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Archive : India

What a curious experience to visit India - like an ancient Roman visiting the ruins of his own civilisation, hearing the vulgar Latin of the locals, noting the vanished statues, the decaying public buildings, while all else is indisputably foreign: we are a long way from Europe.

Bombay (मुंबई, Mumbai) was built on seven islands forming a bay (bom baim, from Portuguese). The city began growing after control of the islands was passed to the English crown in 1661 (via Catherine Of Braganza's dowry) and land reclamation took place on a large scale, leading to what is today India's biggest metropolis (and one of the biggest in the world).

The Gateway Of India (by George Wittet). The Gateway Of India.
The Gateway Of India. The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Inside the Taj.
The Gateway marks the arrival of King George V on his way to the Delhi Durbar. View from the Sea Lounge, where marriages are traditionally arranged. Inside the Taj.
The Gateway Of India commemorates the arrival of King George V on his way to be crowned emperor at the Delhi Durbar. The adjacent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is one of the great hotels of the world, commissioned by Jamsetji Tata (founder of one of India's largest companies).
Double decker bus. The Royal Alfred Sailors' Home (now police headquarters, F.W. Stevens, 1876). Plaza surrounded by gothic and saracenic buildings.
Victoria Terminus.
Victoria Terminus. Victoria Terminus. Victoria Terminus.
Roundel of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. Victoria Terminus. The lion of England sits opposite the tiger of India.
Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) was built by Frederick W. Stevens for the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (now Central Railway) in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The architect was likely inspired by St. Pancras in London.
The Municipal Corporation Building (also by F.W. Stevens, 1893). The Municipal Corporation Building. Bombay, Baroda & Central India (now Western) Railway headquarters (1896).
Churchgate Station. Steam engine at the BBCI Railway HQ. BBCI (now Western) Railway headquarters.
Elphinstone College. The Sassoon Library (by General J.A. Fuller, 1867). The Sassoon Library.
The Prince Of Wales Museum (1905, George Wittet). The Prince Of Wales Museum.
The Prince Of Wales Museum. The Prince Of Wales Museum. The Prince Of Wales Museum.
She had no idea that 400 years later her portrait would be rotting away in India. Manuscript from the Mughal period. Tomb from the Portuguese period (Francisco Barboza?).
The Oval.
A line of great gothic edifices surrounds youths playing cricket on the Oval. The plan to transform Bombay - as Urbs Prima In Indis - into a gothic city was initiated in 1862 by Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay, after demolition of the ramparts of the old fortress. The university buildings were designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and financed by Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney, a Parsi philanthropist (he also commissioned a fountain in Regent's Park).
The Secretariat (by Colonel H. St. Clair Wilkins, 1874). The Rajabai Clock Tower of the University Of Bombay (1878). Convocation Hall.
Crawford Market, 1869, which has sculpted reliefs by J.L. Kipling (father of Rudyard Kipling). The High Court (by General J.A. Fuller, 1878). Convocation Hall.
Crawford Market. The High Court. The High Court.
The old town hall (now the Asiatic Society). Bombay Cathedral. Tomb of Thomas Carr, Bishop of Bombay.
Bombay Cathedral. Bombay Cathedral. Bombay Cathedral.
The Afghan Memorial Church (St. John's). Memorial to Lieutenant Colonel John Campbell, who defended Mangalore against Tipu Sultan. Memorial to Captain George Nicholas Hardinge, who died at sea fighting the French.
Bombay Cathedral dates in part to 1718, while the more purely gothic apse by James Trubshawe dates to 1865 (the end of the cotton boom prevented a complete rebuild). The Afghan Memorial Church (St. John's) was the first gothic building in Bombay (by Henry Conybeare with elements designed by Butterfield), and commemorates the British losses in Afghanistan and Sindh (Pakistan) in the 1840s.
The Afghan Memorial Church (Henry Conybeare, 1847). The Afghan Memorial Church. The Afghan Memorial Church.
The Afghan Memorial Church. Monument in the grounds. Art deco block.
Elephanta Island.
An Indian aircraft carrier (probably INS Viraat). Elephanta Island. Middle Ground Island, a naval base.
This is the monkey that mugged me, seconds after the event. Amusing. The explorer.
Ferry. Quayside market. Can only be called a shack.
Elephanta Island, situated in the bay, is named after a large carved elephant discovered there (by the Portuguese). Cut into the hillside are a number of ancient Hindu and Buddhist cave temples.
The first cave. The first cave. The Trimurti.
The wedding of Shiva. The lingam shrine. The lingam, a phallic symbol of Shiva.
Ravana. Shiva. The lingam shrine.
The adjacent cave. The adjacent cave with a second lingam. The second cave.
The second cave. The third cave. The third cave.
The third cave. In the heat. The last cave.

One immediately feels a cultural shift on arrival in Hyderabad (हैदराबाद), as big as any difference between the countries of Europe. No longer are the buildings British; they are Islamic. No longer are the people Hindu; they are Muslim.

Unani Hospital (1938). Mecca Masjid (a mosque). The Charminar.
Unani Hospital. The Charminar.
Dilapidation. Old shops. Market.
The Charminar is a mosque raised upon a great arch dating from the 1590s.
Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah. Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah.
Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah. Tomb of Hayath Bakshi Begum. The adjoining mosque.
Tomb of Muhammad Qutb Shah. A small mosque. A small mosque.
On the outskirts of Hyderabad, one can find the necropolis of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, which ruled Hyderabad (Golconda) until it fell to the Mughal Empire.
Twin tombs of Taramati and Premamati. One of the twin tombs. Twin tombs.
The mortuary bath. The mortuary bath. The mortuary bath.
Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. Tomb of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah.
Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (in the 'crypt'). Tomb of Fatima Sultana.
Tombs of the royal physicians. Tombs of the royal physicians. A distant view of the citadel of Golconda.
Golconda, a ruined fortified city on the outskirts, was the original centre of the city. It controlled the only significant diamond mine in the world until diamonds were discovered in South Africa and Brazil in the 19th century. Consequently, most historical diamonds originated here, including the Koh-i-noor (in the British crown jewels) and the Hope Diamond (in the Smithsonian Museum).
Golconda. Presumably a reservoir, with a view of the tombs. View from Golconda.
Golconda. Presumably a Hindu shrine. A suggestion of former elegance.
The mosque. Golconda. The summit of Golconda.