Indo-Saracenic styled buildings in colonial India!! - 01

Indo-Saracenic style was widely adopted by the British architects in India  in the later period during their rule and you can draw many examples from different parts. Also called Indo-Gothic, Mogul-Gothic, and formerly  Hindoo Style, it was a sort of  revival architectural style adopted by the English builders  to suite the Indian landscape  in the later 19th century. This style was widely followed  in all public and government buildings particularly  under the Raj. Even the rich princely states and their rulers began to adopt this style for their palaces  and other public buildings  to make them impressive stand apart . What is so attractive  and unique is the nice blending of  Indo-Islamic architecture incorporating  stylistic and decorative  features from native Indo-Islamic  design, with particular reference to  Mogul  style that is characteristic of onion shaped domes and chatris.  The impressive aspect about this style is the basic plan, layout and structure  that have close similarity with those of  contemporary buildings in other styles, like Gothic revival and Neo-Classical, with specific mixing of Indian elements and decoration. In order to refer to the style being adopted in the  Muslim and or Arabic-lands of SW Asia and Africa, the term  Saracen was  used commonly in Europe till  the 19th century. William Hodges and the Daniell duo (William Daniel) and his uncle Thomas Daniell found out the suitability of this style and adopted it  around  1795.

It is quite interesting to know the first Indo-Saracenic  building  built in India was that of the famous  Chepauk Palace, completed in 1768, in present-day Chennai (Madras).  Presently, it is the official residence of Prince of Arcot and his royal family members. Thge builder -  Nawab of Arcot had  borrowed heavily from the private British financiers to complete the prestigious project which was  close to St. George Fort, the British Trading post  in Madras.   Later Indo-Saracenic  design  became a dominating style adopted by the British in cities like  Bombay and Calcutta  that were the major centers of the early company rule  and later of the Raj administration.  All these buildings are protected monuments under the control of the ASI - Archaeological Society of India. The colonial buildings built  in a different style by the British subtly represent their power and  status as a growing imperialistic power  in the Indian subcontinent. 

The Indo-Saracenic style was so innovative, attractive and catchy, it enjoyed considerable popularity in the SE Asia under the colonial rule. Part of the reason is its elite design and its suitability in the tropical regions with verandas and high ceilings and stylish windows, balconies and domes.  Builders in  British Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) and the Federated Malay States (present-day Malaysia) and Singapore adopted this design outside India. Even there are many  examples of Indo-Saracenic  architecture  structures in the UK, for example, at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, and the eccentric Sezincote House in Gloucestershire. 

Sezincote House, Gloucestershire, 1805

The distinct aspect of this design and style is in terms of structural engineering  and advanced standard, particularly those built in India and England, were  in conformity with  advanced British structural engineering standards of the 1800s. This included   infrastructures made of iron, steel and poured concrete (the innovation of reinforced cement and pre-cast cement elements, set with iron and/or steel rods, developed much later); the same  structural elements were adopted in continental Europe and the Americas:  This is the reason why this exotic style - Indo-Saracenic popularity lasted  for a span of some 30  plus years. They also brought  out the  aesthetics   and found expression in the Baroque, Regency and design periods and beyond.  Obviously,  the Gothic style incorporated Asian exoticism design such as the Moorish Arch in its windows, related to the later "harem window"a sort of artistic lattice  work  quite common in Northern India.

 Thirumalai Nayak Palace (Mahal), Madurai, TN/

Thirumalai Nayak Palace (Mahal), Madurai, TN, Yatra com.

 Above images:  Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Madurai:  A 17th-century palace built in 1636 AD by King Tirumala Nayak of the  Nayak dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59, in the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a  fine example of classical fusion of Dravidian and Rajput styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. It is said, the original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. Close to the  famous  Meenakshi Amman Temple. Lord Napier, the  then Governor of Madras, had partially restored the palace in 1866-72 under the guidance of architect Chisholm. and subsequent restoration works were carried out several years ago. Today, we get to see the Entrance Gate, the Main Hall and the Dance Hall. This palace has a 60 to 70 ft tall dome supported by stone ribs and  big circular  columns  topped by pointed scalloped arches with an arcaded gallery opening into the nave above the side aisles. There are  may Yali like mythological images on the pillar near the cornice.  Massive pillars in the palace have richly ornamental
 entablature. The British architect  got many ideas from this building and incorporated them in his pioneering design work - Indo Saracenic style.

