Luminous-Lint - for collectors and connoisseurs of fine photography
HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login |

Getting around


HomeContentsVisual IndexesOnline ExhibitionsPhotographersGalleries and DealersThemes
AbstractEroticaFashionLandscapeNaturePhotojournalismPhotomontagePictorialismPortraitScientificStill lifeStreetWar

Stereographs Project

      A B C D E F G H  
      I J K L M N O P  
      Q R S T U V W X  
      Y Z  

HomeContents > People > Photographers > Henry Cousens

This photographer, partnership or studio is under consideration

We are seeking any background details and example photographs that will assist us improve this page. If you have any advice or leads please send an email to - 
If you are this photographer - welcome - and please use the Submission guidelines to make sure we get everything right.

Dates:  1854, 13 September - 1933, 5 November
Born:  Scotland, Renfrewshire, Paisley
Died:  England, Tunbridge Wells
Active:  India
Photographer active in India in the 1870s and 1880s specializing in archaeological sites and architectural monuments. The British Library has 855 of his photographs.

Preparing biographies

Further research

 Premium content for those who want to understand photography
References are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Work related, India
Henry Cousens, Archaeological Surgeon [sic], son of Henry Cousens, married Marion Bryce Morrison (1859-1945), at Christ Church, Byculla, Bombay, 7 June 1882
Listed as having joined Archaeological Survey Department, 16 Nov 1881; in fact a letter written by James Burgess in 1883 (see below) indicates that he had worked for the survey since (July?) 1875; non-gazetted appointments until 1890; Archaeological Surveyor, Western India, Poona, 1 10.1890; Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Bombay (Poona), 24.6.1891; on deputation to Hyderabad State, 1 Dec 1894-31.8.1895; Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Bombay (Poona), 1.9.1895; Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Western Circle (Poona),11.2.1906; officiating as Director General of Archaeology, Simla, 14.4.1906
Civil engingeer. Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circles and photographed sites for the survey (particularly Gujarat). After 1886 he supervised and trained Indian draughtsmen; retired 13.9.1910, after ‘three months short of 35 years service.’
Toured Northern Gujarat in 1886-7 and 1889-90, surveying and photographing.
Works by Cousens at: SW 266/12; SW 196/46; X 373; SW196/32; V 7970; SW 196/37.
IOR/V/12/11; Brief obituary in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1934 Author: (with James Burgess), The architectual antiquities of Northern Gujarat, more especially of the districts included in the Baroda State (vol. IX of The Archaeological Survey of Western India, London, 1903, IOL pressmark SW 196/32). Will of H. Cousens of Tunbridge Wells in Times of 30 December 1933, p. 13e. Left gross assets of £1,200.
Letter from James Burgess, Archaeological Surveyor, Western and Southern India to the Madras Government, dated Ahmadabad, 15 December 1883. Madras pub. proc., 24 December 1883, No. 2420, p.107, IOR/P/2118).
In order to secure the best possible photographs of the Amaravati sculptures for my report on these remains, I have arranged to send Mr H. Cousens, my First Assistant in the Bombay Survey, to take them. Mr Cousens has been 9 years in the survey, and knows exactly what to do and how to do it, securing the photographs to scale and attending to details which the mere ordinary professional photographer is not accustomed to. Moreover besides being better it will be much cheaper.
Mr Cousens salary is Rs. 300 a-month, and he will be allowed the usual travelling and other contingencies while in Madras for gharry hire, and for his peon. He will also visit some other places in the Presidency to obtain photographs for the survey...
1889 (FEBRUARY-MARCH). Surveying Satrunjaya (and Bijapur, presumably taken around the same time?). Prefatory letter by Burgess (6 June 1889) to the below notes
‘I have the honour to forward herewith the progress report of the Archaeological Survey for the months of February and March. During that period Mr. Cousens and his staff have been engaged at Palitana [Satrunjaya], and have made a pretty complete survey of the buildings on the sacred hill there. This report is full of interest, and it is perhaps to be regretted that these papers are not printed as those of the Madras Archaeological Survey are. Mr. Cousens will submit prints of the photographs as soon as they can be got ready.’
