Institute of Technology, Princes Dock Custom House, etc.

Page 1 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

PAPER PRE 1857


A Brief Introduction to Mughal Period:
In fifteenth century appeared on the Indian scene the empire of the GREAT MUGHALS. Staged amidst an environment of surpassing splendor, under the patronage of this Mohammedan dynasty the building art in the northern India attained its most sumptuous form. It was relatively late phase of the Islamic movement as a whole, and typifies its most important final manifestation; the monuments therefore produced during this period may be regarded as representing an Indian summer of Muslim art and architecture. And it was a summer of more than ordinary brilliance and fertility. During the early years of the Mughal domination the country was too unsettled to produce any work of distinction, but gradually a form of the building art emerged expressive of this ruling dynasty, and which in the course of time developed into one of the most important architectural styles in India. The type of building thus evolved was no provincial or even regional manifestation. It was on the contrary an imperial movement, affected in a moderate degree by local influences, as it displayed the same uniformity in its architectural character as well as its structural principles in whichever part of the empire it was introduced. The five rulers of the Mughal dynasty which were associated with the development of architecture of this period are- Barbur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan (Taj Mahal). The Mughal dynasty resolves itself into two main phases; an earlier phase when buildings where constructed of red sandstone during the reign of Akbar and a later phase when white marble was largely used by Shah Jahan. On reaching to the later phase, Akbars robust buildings were replaced with lighter and delicate structures. Major transformations are- trabeated construction made way for arched structures, Persian domes were preferred to the hemispherical domes, carved pilasters were replaced with tapered shafts resting on foliated bases, etc. The older forms were given new meanings, the features once associated with royalty were now associated with Islam (more of religiousmosques, dargah, tombs, etc.). As the British rule began in 17th century, the influence of European style and forms were seen in the Mughal style in 18th century. While the nawabs of few cities adapted European style and forms, as a look to the future, the vision of the last Mughal was to the past. Religious structures were built in the end as a desire to revive the mughal culture. TAJ MAHAL, PURELY MUGHAL STYLE: The Taj Mahal in Agra is indisputably the most famous example of Mughal architecture. Described by Rabindranath Tagore as "a tear on the face of eternity", it is in popular imagination a veritable "wonder of the world". The white-splendored tomb was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his favourite wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal.

Page 2 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 1: Southern View of Taj Mahal


Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Taj_Mahal_2012.jpg

Constructed by twenty thousand men, it represents the Islamic garden of paradise, and is widely regarded as Mughal architecture's greatest achievement. The mausoleum rests in the middle of a large square plinth and has four almost identical facades, each with a large arch-shaped doorway. It is topped by a large double dome and a finial, combining both the traditional Islamic motif of the crescent moon and the Hindu symbol of the trident, associated with the god Shiva. The central dome is adorned with a lotus design and is surrounded by four smaller chhatris, each of which also has the same lotus motif. Four tall minarets extend from the corners of the plinth. The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal include calligraphy, abstract forms, verses from the Koran, and vegetable motifs, executed in paint, stucco, carvings, and pietra dura work. The interior decorations also feature inlay work featuring precious and semi-precious gemstones. Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves and the bodies of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are interred in a plain crypt underneath the mausoleum. However, the inner tomb features two cenotaphs or false tombs that are richly decorated with inlays of semi-precious stones forming vines and flowers and surrounded by jali screens.

Page 3 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 2: Calligraphy of Persian poems


Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Agra_castle_India_persian_poem.jpg

Figure 3: Detail Of Jali


Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jali-inlay.jpg

HAZARDUARI, EUROPEAN INFLUENCE: In 1837, the very year of Victorias coronation, the situation of Murshidabad is slightly different. During the time when nawabs of other cities like Oudh show increasing uneasiness with European style dwellings, we find European influence in Murshidabad. Hazarduari, an enormous neo-classical palace by Humayun Jah was completed. The palace is a three storied building, rectangular on plan. The building is an excellent example of Indo-European architecture, strongly reminiscent of Italian style, as seen in its huge flight of stairs in front, in the

Page 4 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

colossal pillars and also in the facet of the building, 37 steps of stone, the lowermost one of which is 108 feet long, lead up to the upper portico, 7 stately pillars. On either side, at the foot of the grand staircase, is a Victorian masonry lion in sitting posture, at the back of which are stone slabs embedded in the walls of the pedestals for triple lamp posts.

