India is identified worldwide for its diversity and for its exclusivity in everything. With different historical places – ancient, medieval & modern, varied beautiful and vibrant cultures, varied mesmerizing architecture, and mind-boggling multiplicity in natural landscapes, the country gives an amazing experience to each and everyone. Being gem of a country, it beautifully blends uniqueness with richness. This is the reason, many great personalities around the globe have wholeheartedly admired and accepted the contributions of this country to the world. They have said wonderful quotes about India that will give us the sense of pride for being an Indian.
On every Republic Day in India, we devoutly remember our freedom struggle, and pay homage to our fallen heroes. As a traveller, you can participate in better understanding the history of India. During the time of British rule in India, some of the Indian cities went through major changes. One of the things we cherish presently is the buildings that were built in British style architecture. Colonial architecture in India is proof of a time gone by, presenting a slice of British India in current times. Some of these buildings today are used as important government offices, while others are unfortunately perishing with time. Cities such as Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai have fair share of British colonial architecture still present, so let us take a look at all such buildings, and their significance.
Known as Calcutta during the British era, this grand old city is all things Brit. It was by far the most important city during the British Raj. The city of Kolkata was also the capital city of British India, and a lot of colonial architecture is still clearly visible. One of the most beautiful examples of British colonial architecture in the city is the famed Victoria Memorial, which is today a museum. It was built in the memory of Queen Victoria. Yet another one that is close to the Victoria Memorial is St. Paul’s Cathedral built in 1847. Yet another old building is the Metropolitan Building, which was then known as Whiteway Laidlaw department store, and was built in 1905. Other than these there are numerous examples of British architecture, and, or European architecture all throughout the older parts of the city.
Rashtrapati Bhavan :
Rashtrapati Bhavan, located in Delhi, was the erstwhile residence of the British Viceroy. This impressive structure is also a work of art by the British architect Edward Lutyens.
Parliament House, New Delhi:
The Parliament House in Delhi, originally called the House of Parliament, is yet another monument designed by Edward Lutyens along with Herbert Baker, and was inaugurated in 1927 by Lord Irwin, the then Governor General of India. The House of Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India.
The Writers’ Building, often known as just Writers’, is the West Bengal State government’s secretariat building. This building was originally the office for the writers at British East India Company.
Another city with major iconic buildings, Mumbai was then known as Bombay. One of the most prominent structures in the city is the Rajabai Clock Tower, which was modelled after the Big Ben in London. Built in Venetian and Gothic styles, it was completed in 1878, and still stands to this day.
One of the oldest post offices in India is also in Mumbai, called the General Post Office, which was built using black basalt. David Sassoon Library is a heritage library that dates back to 1870. There is a rare collection of books here that you can explore.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is also a colonial era building, and has been inducted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was built way back in 1888, and is a prominent example of Victorian Gothic style.
Finally, the Gateway of India, the most prominent structure in Mumbai, was built to commemorate the visit of King George V, and was completed in 1924.
Located in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is another majestic structure that was built in 1911 to commemorate the arrival of King George V to India. It is also fondly known as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai as it is the most popular attraction of the city of Mumbai.
Erstwhile known as Madras, Chennai is yet another major city of India that was one of British India’s prime cities. In fact, Madras
Presidency was an administrative subdivision of the British Raj. Chennai predominantly has Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, and the city is known to host a large number of heritage structures in the country. The Madras High Court is perhaps one of the most important structures in the city that still stands to this day; it was in fact bombed by a German warship during the British era. The Town Hall is yet another important colonial structure, which was built in 1887 in Romanesque style in honour of Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. Fort St George is another structure that was built in 1653, while St. Mary’s Church was built in 1680.
The All India War Memorial Arch, also known as the India Gate is one of the monuments built by the British. The monument was designed by the famous British architect Edward Lutyens, and was completed in 1931. This memorial in Delhi was built to commemorate the death of 70,000 Indian and British soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British in World War I.