The architectural record on the Indian subcontinent is astonishing. The religious structures alone include ancient Buddhist stupas and cave monasteries, Hindu temples in a myriad of regional styles, highly ornamented mosques and Islamic tombs, gilded Sikh prayer halls, marble Jain temples, European-style churches and jewel-box synagogues. Added into the mix are imposing royal forts and palaces, merchant-class mansions carved from stone, rambling urban bazaars, and brightly painted tribal homes.
Beginning in the 16th century, regional settlements of French, Dutch, Portuguese and English added their own imprint on the built environment. In the 19th century, the British presence in particular resulted in a proliferation of public and government buildings designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, a blend of Neo-Classical, Gothic Revivalist and Indian Islamic styles. This European influence continued into the 20th century with Sir Edwin Lutyens' and Herbert Baker's grand design for India's new capital in Delhi.
In the 1920s and 1930s, European movements such as the Bauhaus and the International Style of architecture slowly began to take hold, followed shortly thereafter by a wave of magnificent Art Deco construction. Le Corbusier's post-independence (1947) design for the city of Chandigarh galvanized the practice of Modern building design in the region. It was soon thereafter that a number of local architects, many of whom were educated abroad, began to develop their own architectural style that blended Modernism with ancient design principles, nationalist identities and the realities of life on the Indian subcontinent, creating a truly Modern Indian architecture.
Our itineraries feature projects by Charles Correa, B.V. Doshi, Muzharul Islam, V. Ganapati Sthapati, Raj Rewal, Bimal Patel, Hafeez Contractor, Habib Rahman, Louis Kahn, Anant Raje, S. K. Das and Laurie Baker, among others. We will also glimpse the recent effects of economic globalization as evidenced by the glitzy office complexes of India's multi-nationals, and the Western-style shopping malls and residential high rises targeted at the country's growing middle-class population. From Lost to Found Travel's Architecture itineraries showcase the great variety of styles found on the Indian subcontinent - stone, wood, bricks and mortar that truly span the millennia.
Unlike other architecture tours to this region, we do not just focus on popular tourist sites. We have taken particular care to include many Modern and Contemporary buildings designed by respected regional architects, as well as visits to local villages where the indigenous housing is simple yet resourceful and beautiful. The itineraries below are representative of the types of Architecture tours we can arrange for your enjoyment. They are meant to serve as a source of inspiration for designing a custom tour that satisfies your particular needs and interests.
Note: not all of the sites mentioned in these itineraries can be viewed from the inside, as some of them are in protected government compounds, while others are private businesses or residences or heritage sites that only permit visitor access within certain areas. If there are certain buildings in particular that you would like to view from the inside, please let us know and we will make best efforts to secure the required access if we have not already done so.
Interested in learning more about India's beautiful yet functional stepwells or 'water buildings,' including Rudabai Vav in Gujarat (also known as Adalaj Vav, pictured below right)? We invite you to peruse this article by Chicago-based writer and India travel maven Victoria Lautman.