Great Durbar Hall in Palace of H.H. the Maharaja of Gwalior, one of India's richest princes, [Lashkar]
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph of the Durbar Hall in the Jai Vilas Palace at Lashkar in Madhya Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The city of Lashkar was founded in the early 19th century and the Jai Bilas palace was built in 1874. It is constructed on the plan of an Italian palazzo, with a mingling of European and Indian styles. The Durbar hall is furnished in European style with two massive chandeliers and a punkah, hanging from the ceiling. The punkah, in the centre of the room, is a fan made to swing by a cord which passes through an opening in the wall to a punkah wallah outside the room. This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The series was sold together with a book of descriptions and a map with precise locations to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was really touring around India. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century and revolutionised photography. They cut down exposure time and thus allowed for some movement in the image without blurring as subjects were not required to sit for long periods to produce sharp results.