Ruins of the Rudra Mahalaya at Siddhpur, Gujarat, c 1860s.
© NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph by Samuel Bourne (1834-1912). When Rudra Mahalaya was standing in all its glory it is believed that it rested on 1600 pillars and had 12 entrance doors and covered almost half of the total area of Siddhpur. Bourne, a pioneer of travel photography, began his working life as a bank clerk. ln 1863 he went to India where he established a studio in Simla, in partnership with Charles Shepherd. Between 1863 and 1870 he undertook several photographic expeditions, including trips to the Himalayas, producing a collection of landscape views unsurpassed in technical skill and compositional elegance. By 1870 the Bourne and Shepherd catalogue contained 2,000 views from all parts of the subcontinent.