Figure 4: Hazarduari Palace of Nawab Humayun Jah, Murshidabad


Ref: London, Chrostopher W, [ed.]. 1994. Architecture in Victorian and Edwardian India. Mumbai: Marg, 1994. ISBN: 81-85026-26-2

Figure 5: Hazarduari, The grand staircase and the Victorian masonary Lion
Ref: www.Murshidabad Heritage development society. In

DARGAH OF BAKHTIYAR KAKI, REVIVAL OF MUGHAL STYLE: Situated in Mehrauli, Delhi, this residence reflects the Mughal use of red sandstone facades whose arched openings are trimmed with white marble. Its appearance recalls the entrances to contemporary havelis in Shahjahanabad, but it is even more clearly modeled on Shah Jahans Naqqar Khana. Its appearance has nothing I common with the residential dwellings of either the nawabs in contemporary successor states or the British dwellings in Delhi itself. The marble mosque is situated in a wall enclosure and is a single- aisled structure. It is

Page 5 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

surmounted by three bulbous domes on constricted necks. On each corner of the east central bay is a slender engaged baluster- like columns, a feature by now used as in religious architecture. The later Mughals of Delhi, until the very end, eschewed European forms, even in the royal residences then constructed. This is best seen at the residence of the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah, built at the Dargah of Bakhtiyar Kaki, known as Zafar Mahal.

Figure 6: Bahadur Shah IIs Zafar Mahal, entrance. Dargah of Bakhtiyar Kaki, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Ref: London, Chrostopher W, [ed.]. 1994. Architecture in Victorian and Edwardian India. Mumbai: Marg, 1994. ISBN: 81-85026-26-2

BRITISH RULE IN INDIA: Direct contact between British and India dates back to the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the English merchants came to India for trade purposes. The East India Company was granted in 1600. Surat became the first site of the first English factory or permanent trading post in India with the setup of the first factory in 1612. The main purpose being trade, the British did not interfere in the internal affairs of the trading cities, and were concentrated on the peripheries, where they lived in claves and built more of factories, forts, towns, cathedrals, mausoleums with a blend of Indian style which includes the styles of previous colonizers like Mughals (Majorly) and European styles. For example, though in 1757 Murshidabad became a puppet state of the East India Company little evidence of European influence on the architecture of Murshidabad could be seen before the Victorian era. The Chattar Manzil, built in 1820-1827, reflects the influence of Martins, but to the European travelers as well as the nawabs, it was a Perfect Islamic palace.

Page 6 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

CHEPAUK PALACE: The Arcot Palace built in 17th century in Fort St George built for the nawab of Carnatic was acquired by the British in 1855, was called the Chepauk palace. The palace has a tall tower, in typical saracenic style, built later to link the two palace blocks. The indo- saracenic is what was followed in the Chepauk palace of the 1760s, long before it became the favoured form of public architecture in the Victorian age. Rounded arches and a small dome of Saracenic shape team with Hindu battlements in the Humayun Mahal, while Gothic arches and Corinthian pillar are combined with faintly pointed Muslim arches and Hindu battlements in the Khalsa Mahal. Almost a century later, Chisholm added the byzantine minarets, domes, and balconies of the connecting tower.

Figure 7: The Chapauk Palace, where Indo-Saracenic began in India, seen before new buildings hid Its beauty
Ref: Photograph: courtesy Somerset playne, southern India (London: The foreign and colonial compiling Co., 1915)

POST 1857
In Roger Smiths view, the purpose of Raj was to impose British standards in all areas of life, and he asked, Why should our architecture be an exception to this rule? Architecture under later British rule in India was more of creating supremacy over the native country and to demarcate their power. The buildings were more based on performance and created a social disparity. As the purpose changed, so did the functions like colleges, hospitals, government buildings,
Page 7 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

railway stations, etc. What had begun in the early days as utilitarian architecture like forts and military buildings had germinated by the late nineteenth century into a full fledged search for solid form and meaning. Bombay shows significant architectural developments during British rule in India, standing tall in their regal and neoclassical look. Churches, town halls, and other structures. E.g. Victoria rail terminus (Victorian and Edwardian architecture). Now they built more of palaces, road networks, forts, post offices, colleges, and government buildings to impose their supremacy over the country. This change of motive from trade to supremacy was because they felt that Indian trade was still a small proportion of overseas trade as a whole. Changes were to come thick and fast from the middle of the eighteenth century. The British quickly developed a spectacular political role. During nineteenth century, architectural developments in India by British consisted of the rise of the bungalows. The classical, the gothic look was heavily witnessed in every creation. Hill stations starting gaining momentum as admired outings. E.g. Dalhousie. For instance, George Wittet was appointed as an assistant to Begg, on his arrival in Bombay, he was shocked to see the Indo-Saracenic appearance in Beggs buildings, he preferring renaissance style. He then designed the Royal Institute of Science.

ROYAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN: This building was conceived in a severe renaissance style, with strong simple lines emphasizing its horizontality with a series of string- courses on the faade. The building commemorates four different donors, and is really three distinct units combined into one continuous faade. All the interior rely upon the Classical language preferred by wittet, and the quality of materials and finish make the spaces highly utilitarian, pleasing and satisfactory, even today.

