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Interesting Facts about Constantia Building, Lucknow
Interesting Facts about Constantia Building, Lucknow

SAUMITR
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Being a part of La Martiniere College-Lucknow, Constantia Building is one of the most valuable historical heritages of India that needs to be visited by every tourist coming from all parts of the world. The idea of building Constantia occurred first to Claude Martin, a former major-general of French and British East India Company and also gained the reputation as richest Frenchman of India. The construction of this edifice which Martin dreamt of as his residence, started in 1785. But it is sad to know that he himself couldn`t survive to witness the grandeur of this architectural marvel. Here are a few intriguing facts regarding the building: 1. The oldest school of Lucknow. At the time of his death the Major General wrote a will on January 1800 stating that his properties Lyons at France Constantia at Calcutta and Constantia at Lucknow must be converted into Educational Institutions. Britishers took 45 years in honoring his last wish and Constantia Complex, Lucknow was converted into an educational institution better known as `La Martiniere College for Boys` . 2. A Mausoleum Tactical plot to save his work According to another instruction of his will Martin demanded his body to be embalmed and buried beneath the vault prepared in Constantia which is still under construction. People suggest that he did this to save his love from being taken over the Nawab of Lucknow who hinted his intentions when Martin refused to sell the property. He obviated the threat by making it a tomb as Muslims never uses houses consecrated as a living place of a soul. 3. Defense Fortress Constantia has served defense fortress against Raja of Banaras who attempted to invade Lucknow during the mutiny of 1857. Constructed as a 6 storied building including the basement 4 spiral columns goes right upto the terrace and also made as only staircase to get to the top of the building. A single man can defend the fort standing at the top once after shutting the Iron doors. Martin`s idea is to show off to fellow Englishmen that Constantia is a biggest threat to attackers. 4. Architectural Style: The most fascinating thing about Constantia is that even though General Martin laid the foundations, the architectural finish has a mix of Indian, Turkish and Persian styles. The colonnades at the front face of the building is constructed with Georgian style loopholes and turrets small tower head over big tower above which Mogul copulas were placed. 5. The magic of Plaster of Paris: The classical and mythological characters depicted in plaques which ornament the Constantia building are made of Plaster of Paris. The 18th century world renowned English potter Josiah Wedgewood is said to be the designer of these plaques. There are concrete evidences of Martin ordering tonnes of imported Plaster of Paris (POP) in his personal communication through letters. 6. Banks of River Gomti and the Light House: Another paramount tourist attraction is the 125 feet narrow flute like column in the front which was actually built with the intention to serve as light house for the travelers on Gomti River. Due to its proximity to the banks of the River the Obelisk tower got flooded by several times in recent history. 7. Martin Purwa: This Village in Lucknow is a part of La Martiniere College estate. Named after Claude Martin the village originally inhabited the staff members and workers of Martin and provided labor and other services. The Daroga superintendent of the estate still lives in this village. The village has benefited from its proximity to Lucknow Golf Club, another part of the Constantia estate. 8. Constantia in Movies: The building which is still famous as `Martin Sahib ke Khoti` features in several Bollywood movies. The epic hand pump sequence by Tara Singh from `Gadar` was shot at this very school. The school has been part of several other notable movies like `Shatranj Ke Khiladi`, `Anwar` and `Always Kabhi Kabhi`.

Posted On : 2/17/2016 11:48:48 AM

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