|The British Residency building. Image courtesy Lakshmi Prabhala|
|British Residency. Hyderabad, India Image credit Sanjay borra firstpost.com|
|British Residency. Hyderabad, India firstpost.com|
India is bestowed with thousands of monuments and heritage sites in the form of Hindu temples, churches, mosques,, Maharajahs' palaces and, of course, colonial buildings dating back to many centuries. They are found far and wide across the Indian land and invariably under the management of the ASI - the Archaeological Survey of India. It is obvious that it is an Herculean task for the government organization to keep all these structures of great antiquity in good shape in their pristine past glory. For various reasons, thousands of them are in a state of neglect or in ruins and far beyond restoration back to their glorious past stature.
|Hyderabad, India, British Resident Kirkpatrick and his wife, Pinrest.com|
Above image: Portraits of James Achilles Kirkpatrick (1764-1805), British Resident at the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and his wife Begam Khair un-Nisa, a lady closely connected to the court.The man who was instrumental in the construction of a grand Residency in Hyderabad, British India..................
It was in September 2017 the iconic British Residency building in Hyderabad, once where the British Resident in the court of the ruler Nizam lived was restored. It is a boon to the posterity if other monuments are repaired and restored as Robert Musil said, ''There is nothing in this world as invisible as a monument.'' The builders of such monuments are dead, but their memory and legacy linger on.
|White Mogul James Patrick. India Chai Bisket|
|Hyderabad city, telengana, India, Mps India.com|
Why do lots of tourist evince interest to visit this colonial site? This structure, once the envy of many rulers, has an irresistible aura about it. During its heyday, it was a seat of British power and their influence on the Indian rulers like the Nizam, the Mysore Maharajah, and others.This structure very much similar to the Greek style of design with pantheon type of huge columns and stunning interior, is unique in this area. The credit goes to James Kirkpatrick, the British Resident in the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad for the English company - East India Company. Landed in Hyderabad Kirkpatrick gave up his European customs and took keen interest in India's culture and developed a taste for Muslim way of traditions and customs. He chose a Muslim woman as his partner and she bore him a couple of children who were sent to England for higher education. The Hyderabad Residency in Neo classical style, with its various unique features like an overlooking observation balcony in the ball room, tall ceiling with fine chandeliers believed to have been procured from King William IV ’s palace, the Durbar Hall of large proportions, painted ceilings, parquet floors of inlaid wood, flanked by giant mirrors, its vast green garden, etc., has its origin to the ingenuity of the British Resident James Kirkpatrick, a man of different taste and the one who knew how to enjoy his life in a hot land far away from his ancestor's home. Subsequent British Residents and their memsahibs used this spacious building for their residential purposes and weekly balls, etc. It is one of the best among the old monuments in the erstwhile Princely state of Hyderabad, and the other being the Falaknuma Palace.
That this imposing colonial monument in the ever-busy area of Hyderabad that had been facing near death, was at last, restored to its original glory needs appreciation as the restoration of a highly damaged old structure needs proper planning, raw materials, and correct execution without disturbing tits heritage elements. The 215 year old Hyderabad Residency was restored a few years ago, including a small model ( a sort of replica) of the same structure (15 foot square in plan and 4 foot high) within the confines of the Residency and the surrounding site; it was built by Kirkpatrick for his wife Begum Khair-un-Nissa, so that she could appreciate the beauty of the Residency mansion constructed in 1803 according to his plan. This model well barricaded by metal to avoid trespassers was almost damaged in 1978 itself due to fall of a big tree. The area around the model had over-grown bushes, wild grass, etc that slowly made the model structurally weak.
|1947 photo of the Model from the private collection of N.Savithri|