Gwalior Memorial, Kolkata, lesser known Indo-Saracenic colonial British monument!!

The Gwalior Memorial, Kolkata

The Gwalior Memorial,

Above image: The Gwalior Memorial, Kolkata. Lord Ellenborough, Gov. General (Sept. 8, 1790 - Dec. 22, 1871) , EIC  himself visualized the proposed memorial  as a single story white marble structure with  a spiral staircase leading to a marble cenotaph on the upper floor from the inside and the top of the structure  in the shape of an umbrella -  similar to  'chhatri,' a Mogul and Rajput design style  supported by 8 bronze pillars. Top of the cenotaph is crowned with a bronze dome cast from guns captured from the Marathas. The octagonal cenotaph is about 18 metres (60 ft) high. Architecture:  Indo-Saracenic, a blend of Hindu-Mogul - Gothic design elements which dominated many of the British buildings in places like Madras (Chennai),TN, Baroda (Vadodara), GJ and Delhi.This unique design style is a testimony to how the native Indian style of designs being used across the country influenced the British architects who gave importance to Gothic,Romanesque,Renaissance and other designs that don't blend with native styles.....................................

.Stairway in the Gwalior monument, Kolkata,W.B.

The Gwalior war Monument,  a British war memorial is in between Prinsep and Outram ghats off Strand Road, Kolkata is made of cast iron and marble. This historically important war monument lies unknown and uncared for. Designed by Colonel Goodwyn of the Bengal Engineers to honor those men and officers who lost their lives in a couple of confrontations at Maharajapur and Punniar, near Gwalior on the same day, 29 December 1843 against the forces of Maharaja Mahadji Rao Scindia (in now called Madhya Pradesh). The war campaign lasted for just  two days and though the British forces that included many Indian troops both infantry and cavalry, came out victorious in both battles, the casualty was heavy on both sides. Since  the Maharani of Gwalior responding to an  official written   communication  dated  13 December 1843 from Lord Ellenborough  unequivocally  refused to dismiss the  regent  who acted against the company's interest. This matter was further complicated by the violation  of the treaty of 1804 by Gen. Hugh Gough, who invaded  Gwalior town on December 29, 1843. So, the Gwalior campaign  was set in motion by the English company to intimidate the queen. 

Back in England the British victory against the mighty Marathas  despite odds was not hailed and no due attention was paid to it. Part of the reason was country's preoccupation with the campaign for the repeal of the Corn Laws (and the trail of Daniel O'Connell). However, Duke Wellington (who took part in the campaign against Tipu Sultan in 1799 at Srirangapatna and later against Napoleon in Waterloo) recognized the Gwalior victory and valiant military men and officers  were awarded by the government.  A war memorial was erected in Kolkata under the direction of Lord Ellenborough in 1844.

The structure in the shape of Chhatri is made of brick with marble on the outer surface. What is unique is the cupola on the top is made of metal extracted from the  guns seized from the enemy.The  cast-iron sarcophagus carries the inscription of those who sacrificed their lives in the battle in Madhya Pradesh. The contribution  made by Indian troops who were part of the British forces was taken to the back stage though the Indian fatalities were not left out.

This landmark heritage structure lies partly hidden in an isolated place and needs publicity and regular upkeep.