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FAQs on Indo-Saracenic: British and Indian Architecture



  Apr 29, 2024

FAQs: Indo-Saracenic Architecture in British and Indian Design



Q: What was the British approach to Indian architecture?

A: The British sought to create a style of building that was Indian in appearance but Western in function, and to place themselves in the line of great Indian empires of the past.

Q: What was the 'Indo-Saracenic' style?

A: The 'Indo-Saracenic' style was a British attempt to create a traditional Indian architecture, drawing on elements from various Indian buildings, but lacking precision and authenticity.

Q: How did the British view Indian architecture?

A: The British viewed Indian architecture as a timeless, tradition-bound, and interchangeable collection of elements, rather than a living force with its own stylistic canons.


► The Princes and British Architecture

Q: How did Indian princes respond to British architecture?

A: Indian princes were drawn to European styles, particularly the Palladian country house, but were also expected to adopt the Indo-Saracenic style as their own architectural heritage.

Q: What was the significance of Europeanized structures for Indian princes?

A: Europeanized structures served as a claim to modernity and equality with the colonial ruler, but also required princes to disown their own architectural traditions.

Q: How did princes navigate this tension?

A: Some princes, like the Maharaja of Jaipur, kept their distance from British architecture, while others, like the Maharajas of Kota and Bikaner, adopted the Indo-Saracenic style.


► The Legacy of Indo-Saracenic Architecture

Q: What was the impact of Indo-Saracenic architecture on India's view of its architectural heritage?

A: Indo-Saracenic architecture transformed India's architectural heritage into a consciously ordered tradition, arrayed for the prospective builder, and pressed it into the service of British colonialism.

Q: What remains of Indo-Saracenic architecture today?

A: A vast array of buildings, government, princely, and commercial, remain to testify to the hold of Indo-Saracenic architecture over the Indian subcontinent for nearly half a century. ‎



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