Feb 22, 2009

Calcutta [Kolkata] river view, with sailing ships - 1880s

Calcutta [Kolkata] river view, with sailing ships - 1880s

Two views of Bathing ghat in Calcutta, by Bourne and Shepherd, c.1880's

Bathing ghat in Calcutta, by Bourne and Shepherd, c.1880's

Bathing at Kali Ghat Calcutta [Kolkata] - 1880s

Bathing at Kali Ghat Calcutta [Kolkata] - 1880s
The River is Adi Ganga

Feb 21, 2009

People of Darjeeling - 1870s

Photograph of Buddhist Monastery in Darjeeling, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken by John H.Doyle in the 1870s. This photograph is one a series of views and ethnographical studies taken at Darjeeling by John H. Doyle. This view shows several Llamas at worship and some masked Llamas in attendance at the Bhutia Busty monastery. The monastery was built in 1879 and many Buddhist scriptures were found here, including the cult book 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead'. The temple also has beautiful murals.

Photograph of Lepchas at Darjeeling, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken by John H.Doyle in the 1870s. The Lepcha people are the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim (which was the Kingdom of Sikkim till 1975, when it became a part of India), situated in between Nepal and Bhutan. The Lepchas have become a minority in their own homeland. Their shamanist religion and lifestyle has been a source of fascination to anthropologists. Their language is unmistakably a member of the Tibeto-Burman language family, but its exact position within the group is uncertain. This is a group portrait of Lepcha people gathered in an open-sided hut at Darjiling. 

Photograph of Tibetan and Bhutia coolie labourers, from an album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken John H. Doyle in the 1870s. Coolies were hired labourers or burden carriers. Bhutias were Himalayan people who are believed to have emigrated southward from Tibet in the 9th century or later. The Bhutia constitute a majority of the population of Bhutan and form minorities in Nepal and India, particularly in Sikkim and Darjeeling.

General view of Darjeeling, showing the Snowy Range, 40 miles distant, as seen from St Paul's School - 1870s

Photograph of Darjeeling, from an Album of Miscellaneous views in India, taken by John H.Doyle in the 1870s. Darjeeling was part of the territory of the Rajas of Sikkim till the 18th century and was given to the British in 1835. The British built a sanatorium here and it soon became the summer headquarters of the Bengal government. This is a general view overlooking the town, looking north towards Sikkim and the Himalayas, with the peak of Kanchenjunga visible in the far distance.

Kanchenjunga in the Himalayan range is the third highest peak in the world.

Feb 19, 2009

A private teacher in one of the indigenous schools in Varanasi (Benares) - 1870

Photograph of a private teacher at an indigenous school in Varanasi (Benares) in Uttar Pradesh from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: India Office Series (Volume 46), taken in c.1870 by Brajo Gopal Bromochary. 

A private teacher in one of the indigenous schools in Varanasi (Benares) teaching boys to write letters and figures on the ground. The standing boy with arms raised is undergoing punishment.

From the middle of the nineteenth century the government encouraged the improvement of indigenous and vernacular schools across the sub-continent. This view, showing a class in progress in front of cloth backdrop, was probably exhibited at one of the European Universal Exhibitions during the nineteenth century in order to demonstrate methods of teaching and discipline. The photograph is inscribed on the album page, 'Taken by the photographer in the service of H.H. the Maharaja of Benares...Exhibitor H.H. the Maharaja of Benares. After exhibition to be placed at the disposal of His Excy. the Secretary of State for India.'

Dasasumedhaghat, Varanasi [Benares] - 1883

View of the Dashashvamedha Ghat from the Kitchener of Khartoum Collection: 'Views of Benares. Presented by the Maharaja of Benares' by Babu Jageswar Prasad in 1883. Dashashvamedha Ghat, on the River Ganges at Varanasi, is one of the busiest of the cities many ghats, where residents and pilgrims perform their ablutions, Brahmin priests sit on wooden platforms under bamboo umbrellas to offer prayers for their clients, masseurs ply their trade and boatmen jostle for custom. The name of the Ghat is derived from the legend that this was the site where Lord Brahma performed the "Das ashvamedha" (10 horse) sacrifice for King Divodasa. This ghat is regarded as one of the world’s most celebrated tirthas, or ‘crossing places’ where the devotee can gain access to the divine and gods and goddesses can come down to earth.

Palace of the Maharajah Chat Singh, Ramnagar, Benares (Varanasi) - 1880

Photograph of the Palace of Maharaja Chat Singh in Benares from the 'Earl of Jersey Collection' was taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. Ramnagar is situated on the right bank of the Ganges River and was made the capital of the former princely state of Benares (Varanasi) by Raja Balwant Singh in 1750. A series of courtyards lead to the white towers of the main palace within the fort, with the private appartments on one side of the tower and the Durbar Hall and reception rooms on the other. The palace is visible in the right background.

