‘Cenotaphs of the Jaipur Maharanis’ by A. P. S. Dhiman

Located between Jaipur and Amber, 5 kms from the centre, the cenotaphs of the maharanis of Jaipur are worth a visit for a stroll. One of the most exquisite attractions in the city of Jaipur, Maharani ki Chhatri is a special area for funeral for the maharanis or the royal ladies. This historical site is located on the Amber Road near the Jal Mahal, making it accessible from all parts of the city. A number of beautifully carved chhatris or cenotaphs, built in the fond memory of the royal ladies of Jaipur, are fostered at this site.

12489380_10205335391928148_3774031665390936142_o 640 50The cenotaphs were the status symbol for the women belonging to the royal families and were, therefore, constructed from diverse materials. While some were made from pure white marbles, the others were constructed with local stones depending upon the importance of the women in the nobility. As a popular belief, a cenotaph was finished with a roof structure only if the queen died before her king. In case she died after the death of the king, it would remain unfinished.

12440333_10205335397248281_4664770323854182491_o 640 5012471865_10205335402768419_6436672758877817804_o 640 5012484650_10205335401448386_3859286670873076061_o 622 5012496418_10205335393968199_7206088036966015164_o 640 5012466013_10205335395288232_934826998821942515_o 640 50(Text & photos provided by A.P.S.Dhiman) 

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‘My life, my thoughts’ by Clement Ilango

CEM2224345_1449394581 640 60Photo by Rebecca Mcintosh

‘Springvale Botanical Gardens , Melbourne https://sbc.smct.org.au/ , is arguably the most beautiful cemetery in Australia . Covering an area of 169 hectares it boasts of a red gum tree that is reportedly 400 years old and no less than 30,000 roses of over 300 varieties . The gravestones and headstones that you see here are of outstanding quality .The monuments are set in manicured lawns and adorned by artificial and natural flowers- ‘ the last gift of the living to the dead ‘ as Kahlil Gibran would have called them . Can you believe this – wedding ceremonies take place in this cemetery and people , like their Victorian predecessors , socialise among gravestones and promenade along its wide pathways and gorgeous gardens . It has a chapel , a cafe , florists and a large function room .

Among the people interred here are hundreds of prominent citizens including forty eight First World War and 87 Second World War participants .

My wife is buried here too .

An erstwhile colleague of mine visits cemeteries all over the globe and writes brilliant notes about them . He has a personal website dedicated to this subject . I too have visited a few fascinating graveyards outside Australia . One of them is Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb , Croatia .With arcades and pavilions and a superb vine-covered wall going around it this burial place looks like an openair art gallery . The one in Moscow is also interesting . Boris Yeltsin and the wife of Gorbachev are resting here , along with innumerable grandees of the former Soviet Union , under exquisite monuments and sumptuous sculptures . The graveyard in Buenos Aires where Eva Peron was buried in a family vault of the Duartes is also worth a visit . Incredibly lifelike statues of angels and the Virgin Mother guard the dead here .

When I was in college I was taught a poem written by Thomas Gray – ‘ Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard ‘ . The most famous line in that poem is ‘The paths of glory lead but to the grave ‘ . I recall asking my professor as to why glory must end in a grave and could not be stretched beyond . Back then I was an unquestioning catholic christian and a firm believer in an after-life .

My views have changed since my salad days . I have trained myself to live as if there is nothing beyond the grave and this material world . Even if there is something I cannot comprehend it . I believe that we each create a heaven or hell inside us . The fact of death will destroy me but the idea of death has saved me . I know that I am an ephemeral inhabitant of an insignificant planet but , to me , life is beautiful despite the fact – or because of it – that it is temporary and short . I am aware of life’s terrors , not just its joys and pleasures . Still I have affirmed life without angst and resentment .

On many occasions during the past fourteen years whenever I visited my wife’s grave i have been seeing a young lady in an adjacent row of monuments . She comes alone with a bunch of flowers, kneels in front of an unpretentious pebble-strewn grave and closes her eyes for a few minutes in an attitude of praying . I have seen the portrait of a young man on the headstone of that simple grave . It is very likely she has remained single all these years and her love for the young man has remained as fresh as the flowers she brings to his grave . What can death do to such lovers ?

Ah , that reminds me . I too shall face the inevitable hour . I have lived well , so I hope to die well . I would like my epitaph to read – I LIVED , I LOVED . – RCI’

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‘Museum Taman Prasasti, Jakarta, Indonesia- a curtain raiser’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

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Museum Taman Prasasti

Recently I visited the old Dutch Cemetery turned museum  in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Museum Taman Prasasti  was formerly a cemetery, built by the Dutch colonial government in 1795 as a final resting place for noble Dutchmen.

Two detailed photo articles on this Museum/Cemetery would be coming soon on this website.

. . . . .

