|Mausoleum & school. Constantaia House, Lucknow Taximall|
Have you ever heard of the presence of a mausoleum and educational institutions right under the same roof? yes, it may sound strange, but it does exist in the Indian city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
|Lucknow city, India. Maps of India|
Constantia House, as it is called, is both a school and a mausoleum. Considered as the largest European funerary monument in India, it was built by an officer of the British Army, Claude Martin, in 1785 and it served as a fortress with its cannons and loopholes and turrets. Major-General Claude Martin (1735–1800), initially, was an officer in the French army and later he joined the British East India Company. Martin was quite wealthy and gained his vast fortune while serving Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab wazir of Awadh, and was believed to be the richest Frenchman in India.
Architecturally, the building is a blend of various styles; with Mogul cupolas at the corners and figures of Greek gods and goddesses atop the ramparts and the lions which are symbolic of the East India Company. The strange thing about this unique structure is its basement, that is cooled by vents from the top and the presence of the grave of its founder-builder - Maj. Gen. Claude Martin. This feature forced the historian William Dalrymple to describe Constantia as "The East India Company's answer to the Taj Mahal". The palatial building was built to serve as Martin's country residence. For, security reasons, he fortified it to avoid sudden intrusion from outside. The entire work on the building was completed in 1802, two years after Martin's death on 13 September, 1800. As for the name of the building Constantia, there are two versions about its origin - one with a romantic twist. Martin fell in love with a young French girl Constancy - his very first love. hence the building was named in memory of her. The other side of the story is, according to historians, the name takes its roots from the school motto Labore et Constantia (Work and Constancy) which represents Martin's personal philosophy.
|Constantaia House, Lucknow India.com|
|Maj. Gen.Claude Martinen.wikipedia.org|
Major-General Claude Martin.
Arrived in India as a common soldier
and died at Lucknow on the 13th of September,
1800, as a Major-General.
He is buried in this tomb.
Pray for his soul.
Martin was, as per his 'Will', duly interred in a specially made vault right below the house in the basement. Perhaps, Constantia, in Lucknow city, India is the only building in the world that is both a school and a mausoleum.
01. During the 1857 rebellion when the English officers and their families were fearing for their lives, Constantia served as the strongholds of the British army; it is believed, that garrisoned students and teachers of the institution fought against the rampaging Indian rebels who could not brook the atrocities committed by the corrupt British officers and rude military personnel.
02. The La Martiniere Boys’ college takes the credit of being the only school in the world to have been awarded ‘Royal Battle Honours’ for its role in defence of British officers and families during the siege of Lucknow in 1857.