Thursday, 19 September 2019

All saints' Church in Kirkee, Pune, an early British colonial legacy

.All saints' Church in  Kirkee, Pune.
All saints' Church in  Kirkee, Pune.
Established in 1869,  during the colonial era,  ''All Saints Church church'' was an active one mainly serving the British soldiers of Southern Command.  It is said that important military officers like the commander in chief of the southern command, the governor, etc used to offer prayers in this church.

The !82 year old All saints' Church in  Kirkee, Pune  conducted  2138 baptisms over a period of 100 years 1837 to 1937. This church has been mainlining  a perfect record of marriages, deaths and baptisms of people associated with this one  since 1854. Hence lots of British, on a visit to India, go to this church and scrutinize the records of their forefathers who worked in India in the Raj or in the early colonial period. 

Built in sandstone and teak wood  with fine wooden ceiling in 1837, this church is 182 years old and is being well-maintained. Classified as Grade I heritage church, it was known earlier as the 'Christ Church'. Initially, the structure was a small one and in 1845 and later in 1866, additions were made to make it a large one. How come it got the new name - All Saints' church?  The assumption is that, perhaps, the church was consecrated on the first of November which is All Saints' Day world over.
According to the secretary of the church Norman Laffrey since 1854, 62 Chaplains or priests have dedicated their services to the growth of this church by taking care of the spiritual need, etc of the Christian community living here. Presently, the church is serving a big community.
All saints' Church in  Kirkee, Pune.
In the colonial period, it used to be a garrison church, catering to the soldiers and higher-ups, During services there used to be separate seating for higher officials. The pews in front still hold the brass plagues showing places where  Governor, General Officer in Command and others  would sit and the pews are provided with slots to rest their service rifles. Dating back to 1834, there are countless stone plaques in the church, commemorating their  supreme sacrifices for the country during wars. Toward the altar one can see two flags of battalion adorning the sides of the wall.

 Equally interesting is the presence of an old church bell that was cast in 1845. The bell that  weighs about 500kg is set in the bell tower at a height of 45 feet. Yet another features that enhance the look of this beautiful churches are the stained classes that weigh close to one ton. They were specially made in Belgium, They are fixed  in the west end, north face in  the altar. The damaged stained classes were replaced with new ones in 2000. There is also a nice balcony made of teak wood and in the colonial era the Garrison band would play certain numbers on this balcony adding  charm to the colonial legacy and tradition.  It is being managed by the Bombay Diocean Association and in Nov. 2012 the church celebrated its 175 anniversary  with some exciting events,

The church is in Kirkee (now known as Khadki), Pune.  It was here the British East India Company' army had defeated the Peshwas (Marathas)  army and had made inroads in the Deccan.
Post independence 1947, the defence ministry handed over the charge of this church to the Indian church trustees,  Calcutta. Subsequently it became a part of the Churches of North India. The church also contains the regimental colors of the 23rd Bombay Light Infantry.


The shrine of St. Teresa of Avila at Mahe, one of the oldest churches on coastal Malabar

St. Teresa’s Shrine, Mahé (Mahé Church),

In India,  there are innumerable old churches, some dating back to 2nd century. Though St. Thomas established the seven and half churches on the coastal south Kerala, more missionaries arrived here after the discovery of sea route to India by Vasco da Gama in 1498. Anglican churches had begun to appear when the British East India company had laid strong roots in India. About the old churches in India,  the shrine of St. Teresa of Avila at Mahe, is one  among them,  perhaps, the oldest shrine in Malabar after churches established by St. Thomas, a prime disciple of Christ. Mahé, a small town  surrounded on all sides by Kerala, is  part of the Union Territory of Pondicherry that was once controlled by the French. Mahe,  poetically called Mayyazhi or the Eyebrow of the Sea, became the domain of the French East India Company and the 18th century fort here is a legacy of French rule.