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‘The amazing railway graveyard at Uyuni, Bolivia’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

Yes, it a an amazing graveyard- a graveyard with a difference. Here one finds a large number of old railways engines, bogies etc. left to rot in the sun. This  rail yard which I visited in 2014, is about 3 kms outside the small town of Uyuni in Bolivia and is connected to it by the old train tracks . Let us first try to get a mooring of where exactly is Bolivia located on the map of the world.

bolivia_worldImportant: The geographical boundries of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir as shown in the map above are NOT correct as part of its area seems to have been wrongly excluded from the Indian boundary. bolivia2 uyuniUyuni is located in the southern part of Bolivia, near Chilean border.

DSC00377 640 40In the past, this town served as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports. The train lines were built by British engineers who arrived near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizable community in Uyuni

DSC00355 640 40 The engineers were invited by British-sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies, which is now Ferrocarril de Antofagasta a Bolivia. The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892.

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It was encouraged by the then Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but the local indigenous people did not see to it kindly as they viewed it as an intrusion into their lives.

DSC00347 640 40The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly due to the mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned thereby producing the train cemetery. One can see a large number of these retired engines staying unmoved.

DSC00327 640 40 Most of the trains that can be found in the Graveyard date back to the early 20th century and were imported from Britain. In other places in the world, the mighty steel trains would have held up better. The salt winds that blow over Uyuni, which hosts the world’s largest salt plain, have corroded all of the metal. Without guards or even a fence, these pieces were picked over and vandalized long ago.

DSC00331 640 40There is a talk now of building a museum out of the cemetery.DSC00329 640 40That’s me, a happily retired person, posing with a happy looking retired railway engine.

(Text with inputs from the internet)

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‘Some unusual inscriptions on gravestones’- by K.J.S.Chatrath

Someone has sent me these photos. I am not aware of the source. The inscriptions are unusual and not really polite.
 One respectfully prays for the departed to Rest in Peace.

‘Landsdowne cemetery, Uttrakhand, India, Part-II’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

You may like to see my earlier photo article ‘Landsdowne cemetery, Uttrakhand, India, Part-I’ by clicking at the following link: http://gravematters.in/?p=2076

Landsdowne Sept 2015 193 640 50

Very thoughtfully all the graves have been listed out on these two boards. That is possible since it is very small cemetery.

Landsdowne Sept 2015 196 640 50The oldest death recorded is in 1900.

Landsdowne Sept 2015 200 640 25Hraih

Landsdowne Sept 2015 205 640 25Captain James Attwood Simpson  died at the young age of 31 years and 8 months.  Monsoon months used to take a toll on the Britishers in India through malaria. This death took place in the rainy month of July. One must read late Theon Wilkinson’s book ‘Two Monsoons’

Landsdowne Sept 2015 207 640 25Arthur Patrick Bateman-Champain. Age at death- 41 years.

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Landsdowne Sept 2015 210 640 25Duncan Arnold Canney, Senior Chaplain. He too died in the rainy month of July.

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Edith, wife of Major H.R.S. Reed, too died in the month of July.

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Landsdowne Sept 2015 220 640 25

Louis John Bischoff, born in Dublin also died in Landsdowne in the month of July.

Landsdowne Sept 2015 225 640 25May their souls rest in peace.

(Coming shortly- Part-III of this article)

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‘Landsdowne cemetery, Uttrakhand, India, Part-I’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

Located in the Garhwal area of the state of Uttarakhand, Lansdowne is a small picturesque hill station. It is at a height of 1706 m above sea level and has  very pleasant  weather throughout the year. In fact, due to its weather and scenic beauty, Lansdowne was a popular hill resort for the British, and they built a cantonment here which is still preserved and maintained well.

Lansdowne is named after its founder Lord Lansdowne, the Viceroy of India during 1888-1894. Currently, the command office of the legendary Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army is in Lansdowne. The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial and the Regimental Museum are worth a visit.
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The cemetery here is located in the army area but is open to public. As soon as one enters the main gate, one finds a signboard pointing out towards the cemetery. The short 300 metres walk to the cemetery is easy to negotiate. I visited this cemetery in August 2015.

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Landsdowne Sept 2015 251 380 50That is me at the entrance of this cemetery.

In the second part of this photo-article which will follow soon, I would present photos of some inscriptions on graves in this cemetery and some analysis.

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‘French graves, Pondicherry, Part-II’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

?? elisabeth 580 33(Ici repose, Elisabeth Cloth De Vassou, decedee’ le 26 Septembre, 1889, a l’age de 65 ans, Priez pour elle.)

Here rests

Elisabeth Cloth De Vassou,

died on 26th Semtember, 1889

at the age of 65.

Pray for her.

firmin 580 33(Tombeau de famille- Ici repose Firmin Joachim Vassou, Decede’ le 13 Avril 1878, a l’age de 62 ans. Priez pour lui)

Family Tomb

Here lies Firmin Joachim Vassou. Died on 13th April 1878

at the age of 62 years.

Pray for him.

masker 580 33(Ici reposent, Marie Leongine Masker, nee’ le 24-12-1873, decedee’ le 24-8-1910 – Claire Marius Masker, Nee’ le 12-8-1872 et decedee’ le 12.2.1925)

Here rest Marie Leongine Masker, born on 24-12-1873 and died on le 24-8-1910.

