Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beautiful Photos of the British Residency, Hyderabad

Earlier this year I visited the British Residency in Hyderabad. It was an opulent mansion, built from 1789 to 1805 by the James Kirkpatrick, the British Resident of Hyderabad state. It was designed like a palladian villa but has some Indian elements to it - like a zenana (women's quarters) for Kirkpatrick's wife Khair-un-Nissa. It had full lenghth mirrors, large chandeliers, beautiful ceilings and winding staircases.


Now, of course, it's a shadow of its former glamour and lavishness. It was used after Independence as a college. After a number of years, the main mansion was abandoned as a college but the old elephant stables and surrounding buildings still have classes going on.

James Kirkpatrick was steeped in Indo-Persian 'Nizami' culture. He wore Indian dress, smoked hookah, chewed paan, and was fluent in Persian and Hindustani (Hindi). He converted to Islam and married a Hyderabadi noblewoman, Khair-un-nissa. They are said to have been truly in love.

James Kirkpatrick (British Resident) and his wife Khair-un-nissa
During the construction of the Residency, Khair-un-Nissa expressed a wish to see the design of the building. But due to the conventions of 'modesty', she couldn't come to the building itself. So Kirkpatrick had a miniature Residency built for her, 100 yards away from the main building. Now she could see what the residency would be like.

The miniature Residency is now broken after a tree fell on it.
Eventually, Kirkpatrick was removed from his position by the Governor-General Lord Wellesley: partly due to his marriage to a non-European and partly due to his closeness to the Nizam.

Here are some pictures from my visit to the Residency:

THE DURBAR HALL / BALLROOM:
The room with the dusty chandeliers and full length mirrors...
The colourful ballroom ceiling 
Close-up of the ceiling
BEAUTIFUL STAIRCASES:
Grand staircase leads to a statue of Gandhi and pictures of Tilak and S. Radhakrishnan
The domed ceiling
Another winding stairwell. At the bottom are chairs from the building's college days.
MISCELLANEOUS:
Kirkpatrick and Khair-un-Nissa's son and daughter
Another reminder of the college!
A room full of old notebooks, exam papers, attendance registers...!
The place is full of pigeons!
In fact, not only pigeons but goats seem to live here. Hope this beautiful building is restored and preserved.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pictures. The wide range of precious and semi-precious stones and pearls and intricate art and handicraft make Hyderabad (Bhagyanagar) one of the most sought after destinations among the tourists. To top it all, it is the home to one of the very popular attractions in the country, Charminar. Check out the services of hotel Megha City Hyderabad, a hotel for budget travelers.

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