Historical clock tower, Surat city, Gujarat - now a colonial heritage structure

Old lock tower, Surat city, Gujarat pinrest com. 

Old lock tower, Surat city, Gujarat suratdiaries.in

My fascination for vintage clock towers since my childhood days has not yet diminished, rather my curiosity is on the increase on  account of their becoming structures of neglect. Countless  colonial clock towers across India have become non-functional due to lack of maintenance and  care by the local authorities.  They were not only the time keepers of our old towns and were very useful to our forefathers to keep track of the time of the day when they were out on work, but also stood majestically in a busy area as if they were sentinels. They played  no less role than other amenities  in  the towns and were an important land mark  of  the urban space. Prior to the 1950s, wrist watch was a luxury item and only the rich could afford it. I saw, in my childhood days, many men carrying what was called ''Pocket Watch'' to see the ''time''. Being in the digital world, we have  costly digital watches with advanced features you can ever think of , but they are no match for the vintage  mechanical winding wrist watches in terms of  design, style, workmanship and  elegant look. This is true of vintage clock towers of colonial era.  

Men's vintage pocket watch with chain. desertcart.in

The iconic standing clock towers that come to our mind are  the  Rajabai Clock Tower (Univ. of Mumbai, MH), Husainabad Clock Tower (1881), a 67 m tall structure in Lucknow, UP, the Ghanta Ghar clock tower (built between 1880-1911) in the Sadar market area in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, the Clock tower of royal palace of Shahu Maharaj; Kolhapur; Maharashtra etc.  

Old lock tower, Surat city, Gujarat veethi.com

About Surat Clock Tower in the city of Surat, Gujarat in 2021  it  will be completing 150 years.  I understand that the clock is still functional and the structure needs some repair work. There is a spiral  staircase to go to the upper level and  it is closed for the public. The Clock Tower  with four dials facing four cardinal directions had stopped working for many years now. However in the by-gone time  the chiming of the clock  (British made) could be heard  at  a distance every hour, particularly   during night hours. The mechanical  clock is  replaced by battery-operated quartz clock as  the spare parts for the old clock are difficult to get. Further,  no clock experts are available to fix them.

 Constructed in 1871 by Parsee  businessman Khan Bahadoor Burjorjee Merwanjee Fraser at the cost of Rs 14000 in the memory of his father Merwanjee Hormusjee Fraser, it is one of the oldest clock towers in India.  The builder chose an  important part of Surat for the simple reason the clock tower would be useful to the common people  because a great preponderance of them could not afford  either a pocket watch or a wrist watch to know the time of the day. 

map of Surat city, Gujarat turkey-visit.com

Clock tower, Surat city,Gujarat. suratfirst.blogspot.com/

Located ideally  (Karwa Rd, Kumbharwada, Navapura, Begampura)  in  a  busy  shopping area - Zampa Baza  that has lots of   textile and embroidered craft shops,  the 80-meter tall  stunning clock tower will never fail to get the attention of   common people. Even regular visitors who go past it will take a second look  at it because of the grandeur and beauty of the clock tower and its impressive design  are just overwhelming. The credit goes to the British time-keepers and consultants of that period.  Its style and craftsmanship  are further enhanced by its brick red tall structure that is quite visible from far off distance.  Reports in the media mentioned that this clock tower is one of the seven  heritage sites in Surat to be restored and beautified. 

The other attractive clock towers in Gujarat are: Saifee clock tower, Jamnagar, Clock Tower at Lloyd Gate now Nehru Gate built In 1935 by Sir George Ambrose Lloyd , Morbi,  Clock tower at Bedi gate naka black stone structured , Rajkot and Eighteenth-century palace Aina Mahal partly destroyed during an earthquake in the Bhuj town.