Posts Tagged ‘Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar’

Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar: RIP

10 December 2013

Photo Caption

At the ‘Khaas Durbar’ during Dasara in Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar ascends the golden throne for the rituals

KPN photo

During Dasara in Mysore, Mr Wodeyar wears the royal attire and is escorted to and from the rituals with the pomp and glory of bygone days

KPN photo

During Dasara in Mysore, Mr Wodeyar wears the royal attire and is escorted to and from the rituals with the pomp and glory of bygone days


During Navaratri, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar himself conducted some of the poojas in the main Amba Vilas Palace


Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar poses in front of the Bangalore Palace in this file picture

Photo Caption

Mr Wodeyar, with his rival turned friend Brijesh Patel (second from right) after his election to the Karnataka State Cricket Association recently


Mr Wodeyar with his wife Pramodadevi Wodeyar

churumuri records with deep regret the passing away of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, the scion of the erstwhile royal kingdom of Mysore, in Bangalore on this the 10th day of December, 2013. He was 61 years old, and is survived by his wife, Pramodadevi. The Wodeyars have no natural heir.

Mr Wodeyar, was the son of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the last maharaja of Mysore. And as the “erstwhile prince”, he remained the last tangible link with the City’s royal past, playing a key role in the conduct of the ten-day Dasara celebrations each year.

A two-time former Congress member of Parliament from Mysore (who also fought and lost on the BJP ticket), Mr Wodeyar had been elected president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) only last week. He played cricket for Mysore University during his college days.

Mr Wodeyar, who suffered from weight problems, had been unwell and greeted KSCA members upon his election, sitting down.

File photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: My daddy, His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore

Once upon a time, at the Maharaja’s study circle

Mysore’s three richest families—after Srikantadatta Wodeyar

When Bishen Bedi bowled from the Maharaja College end

Mutton chops, mudde and saaru with Srikantadatta Wodeyar

Where on earth is Bangara Doddi Naale?

What the lights ‘n’ sights of Mysore hide from you

20 October 2012

Doorada betta nunnuge” (from afar, even a distant hill looks smooth) is an old Kannada saying.

The sight of the Mysore palace with the Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar circle in the foreground, all decked up for Dasara in Mysore on Saturday, is a shining example of that. “Dasara Works” are going on feverishly even as the festival is veering to an end, but tourists and visitors are unlikely to notice.

For, the lights provide a nice veneer to mask the darkness.


Dr K. Javeed Nayeem writes in Star of Mysore:

“We are all in the middle of Dasara which is our most important annual event. But Mysore is still getting decked up for the occasion even after the short-lived celebrations themselves have started and are also about to end. It is a little like the bride still getting dressed even after the priest has started chanting the sacred mantras, completely unmindful of the fact that she is missing and only mindful of not allowing the designated auspicious moment to slip away!

“This is the scenario that meets our weary eyes year after year, ever since the Dasara slipped from the hands of our erstwhile royalty into the hands of our new netas. I wonder why some proper planning does not go into its preparations. At least it can then serve its intended purpose of showcasing our city at its best and making our tourists happy that the time, effort and money they spent on seeing it were worth it….

“Here I am reminded of Aesop‘s fairy tale where work on the project which started off in great haste, has fallen asleep enroute like the hare, while it is slowly but steadily being overtaken by its rival, the tortoise of escalating costs. Instead of wasting money and time on fairy tale projects and trying to achieve the impossible, it would be better if we concentrate on doing something tangible and useful.”

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: What is so world-famous about Mysore Dasara?

Should Bollywood have a place in Mysore Dasara?

Once upon a time, on this day, in another age

Mysore Mallige for the Maharani amid gold, glitz

Why does Mysore need Jamshedpur for water?

24 May 2012

KIRAN RAO BATNI writes: The price of water has gone up by at least five times in Mysore, which is a stone’s throw away from the Krishna Raja Sagara dam.

Those who were paying Rs 75 per month are now required to pay anywhere from Rs 400 to Rs 500.

