On the heritage trail

Published: 07th October 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2013 10:32 PM   |  A+A-


Arts College of Osmania University, Hyderabad

The Arts College was inaugurated on August 28, 1919. It was temporarily housed in eight rented buildings in Gunfoundry area with 25 teachers and 225 students in the intermediate first-year class. A vast portion of land was acquired near Adikmet in 1928 since there was no scope for expansion in Gunfoundry. Before the university buildings were built, a team of experts including Sri Syed Ali Raza (later Ali Nawaz Jung), an engineer, and Nawab Zain Yar Jung, an architect, were sent abroad to study and suggest a model plan. The group toured Europe, America, Japan, Egypt and Turkey, and identified Monsieur Jasper, a Belgian architect who prepared detailed plans for the college buildings. After Jasper left Hyderabad in 1931, Nawab Zain Yar Jung executed the plans. Mir Osman Ali Khan, the VII Nizam of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, laid the foundation stone for the Arts College building on July 5, 1934, and it was declared open by him on December 4, 1939.

The building in pink granite stones represents a harmonious blend of the pillar and lintel style of Ajanta and Ellora. The arches of the building are of Indo-Saracenic tradition. The diamond jubilee of the college building was celebrated in December 1999.

Initially, the Arts College building accommodated offices of the vice-chancellor, registrar and controller of examinations, university library, Law College and College of Commerce and Business Management. These were subsequently shifted to separate buildings. Undergraduate courses in arts and commerce were discontinued from this college in 1973 and Arts College assumed the status of a full-fledged postgraduate college exclusively for postgraduate studies, diploma courses and research studies in the Faculties of arts and social sciences. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed as University College of Arts and Social Sciences.

University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore

The University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering campus was built by eminent engineer and educationist M Visvesvaraya in 1917. The architecture is in Greco-Roman style. Spread across over five lakh square feet, it bears a striking resemblance to the High Court of Karnataka.

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Conceived as a research institute in the late 19th century by JN Tata, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) came up on 400 acres of land donated by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, then Maharaja of Mysore, in 1907. The institute’s first director Morris W Travers initiated the construction. It was designed in 1912-13 by CF Stevens and Company of Bombay. The campus also houses about 110 species of plants.

Maharaja’s College, Mysore

Starting off as an English School called Maharaja Pathashaala, by then Maharaja of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1833, it grew into a high school. After this, the foundation stone of the present building was laid in 1889 by Prince Albert Victor of Wales and it was built under the rule of the then Diwan of Mysore, Mummudi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. The building raised Rs 9.4 lakh has arcaded verandahs on both the floors, a central mansard roof with projecting end blocks with small conical turrets. It completed its centenary year in 1951. The architecture style is Indo-Saracenic and it strictly follows vaastu rules. There were no problems during the contruction of college buildings as it was under the Maharaja’s control.

University of Mysore

The University of Mysore was established on July 27, 1916, during the reign of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. Crawford Hall, an imposing structure of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which was built in 1947 at a cost of Rs 12 lakh, houses its administrative offices. Otto H Königsberger designed this building. Lt Col WL Crawford and his brother CS Crawford of England, who studied at Mysore, donated `1 lakh for setting up an intermediate college for women but the funds were instead used to build a hall, which can seat nearly 1,000 people and has an octagonal shape.

Government City College, Hyderabad

The Government City College stands on the south bank of the River Musi. The college owes its origin to Mir Osman Ali Khan, who was known as the ‘modern architect of Hyderabad’. The college building was designed by Vincent Esch, one of the prominent architects of the period, commissioned by the Nizam in between 1915 and 1920 with a total outlay of Rs 8,36,919.

The imposing structure is famous for its architectural synthesis — the harmonious blending of the pillar and lintel style of Ajanta and Ellora caves with elegant Indo-Saracenic arches of superstructure and façade to represent the composite culture of Hyderabad. It is a three-storied structure with a large central archway and parapets with many onion domes supported by brackets as well as corbels and lintels in the Hindu style of architecture. The building has four imposing arched entrances and has been built around six courts. These small courtyard spaces provide both natural light and ventilation for classrooms.

