The Hiran Minar, or Elephant Tower, is a circular tower covered with stone projections in the form of elephant tusks. Traditionally it was thought to have been erected as a memorial to the Emperor Akbar’s favourite elephant. However, it was probably a used as a starting point for subsequent mile posts.
British Library Online Gallery
The, furthest of this block of buildings is a curious tower called the Hiran Minâr, or Deer Tower, 72 feet in height, ornamented with stone imitations of elephant tusks. According to tradition, it was built by Akbar in memory of a favourite elephant, and used by him as a shooting tower; the plain on the margin of the lake being the haunt of antelope and other game. The splendid stretch of water, six miles long and two in breadth, induced many of the princes and nobles to build pavilions and garden houses on this side of the city. This was the place for great tournaments and festivities, and in the palmy days of Fatehpur all the chivalry of the Mogul Court must have made a brave show here. The Hiran Minâr was connected with the zanana by a covered way, so that the ladies might assist at these spectacles and enjoy the cool breezes from the lake.
A Handbook to Agra and the Taj Sikandra, Fatehpur-Sikri and the Neighbourhood (1904)
The Thanjavur Maratha palace was originally constructed by the rulers of Thanjavur Nayak kingdom. The construction of Thanjavur Palace began in 1534 and was completed in 1535, thanks to plenty of local prisoners of war who provided manual labor. The Palace was officially called “Sivagangai Fort” and was held by the Nayak family until April 1674, when the Maratha ruler Venkoji captured it. After the fall of the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom, it served as the official residence of the Thanjavur Maratha. The Marathas enhanced the original structure and expanded the palace complex.
The Thanjavur Palace is a huge complex that has many architectural features. The massive complex consists of huge halls, wide corridors, multi-storied observation towers and a shady courtyard. As you walk across, you can see that some parts of the complex are in ruins while other parts show that restoration work has been taken up to revive and protect the monument.
Wikipedia Commons: Boats in West Bengal
“I was born on the banks of the Madhumati (a river in present-day Bangladesh),” said Biswas. “I am familiar with all the rivers of East Bengal. My father was a merchant and we used to own boats. As a child, I have seen boat races in East Bengal. If we were to step back in time by only a hundred years, in Bengal, for transport, for business, there was no option other than boats. You will find the term ‘nou-sadhan’ in many texts about Bengal.”
“This is riverine country,” said Biswas. “What we know and think of as Bengal is actually a large river delta.” Bhattacharyya explained further: “You will find different kinds of rivers in Bengal, from the shallow, rapid streams of North Bengal, to the Hooghly of Kolkata, with its slow and stately gait.”You will find different kinds of rivers in Bengal, from the shallow, rapid streams of North Bengal, to the Hooghly of Kolkata, with its slow and stately gait.” Each kind of river demands a specific boat. “If I were to go to a boat-maker today and ask him to make me a boat, the first question he would ask me is, on what river would the boat operate,” said Bhattacharyya. The dinghy, commonly seen at the ghats of Kolkata, works fine in the waters of the Hooghly, whose current is weak. “But it would be useless in North Bengal because a dinghy cannot travel against the current due to its shape.”
Quartz India: Inside a boat museum preserving eastern India’s disappearing river traditions
The construction of #Roshan ud-Daula Kothi now known as #Old UP State Archeology Department was built by the Ghazi-ud-din’s chief minister, Roshan-ud-Daula(1827- 1837). #Nawab Wajid Ali Shah confiscated the building from him in around 1847. The Kothi is wonderful example of European and Mughal Architecture.
It has been the case with most of the States in India, and it was the same with the rule of Nawabs in Awadh, that corruption in its administration was a dominant factor that allowed the East India Company to use the nobles and officers of the Court to be unfaithful to the Nawabs or Kings and pre-empt resistance to their cunning devices. The employees of the Nawabs profited from both sides [the King and the British Resident as well]. When they feared any action and expected the King’s wrath, they were protected by the British, who would shelter them and even provide a source of income for their sustinance at Kanpur or any other place under their control. We have the examples of two Chief Ministers of Awadh as such. Coincidently, both of them built palatial buildings that vied in their lavish extravagance, decoration and ornamentation with the King’s palaces. One of these Chief Ministers was Mohammed Hussain Khan, mostly known by his title of Roshan-ud-Daulah. He held the Chief ministership for a major part of the second King, Naseer-ud-Din Haiders reign (1827-1837). Having the backing of the British East India Company and with the King’s liking for European ways, he was unhindered in deriving much benefit for himself and his near and dear ones.
