Indo-Saracenic styled buildings in colonial India - 02

Indo-Saracenic styled Chennai central station. flicker com

The Indo-Saracenic  architectural style  followed by British architects in the late 19th century British India  drew inspirations  from native  building styles  and designs  of Indo-Islamic and Hindoo and aesthetically  blended  them with  the Gothic revival and Neo-Classical styles quite popular in  Victorian Britain period. Prior to this  exotic style in early 1800s quite prevalent  among the public buildings  there were the  European classical style mixing  Greek and Roman  designs. It was a symbol of power and status for the ruling class to keep them  away from the natives.

 After the great rebellion of  1857- 1858  by the native Indian soldiers against the English Company's oppressively misrule sand with the advent of direct crown administration - under the Raj,  the rulers wanted to maintain their imperial status in India and, at the same time, needed a link between the rulers and natives of colonized land. This culminated in the  introduction of Indo-Saracenic style to represent the empire and their connection with the early Hindu -Mogul rulers. They kept the ex-Muslim and Hindu rulers in power by way of forming Princely states and bestowed them with various British titles sort of peerage (to cool them off but  be servile to them). They also classified their lands  as salute states based on their extend of land, revenue and style of living.

It was a way of  legitimatizing their rule in this  Asian land being the masters  to rule and not to be ruled under.  They gave limited powers to the princes and each princely state had a British Resident  to check the activities going on in respective  states. In this regard the British rulers took the advice of -  Sir Thomas Metcalf.  As for the rulers, with frequent visits by Europeans to their places, their life style also changed because of their close association;  so was the design and architecture of their buildings and palaces  with lots of embellishments and fine furniture.

The leading architects were  Robert Fellowes Chisholm, Charles Mant, Henry Irwin, William Emerson, George Wittet and Frederick W. Stevens whose imagination and expertise made a mark in all major cities in India.  

The exotic Indo-Saracenic features  stand apart among other styles. the distinctive features are :  Minarets, Harem Windows, Open Pavilions, Pierced Open Arcading, Domed Kiosks, Many Miniature Domes, or Domed Chhatris, Towers impressive Onion (Bulbous) Domes Overhanging Eaves,  Pointed Arches, Cusped Arches, or Scalloped Arches Vaulted Roofs. colonnaded balcony, Chattris & Chajjas in red sandstone.   Refer to the features in the images presented here.

Historical Hindu temple architecture.

Contemporary Architecture (1920 – 1930) indian,  slidesharenet.

harem window on balcony, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. alamy com
Above image:Ornately carved stone window or Jharokha overhanging balcony Harem window to allow women to see but not be seen. Junagarh Fort, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

royal courtyard,Udaipur, Rajasthan, India.gounesco.

Above image:Open air royal courtyard, City Palace, Rajasthan open-air-ornate-royal-courtyard-rajya-angan-city-palace-udaipur-Rajasthan-
.Open courtyard Junagarh Fort Bikaner Rajasthan India

Dome of the Taj

features .of the confluence of Indian and Persian styles. en.wikipedia.or

3rd BCE great stupa, at Sanchi, India

domed kisok, india.

Harem windows, Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India.

 Chhatri, Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, india.
Above image : Chhatri set atop each corner of the Hall of Audience in Fatehpur Sikri palace complex

tomb of Salim Chishti ,Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi tall

Above image: The tomb of Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri (India) exhibiting a deep chhajja following the perimeter of the building supported with elaborate brackets. A chhajja is actually projecting or overhanging eaves or cover of a roof, usually supported on large carved brackets; it is common as part of  the architecture of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In Rajasthan they are particularly large and are meant for protection against elemental forces like the sun and rain.....................

The following are some additional examples of colonial buildings in India. This one and the previous post  cover just some samples.

Madras High Court building

Above image: Madras High Court building  complex: A   a good  example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, designed by J W Brassington under the guidance of British architect Henry Irwin. Built in 1892, the court buildings are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world after the one in London. The complex has the largest number of courts in Asia, one of the three  oldest High Courts of India established in the three Presidency Towns of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta by letters patent granted by Queen Victoria, bearing date 26 June 1862. It exercises original jurisdiction over the city of Chennai and appellate jurisdiction over the entire state of Tamil Nadu and Union territory of Puducherry, as well as extraordinary original jurisdiction, civil and criminal, under the letters patent and special original jurisdiction for the issue of writs under the Constitution of India. Covering 107 acres, the court complex is one of the largest in the world, next only to Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, London; a prime landmark in Chennai city.

Delhi Secretariat.

The All-India War Memorial 1931, Delhi.

