Book Review: Forts & Palaces of India

Brief overview of India's history, Palaces and ancient forts

Published: Mar 26, 2011 06:43:53 AM IST
Updated: Mar 24, 2011 02:30:19 PM IST
Book Review: Forts & Palaces of India

It’s a staggering task at hand. And conservationist Amita Baig and architect photographer Joginder Singh meet the challenge. They embarked upon a cross-country journey to document India’s collapsing but magnificent forts and palaces. Most of the palaces, of course, have got a fresh lease of life on being transformed into hotels. But our forts are in danger of being forgotten, except by squatters and lovers.
The book is divided into several categories: Some defined by the dynasty that built the structures and some by their geographical locations. The introduction serves as a brief overview of India’s history and there’s a short chapter on ancient forts.

The bulk of the book, then, is formed by Rajasthan’s forts (eight in all) and those built by the Delhi Sultanate (10). Maharashtra’s magnificence, too, is well represented (nine). Forts & Palaces of India is an eye-opener for those who might not have known of the presence of what this tome classifies as Sikh Forts. The hill forts of Kangra, Bagso and Nurpur are beautifully showcased, as are five from the much neglected east. Amongst other fort classifications are: Bundelkhand (five), Southern Kingdoms (10) and the Colonial settlements (five).

The book is about documenting a richness of space and architecture, but there are visuals that clearly indicate concern for these vulnerable structures. The ones that stand out are the ruins of Mandu and Daulatabad and the shockingly defaced walls of Golconda.

Forts & Palaces of India;
Authors: Amita Baig and Joginder Singh;
Price: Rs. 2,995; Pages: 256,
Publisher: Om Books International
Courtesy: Better Interiors

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(This story appears in the 08 April, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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