Corinthian Columns in Bhuj’s Prag Mahal – A Shangri-La in Stone

In remote 5th Century BCE there lived a free born maiden in Corinth, a city-state of Ancient Greece. She was just of marriageable age; died due to a prolonged illness. Her nurse collected a few items which used to provide pleasure to the girl and kept in a basket. She carried it to the tomb of the girl and laid it on top thereof, covering it with roof tiles so that the items might last longer in the open air. The basket happened to be placed just above the roots of an acanthus tree. When the spring arrived, the acanthus leaves grew up alongside the basket and due to the pressure of the tiles the leaves were forced to bend at the outer edges.

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Acanthus Leafs – Source: Wikipedia

Callimathus, a renowned architect of Classical Greece once passed by the tomb and observed the basket with the tender young leaves growing around it. Totally inspired, he eventually built some columns after that pattern for Corinthians. A new order was born called Corinthian order.

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Sculpture of Callimathus – Source: Wikipedia

When classical order was revived during the Renaissance, the Corinthian order became increasingly popular in Europe and made its way to India in the 19th century.

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The Corinthian order also became increasingly decorative incorporating a variety of animals, plants and flowers.

Prag Mahal is a 19th century palace located in Bhuj, Gujarat. The palace is named after Pragmalji II who commissioned its construction in 1865. The building was designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins in the Italian Gothic style. Many Italian artists were involved in its construction.

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The palace is noted for its fascinating Corinthian columns in red sandstone. All these columns depict a range of animals, birds, flowers and foliage apart from the acanthus leafs. They together offer a Shangri-la like feature in stone. Here is the photo story which captures the essence of Prag Mahal’s glorious Corinthian columns influenced by the Gothic style of art and perhaps amongst the best in India.

 

 

Prag Mahal was heavily destroyed in 2001 earthquake and sadly it has not been restored to its original grandeur and form. However, against the pitiable condition of the building its Corinthian columns still shine as a Shangri-la in stone.      

 

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