Feb 15, 2009

Low Tide, Custom House Ghat Calcutta 1865

Photograph of ghat at low tide from 'Views of Calcutta and Barrackpore' taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s. General view of sailing ships moored on the Hooghly River at low tide along Custom House ghat, on the southern end of Fort William.

View in Barrackpore Park - Government House Walk 1865

Photograph of a walk in Barrackpore Park was taken in the 1860s by Samuel Bourne. Barrackpore, north of Calcutta along the Hoogly river, was founded in 1775 as a cantonment. Government House, designed by Captain Thomas Anbury in 1813 was used as a residence for the British Governors-General.

Feb 10, 2009

Hindu temple on banks of the Ganges at Varanasi (Benaras)

Hindu temple on banks of the Ganges at Varanasi
Exact date unknown

Feb 7, 2009

Ancient Hindoo Temple, Chitor - 1870s

Photograph of a ruined temple at Chittaurgarh (Chitor), taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. The citadel of Chitor is sited on a high rocky plateau of the Aravalli range in southern Rajasthan. Its origins are unclear, but from about the 8th century AD it was a prominent stronghold of the Rajput region of Mewar, first controlled by the Guhilot clan and later the capital of the Sisodias, a branch of the Guhilots, from the 14th century. The Sisodias made Mewar the foremost princely state of all Rajput kingdoms, a bulwark of traditional Rajput values which gave strong resistance to any form of invasion. Chitor was attacked several times over the centuries, lastly by the Mughals. Its chiefs, called Ranas or Maharanas, were the last to capitulate to the Mughals. After Chitor fell to Akbar in 1568, the Rana Udai Singh shifted to a new capital of Udaipur.

Feb 6, 2009

Eden Gardens, Calcutta - 1875

Photograph by W. G. Stretton taken in the 1870s, part of the Dunlop Smith Collection: Sir Charles Aitchison Album of Views in India and Burma. Eden Gardens, situated at the northern end of the Maidan, in Calcutta, was named after Emily and Fanny Eden, the sisters of Lord Auckland, Governor-General from 1836-1842. The sisters tended the garden (laid out in 1834) when it formed part of the Viceroy's estate and later it became a famous public garden, which now contains the Calcutta Cricket Club. Part of the garden forms the Ranji Stadium where the first cricket match was played in 1864; today Eden Gardens is renowned as a hallowed cricket site where Test matches draw crowds of 100,000. Eden Gardens also contains a Pagoda, brought from Prome in Burma and erected in 1856, by Lord Dalhousie, then the Governor-General.

View of a cricket match in progress on the sports ground at Naini Tal - 1885

Photograph of a Cricket Match at Nainital from the Macnabb Collection (Col James Henry Erskine Reid): Album of views of 'Naini Tal' taken by Lawrie & Company in 1899. The area of the Kumaon Hills had come under British rule after the Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16) but it wasn't until 1841 that P. Barron built the first European house in Nainital. The town became the summer headquarters of the colonial administration of the province. It was a popular retreat for the residents of the plains. Being popular with the British, the town developed a British character with several European schools, barracks and a sanatorium. This view shows a cricket match taking place on the recreation ground known as 'The Flats', built after the landslide disaster of 1880 and situated close to the edge of the large eye-shaped lake from which Nainital takes its name.

Feb 3, 2009

Reeta Roy - Miss International Air Hostess 1964

Miss Reeta Roy, an Air-India hostess from Bombay, has won the title of Miss International Air Hostess 1964, from 15 entrants representing many major international and local airlines, at a contest held at Surfers Paradise, a luxury beach resort on the south Queensland Gold Coast Australia

Photographed in 1964

Feb 1, 2009

Dhobie (washerman) Ironing - 1870

Carte-de-visite of a dhobi ironing, one of a series of portrait studies of ethnic types and occupations taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the early 1870s. A Dhobi is a washerman and the word is derived from the hindi word dhona meaning 'to wash'. It is commonly used even today in India.

These photographs represent a common theme of traveller’s memoirs and diaries during the period of Colonial expansion in the latter half of the 19th century. As Europeans came into contact with other peoples there was an urge to document different races, customs, costumes and occupations. The diverse racial and cultural composition of the subcontinent became a photographic genre in its own right, due to both the rising science of ‘ethnology’ and to serve the demand for ‘exotic’ souvenirs of the east.

Hill coolies with dandy & Kilta - 1863

Hill coolies with dandy & Kilta
Carte-de-visite portrait of porters, one of a series of prints of ethnic types and occupations taken by Samuel Bourne in 1863. A coolie was a hired labourer or burden-carrier. The term dandy was applied to a kind of vehicle used in the Himalayas consisting of a strong cloth slung like a hammock and attached to a bamboo staff carried by two or more men. The traveller would either sit sideways or lie on his back. A kilta is a wicker basket carried on the back, such as the one shown here in between the porters.

Hindu Sadhu - 1870

one of a series of prints of ethnic types and occupations taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the early 1870s.