Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ has drawn a lot of inspirations from the sights and lifestyles of the people he witnessed in India during the British Raj. From ceremonial elephant wearing full state costume to dancing temple maids, and ancient Hindu temples, from sprawling symbols of colonial might, to the majestic outline of the Taj Mahal, so much about India has inspired the author to write his book.
Here are some of the stunning colorized photographs from the 19th and 20th century British Raj that inspired Rudyard Kipling to write ‘The Jungle Book’. These formerly black and white photographs were brought to life by shading in the original colors, creating magical depictions of life in India between 1890 and 1910.
1. The Taj Mahal in Agra
The mausoleum or tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
2. The Mausoleum of Prince I’timād-ud-Daulah in Agra
The tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah is located in the city of Agra. Three people, dressed in traditional attire, are seen having a leisurely time at the second-story pavilion of the building. This building is sometimes called the Baby Taj or often regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal.
3. The Qutub Minar in Delhi
The 240-foot tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mehrauli area of Delhi.
4. The Mausoleum of Emperor Humayun in New Delhi
Humayun was the second Mughal emperor and ruled over a territory that now covers parts of northern India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
5. The Golden Temple in Amritsar
The Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple, the holiest site of Sikhism, is located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. The stunning building was completed in 1604 but had to be substantially rebuilt in the 1760s after an attack by Afghan warriors. It is also home to the world’s largest free kitchen, which can serve more than a hundred thousand people per day.
6. The Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra
Men in traditional dress as seen taking a time out in the Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra. The caves were a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese rule began in the 16th century. The caves are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. The Jain Temple in Madhya Pradesh
Jainism, one of the ancient religions that originated in India, teaches its followers that the best way to live life is in a state of peace and renunciation. Jains aim to achieve the liberation of the soul, which they pursue through rituals including pilgrimage and fasting.
8. Calcutta High Court
The tower of Calcutta High Court as seen through the Eden Garden, where two men are seen enjoying a midday dip in the water and others enjoying watching them. The building was designed by British government architect Walter Granville, who was inspired by the 13th-century cloth hall in Ypres, Belgium.
9. The Gopura or temple tower in Madurai
Gopurams are widely found outside temples, particularly in the south. They are often lavishly decorated, particularly with painted figures of gods. They were designed to provide an awe-inspiring spectacle at the entrance of temples.
10. Cawnpore Memorial Well and Garden in Kanpur
The Cawnpore Memorial Well and Garden was established to commemorate the tragic event of India’s First War of Independence in 1857. The event includes the massacre of 120 British women and children, whose remains were thrown down the Bibighar well during the siege of the city.
11. Amber Castle in Jeypore
Amber Castle in Jeypore is set against a barren landscape of red rock and scrub land that overlooks cobalt blue waters.
12. The Diwan-i-Khas or Audience Hall in New Delhi’s Red Fort
This was the place where the Mughal emperor received courtiers and guests. The structure contains a rectangular central chamber surrounded by a series of arches. The interior of the structure is decorated with floral designs and lavish gilding.
13. Gopura in Seringham
Another particularly lavish gopura in Seringham, Tamil Nadu. Seringham or Srirangam is an ancient city in Tamil Nadu, which is known for sacred Hindu sites, with intricately carved gopurams, or towering gateways, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
14. The Hindu temple on the Kalka Devi Road in then-Bombay
Another photograph taken between the years 1890 and 1910 that has been newly colorized.
15. The Teli Ka Mandir in Gwalior
The Teli Ka Mandir is located within the Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh. The awe-inspiring structure is thought to have been bought in the 8th or 9th century using funds from oil merchants.
16. Seringham town gate
This is a town gate in Seringham or Srirangam, an ancient city in Tamil Nadu.
17. Elephant draped in ceremonial cloth
A magical scene where an elephant is draped in ceremonial cloth, topped with two gilded chairs and walks around a dirt road.
18. Women grinding wheat on round millstones
An image taken in the south where it shows women grinding wheat on round millstones as children look on.
19. Temple maids in bright dresses
Two temple maids draped in bright dresses dance together as others look on.
20. A bride and bridegroom dressed in colored garments
A photo of a bride and groom dressed in colored wedding garments with probably their relatives nearby them.
21. Picture of the last scene of ‘The Jungle Book’
This picture remarkably resembles the last scene of ‘The Jungle Book’ when Mowgli leaves to join a girl in the ‘Man-Village’.
Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Jungle Book’ when he lived in Vermont, USA, and there is evidence that suggests that he wrote the stories for his daughter Josephine, who passed away from pneumonia in 1899 when she was six years old. Kipling spent the first six years of his life in India and after ten years of living in England, he moved back to India for six and a half years.