It is not unusual then that the Kothi built by Roshan-ud-Daulah for himself in the Indo-French style was unique in its grandeur and vied with the palaces built by the Nawabs and Kings of Awadh. When H.G. Keene [in A Handbook for visitors to Lucknow] described the Kothi in 1896, he said that it was ‘a still more fantastic structure than the great palace itself with which, however, it tallies well. Iconic columns, balustrades with globe like finials, Moorish minarets, Hindu umbrellas, arches, pediments, lanterns are all blended in a confusion which the eye may long seek vainly to disentangle, and surmounted with a gilt band’. Post-Mutiny photographs of the original Kothi show a semi-circular gilt band on the top of the six storeyed building. Four square kiosks with canopies in the French fashion, along with small chhatries and gumbads (dome) appear at a lower level. They also show an impressive garden and a small mosque attached to the building on one side.
Roshan-ud-Daula built a palatial house that costed a lot of money and took great deal of time too. In the house Roshan-ud-Daula placed a life-size painting of King Nasir-ud-Din Haider that actually impressed the King so much that the King named this Kothi (large palatial house of royalty is so referred) as ‘Qaiser Pasand’. Though there is a bit of difference in this fact among some old historians, some opine that Qaiser Pasand was a different building though also built by Roshan-ud-Daula. . . . rimarily it was a four storey rectangular stricture with angled (oblique) corners, a kind of canted facade similar to Baroque architecture on one of the front, while regular bay on another and yet another front has a huge portico. The building has small balconies and courtyards along with stairs on each of its side. This building came up on a tank which was much lower than the normal ground level and that is the reason that the ground floor is lower than usual. . . .The ceilings of the two grand halls are still the same as they were earlier and there has been no structural change in that, even though periodic changes were made after 1860s when this building came under the British and was converted into an office. The weight of the building is evenly distributed through many small beams onto a large one which resets of the wide walls, though these walls too are not that wide considering the size and number floors that Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula has. Copper covered domes and interestingly a half dome too, adorned the top of the building with extensive use of pottery along with copper ware in this building. The half dome or call it a ‘sliced dome’ resembles the rising sun and all the domes of Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula when existed were covered with copper.
During the rebellion of 1857 this building was controlled by the rebel forces and the godown of Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula was used by the mutineers to imprison the British captured alive. Most of these British were captured in Dhaurahra, estate near Lakhimpur Kheri, many were killed there itself while those alive were brought here. A few British among the imprisoned tried to escape through a tunnel dug by them for the purpose. All these were caught before they could escape and were taken to another site close by to be killed all together. One of the rebel leaders, Raja Jiya Lal was held responsible for all these killings and was hanged on 1st of October 1859. After surviving the mindless destruction of Kaserbagh and its periphery by the British in revenge of the mutiny of 1857-58, Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula in early 1900s for some reason was devoid of top two floors, that made it much shorter than originally it was and the glorious crown atop this magnificent building was gone, so was it devoid of arches and the domes. Today Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula houses the office of state archaeology, Lucknow district’s election office and a store of government files and records.
Dhobi Ghat is an open air laundromat (lavoir) in Mumbai, India. The washers, known as dhobis, work in the open to clean clothes and linens from Mumbai’s hotels and hospitals. It was constructed in 1890.
At first, Dhobi Ghat presents a chaotic scene. However, a closer look brings out the order in the chaos. Lines and lines of washed clothes are hung out to dry in a manner that optimizes both time and space. This is a labor-intensive process, and the washermen, also called dhobis, have a system in place that takes care of washing, sorting, and ironing.
Behind the Scenes at Mumbai’s 140-Year-Old Dhobi Ghat
“I use a dhobi,” explained our guide Freni Avari. “His father used to work for my mother. We are continuing. It’s like family.”
She described how the dhobi system works. “He comes to the house once a week. Every household has a dhobi bag or container where all the clothes are kept. He doesn’t write down what he takes. He just knows,” said Freni. “He wraps them up in a bundle and takes them.”
Dhobi Ghats, the Outdoor Laundries of Mumbai
The historic hill fort rises above the town of Amer (it is sometimes called Amer Fort), which was the capital of the Kuchwaha Rajputs from the 11th to the 18th century. Construction began in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, a commander in the army of the Mughal emperor Akbar. In shades of honey and rose stone, white marble and gilt decor, Amber Fort is more of a palace than a fortress, and the design is a unique mix of Hindu and Muslim styles.
There are four divisions of the Amer fort and each division is known as courtyard. All the sections have a gate to make an entry. The main entrance of the fort is through Suraj Pol or Sun Gate as it faces east. Sawai Jai Singh II built this gate.
