In our previous blogs, we gave you guys a glimpse of the trends, history & interior designers who left their mark in the post-1900’s era. In this blog, we feature the grandeur & elegance of the Indian Architecture & Designs which were popular in the pre-1900s era.
In the bygone times, Indian architects used to work as interior designers. This can be deduced from the references of Lord Vishwakarma the architect – one of the gods in Indian mythology. Also, the sculptures illustrating ancient texts and events are seen in chateaus built in India in the 17th century. Nevertheless, many interior design concepts have originated from India.
According to Wikipedia “Courtyards and upper pillared porticoes are principal features of the best Najdi architecture, in addition to the finely incised plaster wood and painted window shutters, which decorate the reception rooms. Good examples of plasterwork can often be seen in the gaping ruins of torn-down buildings- the effect is light, delicate and airy. It is usually around the majlis, around the coffee hearth and along the walls above where guests sat on rugs, against cushions. Doughty wondered if this “parqueting of jis”, this “gypsum fretwork… all adorning and unenclosed” originated from India.
Mysore Royal Palace or Amba Vilas Palace is one of the most alluring Royal Palaces in India. It is the official residence of the Royal Family of Mysore i.e. Wodeyars dynasty. Mysore is also widely famous as the ‘City of Palaces’ for having a large number of royal palaces within the city.
The construction of the Mysore Royal Palace commence during the year 1897 and completed in 1912. Later on, the royal family commissioned the British architect Henry Irwin to extend the palace further.
The architectural characteristics of the domes of the palace are commonly described as Indo-Gothic and amalgamate Muslim, Hindu, Rajput, and Gothic styles seamlessly. It is a three-story stone structure with marble domes and a 145 ft five-story tower. The palace is surrounded by huge gardens. The entrance gate and arch hold the insignia and coat of arms of the kingdom of Mysore, around which is written the kingdom’s motto in Sanskrit: “न बिभॆति कदाचन” (never be scared).
Laxmi Vilas Palace situated in Baroda is one of the biggest palaces in the world. Just to get the things into perspective, this royal palace is four times larger than the Buckingham Palace situated in England. It has a very rich interior design with a beautiful architecture. It is the official residence of the Baroda Royal Family the descendants of the Gaekwad dynasty. It is weighed as one of the most beautiful and largest royal palaces in India.
At the time of its construction, it boasted all the modern amenities of its time such as elevators, and the interiors remind of a large European country house. It still remains the residence of the Royal Family, who are still held in high esteem by the local residents of the city.
The Maharaja also constructed a Lilliputian railway line, which encircled the mango orchard inside the palace compound, to take his children from the school to the main Lakshmi Vilas Palace. The train engine was recently overhauled by Ranjitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad, who was the Maharaja at the time and can be seen at the entrance to the Museum.
The Lake Palace of Udaipur was built amidst 1743 and 1746 under the order of the Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur. This palace was used as the winter residence of the royal family.
His highness was a pious devotee of Lord Surya & this is why the palace was constructed facing east, allowing the royal family to pray to the Hindu Sun God at the crack of dawn. Consecutive rulers used this palace as their summer residence, holding their majestic durbars in its courtyards lined with columns, pillared patios, fountains and gardens.
The walls of the palace are made of black and white marbles and are decorated with semi-precious stones and ornamented slots. Gardens, fountains, pillared patios and columns line its courtyards.
The Lake Palace in Udaipur is one of the most beautiful palaces in Rajasthan. The palace was built on the Lake Pichola’s natural bedrock of 4 acres which is the natural island in Udaipur.
Hawa Mahal is a very popular Royal Castle, thanks to its premeditated ingenious design. The “Hawa Mahal” literally translates to ‘The Palace of Winds’. The palace is located inside the beautiful city of Jaipur. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh Ji. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions of Jaipur & Rajasthan.
The palace is a five-storey cone-shaped monument that rises 54 feet from its highest baseline. The top three floors of the structure have a dimension of one room width while the first and second floors have balconies in front of them. The front acclivity, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb web of a beehive, built with small apertures. Each porthole has miniature windows and carved sandstone grills, ceilings and domes. It gives the appearance of a mass of semi-octagonal bays, giving the monument its unique appearance. The inner face on the back side of the building consists of need-based chambers built with pillars and aisles with minimal decoration, and reach up to the top floor. The interior of the Mahal has rooms of different coloured marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding, while artificial geysers adorn the centre of the courtyard.
Umaid Bhawan Palace situated in Jodhpur is one of the largest private residents in the world. The palace is owned by the Royal Family of Jodhpur. The construction of palace started on 18th November 1929 and completed in 1943. Some parts of the royal palace are now transformed into a heritage hotel, managed by the Taj Group. Umaid Bhawan Palace one of the most beautiful palaces in India.
The entire palace campus is built with sandstone and marble is set in an area of 26 acres of land including 15 acres of well-maintained gardens. The palace is magnificent in its lavish expenses and consists of a throne chamber, an exclusive private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall for the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, an amphitheater, a study, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two unique marble squash courts, and long passages.
It is clear that the Maharajas of India incorporated their lavish lifestyles even in their architecture & design, It’s also clear that they did not shy away from mixing Gothic & Arabic styles to suit their needs and taste.