Nizam College, Hyderabad

Established in 1887 by an amalgamation of Hyderabad School and Madarsa-i-Aliya, Nizam College is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in south India. Its present location, Asad Bagh was once the residence of Nawab Fakhr-ul-Mulk-II, a Paigah noble. The founder of the college was Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk, who also served as Director of Education in the Hyderabad state. He appointed Dr Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, father of Sarojini Naidu, as the college’s first principal.

The different blocks have pointed and semi-circular arches. The verandah has a huge elliptical arch, facing the principal’s office. The original flooring in the administrative block has well-maintained tiles in geometrical patterns. The building is painted in light pink with ochre bands. The original roof is done with huge primary and secondary beams.

Mahboob College, Hyderabad

Mehboob College was established in 1862 by P Somasundaram Mudaliar, a renowned businessman as there were no good schools for Indians then. Named ‘Anglo-Vernacular School’, it was built as an alternative to St Annes School. It was also the first English medium school to be set up by an Indian. In 1884, the college was renamed as Mahboob College in acknowledgment of the generous donations made by the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan.

The gate in front of the college has a semi-circular arch enframed with round pilasters and topped with a simple yet elegant crown moulding. Further down, another gate exhibits different architectural features. It carries a semi-circular arch enframed with rectangular pilasters and is flanked by a scroll on either side. Recently, it was renamed Swami Vivekananda PG College in memory of Swami Vivekananda, who had given an address from the campus in 1893.

Koti Women’s College, Hyderabad

The main building of this college is a monument of great aesthetic, architectural and historical importance. Commissioned in 1803 for the British resident JA Kirkpatrick, its builder Lt Samuel Russell of Madras Engineers, has produced a structure capable of rivalling the Governor’s house in the state.

Also known as Osmania University College for Women, it started in 1924 with only seven students in the Intermediate Arts Course. It was then located  in the “Golden Threshold”, a former home of Sarojini Naidu. In 1932, the Intermediate Science Course was started and in 1935, degree courses in arts and social sciences were added. The college owes its present home to Nawab Ali Yaver Jung, a former vice-chancellor of Osamania University. In 1941, BEd and BSc. (domestic science) degrees were introduced.

It has an opulent façade of massive Corinthian pillars, 40ft in height. Two lions guard it across a 60ft space of 21 marble stairs. As a former British residency, it weaves its own mystique with galleried halls and drawing rooms, a Durbar Hall of stupendous proportions, painted ceiling, parquet floors of inlayed wood and flanked by tall mirrors. Its landscape is dotted by three arched gateways, named after Lord Roberts, a former commander-in-chief, Lord Lansdowne, a viceroy, and Queen Victoria herself. Its well-fortified outer walls serve as a safe haven for young girls. This building is now listed for funding by the World Monument Fund for restoration and modernization. The American Express has already released $1 lakh approx for the purpose.

Karnatak University, Dharwad

In 1949, the Bombay Presidency approved the establishment of Karnatak University in Dharwad. It was established on March 1, 1950, on a 750-acre plot. Called as Vidya Soudha, the main building was built at a cost of Rs 18,22,406 when Wrangler DC Pavate was the vice-chancellor. The foundation stone for this two-storey building was laid in January 14, 1955, by Dinakarrao Desai, then education minister of the Mumbai Presidency. This east-facing 9,383 sqm building has two small towers on either ends and a watch tower in the middle. The grey granite building was inaugurated on June 19, 1959, by then UGC chairman Chintamanirao D Deshmukh. Mysore Construction Company, Bangalore, and Bhinge and Company were the contractors. Padaki, Dadarkar and NN Purandhare were the architects.

Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam

Maharaja’s College is situated near Vembanad Lake on a sprawling 25-acre campus decked with grand old trees. Built in the late 1870s, the buildings are in typical Kerala architecture with wooden ceiling, terracotta tile flooring and tiled roofs. The rooms are bright. The long corridors and spacious rooms surrounded by gardens create the perfect ambiance for studies. Started as an elementary school in 1845 to impart English education to Keralites, it was converted into a college in 1875.