The printed paper mainly concerns Bijapur, but with a description of Satrunjaya included (pp. 71-83).[1] 1889-90. ‘The programme of work for the season 1889-90 comprised, chiefly, the completion of the survey of the remains within His Highness the Gaikwad’s territory in North Gujarat which was commenced during the season of 1886-87. In addition to this it was arranged that any work claiming the attention of the Survey, that might exist in the Palanpur Agency, should be done at the same time; and, if time permitted, as much of the unsurveyed remains in Kathiawad as could be taken in hand towards the end of the season, the party working from north to south through Northern Gujarat.’ Cousens’ party arrived at Ahmadabad, en route for Palanpur, on 5 December 1889. This city was chosen as a starting point, and his party remained there until 11 December, ‘in order to get certain additional photographs required by Dr Burgess for his forthcoming volume on the archaeological remains in that city; so, whilst the photographic assistant and myself were engaged in getting these necessary photographs, the draftsmen were occupied in finishing off the bulk of the Dharwar Chalukyan drawings which Dr Burgess had specially called for.’ This work necessitated remaining at Palanpur from 11-23 December, ‘as it would otherwise have been difficult to get them packed and sent away after we had left the line of the rail and had travelled inland.’ Set off for Roho, north of Palanpur Agency, on 23 December, where ‘we found an old step-well, with a short Sanskrit inscription, constructed entirely out of white marble...Not far from it are the ruined remnants of a white marble Jaina temple, and close to this again are the crumbling walls of a very substantially built railway bungalow...This bungalow appears to have been an engineer’s or contractor’s, and it is more than likely that the old Jaina temple that stood near was despoiled of its materials for railway purposes...’ Sarotra, about 4 miles south-west of Roho, was also visited, and photographs and drawings of the desecrated Jain temple were made. While camped at Roho, on 26 December, Cousens visited Chandravati, about 15 miles to the north-east. This once-famous city, described in Tod’s Travels in Western India, had by now been thoroughly despoiled: ‘Save portions of the basement of one temple and a few blocks of the back wall of another, nothing now remains, in 1890, of these beautiful shrines, discovered in 1824, excepting one solitary column, which, by its loneliness, rather accentuates the desolation around it. A short walk from here discovers one of the chief causes of this, for there, under the railway bridge, upon either side of the stone piers, lie, in heaps in the river bed, upwards of a hundred cart loads of sculptured fragments and images, the unused portion of the vast amount of marble carried there from those temples. The site of the old city, and its extent, is still indicated in great measure by the mounds of old brick work which formed the foundations of these old temples...An estampage of an old inscription of Samvat 13?? found here, was made, and two photographs were taken.’ From Roho Cousens travelled via Palanpur to Ranpur, in the mistaken expectation of finding a ‘very fine old temple’, but this was apparently in error for Ranakpur. He then moved camp to Bhilri, 12 miles south-west of Disa, ‘but found that the temple that existed here had not only been razed to the ground, but its foundations had even been dug out and the whole of the material carted away to be converted into lime. This was the case, too, at Mundeta and Kemana...where a few forgotten fragments, lying near the pits, out of which these temples had been rooted, were sufficient to show that the architecture was of the same high class that once adorned Chandravati...’ Getting correct information about remains continued to be a problem, ‘it being the most difficult thing possible to make the ordinary native officials understand that we are far more interested in an old ruined structure of bygone days than in the more new-fangled gingerbread structures of the present time. Their minds hardly rise above whitewash, plaster, and red lead. The consequence is that almost all the lists of remains received from various sources abound with entries of these newer structures, and often totally ignore the more ruinous, but genuine, examples of the purer style.’ At Kasera he found ‘a small, but very old, triple-shrined temple dedicated to Siva, Brahma, and Vishnu’. This had been much desecrated by Muslims and was being used as a cattle pen; Cousens had it cleaned out and, ‘being a very good specimen of its class, some time was devoted to it in making drawings and taking photographs.’ The survey party remained at Patan from 23 January to 12 February 1890, and ‘added a few more drawings and photographs to those already made there in January 1887. Its remains of old work are so scattered about the town and for miles around, that it is no easy matter to come at them all in one short visit.’ Cousens gives a fairly detailed account of the architectural remains, but only specifically mentions the photographing of the fine carved wood decoration of ‘two exceptionally good house fronts.’ The finest piece encountered, however, was ‘the great ceiling scroll which was drawn and published in one of the numbers of the Indian Art Journal. The work is superb, but, unfortunately, the three great slabs bearing it received very much damage when the porch, in which it was placed, fell into the river. The scroll was recovered, and now lies upon the pavement near its original position.’ From Patan, Cousens moved to Sunak, a village a few miles west of the Unjha railway station: ‘Here we found two old temples, one in ruins, the other in good preservation and richly decorated. This furnished us with several drawings and photos.’ The party left Sunak on 25 February 1890 and moved camp to Dhenuj, ‘but I visited Ruavi and Sandera en route and took photos and notes of old temples at each of these places. At Dhenuj is an old temple, rebuilt, with a good deal of new material added, but the older work is of the very best class, and the carving of the vedi or parapet wall of the mandapa or hall is particularly good. Drawings and photographs were made here. Near the town are the ruins of a very old step-well. In the villages of Virta, Ghurad, Motap, and Kanoda, which lie around Dhenuj, were found some fair specimens of old work, and photos and drawings were made of these.’ (Henry Cousens, Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Western India for the months December 1889 to February 1890, Government of Bombay, General Proceedings (Archaeology), dated Camp, Dilmal, North Gujarat, 12th March 1890).
1890 (MARCH-APRIL). Cousens moved camp from Dhenuj to Dilmal, 18 miles west: ‘As Modheyra, at which place is the beautiful temple of Surya surveyed by us three years ago, lay not far off, I took a detour in that direction personally, staying there one day, to get a few additional measurements of its basement mouldings and an extra photograph.’ At Dilmal itself, ‘4 sheets of drawings were made, and 4 photographs with 12 facsimiles of inscriptions were taken.’ From Dilmal, the party moved via Waghel to Munjpur. At the former, no remains were found of the temple: ‘Not a remains, and it is almost forgotten by the villagers themselves. Those that do remember it say it was carted away in toto, some 20 or 25 years ago, its material being used in the construction of a talao at Radhanpur! The very foundations were dug out and carried away...’ At Lotesvara, two miles east of Munjpur, Cousens examined the ‘curiously built well, in the plan of a Greek cross...of recent construction’ and ‘at Munjpur and Lotesvara 2 sheets of drawings were made, 2 photographs taken, and 4 inscription impressions made.’ From Munjpur the survey group moved to Sankesvara, where two drawings were made, two photographs taken and 28 inscriptions impressed of the remains of the Jain temple. Panchasur, six miles on, was then visited, and while, ‘according to tradition, one of the oldest towns in has absolutely nothing left on the surface to commemorate those days.’ The next camp was at Mandal, where ‘4 sheets of drawings, 2 photographs, and 7 inscriptions were obtained’ of the Islamic remains. From here Cousens proceeded to Viramgam, where he examined the great tank known as the Mana Sarovar, and from where ‘a draftsman and the assistant photographer were despatched to examine and report on the old temple of Trinetra near Than, of which we had received promising reports. On developing the negatives taken it turns out to be a very interesting building constructed in a style quite different from any we have done, and fully deserving a special visit. It can easily be taken up with the other remains in Kathiawad yet remaining to be surveyed.’ In January 1890, the Rev. J. Abbott of the Marathi Mission, Bombay, had discovered a group of caves at Nadsur, and as these were previously unknown to the Survey, Cousens, ‘instead of going into Kathiawad after Gujarat, as I had originally intended, I proceeded straight from Viramgam to Nadsur, reaching that place on 16th April.’ Recording these remains proved difficult: ‘As there is no ground except a narrow strip of very rough hillside before the caves it was impossible to get a good photograph of any of them at close quarters, so that we were obliged to content ourselves with a general one taken from the spur opposite from which the caves are seen, though at some distance through the trees. Another was taken of the interior of Cave 7, the principal vihara, showing the peculiar decoration of the back wall.’
