The William Fraser Bungalow
The Sir William Fraser Bungalow is situated right behind the famous and sacred St. James Church that sits on the intersection of Lothian and Church Road about half a kilometre from Kashmiri Gate in Old Delhi. It is easily accessible by Metro Rail with Kashmiri Gate Metro Station as the nearest link or either by taxis and auto rickshaws.
The William Fraser Bungalow is a pale lemon yellow coloured building with a large low Domed Roof. It was once the residence of the former British Commissioner of British India named Sir William Fraser [1784-1835] who came to India in 1803 and was first appointed as the British Deputy Resident of Delhi in 1828. Later, on 22nd March 1835, Sir William Fraser was assassinated by Karim Khan who was an agent of Nawab Shamuddin of Ferozpur. The motive was clearly investigated and solved by Officer John Lawrence [1811-1879] on 3rd October 1835, who discovered that the Nawab was displeased at the fact that the British interfered in the administration of Nawab Shamuddin's Estate and due to this very reason, they decided to end the life of Sir Fraser as he was the Commissioner thinking this act would scare the British. The Nawab and Karim Khan were then arrested and hanged to death.
The Bungalow was built in 1803 at the same time when Sir William Fraser was assigned to Delhi. It was constructed over an ancient Mughal Palace and made of Lakhori Bricks that belonged to Ali Mardan Khan who was one of the most important Courtiers or Omrahs and a Senior General of Emperor ShahJahan's Empire. It has underground cellars and cool rooms also known as 'tykhanas' where the Commissioner would rest and take respite from the scorching summer heat of Delhi.
The Bungalow was built with a blend of Victorian and Indian style of architecture. It has two sections, the first section is seen in the shape of a low rectangular building leading to the main Dome shaped roof which was not a part of the initial construction but added later on and it is also attached to the portico and has four octagonal shaped corner turrets which are projections from the building in the shape of a tower. The second portion has a low front veranda that was made to face the Yamuna River but through time the river seems to have receded away from this area. This section formed the original part of the main Bungalow but was unfortunately destroyed during the first war for Independence of India. The Bungalow was later repaired with minimum alterations and changes to its original architecture and hence was awarded the 'Heritage Building' Award in 1997 due to its unique fusion of Indian, Islamic and Western Architecture hardly seen anymore in Delhi.
The William Fraser Bungalow was later acquired by the Government of India and converted into the office and administrative headquarters of the Chief Engineer of the Northern Railways for Construction works. Prior permission is required to visit inside the Bungalow; however, you can always catch a glimpse of the exterior or take a look at the building from the entrance gate.