Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Romantic Kashmir, 1906


Photographs from 'The Romantic East: Burma, Assam, & Kashmir' by Walter Del Mar (1906)


 Shankracharya Hill
 Wular Lake


 Bund



Sher Garhi Palace, the Summer place of 19th-century Dogra ruler, Pratap Singh. Most of it destroyed in a fire some years ago.
Fateh Kadal

Biscuit Tin Temple [ Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha or  Gadhadhar Temple near Sher Garhi Palace ]



I believe the above image is of the Gadhadhar Temple or the Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha as it looked in 40s. This was also the site of old Secretariat.  [Check comments on post Kashmir in 1945 ]

Update: Thanks to questioning by Man Mohan Ji and some subsequent self-questioning, I now believe that the above image is not of Gadhadhar Temple  of Srinagar but may well be of Gadhadhar Temple of Jammu. It seems that Dogras built two temples with the same name in the two capitals of their Kingdom.  [Check comments for more on this.]

Update: The above image may in fact be of a Jain temple in Calcutta. Check original post (Kashmir in 1945) for updates.

Kashmiri Beauties
Jama Masjid or The Great Mosque
Zaina Kadal, the fourth Bridge
Shah Hamadan
Hari Pabat
On the River, 1906
On the River, 2008

Jhelum Bank
Leaving on House Boat
A village on Naru Canal

Duck Hunter near Sopore. He is re-winding the turban to be photographed. His musket, lashed to the boat, projects forward.

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4 comments:

  1. Comment from Man Mohan Munshi Ji about the Buscuit tin temple:

    "The temple seen on the right side of picture, No. 4 with caption "Sher Garhi Palace" is real Gadadhar temple. It did not look much different in 1940 from what it looks in this picture

    The construction of the structure seen in picture NO, 7 is not of Gadadhar temple, infact not a temple of Srinagar. I have a fair memory of Srinagar of 1940s, there neither is nor was a tank in Srinagar. More ever if one studies the architecture of the buildings on the left side of the said temple with its railing and flat roof it betrays the fact that the construction is from some area other than Kashmir. The statue of th white mounted horse has not been seen in Kashmir. The only statue of white horse which was not mounted and was bareback was in front of Parsi Businessman Pestonjee's building at Kothibagh on the residency road."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for writing in. You may be right. But check this page from "Forts and palaces of the Western Himalaya By Aśoka Jeratha" [google book link ] for info. on water tank and Gadhadhar temple. I am making connection between the image of temple from 1906 and the temple from 1945 based on a couple of assumptions:

    1. the image from 1945 is of a Kashmiri temple. Given the structure and location of the temple, the temple from 1906 could easily be modified to look like the temple from 1945. For planner back then, a 'modern look' would definitely have meant extensive use of plaster of paris. If you removed the wooden construction around. From the dome of it the two structures look similar. The real temple could be inside and around it could have been built a super structure to give it a formal look of a temple (the kind of look we have today)

    2. If you look at the two structures both of them have stairs leading up from them from left side.

    3. Sher Shahi Place was built (not in a very aesthetic manner, I must say) in Greco-Roman style. Background Building in both the images looks very faux Greco-Roman to me.

    But yes, we can still can't say it definitely. I will keep a look-out for more on that mystery temple from 1945.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just double checked. I think you are right. That temple from 1945 may not be the Gadhadhar temple from Srinagar. But as that link to that page from 'Forts and palaces of the Western Himalaya' by Aśoka Jeratha proves that there was a Gadhadhar temple in Jammu too. I think the second image could well be of Gadhadhar temple of Jammu having a water tank near Raja Ram Singh Palace which is believed to have been designed by European architects but implemented by local hands (which might explain it faux European look). In a way it makes sense that the Dogras would have two somewhat identical temples with same name near the seat of their power at the two capitals of their Kingdom. There were other photographs from that set of 1945 photographs that were miss-labeled by photographer as Kashmir. But now I think even those might have been from Jammu region.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Update and correction from Man Mohan Munshi Ji:

    "I don't think it is Gadadhar temple of Jammu either, though it is still there behind Mubarak Mandi (old Secretariat). This temple is located on first floor of the building, ground-floor housed some offices of the Govt. It had a tank in front of it but the level of water in the tank was about 15 to 20 feet below the plinth of the ground floor of the building. All sides of the tank had staircases upto water level more ever the size of the tank was much smaller than seen in picture no 7.The tank was there upto 1950s and was subsequently filled up and at present is used as playground by children of Dewan Badri Nath School. I it will take some time to identify the structure."

    ReplyDelete

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