Page 8 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 8: Top: Royal Institute of science, elevation at the time of completion


Ref: The British architectural Library, RIBA, London

Figure 9: Bottom: Royal institute of science, entrance to science institute, interior stair
Ref: Photograph: Bharath Ramamrutham

There were still many examples where Indo- saracenic style was still being used. One such architect was George Begg. E.g.: The general post office, Muir College, etc.

Page 9 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

THE GENERAL POST OFFICE: The general post office for Bombay is designed in the nascent indo-saracenic style, by George Wittet & John Begg and is an early and particularly fine example of this sort of work in Bombay. It pays clear homage to Beggs enthusiasm for Bijapur, and the Indo-Islamic mixed style of architecture peculiar to the subcontinent. Begg combined the exterior appearance in the patrons preferred style, Islamic, with a European floor plan. The low central dome of concrete, offset by two turreted domes, makes a distinct reference to the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur and Humayuns tomb in Delhi. On the ground floor, Begg established a great interior space served by an annexe behind. The most remarkable feature of the interior of the office is its central dome. The scale and finish of the handsome interior are quite similar to public buildings found in Britain, in the style of wren revived.

Figure 10: The General Post Office, front elevation. The British Architectural Library, RIBA, London.
Ref: London, Chrostopher W, [ed.]. 1994. Architecture in Victorian and Edwardian India. Mumbai: Marg, 1994. ISBN: 81-85026-26-2

Page 10 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 11: General Post Office, interiors. The British Architectural Library, RIBA, London.
Ref: London, Chrostopher W, [ed.]. 1994. Architecture in Victorian and Edwardian India. Mumbai: Marg, 1994. ISBN: 81-85026-26-2

Lucknow- A Perfect Example of showing the Transformation in British Architecture

Initially the traders lived and worked on the outskirts with no interference in the citys internal affairs. They made European style country houses like the Dilkusha and Barowen, and pleasure gardens. The majority of these buildings where architecturally uninspired and no different from the ones found in northern India. A miserable little church, hardly bigger than a chapel, stood in the residency grounds, as though unsure of its own shaky spiritual foundations in a non- Christian city.

Page 11 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Figure 12: The residency before the siege of 1857.


Ref: Photograph: courtesy Rosie Llewellyn Jones

In the 1857 mutiny, Lucknow was the particular foci of this dreadful event. All these buildings of where Europeans besieged were sacked. All the British buildings were demolished before it was recaptured by the British.

Figure 13: The ruins of the residency after the siege of 1857. Line engraving after Vincent Brooks.
Ref: Photograph: courtesy Phillips Antiques, Bombay

Within a week of the recapture, a plan was drawn up by Colonel Robert Napier to ensure that the city could never again be held against British troops by Indians. A number of military roads were driven through the old, dense mohallas; breaking up communities. Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of
Page 12 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

the new roads, houses, cemeteries and even mosques were swept away. Churches were erected, Lucknow Municipality was founded, bungalows were rebuilt, schools and colleges came up (e.g. Lucknow University and the King George Medical College). There was no attempt to rebuilt the demolished instead new buildings were built.

CONCLUSION:
With their civilizing mission, the British brought with them to their new colonial subjects a new architecture laden with its own imagery and symbolism as well as more technologically advanced building methods and materials that the native Indians adapted to their own directly or modified to fit their own social and cultural constructs. While the British held deep admiration for the ancient Indian culture and its relics, including architecture, even to the point of maintaining much of its unique traditions and aesthetics, they both inadvertently and intentionally introduced new philosophies, symbolisms, technologies, materials, and building methods to the Indians. These new ideas and elements that the British brought to Indian architecture fundamentally changed not only the general appearance, but also the meaning, function, and how architecture was viewed by the Indians and British alike, both while India was a part of the Empire and thereafter as a direct result of this interaction. Both the British and the Indians had a profound impact on each others cultures, forever altering each peoples values, morals, scientific, and spiritual understandings, histories, and the various physical elements that convey these notions; specifically, their arts, and within that, architecture. Granted, the British felt a much less poignant and quickly stinging transformation upon their lives from the Indians. However, there was a profound alteration; although slight, it is indeed measurable.

Page 13 of 14

History of Architecture (AP313) | Term Paper | 2013

Bibliography
1. London, Chrostopher W, [ed.]. 1994. Architecture in Victorian and Edwardian India. Mumbai: Marg, 1994. ISBN: 81-85026-26-2 2. Murti, Bhaskarla Surya Narayana. 1990 An Illustrated History of Modern India. Bombay : New York : Oxford University Press, 1991, c1990. 3. Brown, Percy. 1942 Indian Architecture (Islamic Period). Bombay : D B Taraporevala Sons & Co. 4. www.indianetzone.com 5. www.Scribd.com 6. www.boundless.com 7. http://murshidabad.net/history/places-topic-hazarduari-palace.htm

Page 14 of 14