My school was just behind one of the oldest buildings in Mysore…Jaganmohan Palace. Everyday I used to walk to school and back along with friends on the road beside it or we used to take a short cut by walking inside the huge compound and treat ourselves with Joy ice creams sold in one of the stalls and come out on the other side through a small gate that we had discovered.
Like this heritage building there are innumerable heritage buildings all around Mysore built by the Maharajahs. These buildings and palaces are well maintained and are used for different purposes like housing government offices, hotels, law courts, research institutes etc., The architecture of these buildings reflect the styles of Indo-Sarsenic , Greco-Roman, Hoysala and European. They add to the beauty of the city and are the reminders of the bygone era. These buildings can be identified by the sandalwood color used to paint the exteriors. The heritage buildings are all illuminated during Dasara festival for 10 days.
There are around 200 buildings identified as heritage buildings of Mysore. The Mysore law courts is one of them, to which my grandfather as a lawyer has attended for more than 50 years from the time it was started, wearing the traditional Mysore outfit.
Picture1 – Mysore Law Courts
Another heritage building worth a visit is the Crawford Hall, which is the administrative seat of the university. The prominent pillars with goddess Saraswathi carved on top of the buildings add beauty and style to the building.
Picture2 – Crawford Hall
The Scouts and Guides building is also very charming in its own quiet way.
Picture3 – Scouts and Guides Bhavana
Devaraja Market is another beautiful building, built mainly to accommodate shopping of every kind.
Picture4 – Devaraja Market Clock
The Mysore City Corporation is also housed in a beautiful Indo-Sarsenic style building.
Picture5 – Mysore City Corporation
Gordon House is now the Deputy Commissioner’s office, which is another building with a link to the past.
Picture 6 – DC Office(top)
Beside DC office is the Oriental Research Institute. This institute’s prime achievement was the discovery of the copy of Arthashastra, which is a thesis of political science written by Chanakya/Kautilya in the 3rd Century BC. The research on this thesis opened doors to understand the economic history and political philosophy of ancient India. The foundation stone of this building was laid by H.H.Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur, the Maharaja of Mysore on the jubilee day of Queen Victoria, then Empress of India on 10th June 1887.
Picture7 – Oriental Research Institute(bottom)
Hotel Metropole and Hotel Hoysala on Jhansi Laxmi Bai road are hosted in ancient buildings, which have stood the test of times.
Picture8 – Hotel Hoysala (top), Hotel Metrapole (bottom)
Krishnaraja Circle/K.R.Circle and Chamaraja Circle with the majestic statues of Krishananraja Wodeyar and Chamaraja Wodeyar, the architects of modern Mysore adds glory to the city.
Picture9 – K.R.Circle
Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) is housed in a building built in 1906 by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. This was named as Chamarajendra Technical Institute when it started and King George V of UK laid the foundation stone of this building. It cost Rs.2.5 lakhs to build this building and was completed in 1913. This is a huge rectangular building situated on Sayyaji Rao road in front of another heritage building the Krishnaraja Hospital. Now, Cauvery Emporium and Lidkar, the leather shops have set up shops in this building.
Picture10 – Technical Institute and CAVA
Apart from these buildings, the clock tower in Gandhi circle built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, Town hall, St.Philomena’s church, temples inside the palace premises, many palaces, college buildings etc., form the heritage building circuit in the city. The first and final destination of a tourist, which is the railway station is also a heritage building designed by architect Sri D.V.Narasimha Rao, who is also the founder member of National Institute of Engineering (NIE) a renowned institute in the city.
Picture10 – Mysore Railway Office building and Railway Station
The contributions of the Maharajah’s to the state of Mysore is immeasurable in the field of education, health, roads, gardens and buildings and their thoughtfulness and foresight is seen, experienced and enjoyed by one and all. It is no wonder that the Maharajahs are still remembered with reverence and will be revered forever.