Just a few months ago, a company called JUSCO completed installation of their pipes and meters in addition to the existing ones, promising 24×7 water and better customer service. Residents had to pay anywhere form Rs 500 to Rs 2000 to install T-sections, complete the piping from the curb to the water meter, and patch up the masonry.

I’ve always wondered why Mysore, home to Sir M.Visvesvaraya, one of the greatest civil engineers and water management gurus in the history of mankind, had to knock on the doors of a Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company Ltd for distributing its own water.

Why didn’t a MUSCO do this?

Would it have been too good for the consumer, or for the employees?

Anyway. Today, there is neither the 24×7 water (it’s more like 3×5), nor the better customer service. But there’s a five times hike in the water bill. The quality of water has reduced considerably in the last twenty years.

We used to drink directly from the tap twenty years ago, but today we’re forced to buy water filters or UV or RO machines or risk health problems – and these machines need maintenance to the tune of Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per year, plus the electricity charge and the area they occupy in the kitchen.

Coming back to the issue at hand, corporators of the Mysore City Corporation, upon receiving complaints from a handful people like me are asking people to not pay the water bill, but are shying away from making public statements to the same effect.

MLA and Mysore district in-charge, S. A. Ramdas has issued a statement that the price hike will be withheld. But nothing has happened on the ground, as we just received the water bill with the increased rate.

When I contacted the MCC (Mysore City Corporation) public relations officer, M. V. Sudha (mobile phone number: 9449859915), she explained that the MCC is basically out of funds, hinting that revenue from water is inevitable. K. S. Raykar, commissioner, MCC, didn’t pick up the phone.

If what M.V. Sudha says is right—that the MCC is starved of funds—and I have strong reasons to believe that she is, then everything falls in place.

The MCC is starved of funds because it is not allowed to make revenue to even sustain itself, because of the lopsided ‘democracy’ in which we live, where the concentration of power increases with distance from the people: New Delhi wields more power than Bangalore which, in turn, wields more power than Mysore, over Mysoreans!

Is this democracy?


Barely ninety nine years ago, in 1913, right here in Mysore, His Highness Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar concluded a treaty with Edwin Montagu, under-secretary of State, government of (British) India.

According to the treaty, which clarified the relationship between the State of Mysore and the Government of India, the Maharaja obtained full powers of internal administration, subject only to the general supremacy and paramountcy of the British government – something his father, His Highness Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar did not enjoy.

But in less than 34 years, amidst the waving of flags in New Delhi and elsewhere, and the bursting of crackers and some meaningless riots near Lahore and Calcutta, His Highness Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar lost all the power his father had obtained in the treaty with Montagu.

It appears that he became worse than the corporator I called today, in terms of the power he came to hold. Of course, some money was thrown in into his kitty, going under the name of privy purse, in return for agreeing to a slight change of job description: king to pawn.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya saw with his own eyes how the Maharaja of Mysore was relieved of nearly all his powers by the Government of India (the free one, the Indian one) which consequently reduced the autonomy and powers of internal administration of the State of Mysore.

What was the State of Mysore has today literally transformed into a municipal corporation, and this municipal corporation is not even the ‘glorified municipal corporation’ that J. Jayalalitha recently talked about when she accused the Central government of undermining federalism.

That glory goes to the government of Karnataka, not to the municipal corporation of Mysore.

Wrote Sir MV, expressing hope that things would change and decentralization would happen as the passing phase passed:

The States are now, for all political purposes, closely integrated with the Centre and though they are units of the Federation, they occupy, in actual working, a lower subordinate position than what they held under the British administration. It is hoped that this is only a passing phase in the evolution of the new democracy. (Sir. M. Visveswaraya, Memoirs of My Working Life, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1960, p. 58)

Clearly, Sir MV had hoped for too much. The ‘phase’ has neither passed, nor shows any signs of passing. New Delhi continues to be the new Paramount Power in India – with a paramountcy surpassing that of the British.


In the meanwhile, the greatest minds of Mysore – Engineers, Doctors, CAs, MBAs, etc., have all gone away, or have all turned away, while their aged parents are waiting for money orders to pay the increased water bill with.