Government Law College, Ernakulam

There’s an old world charm about Government Law College in Ernakulam. When Travancore-Cochin High Court was shifted to Ernakulam from Thiruvananthapuram, the law college was also shifted to the old assembly building of Kochi state in 1949. The Maharaja of Travancore initiated legal education in the state by setting up a law class in 1874. Built in typical Kerala architecture, the building was designed to conduct debates, discussions and meetings. The wood work, tiled floors and roofs vouch for the craftsmanship of yesteryear artisans.

University College, Thiruvananthapuram

Raja’s Free School was started during the reign of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma for providing English education to youth. In 1866, AyilyamThirunal Rama Varma, then ruler of Travancore state, elevated the status of the institute to college. A two-storey building was constructed in 1870 with a bell tower and ornamental GI roofing.

College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram

The College of Fine Arts flaunts a colonial architectural style with red brick walls and pointed arches. The then king of Travancore, Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma started His Highness Maharaja’s School of Arts in 1881 for providing technical education. “Those days textiles, carpentry and pottery were some of the prominent industries. Later, art subjects like oil painting and drawing were taken up here. The college took the name College of Fine Arts in 1975 and got affiliated to Kerala University,” says N Rimzon, the college’s principal and a student of the 1976 batch.

Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram

The quarters of a court physician of the erstwhile Travancore state now houses Government College for Women at Vazhuthacaud in Thiruvananthapuram. The college dates back to 1864. Historian Malayinkeezhu Gopalakrishnan says, “The college was started by Sri MulamThirunal for the education of three girls. In 1897, it got elevated to the status of a second grade women’s college.” The college acquired the name His Highness Maharaja’s College for Women in 1922.

Viceregal Lodge, University of Delhi, New Delhi

The story of the University of Delhi and its historic Vice-Regal Lodge began in 1881 when the British government stared three colleges in Delhi: St Stephen’s College (1881), Hindu College (1899) and Ramjas College (1917). In October 1933, however, the university offices and the library shifted to Viceregal Lodge Estate, and till today this site houses the office of the Delhi University’s vice-chancellor.

During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 British soldiers and families had taken refuge inside the Vice-Regal Lodge Estate. Soon after this, the estate became the residence of the viceroy until 1933 when it was passed over to Delhi University. The Viceregal Lodge served as a Circuit House (it was ordered to be built by Lord Curzon in early 1900) for British officers till it became the temporary residence of Viceroy Lord Hardinge who shifted to Delhi from then Calcutta. This was done after the latter was declared the new Imperial Capital by King George V.

From 1912 to 1931, it was the venue for several functions and home to five viceroys while Rashtrapati Bhavan was being built on Raisina Hill. Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy, is said to have proposed to his wife Edwina in the very same room that is now the University Registrar’s office.

The majestic ballroom, which was once the venue for several parties during Lord Irwin’s reign, now serves as convocation hall. The Legislative Assembly used to meet in the room, which now hosts meetings for the university’s Academic Council. “There are massive chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings of this huge room, with public viewing galleries running the entire breadth of the hall,” said an administrative member at the VC’s office.

The lodge is filled with convocation photographs dating from the 1930s, and  portraits of scholars and writers like Rabindranath Tagore. The lodge also houses a museum with paintings and posters that portray the excessive lifestyle of the British Raj and its gardens run into several acres.

Zakir Hussain Delhi College, New Delhi

This popular Delhi University college, which was founded in 1692, is the oldest educational institution in Delhi. The institution was started by Ghaziuddin Khan, a general of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It sports a Mughal-inspired architecture. It was reorganized as an Anglo-Arabic College by the British East India Company in 1828 to provide, in addition to its original objectives, an education in English language and literature.

Originally located outside the walled city of Delhi, just outside Ajmeri Gate, it was renamed Zakir Husain College in 1975 after Dr Zakir Husain and shifted to its present building outside Turkman Gate in 1986. On January 7, 2012, Zakir Husain College was renamed Zakir Husain Delhi College.