MAY 1890-APRIL 1891. From May 1890 until January 1891, the survey establishment was engaged in general office work at the Pune (Poona) headquarters, ‘which chiefly consisted of inking in and preparation of the drawings, plotted in pencil in the field, for reproduction by photo-lithography; and the writing up of an account of the remains in Gujarat, including a notice of its architecture, which is to form a second volume to that of Dabhoi on the archaeological remains in the territory of His Highness the Gaikwad of Baroda.’ Cousens had kept his party at headquarters past the usual date of 1 November for setting out on fieldwork, in order to clear the accumulation of drawings (an arrangement which he argued should become standard practice), but, ‘the Government of India, however, objecting to this arrangement, the party started on the 2nd of February for the Ahmadnagar district in order to commence the survey of the Hemadpanti remains which are scattered over that and the Nasik and Khandesh Collectorates.’ Cousens’ party party proceeded straigth to Shrigunda to start the survey of Hemadpanti remains. At Shrigunda itself the temples themselves were disappointing, being ‘very plain and uninteresting’, but ‘some very good wood carving was found decorating the façades of two houses...of the style, though not so old, that is found in such abundance in North Gujarat, and the best of it was both photographed and drawn to scale.’ At the village of Limpangaon, five miles south-west of Shrigunda, a more impressive temple was found, and altogether at the two sites, ‘five sheets of drawings were made, five photographs were taken, and five facsimiles of inscriptions were obtained.’ On 11 February camp was moved to Pedgaon, about eight miles south of Shrigunda, and here, despite the Muslim remains which generally indicated desecration of Hindu temples, the ruins of five Hemadpanti temples were found, ‘one of which, that of Lakshmi-Narayan, is a perfect little gem...most profusely decorated both within and without, and its outer walls are thickly covered with figure scultpure.’ The Lakshmi-Narayan being ‘a good typical temple of its class, some time was devoted to it in making drawings which, with the photographs taken, will fully illustrate its construction and decoration. At Pedgaon nine drawings were made, and seven photographs were taken.’ On 3 March the survey set out for Karjat, visiting Takli en route, and arriving on 6 March. The temple at Karjat, though old, was disappointing, with ‘a row of very indecent figures’ on the front porch, and only one sheet of drawings and one photograph were taken. While the main party were travelling to Karjat on the main road, two draftsmen were sent from Pedgaon to Karjat cross-country, with orders to visit Rasin and report on any remains. There was, however, little of interest there, and on 10 March the party left Karjat for Ahmadnagar. Mandugaon was visited on the journey, ‘and a photograph was taken of a neat little Hemadpanti temple...but it is of no special interest.’ Cousens arrived at Ahmadnagar on 12 March and examined the Muslim remains and prepared drawings and took photographs of the Damri Masjid, the Fariabagh, Salabat Khan’s Tomb and other buildings. As he was now on the line of the railway, ‘I took advantage of it, before leaving Ahmadnagar, to run up to Kopargaon, and visit the temples at Khumbari and Kokamthan...The temple at Khumbari, though old, was uninteresting. That at Kokamthan turned out to be very interesting, and a survey of it will be taken up in our next season’s tour. Photographs were taken of both.’ From Ahmadnagar, Cousens moved to Tisgaon, but finding nothing there to detain him, moved on to Sheogaon and then Ghotan. Here he found that the temple was ‘now so masked by modern walls and improvements (?) in chunam and whitewash that very little can now be seen of the original temple.’ Of two other ruined temples in the vicinity, ‘neither [was] interesting enough for photography.’ Camp was moved to Miri on 5 April, but here no temple was found, although there was a step-well in ruinous condition, which was still in use despite its very dangerous state. Hearing of a fine Hemadpanti tank at Maktapur on the Ahmadnagar-Aurangabad road, a clerk was sent on to report on it, and the survey camp meanwhile moved to Vadala on 6 April. The Maktapur tank was considered of little importance and after some local investigations, ‘camp was moved on to Sonai, whence a fairly good Hemadpanti well at Bamini, four miles off, was photographed and plotted.’ On 12 April the survey party moved to Parner, which, despite earlier descriptions, ‘turned out to be not worth the visit.’ From here a visit was made to the Dhokeshvara Caves at Dhoke, twelve miles north of Parner and three miles east of the village of Takli. ‘Here a plan and detailed drawings with photographs were obtained.’ The season was concluded with a visit to the Boleshvara Temple, four miles south of the railway station of Yeoal.
‘Here drawings were commenced, but as there will be more work to be done there, I propose commencing next season’s work with a visit to it.’ Cousens concluded that ‘During the season - February, March and April - 23 sheets of drawings were made and 24 photographs with 31 facsimile impressions of inscriptions were taken.’
