A century after his death this great son of India was honoured by the Government of India with the release of a Commemorative Stamp on the 11th Nov. 2006, at Hyderabad, the city where the Dayal studios had the longest and most fruitful stint. The operations not only recorded the history of Hyderabad and its people but reflected the culture and lifestyle of one of the richest native rulers of British India i.e. the Nizam of Hyderabad

About him

  1. The pioneer of photography in India, Lala Deen Dayal left a brilliant visual record of the lifestyle, events and monuments of late nineteenth century, displaying ingenuity and artistry, so that his photography were seen as expressions of fine arts, competing with traditional paintings and even replacing many other forms of printing art.

  2. Lala Deen Dayal was born at Sardhana near Meerut in 1844. After studying at Thomson’s Civil Engineering College at Roorkee, he became an estimator and draughtsman in the Department of Works in the Secretariat in Indore in 1866. Soon, he developed a keen interest in photography. He was encouraged by Sir Henry Daly, the Agent to the Governor General for Central India, who assigned him the task of photographing the royal visit of the Prince of Wales in 1875. Impressed by his talent, Sir Henry took Deen Dayal along with him on his tour of Bundelkhand. In 1882-83 Deen Dayal again toured Bundelkhand with Sir Lepel Griffin who was the Agent at that time. Eighty nine of his photographs of palaces, forts and temples in Gwalior, Khajuraho, Rewa and Sanchi were splendidly reproduced by the Autotype carbon process in Sir Lepel Griffin’s “Famous Monuments of Central India”. Lala Deen Dayal had the opportunity to photograph the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin and Lady Dufferin, and he was appointed as a photographer to His Excellency the Viceroy. Soon he resigned from Government service and became a full time photographer.

  3. Gradually his reputation grew, and the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan appointed him as his court photographer and also conferred upon him the title of ‘Raja Musavir Jung’. In 1897, Lala Deen Dayal was granted the Royal Warrant appointing him Photographer to Her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria.

  4. The true-to-life quality of Lala Deen Dayal’s photographs provide a rare pictorial glimpse into a bygone era, the picturesque opulence, genteel grandeur and gracious charm of 19th century India, with whiskered nobility, hookah bearers, royal palaces, royal hunts, and parades, elephant carriages; golden moments’ captured on silver plates for posterity.

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