 Above image: War Memorial, Delhi: The Memorial records the names of 13,516 officers who died fighting on the North-West frontier and in the Thirth Afghan War (1919). The 42 meter tall  arch  is surmounted by a stone bowl to be filled with oil for with the plan to place an 'eternal flame' to burn in the dome on top of the arch. This was, however, never done. Today, a flame - the Amar Jawan Jyoti ('Eternal Flame of the Immortal Soldier') - burns below, just behind the three flags of the army, air force and navy which can be seen in the foreground.

The National Art Gallery, chennai.

Above image: The National Art Gallery in Egmore, Chennai which is  one of the oldest art galleries in India is in the Government Museum Complex on Pantheon Road, Egmore; it houses the Government Museum and the Connemara Public Library. Built  in 1906 in  Indo-Sarasenic architecture with red stones  specifically brought  from Satyavedu in Andhra Pradesh, the Gallery remained closed  for long time  after 2002 since 2002,  due to  structural  damages. It was designed by architect Henry Irwin to mark the  celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.   It is a Heritage site identified by the CMD.

HQ  of Southern Railways, chennai.

Above image: Originally built in 1921, this Indo -Sarasenic building housed the HQ  of Southern Railways as the new Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company (MSMR) headquarters (successor of Madras Railway Company), replacing the general office of MSMR at Royapuram Railway Station. It was built for the first time in India in reinforced concrete in classical and Dravidian styles; designed by N. Grayson.
Mogul-style structure, Magistrate court, Chennai.

Metropolitan Magistrate court, Egmore.

Egmore court complex is yet another Indo-Saracenic building in Chennai covering over 8,640 square feet,  where the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, three additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate courts and 10 magistrate and fast track courts had functioned.  It was restored in 2018 after several appeal from the heritage lovers  for a cost of ₹ 48 million.  The damage was extensive and the old monument had begun to crumble; it was built in 1916. 

In the same year, a new 6-story  71,200-square-foot  structure  with 12 court halls,  came up on the  same premises as  an additional court complex.   A sum of  Rs. 26.28  crores was spent for this new building.  For three years the court  functioned in Lily Pond  shopping complex near central station during the construction period  that was was done by the state PWD.


Chennai central station Tower.

Chennai Central railway station  flicker com

Above image:  Chennai Central railway station : It was built as a second terminus to reduce  congestion in the Royapuram harbour station, which  had being utilized for port movements. Built in 1873 in a combination of styles, namely, Gothic and Romanesque, its architect was   Gothic Revival style was followed in  the original station and it  consisted of four platforms  and a capacity to accommodate 12-coach trains. Robert Fellowes Chisholm, the architect, took another five years to finish the project. He modified the design with  the addition of the central clock tower, Travancore 'caps' on the main towers, and other changes. The redesigned building  was eventually completed in 1900. The main building, a combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles is declared as a heritage building.  The 135 ft clock tower, the tallest of the main building with the flagstaff  has  a huge clock with four faces. It is set to chime every quarter of an hour and every hour  The station is the busiest one in South India connecting many northern cities as well as SW and Western  cities in Kerala and Karnataka.  It is connected to Moore Market Complex railway station, Chennai Central metro station, Chennai Park railway station, Park Town railway station and is 2 km from Chennai Egmore railway station. Adjacent to the current headquarters of the Southern Railway and the Ripon Building (built during the Raj), the station served as the gateway to South India, and  is still used as a landmark in this big  city.

Chennai Egmore  railway

Chennai Egmore  railway stationen.

Chennai Egmore  railway

Above image: Chennai Egmore  railway station, Southern Railways. (formerly known as Madras Egmore) railway station, Tamil Nadu, India is one of the four intercity railway terminals in the city and the other three railway stations are Chennai Central Railway Station, Tambaram railway station and Chennai Beach railway station. The station was built in 1906–1908 as the terminus of the South Indian Railway Company. The building built in Gothic style is one of the prominent landmarks of Chennai. The main entrance to the station is  on Gandhi-Irwin Road and the rear one  on Poonamallee High Road.The station was apparently constructed from  land purchased from  Pulney Andy.  It is built in  the Gothic style with imposing domes and corridors. Built more than 200 years ago, it is being well maintained by the railways,

oldest High Court in India, Kolkata, WB t

 Above imageThe oldest  High Court in India  built in Neo-gothic style,  came up 10 years later  in 1872 in Calcutta, the British India's capital; designed by British architect Walter Granville, the structure is said to have been  modeled on the Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium. The court began to function earlier in Ft. William, The  new court  was sanctioned to have  a strength of 72 judges.