Ganta Stambham - unique clock tower of Vijayanagaram , Andhra

Ganta Stambham, Vizianagaram.Wikimedia Commons

Before the middle of the twentieth century, most people  across the world did not have watches to keep track of time. Prior to the 18th century, even home clocks were  either rare or unknown. It is interesting to note that the very first  clocks didn't have faces, but were solely striking clocks. They sounded bells to  get the attention of the surrounding  local community to work or to say their prayer. These clocks, centuries ago, were placed in tall towers in prime locations  so the bells would be audible for a long distance. Subsequently, clocks with faces were introduced for the use of the community. 

Presently, in India, the old colonial clocks adorn many towns and cities, but many of them are not well taken care of. Indeed, these clocks played an important role in the past; today such clocks are admired for their aesthetics

Any visitor to vijayanagaram (also Vzianagaram) town  can not miss the unique old clock tower called the Ganta Stambham. it is made of sandstone with a white top; now it is painted in cream and red color. This 68 feet tall octagonal tower was built in 1885 at the cost of Rs. 5400.00 by the Vijayanagaram ruler. 

During the British Raj, the rulers of Vizianagaram made frequent visits to London where they were mesmerized by the  Big Ben, the huge clock on the tower.  Indeed, Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is commonly referred to both the clock and the clock tower as well. The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, renamed to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012.  When completed in 1859, it was "the biggest, most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world". The tower had its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009.

Ganta Stambham, Vizianagaram.
The Vijayaanagaram rulers got the inspiration from this huge clock in London and finally made up their mind to have a clock tower on the model of the Big Ben made in the prime place of the town, so that people could use it to know the time of the day.

The Ghanta Stambham is located in the busy market area at a distance of one kilometer  from the fort .  Close to the clock tower there is a cemetery of past rulers  of Vijayanagaram empire. Full size Bronze statues of the kings are kept here.