The Carmelite Archives at Rome contained certain pretty old document regarding Christianity on the west coast of India.  In a document  titled "De Missione Mahinensi in Malabaribus Commentarius" by Rev. Father Ignatius A.S Hippolytes O.C.D (dated 2 July 1757), the Shrine at Mahe  came up in  1736 and  earlier Italian priest Rev.  Dominic of St. John of the Cross  established the Mahe Mission in 1723 during the reign of King Bayanor, the Raja of Kadathanad near Vatakara. The shrine was a simple one with thatched roof and was  to meet the demands of a growing Christian community in this part.  In December 1736  Rev. Dominic  held the dedication ceremony.
St. Teresa’s Shrine, Mahé (Mahé Church), India
The Carmelite Missionaries engaged in missionary activities and they  baptized a  large number of native people. In 1736, the revelry between the French and British forces here, besides French revolution, had their echoes in Mahe. Consequently, the Shrine
had borne the brunt of the wars and in March 1779, the damage was beyond redemption. It was one Abbe Duchenin in 1788 took efforts and restored it as it stands now. Later additions took place - renovation of the  tower in 1855 and a clock on the tower presented by the French Marines. After a long gap in 1956 the shrine underwent major renovation including  electrical installations  as visitors to this place were on the increase. Later several facilities were introduced to meet the needs of the people, including Parish Hall and a New Presbytery. It was in 2010 major renovation of the Shrine was done with care and attention.
St. Teresa’s Shrine, Mahé (Mahé Church), India
As for the the origin of the statue of St. Teresa, there are two versions; one being when the  miraculous statue was taken in a ship along the West Coast of India, the seamen could not move the ship further off the coast of Mahe. as it stopped right there.  There upon, they decided  it was the will of St. Teresa of Avila
to be enshrined
St. Teresa’s Shrine, Mahé (Mahé Church), India
at Mahe. The other version is the fishermen accidentally ran into the  miraculous statue that was  caught in a fishing  net in the sea near Mahe.  Later the statue was brought ashore  and installed in the shrine.
With respect to festivities, the ''feast of the Shrine'' is a popular one that  starts in the second week (5th) to fourth week (22nd) of every October with 14th and 15th being the main days of the feast. This festival  of Mahe is attended by devotees from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu  and Kerala  regardless  of religions and castes.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

St.Paul's, Kolkata set a precedent by allowing Christ related concert inside the church during Christmas!!

St Paul's Cathedral, Kolkara, India

Church tower of St. Paul's Cathedral

172 year old St. Paul Cathedral, Kolkata is one of the most  popular churches in Asia where the only public event that had been held for 171 years was the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. From 2019 on ward, concerts related to Christ  will be allowed on the Church premises and it will be free for all. Thanks to CNI (Church of North India) whose  managing body has jurisdiction over this early colonial church built in Calcutta to meet the spiritual  needs of a big Christian community lived there. The purpose of this arrangement is to help other communities access the free concert on the church premises  and and enjoy the entertainment for a few hours in an atmosphere charged with religious fervor. 

In  England, long before, in the run up to Christmas,  on  four Sundays in many English churches concerts will be held inside the church as part of ''Advent Christ''. This practice has been vogue for a long time and it marks the beginning of new Christian year with  celebrations of Christmastide - Christmas season, starting on the Christmas Eve and going up to Epiphany (12th day of Christmas),
St. Paul's cathedral, Kolkata, gettyimages
ie, January 6th.  The date of beginning of Christmas Advent varies. At St. Pauls musical concerts were held to celebrate the great event last year during the Christmas time. Last year concerts included a symphony, vocal singers and string instrumental players. Incidentally, Calcutta Diocese is the oldest  one in India - about 200 years. Admission is normally free and the aspirants have to get a pass beforehand. During the coming Christmas season, 2019 the Church has a plan to introduce Bengali singers as part of the concert to make the Bengali-speaking people feel  at home. 