Also read: If it’s summer, it’s time for a nice Cauvery row

‘A magic, moving, living part of the very earth’

A small lesson from Sir MV for our munde makkalu

20 June 2010

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji was reading the Mahabharatha and closed the book just as I entered.

Hegitthu, Ajji? How was your Bharatha vaachana?”

Alvo! Karna’s extraordinary character is so inspiring. He gave off even the Vajra Kundala to Krishna masquerading as the old Brahmin, fully knowing it was life-threatening for him. He donated every bit of what belonged to him. Truly he was a Dani, the eternal donor.”

Adikke alva ajji, he was called ‘Dana Shura Karna.”

“I know but compare him to our present-day leaders. Even the money collected for victims of natural disasters are gobbled up. How can our leaders buy plane tickets from that money, kano? Paapa alva?

Papa? Punya? You think they can even distinguish one from the other. They keep saying, ‘I have been serving people for the last 50 years. Janaseveye janardhana seve and all that’.”

“The poltishans made t-shirts out of the money collected for rehabilitation of victims of floods who have nothing to wear. Naachike, maana maryade ne ilva? Don’t they have a sense of shame?”

Ajji’s sense of outrage was the same as the collective outrage of the nation against politicians who connived to spirit Warren Anderson out of the country.

Ajji continued: “Also people who were afflicted with floods, uprooted from their houses in North Karnataka are still living under zinc sheets in hot summer temperatures. It is worse than sudugadu. Is it not callousness that our government that is patting itself on its back about the success of the global investors’ meet cannot rehabilitate the victims even after a year after the tragedy? It is like rubbing salt on the wounds. They are treating people like cattle.”

“Yes, Ajji.”

“We are hypocrites—all of us, each one of us. We talk of pooje, puraskara, dharma etc. We don’t hesitate to loot the hundis or steal the sarees and ornaments that devotees donate to the deity. We even collect money from the poor and very poor for disaster victims and gobble ‘em up.”

Eega ‘Nanna seveye Janardhana seve antha aagide‘. ‘Let me look after my interests by hook or crook,’ that is the dictum.”

“We had such great selfless people serving the State. I have heard Sir M. Visvesvaraya gave away his entire profitend fund of Rs 2 lakh to start a polytechnic institute in Bangalore. When the Maharaja asked him to name it as Visveshvaraya Institute, he refused and called it Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute.”

“Very true Ajji, except it is provident fund not profitend fund. Eega adu ‘Profittu nanna Fund’ aagide!”

“Former chief minister S. Nijalingappa did not even have a house of his own, despite being a chief minister and president of the Indian National Congress Party. Our maharanis pawned their jewelry to raise funds for the construction of Krishnaraja Sagar dam.”

Nija Ajji. Even the royalty were selfless as against some of our present day leaders who behave as if they are royalty but go about making money by illegal means.”

Howdappa howdu.  Each poltishan thinks he is Maharaja and probably has more money than what Maharajas ever had.”

Ajji, you mentioned Vishvesvaraya. I was reading of a small incident concerning him and his mother Akkachamma. Visvevaraya was very strict about not using official facilities for his personal matter. That included the car, even pencils and candles. Let me read out from his biography*:

“Once, Visvesvaraya’s mother Akkachamma returned from their village Muddenahalli with him in the government car. She was not keeping good health and was not able to get down from the car.

“Visvesvaraya directed the driver to drop her at her house in Chamarajapet.

“Aware of the rectitude of her son she said, ‘No’, got out of the car with some effort, rested for a while and left for her house in her son’s personal car.

“He exclaimed, ‘Mother. You are proud of your son being a Dewan, but I am much more happy and proud at your refusing to use the government car for personal use’.”

“We had such great and selfless people to lead us our State. Now, all we have is a bunch of hoodlums trying to line their pockets at every opportunity,” sighed Ajji.


