Colonial Monuments

Uttar Pradesh played a crucial role in the establishment and expansion of British rule in India. The British East India Company came into contact with the Awadh rulers during the reign of third Nawab of Awadh. There is no doubt that the history of Uttar Pradesh has run concurrently with the history of the country during and after the British rule. Uttar Pradesh also played a key role in the 1857.

The British added several signature structures to the skyline of Uttar Pradesh. At that time Uttar Pradesh was introduced to the imperialistic leanings of colonial architecture and led to a combination of the Indo-Islamic genre with the traditional European Neo-Classical and Gothic style— recognized today as the imperialistic Indo-Sarcenic architecture. The ornamental designs of these buildings, as well as many of the buildings in Lucknow and other places in Uttar Pradesh, clearly reflect a beautiful combination of eastern and western architectural styles. The buildings of this time represents the presence of the old usual domes and towers with a modern colonial touch to them.

Colonial influences can be seen in buildings such as churches, educational institutions, residential quarters, palaces and administrative buildings.

Some prominent structures in Prayagraj, the erstwhile capital of the United Provinces, are the University of Prayagraj and the Prayagraj High Court. The All Saints Cathedral is perhaps the finest Anglican cathedral in Asia. A fine specimen of 13th century Gothic architectural moorings it was designed by Sir William Emerson.

The Mayo Memorial Hall in Prayagraj was built in 1879 by R. Roskell Bayne. Depicting the colonial architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, the hall is situated near Thornhill and Mayne Memorial Library. The hall has a 180 ft high tower and the interiors, which were designed by Professor Gamble of the South Kensington Museum from London. Built in the memory of assassinated viceroy Mayo, the hall used to hold public meetings, receptions and balls.

The present buildings of the Sanskrit College in Varanasi were built in Gothic style. In 1916, the Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge initiated the construction of building of Banaras Hindu University, which is one of Asia’s finest architecture.

In Lucknow the Raj Bhavan used to be Kothi Hayat Baksh which was designed by Major General Claude Martin as his residence. Before India's independence Kothi Hayat Baksh was declared as a Government House, the official residence of the Governor of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. After independence its name was changed to Raj Bhavan.

The construction of Vidhan Bhawan, housing the two Legislatures also known as Council House, was started in 1922 by Sir Harcourt Butler. It was specially made of Mirzapur stone and took six years to complete.

The building which is now referred to as Lucknow GPO, was once a Ring Theatre, used by British families for recreation purposes. It was used as a platform for screening English films and English dramas were also played here.

Other buildings in Lucknow showing colonial architecture are La Martiniere School, The Residency, Dilkusha Palace, Lalbagh Methodist Church and other churches.

The Begum Samru Church in Sardhana, Meerut, is the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces. It is a Roman Catholic Church and a fine example of European architectural style.

The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, India is a 67-acre complex that includes a main temple, a museum, and other structures. The temple is 161 feet (49 meters) tall, 360 feet (110 meters) long, and 235 feet (72 meters) wide and is built in the Nagara style of architecture. The complex includes: Main temple: A three-story temple with five halls (mandaps), 44 doors, and a main entrance called the Singh Dwar. The first floor is dedicated to Lord Rama, the second floor to Lord Hanuman, and the third floor is a museum. The temple's pillars and walls are decorated with statues and carvings. Museum: A museum on the third floor that showcases the history and culture of Ayodhya Yagyashala: A hall for conducting Hindu fire rituals Medical facility: A medical facility within the complex Community kitchen: A community kitchen within the complex Other structures: The complex also includes Shri Ram Kund, Hanuman Gadhi, Veer Maruti Vishal Pratima.

Agra’s Taj Mahal represents the culmination of Mughal architecture in all its refinement and aesthetic delights. Emperor Shah Jahan built it as a fabulous memorial of refined elegance and superb craftsmanship for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj not only incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture, but it has also created a whole new dimension for architectural vision.

