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Old 11th November 2008, 22:48   #1
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Default Architectural Heritage of India

Along with cars historical monuments and buildings have always fascinated me. Whenever I visit a town I need to first hunt out all the architectural treasures and then loiter in the local markets. To me these two give me a intimate flavour of a town or city and more importantly a glimpse into the cultural heritage and legacy of a community.

I have some interesting stuff I will share and as we go along I hope friends here will add the treasures in their towns or in those they visit.

The first time I visited Agra we landed there on a Friday and were disappointed that the Taj was closed. Interestingly we took a walk down to the river and my first view of the Taj was a unique perspective, the riverside view, not the usual postcard one. I was floored. The scale and grandeur of the monument is mind boggling. I resolved to return someday.

A few years later during my travels through Rajasthan I was in Bharatpur and read a sign which said Agra was just 56 kms away. I reached late in the evening and checked into a hotel close by. Before calling it a day I resolved to be up before sunrise as I wanted to see the Taj at sunrise.

Next morning as I made my way through the lanes near the Taj I was confident I'd be the only crazy tourist up so early. Was I wrong. There were atleast 250 people standing in a cue waiting for the doors to open!!

The crowd was silent as we stood there waiting for the first rays

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The first rays caress the white marvel

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The Taj on fire. The purity and immense beauty of the moment left me speechless

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Lazy Yamuna

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It almost looked like an alien space ship from another planet. No other buidling in the world has such an other worldly look. It does look like something gently set down from the skies. For it appears too pure to come from the soil beneath

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Old 11th November 2008, 23:08   #2
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"Gently set down from the skies..." Such apt and beautiful words DKG. Your prose is as poetic as are your photographic skills. Please keep it up, and thanks (from an Architect) for starting such a unique thread.
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Old 11th November 2008, 23:14   #3
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The Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad is without a doubt one of the most beautiful palaces I've seen. The name apparently means "star of heaven". Built in 1893 by Sir Vicar-Ul-Umra, Prime Minister of the Nizam of Hyderabad it took 9 years to complete at an approx cost of Rs 40 lakhs

Having barely used his new home by 1898 the palace was "gifted" to the Nizam by the Prime Minister as the ruler, during his stay at the palace, was deeply impressed by its architecture and commanding view of the city. Some historians state that the Prime Minister was suitably compensated

Throughout my childhood the palace remain locked and sparingly used for a few parties thrown by the present Nizam. I remember one such gathering where we ushered in a new year.

It wasn't until recently that the estate leased the property to the Taj group of hotels who regularly host special banquets either in front of or in the back lawns. Though remarkably in good condition it is being painstakingly restored under the guidance of the Princess.

On one occasion GE held a grand marketing convention dinner at the palace and had it decorated and lit up like I had never seen in my life. The sight was way too spectacular to describe and hopefully the pictures communicate the glory I witnessed that day

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Old 11th November 2008, 23:42   #4
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Just a few months before I had visited Jodhpur there was this ad on TV, selling diamond jewellery I think where they used the Mehrangarh fort as a backdrop. Gorgeous ad. It was shot in black and white and the flashes of mirrors from the windows, the sound of bangles and rushing "payal", it all seemed to portray the glorious state of Rajasthan so beautifully.

I was mesmerised by the facade of the fortress in the ad. It was only later, much later, that I discovered the facade was of the awesome Mehrangarh fortress in Jodhpur and you can imagine my excitement as I drove into Jodhpur a few years ago

I checked into a quaint haveli at the base of Mehrangarh and after a quick dinner simply had to pay homage to this mindblowing architectural giant. I walked up a trail of steps leading up to the fort from the town below and what a sight I encountered. Unfortunately Baapji, as they in Jodhpur fondly refer to Maharajah Gaj Singhji was hosting a dinner at the fort and so I was politely asked to come during visiting hours the next morning. This is the sight that greets you as you enter this most glorious of India's forts

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That must be atleast 30 storeys high!! How did they make it in those days? Who conceived this fortress which seems to grow out of the hillock.

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Gazing up at the minarets I was deeply moved. I really don't know why. Perhaps something to do with my having Rajput ancestry? Was I ever a guard here and the sight way too familiar? I really don't know. It was enchanting to stand there for what seemed like an eternity simply gazing up and losing myself completely.

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Old 12th November 2008, 09:11   #5
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DKG, you can have dinner there even if Gaj is partying. You need to visit during normal ours and make a booking with the restaraunt. He was having his diwali party, so they merely checked up against the reservation list and escorted us in.

Dinner on that terrace on divali night is an experience. Please refer to my travelogue posted on this forum
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Old 12th November 2008, 09:25   #6
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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
DKG, you can have dinner there even if Gaj is partying.
I did have dinner on the terrace the next day. That day apparently a special dinner for some company was being hosted so the restaurant was closed to public.