Claire Marius Masker, born on 12-8-1872 and died on 12.2.1925.

Quite interestingly Marie was born on 24th of a month and died on 24th of another month. Similarly Claire was born on 12th of a month and died on 12th of another month!

pierre 580 33(Ci git, Pierre Frion, ne’ a Bordeaux, le 20 Fevrier 1794. Decede’ a Pondicherry a le 15 Aout 1862.)

Here lies

Pierre Frion born in Bordeaux

on 20th February, 1794

Died at Pondicherry

on 15th August 1862.

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?? ?? (Sylvain Robinet, Chrurgien De L’Armee Royale, Ne’ a Rouchefort, 7th May 1796. Decede’ a Pondichery le 5th 8re 1841. Sa veuve et ses amis inconconsolables…..This isncription is hazy and not very clear).

Sylvain Robinet,

Surgeon of the Royal Army,

Born at Rouchefort, 7th May 1796.

Died at Pondichery on 5th 8re 1841.

His inconsolable widow and friends.

urbain 580 33(A la memoire de M. Perdiron Urbain, Inspecteur Primaire, Decede’ le 27 Avril 1890. Hommage de pieux souvenir et de reconnaissance du corps Enseignment Primaire de l’Inde  Francaise.)

In the memory of

M. Perdiron Urbain, Primary Inspector,

Died on 27th April, 1890.

Hommage of pious souvenir and  rememberence of the Corps of Primary Education

in French India.

bayoud 580 33(Jeanne BAYOUD, nee’ VERDIER, 1880-1954, R.I.P.)

Jeanne Bayoud,

Nee’ Verdier,

1880-1954,

Rest In Peace.

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Readers are invited to see my earlier photo articles on this subject that appeared in this website:

(1) “French graves, Pondicherry, Part-1″ by K.J.S.Chatrath; Posted on July 15, 2012 ; http://gravematters.in/?p=828
Sketch of world map showing Pondicherry … Here are some photos of the graves in the French cemetery at Pondicherry. Ici repose Mme. D. Janet nee’ Sice, nee’ le 6 Janvier 1851, decedee le 1 Mai, 1881. Priez pour elle. …

(2) “The Last Post: Inscriptions on French graves in India” by K.J.S.Chatrath; http://gravematters.in/?p=402; Posted on June 4, 2012
Publication of the book “The Last Post: Inscriptions on French graves in India” by K.J.S.Chatrath Brief description of the book: While some of the British cemeteries in India are well known, not much is known about the Portuguese and the …

(3) “Do not disturb!” by K.J.S.Chatrath; Posted on May 17, 2012 http://gravematters.in/?p=135
Some persons working in the cemeteries are known to come across some inexplicable experiences. I have been visiting the cemeteries and especially the French cemeteries in India for almost ten years for my research work on inscriptions on French graves …

‘Santiago cemetery, Chile, Part-I’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

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Generally it is not easy for a visitor to locate a cemetery in a new town. However I found the General cemetery in Santiago, Chile to be one of the easiest to locate. The reason is simple. There is a Metro station named Cementerios and one has just to take the metro, get down at the Cementerios station and come out of the station.

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The Cementerio General de Santiago, Chile is one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America with an estimated 2 million burials. The cemetery was established in 1821 after Chile’s independence when Bernardo O’Higgins inaugurated the Alameda de las Delicias along the old course of the Mapocho River.

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This cemetery is the final resting place for at least 172 of the most influential people in Chile, including all but two of the deceased Presidents of Chile, the exceptions being Gabriel González Videla and Augusto Pinochet.

One of the most visited memorials is that of former President Salvador Allende who had been buried in the Santa Ines cemetery at Viña del Mar following his suicide in the 1973 coup d’état. With the democratic changes that began in the 1990s, Allende was exhumed and his remains were transported in a solemn procession through the streets of Santiago to a place of honor in the Cementerio General de Santiago. The cemetery also has a memorial to the people that were ‘disappeared’ during the regime of Augusto Pinochet that ousted President Allende.

allende1Source of this photo: http://www.ilovechile.cl/walking-among-tombstones-salvador-allende/
The gatehouse that serves as the main entrance to the cemetery is crowned by a dome, which acts as a terminating vista for La Paz Avenue. This entrance is preceded by the Plaza La Paz, a semicircular plaza whose curved portion is framed by two exposed brick arcades. At the center of the square stands a monument dedicated to the people who died in the Church of the Company Fire.

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The historical portion of the cemetery was designated as a national monument in 2010

DSC08665 480 18

IFValenzuela Puelma, Artista Pintor.

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DSC08768 580 18

Sshh…Be respectfully quiet….Here lie the departed in perpetual sleep.

Metro station: Cementerios

Visiting hours for pedestrians:
Monday to Friday: from 8.30 to 18.00
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays: 8:00 to 18:00 hours.

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