Senate House (University of Madras)/

 Above image:  The Senate House, Chennai: On Wallajah Road along the Marina beach is the administrative center of the University of Madras in Chennai, establishes by the British in the 19th century.  Designed by Robert Chisholm between 1874 and 1879, the Senate building is considered to be one of the best and oldest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India.  Prior to the construction of the Senate House, university convocations  used to be  held at Banqueting Hall (now Rajaji Hall).  During 14 July – 21 December 1937 the legislature of the Madras Presidency met at the senate house. Inspired by the Byzantine, Robert Chisholm came up with a design suitable to the terrain; he chose  Indo-Saracenic style.

Taj Rambagh Palace,wikipedia.

Rambagh Palace in Jaipur/

Above images:  The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan is the former residence of the  early 20th century ruler Maharajah of Jaipur and now, it has been converted into a hotel. Just  5 miles (8.0 km)  on the outskirt of the city on Bhawani Singh road. it  came up  first on the site in 1835; it  was a garden house  for the wet nurse of prince Ram Singh II.  In 1887, during the reign of Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh, an avid hunter, it became a  modest royal hunting lodge,  as the house was located in the midst of a thick jungle at that time. It was in the the early 20th century, it was expanded into a palace  as designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, a famous British architect. 
Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II made Rambagh his principal residence and added a number of royal suites in 1931.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminu, Mumbai.

Above image: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (officially Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) (previously Victoria Terminus) in Mumbai, 1878–88  is a historic terminal train station and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Designed by British architect and engineer  Frederick William Stevens in the style of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture its construction began in 1878, in a location south of the old Bori Bunder railway station, and was completed in 1887, the year marking 50 years of Queen Victoria's rule. Hence, the building was  named after Queen  Victoria.  The station's name was changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in March 1996 to honour Shivaji, the 17th-century founder of the Maratha Empire.  The  architect was paid  a fee of ₹1,614,000 (US$23,000)  for his services.  It served as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. Now, it as a total of 18 platforms for incoming and outgoing trains.

Daly college, Indore, MP.

Daly college, Indore, MP.pinrest

 Above images:  The Daly College, Indore, MP: A  co-educational residential and day boarding school in Indore city, Madhya Pradesh  was founded by Sir Henry Daly of the British Indian Army during India's colonial British Raj. The school started in 1870 as the Residency School. It was then renamed as the East Rajkumar College in 1876, and in 1882, it came to be known as the Daly College. It was established by the Resident Governor of the erstwhile Presidency to educate the children of the royalty, nobility and aristocracy of Central Indian Princely States of the 'Marathas', 'Rajputs', 'Mohameddans' and 'Bundelas'. It is one of the oldest co-educational boarding schools in the world.  As of 2015 the school had  more than 2,000 students and is  ranked 1st in India by Education world India for the year 2015 in the category day-cum-boarding schools.

residence of Arcot Nawab. Amir Mahal. Chennai.

Chepauk Palace, Chennai, TN.