MAY 1891 - APRIL 1892. From the beginning of May until 4 November 1891, ‘the establishment was occupied at head-quarters, Poona, chiefly in inking and preparing drawings for photo-lithography.’ Following orders, Cousens visited Bijapur in May 1891 to organise the Museum in the Yaqut Mahal.
Synopsis For the season’s tour, Cousens’ party headed eastwards from Poona to Yeoat, ‘thence northwards to Kopargaon and Kokamthan, then round in a south-westerly direction towards the Western Ghats and up the Sangamner and Akola valley, and from there on to Sinnar in the Nasik Collectorate. From Sinnar camp was moved on via Shivra to Manmad. From Manmad, the direction lay more or less parallel with the G.I.P. Railway line as far as Pachora and Maheji, at which last point we struck inwards and northwards to Erandol. From Erandol our route lay westwards to Dhulia and north-west to Balsane. Prakasha and Taulai, which lie on the Tapti and beneath the Satpura Hills, respectively, were visited from Balsane. From the latter place we moved back through Dhulia and southwards via Laling to Jhodga and Malegaon, and thence on by Chandod to Nasik and Anjaneri. Our last move, above the ghats, was from Anjaneri, round by the Pindu caves to Tringalvadi near Igatpuri at the head of the Thal Ghat. From Igatpuri the party railed down to Kalyan for Ambarnath.’ Cousens’ party set out from Poona for Yeoat on 4 November 1891, ‘the Divali holidays preventing an earlier start.’ Here the survey of the Boleshvara Temple three miles S.W. of Yeoat, commenced in the previous season, was completed. Camp was then moved to Kokamthan. Here, on an artificial embankment projecting out into the river, ‘is an exceedingly interesting old temple.’ From Kokamthan, two draftsmen were sent ahead across country to Sinnar to start work on the Gondeshvara Temple, the remainder of the party making a detour round by Sangamner and Akola. Akola was reached on 24 November, and the Siddeshvara Temple examined. ‘From Akola excursions were made to Tahakari and Ratanvadi, where photos and drawings were made of the old temples at those places.’ At Sinnar, twenty miles south of Nasik, ‘is the largest and most complete ‘Hemadpanti’ temple in the Deccan - the temple of Gondesvara...There is also on the north-west of the town a very interesting and exquisitely carved little temple in the Chalukyan style.’ From Sinnar, camp was moved to Manmad (reached on 4 January 1892) via Shivra and Yeola. At Shivra, the memorial stones, on examination, ‘were found to be of little interest and of comparatively no antiquity.’ From Manmad, a small old temple in the village of Nagapur, ‘of no particular interest’, was examined. Camp was moved to Nandgaon on 8 January, and from here another old temple at Bangaon (six miles to the south), again of little interest, was investigated. Camp was then moved to Chalisgaon via Hirapur, where a so-called ‘Hemadpanti’ temple, turned out to be of little importance. Cousens’ party arrived at Patna on 11 January, ‘the site of a deserted town, now overgrown with jungle...Scattered among the ruins are the remains of several old temples....The whole of the valley is thickly wooded, and being quite uninhabited, save by the owl, the jackal, the wild pig, the panther, and an occasional tiger, it is, between the lights, quite an eerie and lonely place to camp in.’ From here Cousens moved on to Vaghli, which he reached on 20 January. After examining the temples, camp was moved to Nagardeola, where, at nearby Sangamesvara, ‘was found an interesting temple...After making some drawings and photographing the temple, we moved, on the 2nd February, to Pachora, from which place as a centre the following places were visited, viz. Pimplegaon, Kurhad Kurd, Loharra, Shendurni, and Nandre.’ Remaining at the Pachora camp, remains at Khatgaon, Gharkhed, Chartan, Changdeva and Kandari were visited. Most of the temples Cousens considered of little importance, although ‘the temple of Changdeva has been a very large and fine temple, but it is now mostlt rebuilt in the most outrageous fashion.’ On 11 February camp was moved via Maheji to Erandol, which was reached the following day. At Erandol, ‘is a large, strongly built old quadrangle known as Pandava’s Vada. It is the remains of one of those strongly built and enclosed mosques which were erected in the early days of Mahomedan rule, partly mosque, partly fort...’ On finishing work at Erandol, the party moved eastwards to Undikheda on 20 February, ‘expecting to find there something worthy of our time. In this we were sadly disappointed, the temple...turning out to be but a modern erection of no interest to us.’ From here Cousens moved to Balsane, some 25 miles N.W. of Dhulia, ‘where there are the remains of some nine separate temples and buildings.’ From Balsane, Cousens sent a draughtsman and photographer to Prakasha and Taulai to ‘spy out the land’ (his information having intimated that there were no remains of great interest or antiquity at these places): ‘They returned with photos and drawings which in great measure confirmed my suspicions. At Prakasha itself are some fine modern temples and inscriptions, but of little interest to us.’ A clerk sent to Indwa to report on the well there, returned with a similar report. The survey left Balsane on 9 March, and after returning via Dhulia, where a short halt was made, Laling was reached on 14 March. Here the Hemadpanti temple and the fort, of ‘very limited’ extent were examined, as was the ruined European bungalow, ‘built, report says, by a former Collector, as a hot weather retreat from Dhulia. A few old iron gund lie about, and two or three with their breaches knocked off have been used as a waste water-pipe to one of the bathrooms of the bungalow. The latter stands gaunt and bare, the sport of the four winds of heaven, unroofed, and having its crumbling walls decorated within with a number of pictures from old world editions of the Illustrated London News and other prints. Remnants of wrecked furniture lie about.’ On the 15 March the survey party arrived at Jhodga, where there was ‘a well-finished temple of Mahadeva.’ Jhodga was left on 19 March for Chikalvohol, where there were the remains of an old temple; but little of the original workmanship remained. From Malegaon, on the route from Jhodga to Chandod, two draftsmen and the photographic assistant were sent to Devalana, but it was found that the old temple had been largely rebuilt. After finishing at Devalana, the draftsmen travelled to Nasik via Kalvan, Saptasringi, Vani and Dindori, but did not find any remains of particular interest. The next stop for the party was Chandod, where there was a Renuka Devi Temple and a Jain cave. From there the party moved on to Nasik, which was reached on 30 March. Despite its venerable history, few early buildings were found: ‘The city has more the air of a modern town than anything else.’ Anjaneri, fourteen miles west of Nasik, was then visited, and the numerous small shrines examined. From Anjaneri a trip was made out to Trimbak, ‘the great place of pilgrimage...There is here everything that makes a place of pilgrimage dear, in both senses, to the religious enthusiast, but little in our line.’ Camp was then moved to Igatpuri, six miles from which was the little village of Tringalvadi, with its Jain cave. With a fortnight to spare, ‘Kalyan, below the Ghats, was visited, and from thence Ambarnath.’ At the end of the month the field season was closed, ‘and on our way back to head-quarters, camp was pitched for the remaining month of the hot weather at Lonavli, where the cooler weather was much better to work in than the trying heat of Poona during during May.’ (Government of Bombay, General Department. Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Western India for the months May 1891 to April 1892. IOR/V/24/263.) [OIOC Photo 1009/1 (1273-1336)]
MAY 1892-APRIL 1893. ‘The field season was commenced with a preliminary tour through the Central Provinces and Berar in order to gather information from which to compile as complete a list as possible of the antiquarian remains in those provinces prior to starting the regular work there next season. With this end in view I tried to visit as many of the principal places of interest as time would admit of.’ Since the only existing list of remains was out of date, Cousens distributed printed forms for adminsitrators to list additions for hime to visit: ‘with the forms I forwarded a circular letter, through the Chief Commissioner, to the Deputy Commissioners and other officers explaining in detail exactly what was required, for I found that many officers had but vague ideas of the nature of our work.’ During October, November and December, lists were also sent in from Berar, ‘but these again were copies of old lists sent in as far back as 1873-76 [by Gill and others?]. Some of these, originally compiled by persons who evidently took very great interest in the work, seem very exhaustive,’ whereas others were very meagre in the extent of information supplied. Also, ‘the information called for and returned in these early lists dwells too much upon conservation, and a great deal more than required upon traditionary lore, so that as guides to future survey work they are not as useful as they might be...It cannot be expected of district officials, who do not pretend to any extensive knowledge of architectural or archaeological matters, to say with any degree of accuracy, what building ought or ought not to be conserved or to what extent.’
With his clerk and photographic assistant, Cousens travelled to Nagpur, arriving on 3 November 1892. Here he held discussions with various officials regarding information on architectural remains, as well as making a complete list of the sculptures in the museum. From Nagpur he travelled westwards, ‘turrning my attention to the country lying between that place and Bhusaval, and thence determined to follow up the valley of the Narmada as far as the time at my disposal would permit. A few places, which from the lists appeared to be among the more important, I decided upon visiting. These were Markanda and Bhandak in the Chanda district, Muktagiri in Elichpur, Lonar and Mehkar in Buldana, Mandhata in Nimar, and Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad. On his way to Chanda, Cousens halted for a day or two at Bhandak, where several old caves and ‘some very old temples, a few colossal images and an exceedingly interesting old Hindu bridge’ were examined. ‘As I carried a small half-plate camera with me I took photographs of these.’ From Chanda Cousens moved on to Amraoti, where he met the Commissioner Colonel Mackenzie and the Deputy Commissioner Colonel Gunthorpe, both of whom promised assistance in his work. From here he visited Muktagiri, ‘of which I had heard a good deal, [which] I found to be a collection of very modern Jaina temples of no particular interest...They form, however, a very picturesque group, perched upon the precipitous ledges of rock at the end of a secluded and wild ravine, where a pretty waterfall comes tumbling down the valley from the highlands above.’ From Muktagiri, Cousens then decided to travel via Akola to Lonar, where there were ‘the most important group of remains in Berar,’ but stopped first at Buldana: ‘On arrival at Buldana I met Colonel Szezepanski, the Deputy Commissioner, whom I found to be well acquainted with, and much interested in, the remains in his district. I gleaned a good deal from conversation with him and more from the perusal of an album of photographs of all the remains of note in the country round. Indeed, this saved me the further journey to Lonar and Mehkar, for from the photographs I began to feel as familiar with the buildings at those places as if I had actually visited them.’ Leaving Buldana, Cousens visited the Muslim remains at Burhanpur, and from thence to Khandwa and Mandhata: ‘Among the tuins are some fine old temples and other buildings which will well repay a thorough survey. The town with its scores of comparatively modern temples is not so interesting to us.’ From Mandhata Cousens moved on to Hoshangabad, ‘but found the principal district officers out in camp.’ The last place visited by Cousens on this tour were the Mahadeva Caves at Pachmarhi. ‘I was now close upon the tracks of General Cunningham and his assistants, who had already toured through parts of Jabalpur, Damoh, and Sagar, and, as it was too late in the season to expect to find district officials at head-quarters, I returned to Poona on the 23rd of December.’