The college has had a number of distinguished alumni including Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, founder of Aligarh Muslim University, Liaqat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first prime minister, Maulana Mohammed Hussain Azad, the father of Urdu prose, Mirza MN Masood, an Indian hockey Olympian, Prof AN Kaul, pro-vice chancellor, Delhi University and JN Dixit, a defence analyst. “It’s said that Ghalib was once a candidate for the Persian faculty post for Delhi College. However, the administrator conducting the interview failed to come out to greet him and an offended Ghalib left,” says a college administrator.

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Jawaharlal Nehru University and its architecture is an example of the red brick universities built in trhe mid-20th century. In early 1970, when JNU opened its doors to teachers and students, frontier disciplines and new perspectives on old disciplines were brought to the Indian university system.

Located in south Delhi, the university is spread over an area of about 1,000 acres and occupies some of the northernmost reaches of Aravalli Hills. The university campus maintains large patches of shrubs and forestland and its ridge is home to over 200 species of birds and wildlife such as nilgai, Indian crested porcupines, common palm civet, jackals, mongoose, peacocks as well as a large number of snakes.

Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi

As an institution, Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMI) traces its roots to Aligarh. It was made a central university in 1920. Its history sheet says that on November 22, 1920, Hakim Ajmal Khan was elected the first chancellor of Jamia. Mohamed Ali Jauhar became Jamia’s first vice-chancellor as Allama Iqbal could not accept the offer made through Gandhiji. Freedom fighter and Muslim theologian, Maulana Mehmud Hasan, laid the foundation stone of Jamia Millia Islamia at Aligarh on October 29, 1920.

However, during the independence struggle, the university also struggled to make ends meet and on March 1, 1935, the foundation stone for a school building was laid at Okhla, then a nondescript village on outskirts of Delhi. In 1936, all institutions of Jamia, except Jamia Press, the Maktaba and the library, were shifted to the new campus.

Madras Law College, Chennai

The main building of Madras Law College located inside the Madras High Court is one of the earliest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Designed by Henry Irwin, the building was constructed by T Namperumal Chetty. The budget for the structure stood at around `3 lakh. The plot of land was in the shape of a polygon. This required specialised execution hence a butterfly-shaped design was adopted. The building rests on a concrete and stone foundation. The David Yale and Thomas Tomb is also on campus. David Yale was the son of Elihu Yale, governor of British-controlled Madras in the late 17th century. It is a protected monument.

Madras Christian College, Chennai

The 150-year-old college library was the first building to be inaugurated when Madras Christian College was relocated to it present campus in Tambaram by Lord Erskine, then Governor of Madras Presidency, in 1937. The original college library was established in 1863 just a year after American preacher, William Miller arrived in the city. This facility was upgraded as a consulting library in 1869. An elaborate and well-designed hall houses numerous volumes of books and journals.

University of Madras, Chennai

One of the earliest structures in the University of Madras is the Senate House. Construction of the Senate House started in early 1870 with a budget of `2 lakh. Brtitish architect Robert Chisholm built the structure in Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The domes of the building are based on a Byzantine style, while the body structure was inspired by the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal in Madurai. It also has Hindu-style carvings, stained glass adornments, and painted canvas on the ceiling.

American College, Madurai

It was started in the 1881 by Rev George T Washburn, a missionary who visited the city and established American Madura Mission. Washburn’s successor Zumbro developed this college in 40 acres of barren land in the area that it now stands. Henry Irwin, the British architect, used an Indo-Saracenic style. Construction of the Main Hall was started in 1898 and was completed in 1904. The main hall is one of the most imporant structures on campus. It also houses a chapel, which was built in the early 1930s.

— With inputs from Rahul Pisharody, Anil Gejji, Sharadha Kalyanam, Sanjana M, Vincent D’Souza, Meera Manu, K Surekha, Deepshikha Punj and Kaviya Sanjeevi.

Photos: Manu R Mavelil and Ravi Choudhary



India Matters


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