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Patna’s Egg Shaped Wonder

Patna’s Egg Shaped Wonder

Patna the capital of Bihar, is home to a peculiar 90 feet tall egg-shaped building, with a spiral staircase hugging its sides. Built in 1786, this Golghar is a silent reminder of some of the darkest times in the region- the Bengal famine of 1770 and the Bihar famine, soon after, in 1783 when more than 30 percent of the population in the region, was wiped out.

Built in 1786, the Golghar is a silent reminder of the Bengal famine of 1770 and the Bihar famine of 1783

The Golghar (literally meaning a round house), was built as a granary to ensure the continued supply of food grain in case of another crisis. This was done under the orders of the then Governor-General Warren Hastings. While the architect of the building was a Britisher- John Garstin, scholars believe that the singular shape of the Golghar has Indian origins as the locals had been building conical granaries for centuries.An artistic representation of the peculiarly designed Patna Golghar

An artistic representation of the peculiarly designed Patna Golghar | Wikimedia Commons

Built of stone slabs, and wide at the base – 426 feet round at ground level, the building tapers at the top. The idea behind this architectural design was to ensure that the grain would be poured into the structure through a hole on top allowing it to spread all over the floor. The Golghar also has a spiral stairway (outside) through which the labourers carrying grains were supposed to ascend from one end, and descend to the other.

The Golghar was always a major tourist attraction. It is said that a Nepali prince on his visit to Patna once galloped on his pony -all the way up and all the way down for the sheer panache of it!

The Golghar was built as a granary to ensure the continued supply of food grain in case of a crisis.

But the ‘Golghar’ could be little more than just an attraction. While there were many critics of it – including a British officer Captain Robert Kyd who opposed the building and even argued that what was needed was a botanical garden (to grow more food) than a granary… few critics actually identified the single biggest problem which would have made the Golghar useless. The granary has a fatal architectural flaw. Its doors are designed to open inwards and not outwards! This means that if the Golghar was ever full, you wouldn’t have even been able to open its doors!

LHI TRAVEL GUIDE

Golghar is situated near Gandhi Maidan in Patna capital of Bihar state. The nearest railway station is Patna Junction and only 2 kms away and the nearest airport is Jay Prakash Narayan International airport, Patna which is 7 kms away from Golghar.

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