Lifting the veil: The Raj Bhavans of Bengal
The magnificent buildings have retained a sense of majesty and mystery
- Published 30.08.19, 1:49 PM
- Updated 30.08.19, 1:49 PM
- a min read
An aura of secrecy pervaded Bengal’s Raj Bhavans. During the raj, people could only gape at the lofty edifices from outside the ornate wrought iron gates. Even though citizens are now allowed inside on occasion, these magnificent buildings have retained a sense of majesty and mystery. Those Noble Edifices: The Raj Bhavans of Bengal (Victoria Memorial Hall) by Jayanta Sengupta seeks to lift the veil, as it were, by reimagining these sites as the homes of exalted citizens.
The volume dips into the archives of the VMH and the Raj Bhavans, among other resources, to trace the architectural arc of these symbols of imperial authority in Calcutta, Barrackpore and Darjeeling. The text accompanying the images — some of these are rare — and the art work is made lively by anecdotes on governor-generals and their wives. These buildings, Sengupta hints, bear the imprints of their quirky inhabitants: Lord Wellesley had thought nothing of building a menagerie around the seat of power in Barrackpore.