The more-than-a-hundred-year-old Diwan Poornaiah's Bungalow in Yelandur town, popularly known as Jahagirdar Bungalow, has now became a museum and is ready to protect the district's monuments and artefacts.

Poornaiah first served Hyder Ali as a Minister. After Hyder Ali's death, he served Tipu Sultan, who waged several battles against the British during the end of the 18th century. After Tipu's death, Poornaiah served Krishnaraja Wadiyar III as the Dewan. Poornaiah was granted the bungalow by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar III in 1807 when he was made the Jahagirdar of Yelandur town in recognition of his contribution to the welfare of the erstwhile Mysore State.

The building, constructed in Chola style, was the centre of attraction. Poornaiah not only administered the kingdom ably, he also tackled many Palegars, who remained restive even after their expropriation. He undertook many public works and paid attention to irrigation facilities by constructing 33 tanks in 33 villages that came under his ‘Hadinadu' province.

P.N. Krishnamurthy, a person belonging to the Poornaiah clan, had constructed four bungalows in 1907 in Chola style in four directions in memory of the Dewan. For domestic reasons, after the unification of Karnataka, the family members of Dewan Poornaiah abandoned the bungalow and shifted to Bangalore. The bungalow became dilapidated.

Having seen the bad condition of the bungalow, the Chamarajanagar MP, R. Dhruvanarayan, and the State Director of Archaeology and Museums, Gopal, persuaded the family members of the Dewan to give the bungalow to the Department of Archaeology and Museums to establish a museum. The renovation was to be done at a cost of Rs.50 lakh. An agreement was signed with the grand daughter-in-law of Poornaiah, Sukanya Poornaiah and the State Government in this regard. She agreed to give the bungalow for about 33 years i.e., till November 22, 2044, for a royalty of Rs.1,000 per year. She requested the Government to name the building after her illustrious ancestor and the Government issued a notification on November 20, 2011, to name it as Dewan Poornaiah Memorial District Museum.

The two-storey structure, situated behind the Gowrishwara temple, has got a facelift and tourists are streaming in to have a look. Dewan Poornaiah lived there during the last few years of his life. The structure will have many articles used by him and will showcase all his achievements.

The Department of Archaeology and Museums intends to set up at least one museum in all the district centres of the State.

It has already established museums in 15 districts.

V. PANEESHA

Diwan Poornaiah's bungalow gets a new lease of life and is now a museum