Once upon a time, a 50’X50′ site for 50 rupees!

Prof A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former head of the department of ancient history of the University of Mysore, and chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mysore, in Star of Mysore:

“The year 1940, after the Ugadi of that year; I was following my grandfather Mahavidwan Ardikoppam Subramanya Sastri who had a string of titles like Mimamsa Bhaskara, Mimamsa Shiromani etc. He was a highly respected person in the Mysore Palace and in Sanskrit circles being the Professor of Mimamsa (a traditional subject) at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College located at the end of the Hundred feet Road (now Chamaraja double road)….

“The Deputy Commissioner came from the opposite direction on a horseback.

“He stopped near my grandfather and greeted him with a namaskara with great reverence. He said: ‘The Savari (Maharaja) has decided to form a new layout called Saraswathipuram to provide house sites for scholars. It is our desire that you buy a house site and build a new house.’

“My grandfather laughed and said, ‘Sir, we are Pandits and the house provided to us at the Deveerammanni and other agraharas are quite comfortable. My house is very near to the college and Palace. Why do I require a site in far off Saraswathipuram?’

“But the Commissioner insisted.

“Finally my grandpa asked: ‘What is the price?’

“‘Sir, it is Rs 50 for a site of 50x 50 feet’,” the reply came.

“My grandfather exclaimed, ‘Oh! my god, Rs 50! Where can I bring that big amount.’

“Pat came the reply, ‘Sir, you may pay in instalments.’

“Sastriji took out five silver coins of one rupee each and gave him as advance. The deal was finalised and my grandfather built a house in third cross in Saraswathipuram and named it ‘Sharada Viharam‘.

“On the day of the grihapravesha the Maharaja sent a presentation of jari dhoti, silk saree in a silver plate embossed with the royal insignia of gandabherunda.”


In picture (above), A.V. Rama Murthy, younger brother of A.V. Narasimha Murthy, poses in front of Sharada Viharam. Below, the Sanskrit nameplate on top of the house.

Also read: Once upon a time in Saraswathipuram

Saraswathipuram Andava: cuppu, conu, ballsu

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11 Responses to “Once upon a time, a 50’X50′ site for 50 rupees!”

  1. NS Rao Says:

    Atleast, someone has seen the Savari (Maharaja a.k.a Government) recognise merits in a person – unlike today’s politicians who tend to survive on vote bank politics.

  2. Shrinidhi Hande Says:

    50 years from now sites will cost hundreds of crores and Churumuri will be posting an article… 50’x50′ site costed only 50 lakhs in 2009…

  3. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Beautiful… uplifting! Thank you for sharing, Prof. Murthy.

  4. daniel sv Says:

    This was like a fairy tale.
    So nice hear that 50 Rs was very huge amount, silver coins and maharaja sent gift on gruhapravesham in silver plate with insignia wow something that we cant imagine now.
    many thanks Prof.

  5. Karihaida Says:

    @Srinidhi Hande,
    that kind of thinking is the reason the world is in this economic mess :)

    The only way you can see sites costing hundreds of crores is if we start having Mahatma Gandhi starts having 5 zeroes, when Rahul baba/Mayawati/Lallu start doing a Mugabe. Trust me you don’t want to see that.

    Albert Einstein said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

  6. Andy Says:

    Too good and too hard to believe. Heart warming for sure !

    If only life – not cost of site – were only as simple…

  7. Madhu Rao Says:

    Heart warming and poignant. An era when simplicity and honesty were still alive and kicking, and the rulers did some good deeds as well. Talking of our rulers(lets not kid ourselves about how they are our representatives and on our payroll et al) I would rather read this twice than the bull crap monnina maga, raithara bandhu has doled out @ CNN-IBN…

  8. subbulakshmi Says:

    That reminds me. Devaraj Urs was the chief minister and a boy brought up by him was a close friend of our family. One day he came home and said “Appaji is planning to make a new layout called Jayaprakash Narayan Nagar beyond Ragi Gudda and if you pay Rs 6500 he will sanction a 100×100 site on the ring road.” We said “what?! Rs 6500?! who has that kind of money?! And that too for a site in the wilderness beyond Ragi Gudda?!”and shooed him away.
    Every time i pass through the ring road i look at all the 100×100 sites with a sinking feeling.

  9. prasad Says:

    I remember my father Late R V Ram telling that my Grandfather Late E Ramaswamy Iyer, who was staying in “Ayodhya”, Kantarajaurs road (at present the Hotel Mahesh prasad) an engineer who was with the civil dpt Mysore municipality, who was involved in the construction of tha mysore palace and the new steps to Chamundi betta got the house plots alloted to him right from RK Narayan’s house up to the Kurubar hostel for Rs100, and in turn gave it to his friends for Rs10 per plot, and many of them are yet to pay the amount. Half of the area was acquired for the Lakshmipuram Middle school. We still have one plot at present The Ayodhya next to Mahesh prasad! Now there is an offer for 5 Chrores!

  10. BrahmakShatra Says:

    The disappointing fact is, in our current society the Mimamsa Bhaskaras/Shiromanis are almost extinct. I know that people are hardly bothered about this.

  11. B.H.Sudhindra Rao. Says:

    Rs 10 plot now 5 crores baaaapre

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