The evening on the terrace was enchanting. I can imagine Diwali night must be even more breathtaking!
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Old 12th November 2008, 12:04   #7
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Looking forward to more pics and information from you.
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Old 12th November 2008, 16:31   #8
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As kids we grew up listening to tales of Aladdin and other medieval stories. Often our imagination conjured the exotic marketplaces and scenes where these captivating tales were enacted.

The day I landed in Jaisalmer I felt I had travelled back in time to medieval India. The city seems frozen in time, unbelievably so. I was quite puzzled. Dozen's of questions flashed past my mind as I struggled to unravel the mystery that is Jaisalmer.

Who are these people? What is the quality of their mind that they produced such spectacular art in sandstone. How come the entire city seems stuck in time.

Perhaps one would have to live there for a while to get a flavour of this remote yet spectacular town in Rajasthan.

Let the pictures do the talking

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Old 12th November 2008, 22:32   #9
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An architectural triumph of precision manifesting pure genius in design and execution. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

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The imposing fortress of Nahargarh on the distant hills over looking Jaipur

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The magnificent Amer or Amber Fort

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Exquisite mosaic

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The art of cutting out light but letting in cool air.

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The design of gardens was an integral part of the architect's portfolio. These beautiful gardens lent a balance to the overall design

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At night when you lit a few candles in one of these Aaina Mahals or glass palaces the room would explode with light and design

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The natural airconditioned palaces

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Extravagance in architecture and a true marvel in sandstone, the Hawa Mahal

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Old 12th November 2008, 22:59   #10
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The city of lakes, the Venice of the East, Udaipur is without a doubt one of India's most charming and romantic cities.

The City Palace is one of the largest palace complexes in the world and represents the life and times of the Mewars through centuries.

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The icing on the cake, the lovely Lake Palace

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Sajjangarh, the cliff top fortress.

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Old 23rd August 2012, 17:35   #11
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Default Re: Architectural Heritage of India

Bumped into this thread today. Thanks for having started it DKG. Nothing like seeing the architectural marvels in a single thread! My two cents:

The Jain temple of Ranakpur:

Architectural Heritage of India-dpp_0012.jpg
Architectural Heritage of India-dpp_0011.jpg

Udaipur at night:

View from Sajjangarh:
Architectural Heritage of India-dpp_0002.jpg
Architectural Heritage of India-dpp_0003.jpg

Mysore palace:

Architectural Heritage of India-img_8413_ed.jpg
Architectural Heritage of India-img_8417_ed.jpg
Architectural Heritage of India-img_8093_ed.jpg
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Old 24th August 2012, 18:59   #12
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Default Re: Architectural Heritage of India

Another thanks for starting a thread on this subject from another architect . Do continue.
There were two times in my times that the places ever made me move and shed a tear ,
one was Taj Mahal, and the other was the ghats at banaeras .

Let me see if i can add some more to your thread , with your permission i hope
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Old 25th August 2012, 22:28   #13
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Default Re: Architectural Heritage of India

Please do add more to this thread. I thought most people weren't interested in the subject ! but now that we have an architect amongst us things should liven up.

When I travelled through Rajasthan the one thing I missed was Ranakpur, and sadly so as I believe it's a stunning example.

Architecture in India is so fascinating. The palace in Bundi is very arresting and the one in Deeg is very very pretty.

I remember the first time we arrived at the Taj Mahal it was a Friday and although I was disappointed to learn it's closed on the day I was in a way glad that my first glimpse was a very unique angle. We walked down to the Yamuna and I had a river's eye view as my first view and it blew me away. Of course the second visit a few years down the line had me get up at 4 in the morning to catch the Taj at sunrise and it was a surreal sight. Can never forget the extraordinary beauty of that moment. It seemed so unreal and quite from another planet !
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Old 3rd February 2013, 20:19   #14
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Default Re: Architectural Heritage of India

Forts, Palaces,Hotels, [Palaces converted to hotels],The Taj Mahal,The Taj Hotel,etc etc, all well known both to tourists and those like me who live in the country,but what saddens me are the numerous simple residential homes [and some grand ones too] that have such beautiful architectural structures and that are simply neglected,ignored,demolished in the name of progress and lost to the entire future generation. As an interested novice I take as many snaps of these buildings as I can to preserve at least some of our heritage and would request those of you who have some interest in these matters to do the same

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Old 3rd February 2013, 21:44   #15
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Default Re: Architectural Heritage of India

@DKG Saab, this is one of the finest threads I have come across. There are so many threads here that blow your mind. The cars, the knowledge, there is so much here, but none like this thread, (ok, there are Sam's threads. Miss you Sam).

This thread makes you want to stop and drop your jaw in awe and be amazed by the wonders that our great country is. India. You know the funny part is, even we Indians will not be able to grasp the many nuances of the great country.

Thanks again. I hope we all can add more pics, I shall try for sure.
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