The Ganges From The Phatuk

The Ganges From The Phatuk

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“In the corner of a cul-de-sac to the north-west of the minarets is a small phatuk, or gate, opening upon a steep flight of steps, at the foot of which extends the ghat of Punchgunga (the five rivers) where a considerable fair is held during the month of Kartik (Oct.-Nov.).
On the opposite side of the river is just visible the commencement of the road to Calcutta”.
(James Prinsep’s description in “Benares Illustrated”)

James Prinsep wrote those words concerning the same view that he drew almost 200 years ago.
His litograph is titled “View Of The Ganges, From The Phatuk or Gate at the top of Punchgunga Ghat”.
James Prinsep (1799-1840) was an Anglo-Indian scholar, architect and antiquary who made many drawings of Varanasi (Benaras) showing realistic views of the city between 1820-30 gathered in a book titled “Benares Illustrated”.
The lithographs published in this collection are showing that many buildings were kept at that time in a worst condition than nowadays.
It is really surprising because anyone can easily believe that many palaces and temples are today in decay and those sketches prove the opposite, in fact as time went by, people preserved and even restored many historic buildings.
It changes the way to appreciate the oldest living city in the world…
Nothing is really what we believe it is…

This is a link to James Prinsep’s drawing: www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/other/largeimage694…

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