Asirgarh Fort during British India Era

Title: Albumen print of Asirgarh Fort

Description: This photograph is an old Albumen print from late 1800’s. The photographer’s name is unknown but considering the region of Deccan was visited by three British photographer/officers – Phillip Meadows Taylor, Henry Cousens and Andrew Cussins. They all travelled extensively in the Satpura ranges and have recorded monuments from Mughal and Farouki dynasty in the region. Philip Meadows Taylor was an administrator in British India, a novelist, painter and photographer appointed in Deccan in the late 1800’s. While Henry Cousens was an archeologist and photographer working with the Archeological survey of India. Andrew Cussins remains a mysterious character who is believed to have encountered Ashwathama in his various forms and attempted to catch him in his camera. However, he used cyanotype printing technique to print carte de visite type of postcard images so this particular image is unlikely attributed to Andrew Cussins as well.

Attributed to: Philip Meadows Taylor or Henry Cousens

Source: Albumen Print

Date: Late 1800’s

Dimensions: Unknown

Language: English

Identifier/Keyword: Asirgarh, fort, Henry cousens, Philip, meadows, taylor, albumen, print, photograph, british, photographer


Title: Cyanotypes of Asirgarh fort, 1884

Description: Andrew Cussins remains a mysterious photographer who is believed to have encountered Ashwathama in his various forms and attempted to catch him in his camera. He used cyanotype printing technique to print carte de visite type of postcard images to build a story around Ashwathama. Only few photographs remains in this archive with Forgotten Immortals. He is believed to have been commissioned by the British East India Company to document the mythology of the Satpura mountain range. He documented the various Bilmarg (secret passages) inside and outside of Asirgarh fort.

Andrew Cussins must have visited the Asirgarh Fort between 1884-1886 since some photographs mention the dates. That was also the time when revolutionaries of the First War of Independence were brought to the Asirgarh Prison. Out of all the revolutionaries that spent their time in Asirgarh Prison, it is believed that Surendra Sai and Muluk Singh had conversations with Ashwathama when he visited them in the form of a tiger.

Attributed to: Andrew Cussins

Source: Cyanotype on cotton paper

Attributed Date: 1884

Dimensions: 8 in. x 6 in.

Language: English

Identifier/Keyword: Asirgarh, fort, cyanotype, andrew cussin, brick, wall, 1884, malaigarh


Sketch plan of the Fort and Pettah at Asirgarh completed in pencil, pen-and-ink and wash and water-colour by an anonymous artist, 1819.

Title: Sketch plan of Asirgarh Fort

Description: The fort is located at the top of a very steep cliff on an isolated outcrop of the Satpura range in Madhya Pradesh. Regarded as one of the oldest forts in India, there is evidence of settlement here from 1600 BC. The historian Ferishta reckoned that the fort was built in 1370 by a herdsman, Asa Ahir whose ancestors had occupied the rock for over 700 years. The Mughal Emperor Akbar took the fort in 1600. Two centuries later it was taken by the British under Wellesley (1803) but subsequently restored to Scindia. Following a twenty day siege it was taken by General Malcolm in 1819. The fortress occupies a strategically important position commanding the only easily accessible route from northern India to the Deccan in the southwest. The northern entrance to the fort was protected by a deep ravine defended by an outer rampart whereas from the south, the fort was approached through five gateways protected by double lines of fortifications which could be blocked in an urgent situation. (source: British Library)

Attributed to: Anonymous Artist

Source: Watercolor on paper

Date: 1819

Dimensions: 35.5 cms X 52 cms

Identifier/Keyword: Asirgarh, fort, sketch, drawing, watercolor, anonymous, plan

Language: English


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