Some time last year, the British Library released {or donated} over a million images to the public domain. Digitised from historical books and records in the library’s collection, these images offer a glimpse of India as it existed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, through splendid sketches, drawing, engravings and photographs.

On the occasion of Independence Day, we waded through the vast warehouse and discovered these visual gems from Delhi and Bombay. We particularly love the photograph of the real Church Gate which lent its name to the present-day railway station in Mumbai, as well as the engraving of unnamed ruins in south Delhi!

Scroll through for a peek into the glorious past of these cities:

Entrance to the Great Mosque, Delhi {Jama Masjid}

Ruins south side of Delhi {Possibly Tughlakabad}

Delhi: From the outer court of the Jumma Masjid

Ancient Gateway - Delhi

Houmayun's Tomb, near Delhi {Humayun's Tomb}

Nadir Shah viewing the massacre at Delhi

Jumna Masjid, Delhi {Jama Masjid}

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

Base of the Kutub Minar, Delhi {Qutub Minar}

The Delhi Gate at Dehli {Red Fort}

A bird's-eye view of the Red Fort at Delhi from the east, showing an emperor, probably Shah Alam (1759-1806) entering the Diwan-i-Khas on right. The Rang Mahal is on the left, the Khwabgah Jharoka in the centre and the Pearl Mosque on the extreme right.

Bombay from Malabar Hill

Temple of Mahaluxmee {Mahalaxmi}

Fort of Bombay from Belmont {Mazgaon Hill}

Sewree, The Neat's Tongue {Sewri}

Interior of the cave of Karli {Karla caves, near Lonavla}

Church Gate, Bombay, 1863 {Churchgate}

Walukeshwar Temple {Walkeshwar Temple}

Street in Bombay, Native Quarter {Possibly Mohammad Ali Road}

Modern Bombay {High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower, Oval Maidan}

Tower of Silence, Malabar Hill, Bombay

The Wilson Mission College, Bombay {Wilson College, Chowpatty}

Cave of Elephanta - The Linga Chapel {Elephanta Caves, Mumbai}

Street in Bombay

Left: Jumping Wells of Delhi ; Right: Old Court House, Bombay

Photos courtesy: The British Library via Flickr [CC-PD]