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« A More 'Perfect' Music (Sujatha) | Main | Save A Mother - "Beyond Sultanpur": 2012 Appeal »

March 26, 2012


Oh! Wow! All I did was look at the first photo. Wow!

Norm, please take a virtual tour through the lens of my camera even if you don't read everything.

So excited! Can't wait to immerse! Right now....

Elatia, the comment about Iranian architecture being influenced by Indian design came from Zara.

I think I remember it. I spent my college days reading many arguments over how much the architecture of Islam in India owed to each tradition. There was a theory going around that you could reduce Islamic architecture to its essentials by positing a cube and a dome, whereas the architecture of India was much more organic than geometric. Sorry, that was how they thought and spoke back then. Personally, I believe it's very difficult to take geometry away from architecture of any kind. If all you intend to do is to build a brick wall that stands rather than collapses, its thickness at the bottom, assuming a structure the height of 4 stories, must be 1.5 feet greater than at the top. I recall also a very learned argument that the truly symbolic object of China was a pot -- as in, round -- while the Persian object of the highest symbolic value was the ewer. From these two shapes one might extrapolate deep cultural differences between the two civilizations. My own feeling, based on no scholarship, is that just as the Mongols emerged sinicized from holding China in their grip, so did the Persians and the British take on aspects of India rather than subdue them. Would love to read something intelligent and current about the talk-back -- in architecture at least.

I wish I could get a hold of Alkazi's photographic book on Lucknow architecture for your pleasure, except that it weighs a ton and I don't have the book here. He goes into some details about the Hindu influence on Islamic designs of the city's edifices. The fish-flower motif (photo #8 from top) on the gate across the street from the Bada Imambada is an example.

Also, there are some early Islamic monuments in India which were built over the ruins Hindu palaces and temples. Some of them retained part of the iconography (lotus, holy water pitchers, elephants, Hindu deities) of the previous structures. One such famous mounument is the Qutab Minar in Delhi which still shows lotuses and the images of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh at the base of a mosque! Scroll down and you will see several Hindu columns that co-exist with the Islamic tower's later architecture on the premises.

Wonderful photos, Ruchira! I wish I had something like these in my history books, where all we had were dull descriptions, much like those on the plaques, and barely visible, badly smudged black and white photos of the monuments being described.

Wonderful links Ruchira -- thanks!

Lovely photographs and settings. I'm afraid Berkeley wins the "fish motif" award, however.

Thanks for the tour, Ruchira. I haven't yet made it to Lucknow, but now I will pursue the opportunity with greater urgency, having learned about nimish!

I've been prowling for a good nimish recipe, and have found some rather non-specific ones that do not involve saffron. It sounds a bit like a dessert they call "nada" in Barcelona -- "little nothing." Would love to make it, because saffron and sugar and cream are as powerful a flavor triad as exists on earth. The legend of nimish has to do with dew, and I wonder if this goes back to the saffron-tinted dawn goddess Eos/Ushas, whose tears for her dead son are to be considered the dew, mysteriously coming every morning. Though this seems a Lakhnawi specialty, it goes back very deep into the past in India, much further back than the time of the Nawabs. So it is almost the same discussion as that about indigenous as opposed to grafted architectural forms!

From the look of the photos this looks to be an amazing place. India is certainly steeped in history as you have shown from some of the pictures you have posted. My father was stationed in India after the war and loved it.

India seems to be coming into its own over the last couple of years. I know that it has become the place where a lot of call centres are based because of its emirging technologies. But it is also becoming a place where more and more people want to visit too. And from reading this excellent article and looking at the photos you can see why.

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