Oct 26, 2010

Tank and Cenotaph of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh (1781-1815), at Alwar in Rajasthan - 1903

Stereoscopic photograph, looking across the tank towards the cenotaph of Maharaja Bakhtawar Singh (1781-1815), at Alwar in Rajasthan. This image was taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, and is from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The town of Alwar was founded by Rao Pratap Singhji of Macheri in 1771 as capital of the former state of Alwar. The marble cenotaph in this view is built of marble with Bengali arches on a red sandstone platform. This image is described by Ricalton in 'India Through the Stereoscope' (1907), 'This pool with the beautiful buildings by which it is surrounded, with the Fort above commanding a view of the entire city and valley, constitutes one of the most lovely views in India. Towards our left lie the Palace and the Zenana (the ladies quarters); towards the west are several handsome temples of Vishnu; northward are other temples and shrines hidden among umbrageous trees; and beyond those exquisite kiosks, you see the splendid cenotaph of Bakhtawar Singh, a pavilion resting on many white marble pillars.' This is one of a series of 100 photographs designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect, which were sold together with a book of descriptions and a map. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century.

Source: British Library