Last year in the second week of December, tremors in Sikkim and NE part of India  had  light impact on this historical church and the facade on the east side facing Nehru street showed considerable  damage, minor one that needed attention. Besides minor subsidence, cracks developed in many places and the heritage lovers and the cathedral authorities are making efforts to restore this great cathedral. The estimated cost is roughly Rs 4 crores. The church, any way, needed repairs and restoration and plans are afoot to get the old cathedral restored as early as possible. It ia main heritage site in Kolkata that carries the legacy of colonial rule that had its roots in Bengal long ago.
St. Paul' cathedral , Kolkata


St. Paul's Cathedral with Anglican background in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is well-known for its Gothic architecture. Completed in 1847 after eight long years,  besides being the largest cathedral in Kolkata and the first Episcopal Church in Asia,  It was also the first cathedral built abroad  in the  the British Empire. community in Calcutta in the 1800s. This cathedral was  reconstructed to a revised design in  "Indo-Gothic" and  Gothic architectural style after the 1897  and  1934 earthquake.  
St. Paul's cathedral, Kolkata, gettyimages

Following this natural calamity the tower of the cathedral was rebuilt along the lines of the central Bell Harry tower of Canterbury Cathedral. On its completion, St. Paul's replaced St. John's Church as the cathedral. It is located to the east of the Victoria Memorial and at the southern edge of the maidan, a park and  can accommodate 800 to 1,000 people at a time for the services. The architects were  William Nairn Forbes and C.K. Robinson and the cost of construction work was about Rs. 4,35,669. Bishop Daniel Wilson, the founder of the cathedral, the other notablee were buried in the graveyard. John Paxton Norman, an acting Chief Justice who was assassinated in 1871 was also buried here.  Yet another interesting fact is the cathedral  has a statue of Bishop Heber (1783–1826; an English bishop, man of letters and hymn-writer), who was the Second Bishop of Calcutta; his statue was sculpted by Francis Leggatt Chantrey.
St John's church in Trichinopoly, wikipedia
Above image:  St John's church in Trichinopoly, Tamil Nadu where Heber preached his last sermon and where he is buried.....................

St. Paul's cathedral, Kolkata, gettyimages

Bishop Heber, on a visit unexpectedly died on 3 April 1826 in a church founded by German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz in Tiruchirappali city, Tamil Nadu. The famous Bishop Heber School (founded by  Friedrich Schwarz), Bishob Heber  College and the busy Bishop Huber Street In Tiruch city bear his name in his honor.,_Kolkata


Red Taj (The tomb of John Hessing), Agra built by a wife in memory of her husband!

Red Taj, Agra
Red Taj, Tomb of John Hessing. Agra
 The beautiful  Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal is one of the world famous monuments entirely made of high quality white marble during the Mogul period. Almost every day thousands of people visit this site in Agra, near Delhi to enjoy the grandeur and beauty of this fine building which is symbolic of love of a famous ruler toward his wife who gave  him inspiration  and moral support during his tumultuous reign. So Agra is synonymous with the Taj, one of the most visited monuments in the world.
Red Taj, Tomb of John Hessing. Agra
Have you ever heard of yet another Taj  called ''Red Taj'' or ''The tomb of John Hessing'' in the same city-Agra? Do you know it was built by a woman as a symbol of her love to him? In these two monuments, expression of eternal love  and memory was the main theme that remains etched in pages of history. In Agra, if you run into one  that is almost like a replica of the Taj, you are in surprise. It was built by one Ann, wife of  one John Hessing as an expression of her deep love for her husband who happened to be a military man in India. Because of  wide publicity, articles in magazines and newspapers, people visiting Agra, never fail to make a beeline to the marble edifice  Taj, but they give less importance to other monuments like old colonial churches and equally interesting monuments. The Red Taj is left out by countless tourists for reasons of either poor publicity or sheer ignorance.
This not yet well-explored edify  also known as John Hessing Tomb is built in Indo-Mogul style. Believe it or not, people have mentioned that  because of its simplicity and color of the stone the Red Taj  has a unique charm about it which is quite irresistible. The stricture  stands on a square platform with a corridor around, and an  impressive dome that  adds extra beauty to this site. 

