Over the past 100 years or so the world has undergone a dramatic change in terms of the population, the advent of a digital age and change in architectural styles lining up our streets. On the commercial front, Mom and pop stores have given way to commercial centres and malls who in turn are now giving way to ecommerce portals while numerous old heritage buildings under poor maintenance were forced to give way to newer development. In the midst of all this, there are certain landmarks which have remained unchanged and an integral part of our legacy. Monuments which has withstood the ravages of time, wars and human greed and are still a beacon of light for tourists and locals alike. With a lifestyle which boasts of a sedentary lifestyle in our daily jobs and a vigorously active one when travelling, we often find it difficult to explore our own backyard leave alone our state and country. Thus we feel it important to revisit our country’s history especially since we recently celebrated India’s 70th Independence Day and learn a bit more than what our history books taught us.
We’ve stayed, worked and travelled to different parts of the country and thus have had a chance to discover and bring back with us bits and pieces of the history of those places. However most of these discoveries have been through local interaction, publications or plain hearsay with no basis in facts. We’ve discovered that Park Street in Kolkata, a city where we were born and brought-up, was one of the entertainment capitals of the region and often called the street that never sleeps. The street has lost a bit of its edge, charm and status over the years however still is a prominent part of the city landscape. Howrah Bridge, another architectural wonder in Kolkata, remains a core part of the city’s identity despite a newer, bigger bridge being made recently. Humayun’s tomb in the capital of the country, New Delhi remains a part of a never ending debate on its similarities with one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. Built about 85 years before it, the monument is said to be a source of inspiration for the Taj Mahal and remains a big draw for tourists and locals alike who come to gaze at this beautiful structure and enjoy the cool afternoon breeze in summers and the pleasantly warm winter sun on its lawns as part of a Delhi Darshan. The Darjeeling Mall Road, like so many other Mall roads in the various Hill stations of the country remains popular as ever despite the changing face of the road, its inhabitants and the over commercialization of this beautiful hill town. A similar situation is faced by Connaught place in the capital Delhi which has remained unchanged in its glory despite the best efforts of commercialization and the changing landscape around it. Down south, the sea face in Mumbai which was a great place for locals to enjoy the sea, is still a great place to hang out but is now lined by skyscrapers. The gorgeous Victorian era architecture is also what the British left behind, not only in their public buildings but also their train stations. The Victoria Terminus, Churchgate station, Howrah station and Chennai central station are prime examples of the same which despite their age still go strong as some of the most beautiful stations around the globe. Similar examples could also be of ancient temples dotting the country with a few prime examples being the Meenakshi temple in Chennai, Vadakkunnathan Temple, Golden temple in Amritsar and the Benaras (Varanasi) burning ghats among many others.
We’ve talked about some of the more popular landmarks which due to their importance in history and supportive governments have maintained their identity despite changing times. However there are so many more, that it is impossible to list them all out here. It is however important to revisit how some of these famous landmarks in India used to look at the turn of the last century to understand how we have changed as a country. In a sense it is like revisiting the old B/W pics of our parents childhood and being amused or shocked (going by how much they’ve changed) by the transformation they’ve undergone. Expedia India has made it possible to revisit some of these famous Landmarks through an online tool called “India Then & Now” which allows the viewers to literally slide through history and view the transformation first hand. If nothing else it should be a source of information, a glimpse of history and time well spent for both children and adults.