Monday, 20 November 2017

Dilkusha Kothi, a remarkable building damaged during Sepoy mutiny of 1857.

 
Dilkusha Kothi, 1858. en.wikipedia.org

Above image: Dilkusha Kothi in 1858 pictured by Francis Beato. It was seized by the rioting Indian rebels during the Sepoy mutiny.  First attack of Sir Colin Campbell in Nov 1857. The Dilkoosha, Lucknow 1858severly damaged during the skirmishes.  It is claimed that "Dilkusha Kothi is probably one of the most beautiful monuments in the historic city of Lucknow, UP, India ..........................

About Dilkusha (meaning happy heart) Kothi, situated in the NE of Raj Bhavan, Lucknow  - one could see the remnants of what was once an impressive eighteenth-century house built in the  quiet Dilkusha area. It is  remarkably a beautiful artistic creation of the Nawab, using Baroque-Gothic style of architecture.  During the siege of Lucknow in the wake of the widespread  1857 rebellion, this house, Residency and part of  La Martiniere school were attacked and damaged by the hell-bent  resurgents. A few towers and the vast garden remain as vestiges and a reminder of the unjust British rule and the fury of the affected natives. The walls of Dilkusha Kothi carry gunshot marks . The palace was held by the rebels and Sir Colin Campbell, army commander finally took control  over the palace with the British forces. It is said that  British General Sir Henry Havelock died on November 24, 1857, but other sources point out it was not a heroic death to be cherished and remembered,  but it was a simple common ailment "dysentery" that could have been caused by the nerve-wracking siege!! 

Built  around 1800 by the British resident Major Gore Ouseley, a close friend of the ruler of Awadh, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan, the house came up in 1805 to serve as a hunting lodge for the Nawabs, however, it was used by the royal members as a summer  resort for fun and relaxation. Changes were made to its design by Nawab, King Nasir-ud-Din Haider (1827-1837). The building that is on the banks of Gomti river had  patterned walls and no traditional inner courtyard  and the over all structure is tall, but not a big one. A striking feature of Dilkusha Kothi is its stunning resemblance to the style of Seaton Delaval Hall in North Cumberland, England (built in 1721). In the construction of this palace, Lakhauri bricks plastered with lime were widely.  There were tall towers with circular stairway in the extreme parts of the kothi. The main doorway of the kothi was accessed by a series of steps. It is said that the handrail of the staircases were adorned with  female statues close-by. Adjacent to the palace was a building whose lower floor served as a stable for the horses and it also served as  parking  for the Nawab’s horse-drawn waggons.

damaged kothi,Lucknow  en.wikipedia.org

Above image: A picture taken in the 1880s by an unknown photographer shows the palace - Dilkusha Kothi in ruins .... 

partly restored Dilkusha Kothi Palace, Lucknow Justdial
In mid 2000s, the ASI took serious efforts to get this amazing building and the garden repaired and restored back to old charm.  ASI had a plan of shifting the 1857 memorial museum from the Residency to the General Kothi soon. Steps are being taken by the UP government  to repair the  wonderful monuments that are in ruins.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Story-of-1857-to-come-alive-in-Generals-Kothi/articleshow/46994058.cms