Gairola Indian Art & Architecture Image Collection

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Two friezes, Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid, Karnataka, India,
ca. 12th century A.D.

C.K. Gairola was born in Dehradun in what was then British India. He received an M.A. in history from Allahabad University, India, in 1946, and then completed a Ph.D. in Indian History and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in 1949. He also studied Art History and completed a diplome de l'école (D.E.L.) at The École du Louvre, Paris, in 1953. He then served as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Munich by invitation of the Government of West Germany.

Professor Gairola was working for the Embassy of India and the Indian Foreign Service as Press & Cultural Attache' in Switzerland when he met Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, who told him "the young nation needs people like you." During that time, he also worked as a journalist for the Hindustan Times, Week End Review, and Illustrated Weekly of India. While working with foreign dignitaries in London in 1962, he met the President of the Maharaja Sayajirao, University of Baroda, who invited him to become Chair of the Department of Art History.

C.K. Gairola and Indira Gairola.
Image not in database.

After marrying in Baroda and being blessed with a son, the family immigrated to the United States in 1967. Professor Gairola held professorships at Kansas State University, the University of Washington, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He frequently lectured at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Hermitage Foundation, the University of Virginia, the Catholic University of America, and myriad other national and international institutions of higher learning. He was a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and an avid traveler who often led study tours to key art history/archaeological sites on the Indian subcontinent. It's believed that he made this slide collection for the classes he taught, during various trips to India and South Asia from 1950s to 2000. Professor Gairola passed away in July 2003.

About the Donor

The collection was gifted to University Libraries by C.K. Gairola's wife, Indira Gairola, a Senior Chemist at the U.S. E.P.A., to meaningfully expand art history and archaeology scholarship for students and faculty at the University of Washington, where Gairola taught in 1970.

About the Database

This digital collection was researched and prepared by the UW Libraries Special Collections Division in 2011 with a grant from the Friends. Selection of 2500 digitized slides was done by Deepa Banerjee,  South Asian Studies Librarian, and the research and descriptive data was prepared by Sarah Ganderup and Cherl Petso. The photographs were taken 1950-2000, with the bulk of the photos from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. The collection is a unique set of images that includes a significant representation of Indian art and architecture from the dynastic periods through the early 1960s, as well as art from Asia as a whole. The collection is organized by dynasty, location, and by century.

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