Awe-inspiring British Residency, Hyderabad, India - early colonial structure!

Hyderabad, India, British residency

Hyderabad, India, British residency 1880. photo:Lala Deen 

Abandoned British Residency, Hyderabad India
Like New Delhi, Calcutta (Kolkata), Madras (Chennai), Mysore and Bombay (Mumbai), the Hyderabad city of Telangana state is dotted with many monuments of grandeur and beauty. Among the countless colonial structures, the residency where the British Resident used to live is a heritage structure. This structure was heavily damaged  and neglected   until a few years ago and now it is repaired and restored.   

James Achilles Kirkpatrick,  a British Resident  in the princely state of Hyderabad. between 1798–1805, was not atypical British officer  and possessed  certain  compulsive passions quite different from his colleagues of his stature. Suitable to his style of living as a representative of the East India company, he built a  rich mansion in the style of a Palladian villa  called Koti or British Residency (also known as Hyderabad Residency) in the  quiet suburb of Hyderabad.  It is an important tourist spot in this big city, reminiscent of he  early colonial rule and its impact on this city  that was the capital of affluent Nawab of Hyderabad. The  successor of the this dynasty was the richest man in the 1930s.

The building served as an  embassy of the East India Company in the state of Hyderabad  with enough space for living quarters for the employees and a Zanana (women's quarter) within  the compound walls. Closely resembling  that of the White House of the USA with an  impressive  classical portico which is a common feature in countless  important European buildings, its architect was one  Lt. Samuel Russell of the Madras Engineers. The construction  of this building began in 1803 as a permanent seat of the British influence in this part of the subcontinent. as the rulers of the Nizam dynasty had a close alliance with the English company and later under the administration of the British Crown. 

The Hyderabad residency, Telengana,

The Hyderabad residency, Telangana, India.
Why did James Kirkpatrick build an European style building in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent? Often referred to as the White Mogul, the  spacious residency was built  to his specification for him and his Indian wife Khair un Nissa. There is a small building - a sort of replica on a small scale within the premises from where the Resident's wife Nissa in Purdah, could see the surroundings  around here. Successive  British Residents and their family also stayed there. Only recently a few years ago  the Zanana and other parts of this old colonial structure  were  repaired and restored.   In 1857,  when  the Indian Rebellion  that started off in Meerut cantonment by the Indian soldiers, was hunting the English company's misrule,  the residency at Hyderabad  did not escape from the fury of the rebels  who attacked and damaged the building. The mob was led by  Maulvi Allauddin and Turrebaz Khan.  To safeguard the building and increase the security of the structure and to face any eventuality in the future, the British  had added  Martello towers in the later years. But, it 1954 for unknown reasons they became damaged. The arched gateway of the Residency faced environmental threats because of flooding  during the Great Musi Flood of 1908.  William Dalrymple in his book White Mughals (2002) mentioned about its salient features as it happened to be a well- designed colonial building of that period. . The house was designed by Lt. Samuel Russell of the Madras Engineers and construction began in 1803.

British residency, Hyderabad, India after restoration and repairs.

Great Musi Flood,1908, Arched gate Hyderabad Residency. en.wikipedia org.

 After India's independence in 1947, the building had remained vacant  till 1949 and soon it it was converted into Osmania University College for Women.  It is now under the management of the Archaeological Survey of India and is classified as  a protected monument of historical value..

The good news is this  stunning and iconic residency was restored in Sept 2017. In the years after 2000 this grandiose building was in a  dilapidated state reduced to a state of total neglect for various reasons. This building that was once the symbol  of power, pelf and  supremacy of the early colonial proxy government for  the Crown was almost ready to collapse. After restoration, it looks nice and impressive in the busy area of this old city. 

Abandoned British Residency, Hyderabad India

The building features massive tall columns that  throw the shades on the veranda, a grand double stairway leading to a spacious ball room with high rise  ceiling  from which are hanging big chandeliers,  a balcony for  the guests to  watch the gala - dancing couples and the grand music stand where the band would play  numbers from the classical music, waltzes etc. Rooms next to the ball room were in ruins and, it is mentioned in the media, part of the roof caved in due to neglect, lack of repair work  and  aging. 
Abandoned British Residency, Hyderabad India .

Above image: Note the tall ceiling apparently two-soy high and massive chandeliers in the ball room of the English residency, Hyderabad, India. The balcony is meant for the guests to watch the dance.................

Though some parts of the building are not damaged, including the entrance gateway,  they have lost the sheen owing to vagaries of weather. On the ground floor, the  small  rooms where they used to conduct classes   were not well lit and it was dark inside. Built in the midst of greenery comprising roughly  60 acres of land, there are many buildings and also stables for horses that were apparently constructed during the same time as the main structure came up. Far removed from the buildings and within the confines of the boundaries of the residency,  surprisingly there is a small English cemetery that has the overgrowth of wild plants, bushes and vegetation.  A small-scale model  depicting the English residency is equally damaged and needed  immediate repair work.  The grave of Kirkpatrick who built the Residency is at St John's church, Kolkata, West Bengal.,_Hyderabad