Monday 19 September 2011

Which is the Oldest Building in Dehradun?

Written by Anil Singh

Are you oblivious to the historical buildings in your beloved Dehradun City? NO, then answer this question, “Which is the Oldest Building in Dehradun?”

The answer is: The building of American Presbyterian Mission Boys’ Higher Secondary School, known as CNI Boys’ Intermediate College. The CNI Boy’s Inter College, is one of the oldest buildings of the state capital that was founded in 1854. Notably, a historical bell is also installed on its premises.

A bit about the Bell: The bell was a gift from the USA. It is the largest and the loudest bell in the town that had played an important role in the mutiny of 1857 (also known as India's First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, theRevolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion, and the Sepoy Mutiny).

Emphasizing the role played by the bell during the 1857 mutiny, the school Principal RS Donald once said, Doonites used to synchronise their watches with the help of this bell. The ringing of the bell at that time would mean that mutineers were about to attack the town and people would ran to safety.

Other Historic monuments in Dehradun City include:

Astley Hall, Clock Tower and Guru Ram Rai Durbar.

Astley Hall (the same building where Book World is situated), was built by freebooter Fedrick Wilson “Pahari” in memory of his grandson, Astley, who died in infancy.

The Mansa Ram Building, which used to be a premier bank, but now is in ruins, was built by using the elements of art-deco architecture (in which geometrical shapes are used). The building has a double-height ground floor, giving an impression of this building being a five-storey structure.

One of the most well recognized monuments in Dehradun City, the Clock Tower, was constructed in 1953 by Kunwar Anand Singh in memory of his father, Lala Balbir Singh, a famous laureate of the British period. The tower with a regal clock on top, stands at the junction of four important streets of the city – namely the Gandhi Road, Paltan Bazar, Rajpur Road and Chakrata Road.

Another, quite vistited historical building of the city is the Guru Ram Rai Durbar, locally known as “a monument of friendship”. Actually the building was built by Aurangzeb, the Last Great Mughal, in honour of his friend, “udasin fakir” Guru Ram Rai. The monument is a great example of the Mughal-Sikh-Pahari cultural heritage OR if looked further, of Ganga-Jamuni Tahzeeb, ehcih signifies the symbolic and peaceful co-existence of Hindu and Muslims in India.

Talking of the architecture of the Guru Ram Rai’s mausoleum and the adjoining garden; it is similar to other mausoleums built by the Mughals. According to Cunningham, Archaelogical Survey Of India in British times, the design of the guru’s samadhi appears to have been inspired by Jahangir’s tomb at Sikandara, Lahore.

That’s all for today, hope you get enlightened by this write-up.

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