A most wonderful labor of love, Picturesque India: A Journey in Picture Postcards of India — 1896 to 1947 by Sangeeta and Ratnesh Mathur takes the reader through the history of picture postcards in India. A collector's item by Niyogi Books, the well-researched book documents the visual evolution and variety of over 500 picture postcards from India. Not only is the book a testament of the bygone era, it also meticulously describes the evolution of postcards, the changing architecture and sociology, and the postal delivery and transportation systems in the backdrop of the development of Indian cities in the early 20th century.
The authors Sangeeta and Ratnesh Mathur lived all over Asia and Europe, adding to their personal collection of Indian memorabilia in the initial years of their travels. In 2003, they relocated to the Czech Republic and started expanding their collection with the specific aim of creating a museum back home. That’s when they started adding picture postcards, among other objects, but with their focus remaining on the visual history of India and its towns. Steeped in nostalgia, their hard work has given a whole new meaning to the 'post' and its importance as a means of communication back in the day.
In the postcards I have showcased below, I have offered an homage to all things postal, as well as highlighted some streets and locations to show how much they have changed:
Picturesque India was featured as part of a month-long collaboration with Niyogi Books, to highlight some fabulous titles in their catalog. Order the book here.