India is home to some of the world’s most beautiful historic monuments. You may have either visited them or seen them in photographs. But these old, almost anachronistic photos, open a window that shows us just how majestic the monuments looked before the gaggling cacophony of unruly tourists disturbed their peace. We must say, however, that some are looking really better.
1. View of Taj Mahal – 1855. The marble monument as it looks now.
2. Garden of the Taj Mahal – 1870s. And they have made way for the tourists.
3. Qutub Minar Compound, Delhi – 1870s. As the minar looks now.
4. Delhi Gate of Red Fort, Delhi – 1895. The mounds have been flattened.
5. BBD Bagh (formerly Dalhousie Square) Kolkata – 1912. At least the old charm is still intact.
6. Lall Dighi and General Post Office (GPO), Kolkata – 1875. The dighi is, thankfully, still there.
7. Char Minar, Hyderabad. More crowded than before.
8. Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi – 1865. The ghat as it looks now.
9. Taj Mahal Hotel from Arabian Sea, Mumbai – 1900. Need we say more.
10. Victoria Railway Station, Mumbai – 1900. It is surprising that there were so many trees facing the station back then.
11. View from the south-west of the High (then Supreme) Court building on Esplanade Row, Kolkata – 1875. The building stands amidst the clamour.
12. Tomb of Akbar, the Great in Sikandra, Uttar Pradesh – 1860s. As it looks now.
13.The Dilkusha Palace, Lucknow – 1858. Such grandeur lies in this state now.
14. Temple on Charmundy Hill, Mysore – 1890s. Now, now! Take a look at the devotees!
15. Kashmiri Gate, Delhi – 1890s. Yes, this was once a real gate, not the metro station.
16. Kedarnath Temple, Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand – 1882.
Where there is God, there will be (more) people.
17. Srikanteshwara Temple, Nanjangud, Karnataka – 1890s. Those police-erected barriers indicate this place is thronged by devotees.
18. Jami (Jama) Masjid, Delhi – 1865. As if under siege by the growing city.
19. Tomb of Safdarjung, New Delhi – 1938. A better yesterday?
20. Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi – 1870s. There has been some pretty good restoration here.
21. Annamalaiyar Temple (Arunachaleswarar), Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu – 1890s. The pot and the honeybees. (Where there is a temple, there are devotees. Where there are devotees, there is money.)
22. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa – 1890s. The same place but with bigger crowds.
23. Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata – 1890s. Some buildings look in a better shape.
24. Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata – 1850s. Where history stands alongside a symbol of progress.
25. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh – 1900s. Decked up for the bucks.
26. Jama Masjid, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, 1860s. Trains, why?
27. Qutub Shahi Tomb, Golconda, Andhra Pradesh – 1928. Not much of an improvement but enough for a tourist.
28. Howrah Station View, Kolkata. (Undated but before construction of Howrah Bridge.) An ever growing megapolis.
29. Howrah Bridge, Kolkata – 1940s. Horns and honking.
30. Jami Masjid in Gulbarga Fort – Gulbarga district, North Karnataka – 1880. Rising population all around. The vintage images have been sourced from Old Indian Photos and their Facebook page.