Amer Fort: absolute beginners
Early in Ahmedabad’s history, under Ahmed Shah, builders fused Hindu craftsmanship with Persian architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many mosques in the city were built in this fashion. Sidi Saiyyed Mosque was built in the last year of the Sultanate of Gujarat. It is entirely arched and has ten stone latticework windows or jali on the side and rear arches.
This screen was basically made so that the mosque remains fully lighted from inside at all times of the day. The size of this artistic jali is around 16 feet and is in semi circular shape. It is situated at the height of around 20 feet above the ground level. The art work on these jails is so fine that a magnifying glass is required to view its internal intricate design in detail. The design consists of the flowers arrangement in various symmetrical shapes. They are made of smooth white stones and the fine engraving is done with human hands. Sadly, there does not seem to be any information about the actual craftsman who designed the jali. But it took around six years to get each of these jalis completed. Around 45 main artists worked on it, day and night.
The Symbol of Ahmedabad
The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, is a sublime ode in stone to the extraordinary architectural legacy of the African diaspora in India. Although their forefathers were originally brought to India as slaves and maritime laborers, the descendants of these Africans rose to positions of power as military commanders in the armies of the sultans and became great patrons of art and architecture. Called Sidis (or Siddis), an appellation of Africans, or Habshis, from the Arabic-Persian word for “people from Abyssinia or Ethiopia,” one of them was Shaykh Sayyid al-Habshi Sultani, or Sidi Saiyyed, who constructed his eponymous mosque.
Built in 1573, the last year of the Gujarat Sultanate before the Mughals invaded, the mosque is one of the finest specimens of the prodigious architectural accomplishments of the Sidis in India. Situated in the heart of the 600-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, the design of the mosque is entirely in the arcuate system of construction, involving arches, domes, squinches, and vaults. The mosque is set up like a theatre without a fourth wall, celebrated for the intricately carved filigree work on its jalis (screen windows).
Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a slave of Qutbuddin Aibak. Due to the good education and wide knowledge of the Islamic world, which he acquired during the early days of his adversity, he quickly rose to be the amir- i- shikar and son in law of his master within a decade. In 1206, he held the charge of Badaun as one of the most trusted lieutenants of Aibak. He was manumitted by Aibak long before the latter received such formal manumission, himself. It was done in 1205- 1206 at the instance of Mohammad Ghori who was deeply impressed by the performance of Iltutmish in the campaign against the Khokhars. Iltutmish was not only a soldier but also a man of creative tastes. Often engaged in warfare and happily extended his patronage to the pious and learned. He was further endowed with laudable qualities; he was handsome, intelligent, sagacious and of excellent disposition and manners. He was also just, benevolent, impartial and a zealous warrior.
The hereditary succession of Aram Shah was refused by the Turkish nobility of Delhi, as he was an incompetent and unpopular ruler. Iltutmish was invited from Badaun to assume the leadership of Sultanate. Aram Shah refused to abdicate but was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi his seat of governance in preference to Lahore and proved to be a strong and capable ruler who enjoyed a long reign of twenty- six years.
The Qutb complex are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India. Construction of the Qutub Minar “victory tower” in the complex, named after the religious figure Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, who later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty (Gulam Vansh). It was continued by his successor Iltutmish (a.k.a. Altamash), and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) in 1368 AD.
The tomb of the Delhi Sultanate ruler, Iltutmish, a second Sultan of Delhi (r. 1211–1236 AD), built 1235 CE, is also part of the Qutb Minar Complex in Mehrauli, New Delhi. The central chamber is a 9 mt. sq. and has squinches, suggesting the existence of a dome, which has since collapsed. The main cenotaph, in white marble, is placed on a raised platform in the centre of the chamber. The facade is known for its ornate carving, both at the entrance and the interior walls. The interior west wall has a prayer niche (mihrab) decorated with marble, and a rich amalgamation of Hindu motifs into Islamic architecture, such as bell-and-chain, tassel, lotus, diamond emblems. In 1914, during excavations by Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Gordon Sanderson, the grave chamber was discovered. From the north of the tomb 20 steps lead down to the actual burial vault.
The Mausoleum of Shams al-Din Iltutmish (reg. 1211-1236), is located in the northwest corner of the Qutb complex next to Iltutmish’s own extensions to the Qutb Mosque.
The sandstone structure is square, measuring 9.1 meters along each side, with a height of 8.41 m to the base of the (conjectured) dome. It was constructed of new material, not making use of the spolia used in other buildings in the Qutb complex. It has three entrances, on the north, east, and south elevations. The western wall, facing Mecca, houses the mihrab as the central niche of three. The upper chamber, now open to the sky, contains the richly decorated marble cenotaph. Steps on the northern side leading down to the burial chamber below.