Inside the central hall lies  the grave of  John Hessing with a few English inscriptions  engraved on his tomb. Inscriptions read: ... the deceased colonel was a Dutchman, who died Commandant of Agra, in his 63rd year, 21 July 1803, just before (Col) Lake's successful siege of the place   It is almost a mirror  image of the Taj in style  and design, but its simple but conventional structure makes it more interesting. Unlike the highly embellished Taj that is big this one is  far smaller than the original. The tomb, is believed to have been  completed in or about the year of the British conquest.
Red Taj, Tomb of John Hessing. Agra
In those days countless Europeans settled in India for religious freedom and took up jobs with various kingdoms. The pay was good and they were happy;  many of them took employment in construction work and also in the armies.  John Hessing (5 November 1739 - 21 July 1803), a Dutch traveler, became an employee in the service of the Maratha army  and served in the 18th and 19th centuries, commanding big troops. Marathas headed by Daulat rao Scindia quite satisfied with his hard work and dedication,  in 1799  put him   in charge of  the Agra Fort and its command. The East India company Army  had a row with the Marathas who had successfully blocked their land-grabbing spree in this part. Frequent skirmishes were common between the English company and the Marathas. The British Army in the year 1803 raided the Agra  in order to get it under their control  the Second Anglo-Maratha War). Unfortunately, the commander John Hessing, despite his stiff resistance to  guard the fort, was killed in action in Agra on 21 July 1803 in the battlefield. Earlier,  Hessing commanded 3000 Maratha regular troops in the Battle of Kardla, where the army defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad on 12 March 1795.

Devastated and grief-stricken,  his wife Ann Hessing wanted to do something in honor of her husband. So, she  commissioned this monument almost on the model of the Taj in memory of Hessing, but chose red stone as the main construction material

The Red Taj is no longer a forgotten historical monument of simplicity and beauty. But, it bears testimony to the colonial era when European travelers, traders and and mercenaries lived in India comfortably and got a name for  themselves in various Indian kingdoms and proved their loyalty to them. In this respect John Hessing  was a military officer who gave his life for the Marathas to save the Agra Fort from the EIC army. The Red Taj or Hessing Tomb is  inside  Padretola, or Padresanto, a Catholic Christian cemetery in Agra.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sher Mandal, Delhi where Mogul emperor Humayun accidentaly died!!

Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion). Delhi
Located within the confines of the Purana Qila fort in Delhi, is a historical building called  Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion). This 16th century monument is believed to have been built  on the recommendation of Babur by Farid (Sher Shah) for his son Humayun and so the name was  retained as  Sher Mandal. ‘Sher Shah’ had tried to finish the building  as part of the fort, but he died
Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion).
when the construction was in progress. So the responsibility of completing the work fell on Mogul ruler Humayun who in turn, completed the monument. The Building was built originally as a personal observatory and library for Humayun. 

This simple, but great monument is a two-story octagonal tower made of red sandstone with steep staircase leading up to the roof. Believed to be the first observatory  of Delhi, the tower is characteristic of an octagonal chhatri  atop supported by eight pillars and decorated with white marble in typical Mogul style. Inside the monument one could see  the remnants of the decorative plaster work and traces of stone shelving where, presumably, the emperor’s books were kept.

