Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remnants of the Colonial Raj

Today I am sharing some beautiful postcards of the city I was born in Kolkata,India. The remnants of the British raj and its influence  perhaps is the most prominent in Calcutta(Kolkata) than in any other Indian city as it was the capital of British India.The British rule in India was known as " the Raj" which was derived from the Sanskrit word raja meaning king.The rule of the Raj as it is commonly referred to is a chapter closed but its resonance is still heard. Calcutta has grown and has been able to outstretch its wings yet an umbilical relation to its British predecessors and its colonial past undeniably binds it.
Built in times of great flourish in the like of the British palaces,these gracious buildings and palaces are still standing tall like the guardian angel of this City of Palaces,as Kolkata is humbly called. Although the shine and shimmer has dimmed and the walls have surrendered to the destructive powers of time the dignity of these mansions triumphs over the decay, as they exist to live on as beautiful reminders of the past.

One of the most beautiful of all the reminders is the Victoria Memorial, built by the Indians themselves in reverence to their empress Queen Victoria.This formed indeed the architectural climax of the British Raj in India.The palace of white marble with its green fringes,designed in the Renaissance style remains forever an asset and Calcutta's very  own heritage site. 

These mossy obelisks and columns, a place rescued from semi dereliction.

The lingering Britishness of the first capital of the Raj continues in the nearby St Paul's Cathedral, with its soaring Canterbury inspired towers.

Calcutta is bursting with dozens of 19th century buildings,those red brick stone or white washed crenelated edifices with stucco decorations,balconies,turrets now crumbling with trees sprouting on their ledges and begrimed with over a century of pollution!
                           These colonial trellis still looks so grand with all that detailing.
                                                 and that winding staircase to heaven!

Its a curious blend of the old and the new, the crude and the urbane.The old is giving space to the new ....  symbolising the rise and the fall.
Old  louvered shutter wooden windows with peeled off paints and wearing a distress look will now be available at the local flea markets, making a style statement named as" shabby chic", if not razed down and sent off for recycling. 
The imperial past has been so well preserved and curated in this city, amidst the old houses of the Zamindars (feudal lords) goverment officials and even the gentry or "Babus" of Kolkatta. They are still full of treasures  and  houses so many odd memorablia of the bygone eras, left unattended and uncared for unless realized and curated by some art lovers and curators.
From the Gramophone Company HMV a gramophone treasure curated at my ancestral home in Kolkatta.
One such treasure is this vintage chandelier of hundred lanterns(jharbati). My heart skips a beat staring at this beautiful piece and for some odd reason I am getting hooked onto it like some old connection revived somewhere and finding myself  lost in the tide of time.
    Wishing all a very happy weekend ahead.

Partying @ Ivy and Elephants
                             Have a Daily Cup of  Mrs . Olson


Jann Olson said...

What a beautiful place full of so much history! I have a love for moss so those columns were fabulous! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Poppy @ With a Dash of Color said...

Wow! Stunning photography! Love the gorgeous architecture of a bygone era! Thanks for sharing with us! Hugs, Poppy

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