*From ‘Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya’ by V.S. Narayana Rao, National Book Trust Publications, 1988, page 133


Also read: Why the queen sold her diamonds and jewels

Sir MV: The world’s 7th most famous Mysorean?

One question I’m dying to ask R.V. Deshpande

Once upon a time, on this day, in another age

9 October 2008

U.B. VASUDEV writes from Tampa, Flordia: Down memory lane, while growing up in Mysore, we looked forward to the Dasara or the Navarathri holidays. Those ten days, which signified goddess Chamundeshwari’s victory over the demon Mahishasura (symbolizing the triumph of good over evil), were the most enjoyable time every year.

The entire City wore a festive look.

As far as I can remember, everyone was high-spirited though everything remained routine year after year.

Pattada Bombe” which perhaps symbolized the King and Queen among all the dolls arranged for the “Bombe habba” got new dresses; the woman was draped in a jari bhutta sari and the man in the typical Mysore Durbar dress ie, white trousers, black long coat with a gold bordered sash around the shoulders and the famous gold striped Mysore “peta” (turban).

It was almost an unassigned task for us kids to wait outside our houses for the booming, reverberating sound of the cannons from the Palace Gun House heralding the auspicious arrival of Dasara to the Mysore Palace and let our mothers know so that they could install the “Kalasha” and observe the festivities.

The festivities were low key for the first six days and reached a crescendo by the seventh day, Saraswathi (the goddess of learning) pooja, when we excitedly piled up all our books to be worshipped so that we did not have to touch them for, at least, a few more days!

The eighth day was Durgashtami.

The ninth and the tenth days were the most spectacular. On Mahanavami, everything from knives to scissors to our bicycles was spotlessly cleaned for the Ayudha (weapon) pooja. All the buses, cars, shah-pasands (the illustrious Mysooru Kudure Gadi) and other transports all over Mysore were richly decorated for the occasion.

n the Palace, public with prior permission from the Palace authorities were allowed to the bleachers in front of the “Bombe thotti” (pavilion of dolls) to watch the celebrations.

After a long wait of two to three hours and as we were getting hungry and impatient, His Highness in his ceremonial attire was escorted to the specially erected canopied platform in front of the Palace to offer pooja. The spectators would be in a state of mystic abstraction for the next hour or so watching the royal paraphernalia that included all his cars, elephants, horses, the silver and gold chariots and many more pass in front of them.

The Amba Vilas Palace, an amazing example of the opulence of the Mysore royalty, designed by the British architect Henry Irwin and built at the turn of the century (1897-1912) was illuminated for all the ten days in addition to some of the public buildings and other landmarks in the city.

Welcome arches were erected all over the city with banners proclaiming long life to the revered son of Yaduvamsha (Chiramabhivardhantam Yadusantana Sri). His Highness late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar conducted the durbar every evening starting at 7 pm.

At that exact moment, hundreds of thousands of bulbs lit the Indo-Saracenic structure that made it look like an illuminated mirage. The presence of the former king heightened the spirit of the festivities. Legend has it that the bejeweled silver and gold throne made of fig wood and once overlaid with ivory, originally belonged to the Pandavas and is supposed to have come through the Vijayanagara rulers to the Wodeyars of Mysore. With the rich embellishments, it shone under the floodlights of the majestically decorated hall.

A select public was allowed to attend the royal court and only those with the traditional durbar dress were allowed inside. After a brief entertainment, mostly a classical music concert by one of the eminent musicians of that time, folk dances or a wrestling match in the ring in front of the palace, the guard of honor followed and the evening culminated with the state elephant garlanding the chief.

The crowning glory of the ten-day festivities was the royal procession on the last day, Vijayadashami. It is
almost impossible to explain in words the magnificence that pervaded the city that afternoon.

The entire route of the royal cavalcade, about five miles long, from the Mysore Palace to the Bannimantapa was exquisitely decorated with multicolored lights. The businesses on Sayyaji Rao Road erected stages all along the parade route to garland His Highness and offer their respects.

Crowds of people from all over the country lined the parade route, positioned themselves on buses, cars, buildings and fences enroute to watch and admire their favorite king on the elephant back in the storybook spectacle.

