Sunday, 18 January 2009

Bhai Ram Singh

Bhai Ram Singh was an architect who designed the Khalsa College (now the Guru Nanak University), Amritsar in 1982. He also designed late 19th century, much sought after buildings in the princely states of Jind, Nabha, Patiala, Bhawalpore, Jammu and Kashmir, Mysore and so on. He has also designed a room in Osbourne House, England called the Durbar Room. In Lahore, he has designed the Chiefs College, Lahore Museum, the Mayo School of Arts, Punjab University Senate House and scores of other buildings, including the Governor's House in Simla. At Lyallpur, he designed the College of Agriculture. He was the chief designer of buildings in Punjab. He was born in a family of carpenters in a village near Batala and had a good sense of design and understanding of things mechanical. He was not even 14 when he repaired the piano of the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, even though he had no training of any kind. He integrated the colonial style with the native tradition in furniture making, tapestry making, interior decoration and architecture. He invented Indo-sarsenic style of architecture which is a mixture of Indian traditional and Mughal style of architecture. In the early 1880's, Principal Kipling (whose son, Rudyard, went on to win the Noble Prize) took him to Calcutta for an exhibition and introduced him to the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, who admired his work and invited him to the UK a little later. He performed so well there that Queen Victoria asked him to design an Indian Room in one of her palaces. His portrait is displayed in one of the Queen's palaces in England. Below is the portrait of Ram Singh and some images of his buildings inculding Khalsa College and the Durbar room.

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