Peep into the past

Aug 17 2014, 01:32 IST
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SummaryIndia’s rich repository of colonial monuments with unique architectural styles offers travel agents a niche tourism product that needs to be further explored. Here, FE highlights a few of these treasure troves from across the country


Overlooking the Mughal Gardens, Rashtrapati Bhavan is one of the best-known monuments of the British Raj and still remains the best creation of British architect Edwin Lutyens. The Ashoka Hall, commissioned by Lady Wellingdon, depicts a royal expedition. Alongside this is the Marble Hall, filled with distinctive artwork, including statues of King George V and Queen Mary.

Parliament House, also known as Sansad Bhavan, is a legislative building that was added to Lutyens’ layout at a later stage following reforms, which were presented to create a large legislative assembly. The heritage hotels in New Delhi have a traditional setting, decor and style of hospitality, which have been kept the same as in the olden times. Some of these properties are the Oberoi Maidens, next to the banks of Yamuna and overlooking the Red Fort and Jama Masjid; Vivanta by Taj–Ambassador, constructed in 1945 by architect Walter George; the Imperial Hotel at Janpath, which opened in 1936; and Claridges Hotel, which is in existence since the 1950s.


Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, was declared the summer capital of British India in 1864. The destination still has some of the most impressive landmarks of those times, such as Lord Elgin’s Memorial and Viceregal Lodge. Many of the buildings are fine examples of Tudor revival and neo-Gothic architecture. The most recognisable edifice in the city is Christ Church, which is the second-oldest church in north India.

Notable among other heritage properties are the former Viceregal Lodge (now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study), Gaiety Theatre and the former imperial Civil Secretariat (now the Accountant General’s Office), Barnes Court (now the Raj Bhawan) and Vidhan Sabha.


The advent of colonial architecture in the region can be traced back to the later part of the 19th century. Its earliest examples were the residential quarters of European visitors at Sheikh Bagh and some institutional buildings like Amar Singh College and Silk Factory in Srinagar. Some of the best examples, however, can be found in the 20th-century suburbs of the capital city. Though isolated bungalows can still be found in older sections of the city, one can see continuous residential stretches dotted with many European-looking chalets, cottages and country houses in areas such as Samander Bagh, Barzulla, Wazir Bagh, among others.


With a long legacy of Portuguese colonisation, Goa has a lot to its credit when it comes to

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