Located on the bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, Taj Mahal is the epitome of architectural splendour which is known to the world over as ‘teardrop on the cheek of time’. The Taj’s luminous beauty has been chiseled out of flawless white marble, with an aesthetic application of decorative features such as delectable motifs in pietra dura and calligraphy.

Built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D., this fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj, where Emperor Shah Jahan had died in imprisonment. Jahangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal are the other important monuments inside the fort. UP Tourism has started a new sound and light show which provides an insight into the history of the monuments, which is the visual delight.

Tickets : Rs.150/- (Foreigner),Rs.40/- (Indian) & (Student)Rs.25/-

Perched atop a rocky ridge, 37 KM West of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri came into being four centuries ago when Emperor Akbar, not yet 28 years old, set out to build the first planned city in Indo-Islamic architecture. The plan was started with great vigour but abandoned a decade later.

By 1568, Akbar has secured his empire but his only grief was that he had no son and heir. His search for blessings for the birth of a successor brought him to the Sufi mishit Salim Chishti, who lived in Sikri village. The Saint prophesied the birth of three sons and soon Prince Salim, who later became Emperor Jahangir, was born. To express his gratitude Akbar decided to build Imperial residence in Sikri, which would function as a joint capital with Agra. He also named the new city as Fatehpur Sikri. Akbar was keen builder and the plan of Fathepur Sikri reveals and architectural mastermind at work. Researchers have established that it was planned on definite mathematical grid.

The construction of the Jama Masjid marked the actual beginning of the city which came up around it. The palace courts were laid out parallel to the cardinally align mosque and the sequential order of the places was emphasized by change in level.

Even today its redstone architecture, richly ornamented with carving and fretwork, is in perfect state of preservation

Rumi Gate Rumi Gate

Lucknow, the seat of the nawabs of Awadh, is home to several magnificent monuments. The 60 feet high Rumi Gate in Lucknow was constructed during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. It was built by Nawab Asaf-us-Daula to generate employment during the famine of 1784. It is said to be identical in design to an ancient portal at Constantinople in Turkey and is also referred to as Turkish Gate.

It is a huge ornate structure, marked by an eight faceted chhatri in its uppermost part. In earlier times it was used to mark the entrance to the Old Lucknow City. It is now adopted as a symbol of the city of Lucknow.


In Lucknow, two famous structures of the Nawabi era are: Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara.

Asafi Imambara (Bara Imambara)

This large structure was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and is one of the architectural wonders of that era. Its central hall is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world. Except for the galleries in the interior, there is no woodwork in the entire structure. It is now used by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari.

It has large underground passages which have been blocked up. A staircase from outside leads to a series of labyrinths known as Bhool-Bhulaiya, which is a complicated entanglement of zig-zag passages. Visitors are allowed to visit only with authorized guides. Within the compound of the Imambara is the grand Asafi Mosque. Shahi Baoli is another attraction here.

Chhota Imambara

The Chhota Imambara also known as Hussainabad Imambara, was built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah between (1837-1842). The Imambara has a white dome and numerous turretsand minarets. It is more ornate in design with gilded dome, several turrets, exquisite chandeliers gilt-edged mirrors and colourful stuccos which adorn the interiors.

Chhota Imambara houses the tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah, its builders and his mother. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal architecture. It is decorated and lit up during special occasions.

Khusro Bagh

A large historical garden in which tombs of Shah Begum, Jahangir's Rajput wife; Khusro Mirza, Jahangir's eldest son and Nithar Begum and Jahangir's daughter are located. It was also associated with the freedom struggle of India.

Dhamek Stupa

Dhamek Stupa is the most noticeable structure in Sarnath, near Varanasi. It is one of the most prominent Buddhist structures in India. The Dhamek Stupa was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE.

The Dhamek Stupa represents the deer park (Rishipattana). This park is said to be of great importance as Buddha gave his first sermon here after attaining enlightenment, to his disciples that revealed his “Eightfold Path“.

The Stupa is 28 meters in diameter at the base and 43.6 meters in height, built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.

The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished. The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brahmi script.

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Last Updated On : Friday, dec 16 2022 1:36PM


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