On 8 January 1893, Cousens once more left Poona on tour, heading for Bhatkal in North Kanara, having sent on the draftsmen with the survey kit the week before. Some of the remains in Kanara had been cursorily examined by James Burgess some years before and Cousens’ plan was to start at Bhatkal, the southernmost town in the Bombay Presidency and, working northwards and inwards, investigate as much of Kanara as possible. He planned to visit such places as ‘Murdesvara, Honavar, Gokarn, Gersappa, Bilgi, and Banavasi, which places promised to repay investigation. This we were able to accomplish, and, in addition, the time at our disposal before the wind up of the season enabled us to do Annavatti in Maisur, Tillivalli in Dharwar, Khidrapur on the Krishna, and Kolhapur.’ Cousens spent some time looking round Bhakal, a picturesque little town ‘that has seen better days’, situated among rice fields about two miles inland on a tidal creek. On looking at the temples and comparing them to the indigenous domestic architecture, Cousens dismissed Fergusson’s theory that the roofs were copied from Nepalese styles, preferring the more prosaic explanation that the deep slope was accounted for by the heavy rainfall of the area. At Bhatkal Cousens found ‘over two dozen old temples of sorts...also two mosques, not very old, a number of Kanarese inscribed slabs, and three old European tombs dating back to 1637 and 1638...There are many old European tombs scattered throughout the country, and a complete list of them with copies of any quaint inscription is a desideratum.’ From Bhatkal, a trip was made to the village of Hadvalli, ten miles further inland. Here were several temples, but ‘there is nothing much of account in these.’ From Bhatkal, ‘a very pleasant journey of ten miles brought us to Murdesvara situated upon the sea shore.’ In addition to temple ruins, ‘the principal remains here are some thirty-five viragals and other inscription slabs...The largest group of these stones are at the junction of the main road from Bhaktal to Honavar with the branch road running to Murdessvara village. There are here twenty stones. I found them leaning forward or backward at different angles, and one had fallen and was broken. I had some of them put straight for photographing and drawing, but they should be permanently set upright by being fixed in a masonry foundation...They are among the very best of their class...’ From Murdesvara Cousens moved to Honavar. Here also he found a number of memorial stones. On 17 February he left Honavar for Gersoppa, ‘a busy little place’ 18 miles away. ‘The remains of interest now consist of several ruined temples, chief among them being that called the Chaturmukha Basti, a cruciform temple having four porches facing the four cardinal points.’ Eighteen miles by road ‘brought us to the Falls near the village of Jog. They are a sight never to be forgotten.’ On 26 February Cousens arrived at Bilgi, where some photographs and drawings were made of of the three temples. At Baidurkanni, on the road from Bilgi to Siddapur, Cousens examined a group of viragals, also looked at an inscribed slab at Siddapur, and arrived at Banavasi, ‘a large straggling village on the left bank of the Varda river...a very ancient place,’ on 7 March. Here Cousens examined ‘several old brick stupas outside the town to the north-west. Two of these I opened out, but found that they had been previously dug into, and quite one third of their height cleared away.’ He also made a careful investigation of the Madhukeshvara Temple, and makes special mention of the massive temple car. Here he encountered a family of wood-carvers ‘who had done work for the Maharaja of Maisur...They were making sandalwood images and boxes, and the work they shewed me far surpassed in boldness and execution any thing of the sort I have seen in the Bombay Presidency.’ However, this exquisite work was spoilt in Cousens’ eyes by the careless joinery of the boxes, one of which was ‘completely spoilt by being cut by a ‘square’ which was more than an eighth of an inch out in six inches in length.’ It was only with considerable difficulty that Cousens could convince the artisans to acknowledge this, ‘but even then I doubt if they looked upon it with such concern as a European workman would, and certainly not to the extent of discarding such work...This want of a subject deserving of especial attention in all technical art training schools, engineering colleges, and schools of art.’ From Banavasi ‘we passed through a corner of Maisur territory to reach Tillivalli in the Dharwar District, stopping a few days at Annavatti, where there is an old temple dedicated to Kaithabesvara,’ where Cousens was impressed by the quality of the carved work. At Tillivalli he found another fine Chalukyan temple, the Santeshvara, although the low interior he considered ‘dark and gloomy and depressing,’ and the whole site ‘in a very dirty state’. The visit to Tillivalli practically concluded the sites in the Kanarese and Dharwar districts, ‘but still having a month of the season to spare...I turned my attention to Kolhapur...One entry was Khidrapur on the Krishna about 30 miles east of Kolhapur...I moved camp to Shedbal station, having photoed a very large dolmen standing in the middle of the village of Motibennur on the way. From Shedbal station 6 miles took us to the village of Jugal on the right bank of the Krishna right opposite Khidrapur where we encamped.’ The temple at Khidrapur Cousens found disappointing, since although large, ‘it is a comparatively late structure of the style of the great temple in Kolhapur cty at that at Yeoat’, uncompleted and lacking in delicacy. Cousens left Khidrapur on 14 April, sending on his tents and draughtsmen to Kundal, while he himself travelled on to Kolhapur to investigate the Amababai Temple. This also he found to be disfigured by crude later workmanship: ‘Such buildings these prove beyond all doubt that the taste for good work throughout the Dakhan has died out almost completely.’ ‘After getting a few drawings, photographs, and inscriptions from Kolhapur we started for Kundal.’ here he found that a storm had blown down and damaged all his tents, and ‘this necessitated my going on another five miles to Takari, where there is a Public Works Department bungalow.’ He examined the caves at Kundal (‘not of much account’) and on 29th April left Takari and moved back to headquarters at Poona.
(Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Western India for the months May 1892 to April 1893, IOR/V/24/263).
[OIOC Photo 1009/ (1337-1381)]
MAY 1893 TO APRIL 1894. ‘The programme for the working season...I was able to carry out, with the exception of a few trifling details, in its entirety between November and April last. This completed the survey of the whole valley of the Narbada so far as it lay within the districts of Khandwa, Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur, and Jabalpur, together with the two northern districts of Damoh and Sagar.’
