SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Samadhi: the last great example of indigenous architectural style in the Punjab

Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan (SOAS Charles Wallace Pakistan Fellow 2011-12)

Date: 23 February 2011Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 23 February 2011Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar


Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Samadhī built after his death in 1839, displays important architectural features that connect it to a long tradition of funerary monuments of the subcontinent. This connection is traceable in both structural and ornamental features  such as the high plinth, the square shape, fenestration, dome and the stupa-like commemorative knobs on the one hand and the use of red sandstone and white marble for carvings and inlay as well as wall paintings on the other.

With annexation of the Punjab in 1849, Punjab became host to a very different style of architecture that relied heavily on European forms. Although local repertory gradually did become a part of the British Raj architecture, visual culture of buildings changed forever marking the Samadhi as the last great monument commemorating not only the Maharaja but also the traditional architectural practices.