Above images: Chepauk Palace, Chennai:  Located in Royapettah, a suburb of Chennai (Madras) is a fine and iconic  heritage  building - Amir Mahal  in Indo-Saracenic style  built in 1798 on a 14 acre ground. It has been the official residence of the the titular Nawab of Arcot and his family since 1876. The Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, lives in the palace with his family.  Muhammad Ali Wallajah of the Carnatic (1749-95- his reign), got  the permission of the Madras Government to live in the shadow of  Fort St. George's and its artillery protection.  Later  the EIC annexed  it in 1855 along with the Kingdom invoking  the Doctrine of Lapse.  Besides, the Nawab - his highness Wallajah had to settle the debts incurred during the construction of his residence in Chennai. The English company  used the building to house  administrative offices of the company. The  official residence of the Nawabs, was put up for auction and purchased by the Madras government; the move was a sham one.  The Nawab moved over to to a building called Shadi Mahal on Triplicane High Road and lived there. Later, the EIC returned the  original building to the Nawab converting into a palace  to suite his need sunder architect  Robert Chisholm.   In 1876, the Nawab  and his family moved into Amir Mahal. Renovation was done in the recent past and it is now sporting a new look. Until recent past, due to negligence, the old structure was in bad shape almost partly damaged and  lost its royal sheen and elegance. It took 18 long months for the Central PWD  to restore it, without changing the heritage aspects. It was the first building in Indo-Saracenic style in India. The ex-ruler had no role to play in the restoration work.  Restored back to old world glory and hospitality are the antique furniture, the interior arrangements, numerous  historical  lighting fixtures adding a new charm and gleam to this building steeped in history that saw betrayals, upheavals, grand parties and intrigues. Soon after 1855, Queen Victoria granted the family by treaty hereditary rights to be called the Princes of Arcot (Amir-e-Arcot) and enjoy various benefits of protocol. This Indi-Saracenic building appeared a century before nearly a century before  better designs  and this led to different styles  in Lutyen's and Baker's New Delhi. The site originally consisted of 117 acres in the prime area of Madras.

Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai./

Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai. The dome of the hotel's old wing

The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai

Above images: The Taj Mahal hotel, Mumbai: Built in the Saracenic Revival style,   the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the Apollo Bunder  area of Mumbai city is a popular heritage, five-star, luxury hotel. Close to the  the Gateway of India, unfortunately, it was one of the main sites targeted  by Islamist terrorist group of Pakistan. One of the worst and violent  attacks on common people in this area in 2008  in which countless people injured and killed.  During World War I, this huge  hotel  functioned as a military hospital with 600 beds

Part of the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces Group, it has 560 rooms and 44 suites being managed by about  1,600 staff. The hotel is functioning in two different buildings. Provoked by  refusal to check into
Watson's Hotel, as it was restricted to "whites only" in the colonial period Jamsetji Tata had this hotel built way back in December 1903.  The cost of construction was £250,000 (£127 million in 2008 prices). Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza were the architects.

Mysore Palace.

Inteor. Mysore palace, Mysore, you tube.

Mysore palace, Mysore.

Above images:  Mysore Palace, Mysore:  A historical palace and a royal residence of the Wadiyar ruling dynasty in  Mysore,  Karnataka state, it  is a popular destination for tourists. It is the official residence of the royal family  and once the seat power of the Kingdom of Mysore. Built in the center of the city, facing Chamundi Hills eastward, the family had close rapport with the colonial rulers. There are as many as seven palaces in this wonderful city. No doubt, Mysore is commonly described as the 'City of Palaces,' all built by the affluent Mysore rulers. The land on which the palace is built is in puragiri (literally, citadel), and is now known as the Old Fort. This palace was built between 1897 and 1912 (total cost then was around $30 million) after the Old Palace had been  heavily damaged in  a fire mishap. It is said more than 6 million people visit this palace annually. This three story structure  with a 145 ft tall five story tower is built in Indo--Saracenic style diligently blending with the Hindu, Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic features. This combination with fine  marble domes  and impressive windows and high ceiling  enhances the beauty of this old structure that  is surrounded by a large garden. As a mark of royalty, the huge entrance  gate and  arch to the palace that measures  245 Ft in length and 156 Ft in width,  carry  the emblem and coat of arms of the kingdom of Mysore, around which is written the kingdom's motto in  Sanskrit:  meaning  never terrified. With 200 historical items, this palace will leave you mystified. During the Dussara, this palace  becomes active and the Hindu festival is traditionally headed by the heir to the kingdom - a gala occasion.