Palace board staff and archakas of palace temples mourn the death of Srikantadatta Wadiyar

An eerie silence engulfed the Amba Vilas Palace here on Tuesday afternoon following the demise of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar of the erstwhile royal family in Bangalore.

The surroundings of the century-old palace and the residential palace were deserted. Those working at the Mysore Palace Board said Mr. Wadiyar’s wife, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, rushed to Bangalore around 2 p.m. She had come to Mysore from Bangalore on Monday.

A visibly disturbed Janardhana Iyengar, the Dharmadhikari at Mr. Wadiyar’s residential palace, said: “I cannot speak anything at this moment. I have lost a big asset in my life. Mr. Wadiyar was the annadata for so many people. His death is an irreparable loss for all of us.”

Mr. Iyengar, who has been performing religious rituals at the palace for over four decades, said he last saw Mr. Wadiyar on November 24 here. He left for Bangalore the next day.

Describing Mr. Wadiyar as the most affectionate and kind-hearted person, he said, “He treated his staff like his children.”

The archakas at the residential palace — Kumaraswamy, Narasimha and Balasubramanya — and those at the temples located around the palace became emotional on hearing the news.

Rama Nayak, a permanent security guard at the palace who performs the role of a ‘sipahi’ during the Dasara celebrations, broke down on hearing the news. “Namma maharajaru treated us very affectionately. He gave us livelihood and was the annadata for over 300 people working at the palace and the museum,” Mr. Nayak, who has been working at the palace from the last 29 years, said.

A group of people, including staff of the palace board and tourist guides offered floral tributes to Mr. Wadiyar outside the board office.

S. Krishna (60), a tourist guide, recalled the kindness of Mr. Wadiyar, and said, “He was a man of simplicity. His demise is a big loss for the people of Mysore.”

Mada Nayak, an employee at the palace board, said the focal point of the Mysore Dasara was no more. The festivities may not have the same grandeur in Mr. Wadiyar’s absence, he said.

“Mr. Wadiyar always used to offer prayers at Atma Vilas Sri Ganapati temple inside the palace before embarking on a journey and on special occasions,” he recalled.

Lakshmamma (70) and Chikkathayamma (60), both fruit vendors at the century-old Devaraja Market, said: “It is a sad day for all of us.”

Meanwhile, security at the palace has been tightened. Police Commissioner M.A. Saleem held a meeting with senior police officers.

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