Restoration Photos

Here are a few examples of monument restoration from Agra and Ajmer, all of Mughal-era structures from the 16th and 17th c AD. The usual impression we get when we visit historic monuments is that we are looking at structures that have come down over the centuries in the state we see them in presently, but in reality many of these structures have been restored and rebuilt, some multiple times. While there are a lot of arguments and positions regarding the whys and hows of restoration among the conservation/preservation community, from an architectural history viewpoint what’s important is how we can interpret historic monuments when the monument is not all as historic as made out to be. At a general level it entails analyzing the structure keeping in mind and “seeing around” the restoration. Continue reading

Monastery and Pagoda at Sravasti

While at Sravasti I came across this interesting monastery, which I’m assuming was built around the 1950s/60s, and started by people from Korea or Japan. The architecture is a fascinating mix of colonial bungalow, typical residential embellishments from the 50s – which include a mix of watered-down art deco and watered-down modernism, Hindu temple elements, early-Buddhist elements, ‘East Asian’ pagodas and torans etc etc. I especially love the pagoda made of brick and concrete with an octagonal base that could be part of a government or residential building anywhere in India from that time. The ‘temple’ at the back is very interesting as well! Continue reading

Sravasti

I got a chance to visit Sravasti, an important site pertaining to the life of Gautam Buddha. Of the ancient remains, there are mostly just plinths and foundations of stupas, temples and monasteries, set up in the centuries following the Buddha’s life. He is said to have lived and preached here for over two decades. Continue reading

Agra Trip

In the first half of April I went to spend a few days with a friend at Agra, and also visited some sites in Agra that I hadn’t been to before, especially Agra Fort. Agra Fort (as it stands now) is a Mughal fort built during the 16th and 17th centuries. Successive Mughal Emperors built different palaces within the fort. The Jahangiri Mahal, built by Akbar (and not by Jahangir as the name would suggest) is an absolutely awesome structure. The decorations on red sandstone are just amazing. Continue reading

Comparing the Begampur and Jaunpur mosques

As always, click on image to go to its flickr set

Just a small post to note possible similarities between the Begampur mosque’s pishtaq (the protruding central element on the facade) and the oversized pishtaqs of the Jaunpur mosques (such as the Atala masjid used as an example here). Both are Tughlaq era mosques (though Jaunpur is far away from Delhi) built in the mid-14th c. (Begampur) and late-14th c. (Atala). Of course the Atala mosque is much more ornamented and stylistically there are obvious differences, but the side-turret effect is similar, as is the batter effect, and to me the basic underlying design and massing is very similar. Hmm? Continue reading

Out with the old, In with the new … Part II

I went back to the site where I’d taken the Out with the old, in with the new photo in Dec ’06 to see if the tombs there were still standing and how the area around it had developed, and was pleased to find that the tombs are indeed still there, even though the area around is developing at a pace in keeping with the rest of Delhi! Maybe these tombs are on the INTACH listing and/or are protected by ASI, though that doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent to the encroachment and demise of such monuments elsewhere! Continue reading

Jaunpur/Varanasi trip

As always, click on an image to go to its flickr set

I’ve wanted to visit the mosques at Jaunpur ever since I first read about them in the second or third year of architecture school. This is primarily for the oversized central pishtaqs (a protruding central element on the facade) on the main courtyard facades of the mosques. Since it makes sense to take a train to Varanasi to get to Jaunpur, I decided to visit Varanasi for the first time as well. Continue reading