‘Compared with the antiquarian remains in the Bombay Presidency, and Western India generally, those of the Central Provinces are few and poor...The valley of the perhaps the most scanty in this respect; but this chiefly due to the fact that railway contarctors, when constructing the G.I.P. line, found in the many remains that then existed, material ready to hand for their bridges and culverts. One notable example of this is Barehta-Nonea, fourteen miles south-east of Narsinghpur, and some six miles from the nearest point of the railway. The only evidence now of the existence at one time of the many fine old temples here is a small group of scultpures gathered together within a small rough walled enclosure.’
Cousens arrived at Burhanpur on 3 November 1893. This was ‘practically a Muhammadan town whose palmy days passed away with the last of the Faruki kings. It is still of considerable size...There are many evidences of its former prosperity in the many ruined buildings...Hindu remains are conspicuous bytheir absence.’ The finest and best preserved building was the Jami Masjid. ‘Next to this in interest is the Bibi Masjid...but is of an entirely different design...The whole is now a ruin, but was found worthy of delineation.’ Also of interest were the royal baths, the waterworks and various tombs: ‘At Burhanpur six sheets of drawings were prepared, four photographic negatives, and four facsimiles of inscriptions were taken.’ From Burhanpur the party moved on via Khandwa and Mortaka to Mandhata on the Narbada, a famous place of Hindu pilgrimage and where the great annual jatra was in full swing when they arrived. Here Cousens examined the Omkaresvara Temple, which stands upon the island part of the town. But the most important site for Cousens was ‘the ruins of a far older building on the top of the hill above the town....The temple of Siddhesvara is the principal and most interesting relic of antiquity of Mandhata.’ Among other remains on the hill was a large bracketed torana or gateway, ‘of the type of the Dabhoi gateways in Gujarat, in a very ruinous condition.’ Near to Mandhata, on the north side of the river, was the village of Panthia, where ‘there is a small old ruined temple containing a number of images of Vishnu where the standing figure is alike in each.’ ‘The number of sheets of drawings made at Mandhata and Panthia was eleven, of photographs and inscription impressions taken eleven and four respectively.’ From Mandhata Cousens moved on 14 December via Khandwa to Narsinghpur. ‘At Khandwa there is nothing of interest. Some old tanks and a little ruined shrine together with a few odd images scattered about are all that remain of any age in the place.’ At Narsinghpur there was an interesting collection of sculptures collected together in the public gardens, assembled by a former Deputy Commissioner. The principal object was a finely carved temple doorway. The collection was very exposed to the weather, and Cousens recommended that it be placed inisde the Town Hall for protection. ‘These sculptures were both drawn and photographed. Four sheets of drawings were made, three negatives were taken, and an impression was taken of an inscription...’ From Narsinghpur, Cousens sent two ment to Gadarwada, ‘which is a station on the G.I.P.R., 28 miles west of Narsinghpur, who photographed a brick step-well. It is not very old, is of little interest, and is now partly ruined.’ Cousens received conflicting reports as to the remains at Barehta-Nonea, and ‘it was not until I sent out a draftsman to reconnoitre...that I found that, beyond a few images gathered together in a small walled enclosure, there is nothing now standing to prove Barehta ever to have been any richer than other surrounding villages in antiquarian remains.’ After the Christmas holdidays, work was resumed at Bheraghat 12 miles west of Jabalpur, whither camp had been shifted. Here the ruined temple was examined and photographed. On the Jabalpur road not far from Bheraghat, was the little village of Tewar, where, ‘under some large trees near a step-well, are collected scores of broken sculptures, many of them being of considerable merit.’ These Cousens photographed.Nearer still to Jabalpur, Cousens examined the Madan Mahal, ‘a very conspicuous building, but of no particular interest.’ ‘At Bheraghat, Tewar, and Jabalpur seven sheets of drawings were made, seven photographs were taken, and impression were taken from seven inscriptions.’ From Jabalpur, ‘I sent men to Bilhari, Rupnath, Bahuriband, and Tigowa, all in the north of the Jabalpur District, to get photographs of remains at those places and copies of the inscriptions. This they did, and brought back four photographic negatives and two impressions.’ The next move was to Nohta, 53 miles from Jabalpur on the Jabalpur-Damoh road. Judging from the remains of temples and scattered sculpture, Cousens judged Nohta to have been a place of some importance, and three sheets of drawings and two photographs were made. Damoh was reached on 19 February, but there was ‘very little of interest.’ ‘Having received very indefinite information respecting remains in several places in the Damoh district, I sent out men with a camera and inscription materials to visit some of these places and bring me more accurate information. It turned out that none of these places were worth my journeying to. They were Kundalpur, Bamapura, Raneh, Hatta, Mugrone, Kanoda, and Narsinghgad.’ His men did, however, bring back photographs from some of these places. Cousens left Damoh on 4 March, and marched to Sagar via Garhakota, where there was the remains of an old fort. At Sagar, apart from the fort, was a quantity of old temple sculpture in the garden of the Artillery mess. This had been gathered together by a former tenant and the material arranged in imitation of small kiosks. Next Cousens visited Eran, 40 miles north-west of Sagar, but was disappointed with the extent of the ruins, ‘though this is compensated for by their great interest...From Sagar, Eran, and Etava we brought away six sheets of drawings, eleven photographs, and five inscription impressions.’ A visit to Pathari 12 miles south of Eran, practically completed the season’s work. ‘At Pathari we made eight sheets of drawings, twelve photographic negatives, and eleven impressions of inscriptions. The column inscriptions both at Eran and Pathari gave, after certain treatment with lampblack and brush, far better photographic impressions than it is possible to get with paper on account of the very corroded state of the surface...Of an old ruined temple at Bamora, one of the stations on the Indian Midland Line, and about twelve miles from Pathari, I got two photographic negatives and then took rail for Hoshangabad and Poona.’
[Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Western India for the Months May 1893 to April 1894, IOR/V/24/263]
[OIOC Photo 1009/2 (1382-1442)]
MAY 1894 TO AUGUST 1895. The months of May-November were occupied in office work at Poona, mainly involving the finishing of drawings plotted in outline in the field. ‘This completed, practically, all unfinished drawings in hand and we were free for new work at the end of the monsoon season. The Revised Lists of Antiquarian Remains in the Bombay Presidency were sent to the press after some delay in getting the necessary sanction for the printing of the volume, so also were the new Lists of Antiquarian Remains in the Central Provinces and Berar. In May 1894 Cousens received notification from the Government of India that the Hyderabad government were anxious for an architectural survey to be undertaken in the Nizam’s territories, and it was arranged that Cousens would start the work on 1 December 1894. ‘Since no detail survey work was to be done, rapid and light travelling being necessary to cover as much ground as possible during the touring season in order to gather all the information available as to location, extent, and nature of remains, I had no use for four of my drafstmen [these were lent for the period to the North-West Provinces survey]...I thus started work with one drafstman, who is a very good photographer, a clerk, and photographic assistant.’ Although most of the Nizam’s territories were terra incognita from the antiquarian point of view, James Burgess had made a tour of the western districts during the 1875-76 season and there was therefore no necessaity to revisit well-known sites such as Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad: ‘I consequently determined to tour through the northern, eastern, and south-eastern parts of the territory, and, if time permitted, certain portions of the southern district also. All this I was not able to accomplish owing to being several times delayed and the very bad state of the cart tracks.’ To save time Cousens asked for lists to be preliminary lists of remains to be prepared by Hyderabad officials and forwarded to him before he started his tour. Due to bureaucratic confusion, only a few of these lists were sent in in time, and these not in the form requested. Public Works department officials turned out to be the best informed, while amongst other officials, ‘I found, as a rule, a surprising ignorance of the existence of remains in the districts immediately under their own jurisdiction, and the most frequent reply I got to enquiries was that there were no remains of note, notwithstanding the fact that I had frequently come across several of interest in the line of my tour.’ In the event, Cousens planned his work from his own lists, Burgess’s 1875-76 reports, and various other printed sources. ‘The general direction of the tour I had sketched out for myself was from Aurangabad in a south-westerly direction down the valley of the Godavari towards Nander, and thence via Indur and Karimnagar to Warangal and Hanamkonda; after this, if time permitted, a shorter tour through some of the southern districts.’
Cousens left Poona on 3 December, travelling by rail to Ahmadnagar and by road to Aurangabad: ‘Our journey along the splendid high road from Ahmadnagar to the Godavari was easy and comfortable, but our experience of bad communications, which we had abundance of thereafter, began here.’ At Aurangabad, ‘the most important amongst the Muhammadaan the Muqbara or Tomb of Rabia Durana...Other buildings of lesser note are found in and around the town.’ From Aurangabad, Cousens visited the hill fort at Daulatabad - ‘Its palmy days are gone for good, since its exposed conical sides would not now be tenable for half an hour without modern artillery.’ Having previously visited the Ellora district, Cousens now headed towards Jalna: ‘Beyond a few Muhammadan buildings, religious and civil, of very mediocre stamp, and the remains of an old fort, there is nothing of any special interest at this place.’ Here they left the made road, striking south-eastwards into unknown country towards Partur: ‘The snapping of tonga traces and sticking in the mud now became things of frequent occurrence, and though adding greatly to the variety of our adventures did not improve the temper of either man or beast.’ Partur contained ‘a few half-ruined buildings, generally Muhammadan adaptations of previous old decorated temples,’ and ‘having received promising information concerning remains at Chartana, 22 miles eastwards of Partur, we made for that village, passing through Manta on the way.’ Chartana he found ‘a very ordinary and dirty village,’ with a fort and, nearby, a number of Hemadpanti temples. ‘One magnificent Jaina column, about 25 feet high, containing all the parts and mouldings of a hall pillar, stands upon high ground in one part of the village, its splendid finish and carving standing out in strong contrast with its filthy surroundings. It is a strange fact that, when a temple becomes desecrated, there appears to be not a single person in the town or vllage who cares anything further about it as a work of art. It more often than otherwise becomes a public latrine, and the beautiful work which was once the joy of the sculptor’s heart and the admiration of his patrons, now appeals in vain to the dull and blunted sensibilities of the ordinary villager, whatever his caste.’ From Chartana, Cousens travelled to Aunda (or Aunda-Nagnath), about 14 miles south of Hingoli: ‘Aunda contains one of the twelve most sacred Siva-lingas which are scattered throughout India.’ On the journey to Aunda, Cousens passed through Jintur, Wasa, Varud, Pungla, and Bogaon, ‘besides getting information of sundry remains at many villages situated on either side of our line of march.’ At Aunda, Cousen examined the Nagnath Temple. From Aunda, Cousens travelled to Basvantnagar, 18 miles to the south-east: ‘It stands at the crossing of the trade routes from Nirmal and the Sirpur forests to Jalna and Aurangabad, and from Hyderabad to the Berars...The Jami Masjid and a few old dargahs are all that, with the old wall, connect the present with the past.’ Nander was next visited, ‘our object in taking this route...the possibility of falling upon some trace of the ancient Tagara.’
1900. Photographic survey of Sanchi. 

  1. Λ Henry Cousens, Notes on the buildings and other antiquarian remains at Bijapur (Bombay: printed at the Government Central Press, 1890). In Selections from the Records of the Bombay Government, No. CCXLV, new series, pp. 109 

Visual indexes

 Premium content for those who want to understand photography
Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 
HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login |
 Facebook LuminousLint 
 Twitter @LuminousLint