India 100 Years Ago: A Photo Essay

Interior of Hindu Temple, Kootub 1858/©Charles Morivia/WikiCommons
Interior of Hindu Temple, Kootub 1858/©Charles Morivia/WikiCommons
Photo of Vidushi Trivedi
7 October 2016

In a country like India, which is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, every corner and piece of land has its own history. Every monument and city has a tale to tell. This photo essay takes readers back in time 100 years.


Chandni Chowk (in the 1860s and 2008)

This photograph shows Chandni Chowk (in around 1863-67), the principal street of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of the seven historical cities of Delhi. The sides of the road are lined with shops and artisans selling their wares. The road was built in 1650 by Jahanara Begum, the daughter of the emperor Shah Jahan. It led from the Red Fort, Shah Jahan’s fortified palace.

Chandni Chowk, Delhi, 1863-67/ | ©Samuel Bourne (1832-1912)/WikiCommons
Chandni Chowk, Delhi, 2008/ | ©Bahnfrend/WikiCommons

The Delhi Gate at the Red Fort (in the 1890s and 2013)

The Delhi Gate is one of two main entrances to the Lal Qila or Red Fort, the palace citadel built in the 1640s by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the headquarters of his new capital, Shahjahanabad. The palace apartments are contained within a fortified wall made from red sandstone, surrounded on three sides by a moat and on the fourth by the river Yamuna. This is a general view of the gate from outside the fort, showing the bastions, battlements, chhatris and turrets that crown the walls.

Delhi Gate of the Red Fort in the 1890s/ | ©Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905)/WikiCommons
Delhi Gate of the Red Fort in 2013/ | ©Arjuncm3/WikiCommons

Humayun’s Tomb (in 1860 and 2005)

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi. 1860/ | ©John Edward Sache (1840-1882)/WikiCommons
Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi. 2005/ | ©A. Winzer/WikiCommons

The Kashmiri Gate (in the 1890s and 2012)

The Kashmiri Gate was built in 1835 by Major Robert Smith and was made into a double gateway in 1857 at the time of the Indian Uprising. This gate was blown up when the British retook Delhi during the Indian Uprising of 1857.

Kashmiri Gate, Delhi in the 1890s/ | © Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905)/WikiCommons
Kashmiri Gate, Delhi in 2012/ | ©Rahul Noida/WikiCommons

A street in Delhi

A street scene in ancient Delhi, 1907/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons
A street scene in Delhi, 2001/ | ©Hynek Moravec/WikiCommons


The Howrah Bridge (in 1945 and 2012)

A picture of the Howrah Bridge at Kolkata 1945/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons
A picture of the Howrah Bridge, 2012/ | ©Shubhankar.sengupta19/WikiCommons

The Victoria Memorial (in the 1940s and 2012)

The Victoria Memorial, is a building dedicated to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India, and located in Kolkata, India – the capital of West Bengal and a former capital of British India.

Victoria Memorial- construction in progress, Kolkata 1940s/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons
Victoria Memorial,2012/ | ©Samitkumarsinha/WikiCommons

The Town Hall ( in the 1860s and 2011)

Photograph of the Town Hall from ‘Views of Calcutta and Barrakpore’, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s. Located on the Esplanade, the Town Hall was built in 1813, east of the High Court, by Colonel John Garstin. This view of the main facade shows the classical style and the Doric portico. The Town Hall overlooks Eden Gardens in the Maidan.

The Town Hall, Calcutta 1860s/ | ©Samuel Bourne/WikiCommons
The Town Hall, 2011/ | ©Biswarup Ganguly/WikiCommons

Park Street (in the 1930s and 2011)

Park Street, Calcutta 1930s/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons
Park Street, 2011/ | ©Nguyen Thanh Long from Sai Gon, Viet Nam/WikiCommons

Esplanade and Metropolitan Building (in 1945 and present)

The building’s clock tower can be seen at the end of the photo taken in the Esplanade, Calcutta in 1945.

Chowringhee Square, Calcutta 1945 / | ©Mr. Claude Waddell/WikiCommons
Whiteways and Laidlaw building, Kolkata/ | ©Priyal Kundu/WikiCommons


The Gateway of India (in 1911 and 2011)

The Gateway of India, Bombay 1911/ | ©Myers Brothers/WikiCommons
The Gateway of India, 2011/ | ©L Ram Vidhya Sagar/WikiCommons

The Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (in 1850 and 2011)

Victoria Station in Bombay, 1850-1911/ | ©William Eleroy Curtis/WikiCommons
Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, 2011/ | ©Joe Ravi/WikiCommons

Victoria Terminus in Mumbai in the late 1930s

Victoria Station in Bombay, 1930’s/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons

Times of India Building, corner of Elphinstone Circle (1880 and 2009)

Times of India‘s first office was opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, where it was founded.

Times of India Building, 1880/ | ©E.O.S. Company/WikiCommons
Times of India Building, 2009/ | ©Ting Chen/WikiCommons

The Bangalore Fort (in 1860 and 2013)

In 1791, the British army, led by Lord Cornwallis, laid siege to the fort of Bangalore, during which part of the fort was damaged.

Ruined Bangalore Fort, 1860/ | ©Nicholas Bros/WikiCommons
Ruined Bangalore Fort,2013/ | ©Pradhan V./WikiCommons


Amber Fort (in 1858 and 2006)

View of Amber Fort, across Maotha Lake, Amber Jaipur, 1858.

Amber Fort, 1858/ | ©W. Purser/WikiCommons
Amber Fort, 2006/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons

The Hawa Mahal (in 1875 and 2013)

The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Its unique, five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive, with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework.

Hawa Mahal, 1875/ | ©Bourne & Shepherd/WikiCommons
Hawa Mahal,2013/ | ©Firoze Edassery/WikiCommons

The Taj Mahal, Agra (in 1890 and 2010)

Taj Mahal, 1890/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons
Taj Mahal,2010/ | ©Yann/WikiCommons

Varanasi or Banaras Ghats (in 1922 and 2009)

Varanasi Ghats, 1922/ | ©Unknown /WikiCommons
Varanasi Ghats,2009/ | ©Ken Wieland/WikiCommons

Group of silver and copper smiths in a workshop in Jammu and Kashmir in 1895

Workshop Jammu and Kashmir, 1895/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons

British Raj in India- British men on horse

British men on horse during British Raj in India/ | ©Unknown/WikiCommons

British India, One Mohur (1862),depicting Queen Victoria

One Mohur, 1862 used during British Raj in India/ | ©Calcutta Mint/WikiCommons

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