A pair of Nandi Kamba(s), decorated bamboo posts carried in a pouch around the waist by the performers and assisted by two or three who held the tethers attached to it for support, led the procession that used to leave the Mysore Palace sometime in the late afternoon.

The entire army that belonged to the Mysore King(s) took part in the parade.

All the distinguished personnel associated with the Palace usually were on horseback or walked in front of the elephant carrying His Highness. Usually, a huge carriage drawn by the elephants (Aane Gaadi) used to house the palace musicians, Asthana Vidwans who used to be in concert all along the parade route.

His Highness, with his uncle behind him, sat in the golden howdah (ambaari with 80 kilograms of gold on a wooden frame) that was tied on the back of the tall and majestic Biligiriranga, a magnificent pachyderm.

Also in the parade were the state horse (Pattada kudure) and the state elephant (Pattadane) that carried the presiding deity of the royal family, goddess Chamundeshwari. Also went along the white dancing horses, the royal Lippizzans that had their tails painted in a rainbow of colors.

After resting for a while at Bannimantapa, His Highness would perform pooja to the legendary Shami tree and carry a branch of the same back to the royal residence.

The Mahabharata legend has it that the Pandavas hid their arms inside the Shami tree while in exile. Before the famous battle of Kurukshetra, they performed the ritualistic worship to the tree in gratitude and recovered their arms.

After a brief entertainment and a torch light parade in honor of the Excellency, the procession would be on its way back to the palace.

The return procession had a grandeur of its own.

I remember heavy downpours as if the heavens were pouring their choicest blessings on the King and his people, on several occasions.

The procession served the purpose of contact between people and the King, as they could not see the king on other days. The other aspect may be, during the olden days kings used to worship the family deities to invoke their blessings before embarking on wars with their elephants, horses, camels and the military.

That may be the background for the procession.

As far as we know, the Mysore Dasara was the best show in all the princely States of India.

We have not heard of any other princely state celebrating Dasara with such pomp and pageantry. The last Dasara procession with His Highness late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar was in 1973.

When I visited the palace six years back, I was told that his son Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar still continues to maintain the tradition and follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. He conducts durbar every day during the ten-day festival, albeit on a much smaller scale in the Amba Vilas hall, the diwan-i-khas of the Mysore Palace.

The palace is illuminated every evening for about an hour or two and the other activities are continuing though the support from the people has dwindled. It looks as though the magnificence associated with the festivities faded with the late Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar who was very highly respected by his subjects.

The State of Karnataka has tried to continue the tradition without much participation and glitter, however.

It is sad to think that the ten-day festival that was once the crown jewel for the City of Mysore has become just a crown without any sparkling jewel in it. Thus, it is a pleasant though poignant memory for the Mysoreans of yesteryear!

Photograph: Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, flanked by the minister in charge of Mysore district, Shobha Karandlaje, and the mayor of Mysore, Ayub Khan, offer floral tributes to the golden howdah before the commencement of the Dasara procession in Mysore on Thursday afternoon. (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Dasara in punya bhumi vs Dasara in karma bhumi

All that glitters is, yes, gold for the next ten days

Writers, don’t leave our kids alone: Governor

22 January 2008

BELLARY: The Governor has issued a clarion call for the production of more attractive books in Kannada for children so that they might develop a taste for reading and owning books. He was speaking after inaugurating the Kannada Sahitya Sammelan here yesterday, and remarked there was not much children’s literature in Kannada.

The Governor also urged writers to work for the unity of people in Karnataka. While commending the services of the sammelan in the integration of the different Kannada areas to form the State, he reminded the writers and publishers of their duties and responsibilities towards the promotion of the welfare of society.


Oops, sorry, that’s not yesterday as in yesterday, but yesterday 50 years ago.

And that was not the Governor of Karnataka, Rameshwar Thakur, but the Governor of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, at the 40th sahitya sammelan.

But surely you get the point?

Also read: Alfred Satish Jones: Kannada in ICU? You tell me.