9 Stunning Architectural Styles to Travel for in India

If only the walls could speak.

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The deep, rippling changes in Indian history over the last couple of centuries is a story richly narrated in its architecture. We asked architect Shobhan Kothari of Atelier DnD to pick the most striking styles that he’d travel for across the country. Here’s what he chose:

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R. Sengupta, a retired director of conservation at the Archaeological Survey of India, their mixture of elements from the Gothic and Renaissance styles combined with motifs gleaned from their travels and other colonies, led to the creation of  a Portuguese Baroque style in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The basilica of Bom Jesus is an example of the kind of Baroque architectural style the Portuguese used in Goa. Photo: Kaustav.piku/Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

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Indian Heritage Cities Network  (IHCN), one of the main differences in comparison to Parisian villas are the roofs, which are flat instead of pitched. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Pondicherry has been at the forefront of multiple restoration projects and, in some cases, facade control – where, if a structure can’t be preserved, owners are encouraged to rebuild it in the same style. Hotel de l’Orient is one example of a beautiful restored hotel in the French quarter. In the Tamil quarter, the IHCN has described houses with exterior facades that feature a thalvaram (“a street veranda with a lean-to roof over wooden posts”) to shelter pedestrians, and a thinnai (“a semi-public veranda”) with masonry benches for visitors and pilgrims. Other elements of Tamil architectural style that can be found here include beautiful tiling, pillars and inner courtyards. INTACH also arranges heritage walks.

Intricate cornices, louvered wooden shutters and balconies are recurrent elements in Pondicherry's French quarter. Photo: © Benjamin Larderet/Demotix/Corbis

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this heritage walk that takes you through the basic history of each structure.

St Andrew's Church at Dalhousie Square is a clear example of British colonial architecture. Photo: Paul Hamilton/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

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article for The Guardian, William Dalrymple quotes travel writer Robert Byron on Lutyens’ Delhi: “People don't realise what has been done,” he wrote, “how stupendous it is, and such a work of beauty, so unlike the English. One would never have thought it of them. It will be a mystery to historians.”  Built in the 1920s and ’30s in order to shift the colonial capital from Calcutta to Delhi, British architect Edwin Lutyens was given custody of architectural plans. He combined Islamic and Buddhist elements with classical architecture, blending styles from the East and West to produce the buildings that still stand today. Apart from the Lutyens Bungalow Zone, today’s Rashtrapati Bhavan (then the Viceroy’s House), India Gate, Rajpath and its surrounding area were all designed by Lutyens.

One of Lutyens' iconic buildings is the India Gate in Delhi. Photo: Ravi Chahal/Flickr/Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

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here.

The interiors of Liberty Cinema also contain elements of art deco. Photo: © Subhash Sharma/ZUMA Press/Corbis

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reportedly already developing cracks, but it remains, nonetheless, an unusual design against the Indian cityscape. Photo: Students of IIMA/Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

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A D V E R T I S E M E N T

  • Fabiola Monteiro was formerly a member of National Geographic Traveller India's digital team. Since then, her words have featured in The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Roads & Kingdoms, The Goya Journal, and Condé Nast Traveller India. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro and is on Instagram @fabiolamonteiro.

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