 Mogul ruler Humayun, in a freak accident, died here in 1556 after falling down a flight of stairs. This was recorded by some members of the royal court of Humayun's son Akbar. According to Fazl, a historian  on 20 January 1556 (sources give 24 January), Humayun  was on the roof of a recently fitted library to bless his subjects. The accident took place in the evening while he had just begun to descend. No sooner had he stepped on the second step than he heard the ''azaan'', the Muslim call to prayer. Humayun, when getting ready to pray,  as he stood up, one of his legs became entangled with his robe, He tripped,  resulting his fatal fall down the stairs. He sustained serious injury on his temple and died  a few days later.  The public announcement, it is mentioned,  was made  17 days after his death and by that time ruler Akbar had already reached Delhi from Agra.
Sher Mandal (Sher Shah's Pavilion), Delhi
The structure  is a mix of  Timurid and Safavid architecture, and is  the only surviving palace structure within the fort. Earlier it was thought by some historians  that Sher Mandal was built by ruler  Sher Shah Suri in 1541 as a pleasure resort. The subject of original  builder of this structure has been a serious one among the researchers and at last it was agreed it was built by Humayun. 
Researcher Ram Nath mentions that  the architectural designs of  Sher Mandal fall under a homogeneous construction  and is consistent with Humayan's style.The near-by Qal’a-i Kuhna masjid or  the pavilion resemble any of the buildings of Sher Shah.

The building, a two-story octagonal structure (about 60 feet in height is constructed of red sandstone that gives it an impressive look.It has has two extremely steep, narrow, and irregular granite staircases and there are  eighteen steps each running along the northern and southern walls connecting the two floors. There is a single staircase joining the upper floor with the terrace. The dados of the  middle story contain a 12-pointed star.  This was specially introduced as  ruler Humayun considered  it auspicious though  it is an astronomical numeral.
The cruciform chamber in the upper story is an interesting one - a single square-shaped room at the center  opens out into four smaller rooms.  The chamber has semi-vaulted softies on the sides supporting the four arches and a vaulted ceiling.  The interiors have fine designs and decorations of glazed tiles and incised stucco.
The lower story is  is inaccessible and it is presumed that it corresponds to a temporary burial site of Humayan. The chamber that was initially open, was later closed out of respect and Humayun's corpse was moved to a newly commissioned tomb  two years after his death in this building.

The Mughal Empire - war of succession and murder of prince Dara Shikoh changed Indian history!!

Mogul Dynasty, Indian subcontinent
Mogul Dynasty, Indian subcontinent.
The Mogul Empire  was founded in 1526 by none other than Babur, a warrior chieftain from a land what today is known as Uzbekistan.  Being a good war strategist with help from neighboring empires, he defeated  the Sultan of Delhi  Ibrahim Lodhi, in the First Battle of Panipat and put  the plains of Upper India under his control. The Mogul imperial rule saw its gradual heyday from 1600 to the rule of  Babur's grandson, Akbar. The prestige of imperial rule lasted till 1720.  The reign of last major emperor, Aurangzeb, saw maximum geographical extent, however, being a treacherous ruler, war-monger and religious bigot, toward the end of his rule, the Mogul  opulence and reputation began to go down hill. Relentless wars with the Marathas and others had an impact on the Mogul treasury that became almost empty. The  ruinous wars of succession in the three decades among Mogul rulers following the death of Aurangzeb had further weakened the empire.  Over a span of 132 years nearly 400 historical monuments survived, mostly made of marbles, red sandstone impregnated with gemstones, etc. Moguls introduced a fusion of Indo-Mogul style, symbolic of the blend of Indian culture.
raid on Delhi by Iranian ruler Nadir
 Above image:  Nadir Shah at the sack of Delhi - Battle scene with Nader Shah on horseback, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 
 Emperor Nader Shah, the Shah of Persia (1736–47) and the founder of the Afsharid dynasty of Persia, invaded the Mogul Empire, eventually plundered Delhi in March 1739. His army had not only easily defeated the Moguls at the battle at Karnal but also captured Delhi. His army went on a killing binge. Nadir asked his soldiers to  carry out the notorious ''qatl-e-aam'' (killing of common people).  In a short span  of six hours in one day - 22 March 1739, about  20,000 to 30,000 Indian men, women and children were butchered by merciless Afsharid troops A worst  massacre in the city of Delhi,  Further, some 10,000 women and children were taken slaves, according to a representative of the Dutch East India 
Company in Delhi.  In the wake of this worst plundering  and raid on Delhi and Nader Shah's  big victory against the weak and crumbling Moguls, the  Dynasty  lost its name and dignity in the far east in South Asia. The British East India Company that had been in India for decades was waiting for a chance to move in to get rid of the last Mogul descendants  for good. ....................
 Yet another blow to the Mogul supremacy  was the raid by Nadir Shaw of Iran who plundered Delhi and other places besides taking away the diamond-studded golden peacock throne, koh-i-noor and Darya-i-Noor ( meaning "Mountain of Light" and "Sea of Light," respectively) diamonds and other innumerable treasures. Literally, Nadir Shah made the Moguls bleed  and weakened their regal power and influence.
The imperial Diwan of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah

