Posted on: 13 July 2013

Digital Rare Book:
India through the Stereoscope : A journey through Hindustan
By James Ricalton
Published by Underwood & Underwood, London - 1907


When our ancestors were yet savages, a Greek historian said that Egypt had more wonders than all the rest of the world. It is true that the country along the banks of the Nile claims the first of the seven wonders of the world, and it may still be said that Egypt possesses greater wonders in the line of architectural achievements than the rest of the world; but the ordinary traveler desires to see something besides monumental achievements in masonry and architecture. When asked, as I have often been, in what country may be seen the greatest number of thing's to increase one's knowledge and to add to one's pleasure, I have named India. If the traveler wishes to see beautiful architecture in many styles, he will find it in India. If he desires to look upon the grandest mountain scenery the world has to offer, he will find it in the Himalayas, amongst which twenty Switzerlands, side by side, could be hidden away, and Mont Blanc, the hig-hest peak in Europe, would be overtopped some fourteen thousand feet by Mt. Everest and nearly as much by Kinchin janga. If he wishes to visit a country where princes are very rich and the people are very poor, let him go to India ; or if he wishes to be in a country where he can see many types of the human family and hear many languages spoken and witness caste wide-spread and arbitrary, let him go to the great world of the Hindus. If he feels himself to be something of a Nimrod, the fauna will test his prowess with the fiercest specimen in the animal kingdom, the Bengal tiger. If alone to behold what has been termed "a dream in marble," the Taj Mahal, one should go to India; but, besides that matchless structure, India justly claims many of the most beautiful and unique specimens of architecture in any country. Her mosques, her temples, her religious shrines, her tombs and memorial monuments, surpass in number and often in size and magnificence those in other parts of the world. Everywhere in western countries are examples of Gothic, Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Egyptian architecture, but besides these, in Oriental India may be seen Buddhistic, Jaina, Dravidian, Chalukyan, Saracenic, and Indo- Aryan architecture never seen in the westward countries.

India is not only the country of many races, many castes, many languages, much wealth and much poverty; it is the land of many religions and innumerable priests. It is a world of fanaticism and a home of mysticism. Buddhism, Hinduism, Brahmanism, Jainism and countless other isms originated in this strange land. It is the birthplace of pestilence. It is the country of the fiercest animals and the most venomous serpents. Is it not then a true wonderland and a land of all the world in which to see and learn?

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