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:

Fort of Bombay from Belmont {Mazgaon Hill}

Temple of Mahaluxmee {Mahalaxmi}

Sewree, The Neat's Tongue {Sewri}

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

Bombay from Malabar Hill

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

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

Church Gate, Bombay, 1863 {Churchgate}

Walukeshwar Temple {Walkeshwar Temple}

Tower of Silence, Malabar Hill, Bombay

Street in Bombay

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

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

Ancient Gateway - Delhi

Entrance to the Great Mosque, Delhi {Jama Masjid}

Ruins south side of Delhi {Possibly Tughlakabad}

Delhi: From the outer court of the Jumma Masjid

Jumna Masjid, Delhi {Jama Masjid}

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

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

The Delhi Gate at Dehli {Red Fort}

Nadir Shah viewing the massacre at Delhi

Base of the Kutub Minar, Delhi {Qutub Minar}

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.

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

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