Samuel Bourne

The Qutub Minar, Delhi

Pictured here is the 239-foot Qutub Minar, the highest brick minaret in the world. Construction on this iconic tower of victory was begun by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak (r.1206-1210), the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave Dynasty, and later continued by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (r.1211-1236). Accompanying the adjacent Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the minaret rises in five… Read more »

Photo Album: Views, India Tour. 1881

  This album, published in 1881, consists of an extensive collection of 19th century photographs from across India, including views of Delhi, Bombay, Darjeeling, the Himalayas and Ceylon. The photographs are attributed to Samuel Bourne.

Shimla in Winter; Mountains and Clouds, looking South of Shimla

This photograph shows a view of Shimla during the winters from an elevated platform overlooking a snow-clad mountainous landscape covered with pine trees. Shimla, the current capital of Himachal Pradesh, was regarded as a favoured resort with the British residents in the nineteenth and the early twentieth century. It was known as the ‘English Convalescent… Read more »

View on a Stream at Larji, Kullu,

This photograph of a footbridge over a stream flowing between a valley was captured at Larji in the Kullu district by Samuel Bourne. In 1866, Samuel Bourne proposed to trek the, “rich valley of the Beas river through Kulu, penetrate into the wild and desolate regions of Spiti as far as the borders of Tibet,… Read more »

Junction of the Wanga and Sutlej Rivers

Samuel Bourne took this photograph of a bridge over the Wanga and the Sutlej river junction during his first expedition in the Himalayas in 1863. In the summer of 1863, on the 29th of July, Bourne set off from Shimla for his ten weeks journey into the Himalayas. This was his very first Himalayan expedition.… Read more »

View of the Kashmir Road, near Budrawar

This photograph of a river and a snow-clad mountain range in the background near Budrawar, a town four days from Chamba, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Bourne halted here for a day during his second major expedition to Kashmir and adjacent districts in 1864. Reflecting on his encounters with the residents of Budrawar, he wrote… Read more »

Twig Bridge On The Chenab Near Kishtwar

This photograph of a bridge over the Chenab river near Kishtwar, located in the present-day Jammu and Kashmir state, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Sharing his impression of the bridge in the British Journal of Photography, Bourne informed, “I soon found myself again at the Chenab, but this time only to cross it by a… Read more »

Source of the Ganges, Ice cave at the foot of the Glacier

This photograph, taken by Samuel Bourne, is of the ice cave at the foot of the Gangotri glacier. The image shows two men at the foot of the glacier where the river emerges out of the ice cave, also called ‘Gomukh’. Recalling his reaction upon reaching the glacier, Bourne writes, “we reached our destination at… Read more »

View of the Kali Ghat, Calcutta

The Kalighat area first finds its mention in the 15th century Bengali text, Manasā-Vijaya, written by poet Bipradas Pipilai. It is also mentioned in a 16th century literary work Chandimangala by Mukundaram Chakrabarti. Kalighat was also established as a pilgrimage centre after legend placed a fragment of Sati’s body here, near the Ganges and since… Read more »

Kali Ghat, Calcutta

This is an image of a bridge over Tolly Nullah at Kalighat in Calcutta  by Samuel Bourne. Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India from 1773 – 1785, had acquired permission in 1763 to build a suspension bridge over Tolly Nullah which was to connect Kalighat to his garden house in Alipore. It was later… Read more »

Government House south front, Calcutta

This is a photograph shows the Government House in Calcutta which became the Raj Bhavan of West Bengal after Independence. The Government House was built between 1799 and 1803 as the official residence of the Governor of Fort William, the 1st Marquess Wellesley, and remained the residence of the British Governors-General till 1911. The building’s… Read more »

Old Court House street, Calcutta

This is a photo of the Old Court House Street in Calcutta. This street lies on the eastern side of the Dalhousie Square and in this view you can see St. Andrew’s Church on the north corner of Old Court House Street and Lal Bazaar Street. This photograph is taken by Samuel Bourne in the… Read more »

Esplanade and Government House, Calcutta

This photograph shows the view from the north end of Chowringhee Road, beside the carriage stand, looking north-west across the Dharmatala Tank, towards the façades of the houses along Esplanade Row. The Government House is on the extreme left. The flat-fronted building with a verandah, located behind the premises of William Coish & Co is… Read more »

Shah Hamadan Masjid, Srinuggur

The Shah Hamadan or the ‘Khanqah-i-Moualla’ was built as a mosque and shrine to Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani (also known as Shah Hamadan) in the late 14th century. Also called the Amir-i-Kabir (the Great Commander), he was a Persian Sufi saint who played a vital role in spreading Islam in Kashmir. Shah Hamadan was constructed… Read more »

Great Pagoda of the Brihadishwara Temple, Tanjore

The Brihadishwara Temple at Thanjavur marks the acme of the Southern Temple Architecture, in magnitude, design, technique, and art. This Great Temple, built between AD 1003 to 1010, is also called the Rajarajeshvara after its builder Rajaraja I, the great Chola Ruler. The Temple complex consists of various subsidiary shrines of different deities, and an… Read more »

The Palace interior of the Dewan-i-Khas, Delhi

The Diwan-e-Khas is inside the Red Fort, which was built between 1639 and 1648 CE by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan at his newly minted capital, Shahjahanabad. With its white marble pavilions inlaid with precious gemstones, Diwan-e-Khas was reserved for meetings between the Emperor and courtiers, government officials and foreign dignitaries. The famous Peacock Throne… Read more »

The Nautch Bungalow, Shalimar, Srinuggur

The Nautch Bungalow stands in Shalimar Bagh, Kashmir built by Jahangir for his beloved wife Noor Jahan in 1616. The garden is one of the few surviving Mughal gardens, based on the Persian ‘charbagh’ style. Samuel Bourne, the photographer,  arrived in India in the 1860s and visited the Kashmir valley during his epic Himalayan photographic… Read more »

The Mermaid Gate, Qaisarbagh, Lucknow

Historically, Qaiserbagh or the king’s garden, comprised of a range of palaces to accommodate the Nawab of Awadh and his zenana. The last ruler of awadh, Wajid Ali Shah (r.1847-1856), began the building of this palace a year after his succession and it was finished in 1850. The King’s mission was to make Qaisarbagh the… Read more »

Rama Varma XV, the Rajarshi of Cochin

The Kingdom of Cochin came into existence around the sixth century AD. According to tradition, Kochi’s first king was a son of the last Perumal’s sister and was, therefore, the immediate heir under the Marumakkatayamm, a system of succession by matrilineal inheritance. His name was Vir Kerala Varma, a title held by the Rajas of… Read more »