 Above image: Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad Shah (7 August 1702 – 16 April 1748) was Mughal emperor from 1719 to 1748, was the son of Khujista Akhtar, (the fourth son of Bahadur Shah I). He ascended the throne at the young age of 17 with help from Sayyid brothers. Being ungrateful, he later got rid of them with the help of Asaf Jah I. Syed Hussain Ali Khan was murdered at Fatehpur Sikri in 1720 and  Syed Hassan Ali Khan Barha was  poisoned in 1722 .................
The empire later became  fragmented, and the Governors or Nawabs appointed by the Moguls  as ''Agents'' became independent rulers of respective regions. The wily British who had been in the subcontinent, gobbling kingdom after kingdom became a powerful force to reckon with and it was no better chance for them to  reduce Mogul' s power to  just a ruler of a small place with annual dole from the English company. Having acquired most parts of India  except  areas around Delhi during the 1857 rebellion,  British East India Company  took over the Delhi administration and asked the last Mogul ruler to leave his palace  and made him live  elsewhere as an ordinary Indian. Thus EIC and later the Crown removed the regal powers from the Nawabs and Maharajahs and made them lead a fairly comfortable lives with  dole and fancy titles to cool their ego. The last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar's ill treatment by the British  and killing of his young legal heirs in daylight right before the public on the outskirts of Delhi added yet another dark chapter in British India history.  
At what point of time Mogul opulence and dignity had begun to decline? In 1650s,  it was the heyday for the Mogul kings. Their wealth was far more than any of the European kings, as a matter of fact, European ruler's opulence was nothing before them.  The  empire started developing cracks when Aurangzeb  arrived on the political scene.  He imprisoned his father and murdered three of his brothers. His fanaticism  and arrogance further widened the cracks in the ruling class.
Mogul heir-apparent Dara Shikoh murdered by Aurangzeb.
 Dara Shikoh (20 March 1615 – 30 August 1659) being  the eldest son was  heir-apparent of the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan.  Bestowed with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba ("Prince of High Rank") he was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum. A man of wisdom and commonsense, who had a flair for literary works in Persian and Urdu, Dara was a deserving candidate. Further, he had good contact with the Hindus, Sikhs and other faiths in the land.  Being greedy, grasping, merciless and  younger than other sons of Shah Jahan,  Aurangzeb  set his eyes firmly on the Mogul throne. At the instigation of Aurangzeb, the royal family was gripped with  the war of succession that ensued after Shah Jahan's illness in 1657.  Dara was defeated in a battle by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (later, the Emperor Aurangzeb). and was executed in a gruesome manner right before his son in public in 1659 by ruthless Aurangzeb who also sent his father to jail. After causing murders and and confusion in the royal family he  ascended the throne. Though he was a great warrior, Aurangzeb's reign  was a dark chapter in Indian history; it saw religious suppression and persecution of Non-Muslims, temple destruction, etc and frequents battles with other rulers. All these had a run on the Mogul coffers. Money and man power were lost and toward the end of his life, Aurangzeb  almost became broke. Later under his son Bahadur Shaw I, the dynasty with a weak army,  became an easy target for invasions from NW of India. 
The Bibi Ka Maqbaraen,  Aurangabad,

