In the current era of modernisation and everything fancy, Uttar Pradesh has a lot to offer and connect with its earthen roots and history embedded in its rich cultural diversity and traditional craftsmanship. It has always played a crucial role and still marks its spot with its wide array of historical sites and establishments that mesmerizes one and takes them on a journey across the sands of times. Those who know Uttar Pradesh even a little bit for sure knows that it has a pristine history that runs concurrently with the history of India as Ganga and Yamuna flow concurrently and merge at the holy confluence in Prayagraj. Just like this ever influencing confluence of these two holy rivers colonial times, the pre-independence British era can never be forgotten.
This confluence of colonial times with Uttar Pradesh has added and embellished not just the skyline but also created various imperialistic landmarks too. All these jewels of Uttar Pradesh have a heavy leaning towards the colonial architecture and can be seen as a combination of the Indo-Islamic style interspersed with the traditional European style, recognized in the present times as Indo-Sarcenic architecture. The ornamental designs in these pristine architectural monuments represents a serene and a holy confluence of common domes and modern colonial imprints. These influences of colonial architecture are clearly visible in buildings like churches, educational institutions, residential arrangements, palaces and administrative buildings.
University of Allahabad and The Allahabad High Court are merely the beginning of such finest marksmanship born out of colonial architectural gems. The All Saints Cathedral is for sure the best example of Anglican Architectural Cathedral design in entire Asia. It was designed by Sir William Emerson the finest Architect of colonial times.
The Mayo Memorial Hall of Allahabad built by R.Roskell Bayne in the memory of assassinated Viceroy Mayo was designed by Professor Gamble of the South Kensington Museum from London. It is a perfect example of the colonial architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries with its 180 ft high standing towers and interiors decorated with intricate carvings. The hall was used in those times to hold public meetings, receptions and balls of great interest and grandeur.
The building of the Sanskrit College of Varanasi was built in Gothic style and also inspired the initiation and construction of Banaras Hindu University buildings by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge. The Banaras Hindu University is still considered as one of the Asia’s finest of architectural gems from colonial times.
Construction of present day Vidhan Bhawan which is also known as Council House that runs the two legislative assemblies was constructed by Sir Harcourt Butler in 1922 using stones from Mirzapur and took a great long 6 years to be completed.
The Lucknow Raj Bhawan designed by Major General Claude Martin as his residence in those times was also known as Kothi Hayat Baksh. It was declared as the Government House before independence and was officially used as the residence for the Governor of United Provinces and was renamed Raj Bhawan post-independence.
Ring Theatre of the colonial times is currently known as Lucknow GPO and as is obvious by its name was then used to amuse British families with its recreational activities. It was also used as a theatre to screen English films and dramas famous in those times.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Graces also known as The Begum Samru Church in Sardhana is another example of a Roman Catholic Church built in European Architectural style and design.
Uttar Pradesh has many more colonial gems in the form of Dilkusha Palace, The Residency, La Martiniere School and multiple Catholic and Methodist Churches spread across its historical sites of colonial prestige. It is a saying in this part of the world that British Architects gave their best of colonial times to this region as they felt indebted to it just out of pure grit and love with which Uttar Pradesh leaped its British Sahebs and their ever gracious families. It inspired them to create and they left their marks in the history with these offerings of colonial era architecture and grandeur.
Such a confluence of administration and creation was rarely witnessed and so they say, the times fly by, the times of the colonial high. We can still get back in time, thanks to these wonderful buildings as they aren’t just architectural gems but they are the colonial time machines in disguise.