The Bibi Ka Maqbara built in memory of his chief wife  Dilras Banu Begum (posthumously known as Rabia-ud-Daurani) in Aurangabad, was commissioned in 1660 by Aurangzeb. Often referred to as ''poor man's Taj'', he could not afford to spend a large sum on this structure  due to severe budgetary constraints. This resulted in a poor copy of the Taj Mahal.
1658- 1707 Trecherous and religious bigot, Emperor Aurangzeb /

Thus in the Mogul Empire, fratricides frequently took place due to  wars of succession. Ruler Shah Jahan had his eldest brother Khusrau Mirza killed in 1622.  Shah Jahan also had his brother Shahriyar killed in 1628. Shah Jahan's son, Dara Shikoh was assassinated by four of his brother Aurangzeb's henchmen in front of his terrified son on the night of 30 August 1659 (9 September Gregorian).
So the ascendancy of treacherous Aurangzeb tolled the slow death of the Mogul rule in India.  Subsequently they were hard-pressed for money to maintain a huge army and in the later period their army was not strong enough as it used to be in the past.  Nadir Shah's  plundering and looting of Delhi accelerated the down fall of a great empire.
Murad Ali Baig's book "is about a gap in Indian history. It covers details  about  great emperors like Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and  Aurangzeb;  The escalating rivalry between Emperor Shah Jahan's sons Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb over the  throne had driven a wedge in the  royal family but also changed the course of history of the nation, according to  Author Murad Ali Baig. Their heyday saw the sunset when the British banished the last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah  Zafar to Burma in his old age. They also without remorse killed  three of his legal heirs after the 1857 great Rebellion.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Awe-inspiring Deeg Palace, Bharatpur, Rajasthan

Deeg Palace, Rajasthan

Built in 1772,  Deeg Palace  has become  a luxurious summer resort after 1972. Jat ruler Badan Singh, who ascended  the throne in 1721, built it here.  Deeg, Rajasthan  was the original capital of the Jat rulers and they shifted the capital to  Bharatpur;  it is said, for security reasons. The palace is about 32 km from Bharatpur. The Muslim invaders of Delhi used to attack Deeg because of its strategic location and proximity to Agra. Prince Suraj Mal, being shrewd as he was, did not want to take any risk and decided to have a fort built  in a safe place. In earnest, he  began the construction of a fortress around the palace in 1730. The fort  was a formidable one with massive walls and deep and wide moat all around to  keep the invaders away. 
Entrance to Deeg palace, Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
Entrance to Deeg palace, Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
In the vicissitude of time, Deeg saw many ups and downs and once it became a center of a major battle  between the combined forces of the Moguls and Marathas on one side and Rajputs on the other. In this battle, Suraj Mal emerged victorious and this well-earned victory gave him lots of  confidence. At one point Suraj Mal raided the red fort, Delhi and plundered it,  carrying away a huge bundle of valuables, besides an entire marble building, which was dismantled and numbered. The palace -Deeg was then built with marbles taken away from Delhi.
Deeg palace, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Deeg palace, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, Charbagh garden
Deeg palace garden with fountains, Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
 The palace in quadrangle form has  a garden and walk-ways at its center.  Decorative flowerbeds, shrubs, trees and fountains  were introduced to cool the place considerably during summer. The jat rulers were influenced by the Mogul architecture and built the building on the Mogul model. Their gardens show the influence of Mogul Charbagh that provides a serene and cool ambiance for relaxation near the palace. Two huge water tanks, Gopal Sagar and Rup Sagar, on either side were built to keep the palace cool and comfortable during horrible hot days in this part of India.This palace is known for its beauty, grandeur and, of course, its nice  and cool gardens. A famous week-end spot one can not miss the Mogul and Rajasthani splendor of this historical palace.