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The state of landmarks

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Town Hall, which is one of the prettiest strucutres in Mysore. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM
Town Hall, which is one of the prettiest strucutres in Mysore. — Photo: M.A. SRIRAM

The Town Hall or the Rangacharulu Memorial Hall is one of the more elegant structures in Mysore and is reckoned to have been constructed in 1884. Though it is well protected, the MCC is guilty of not preserving its ambience and allowed a modern multi-storeyed commercial complex to come behind it. At present, the premises of Town Hall gives the impression of a dumping yard in view of improvement works taken up under JNNURM. This, one hopes, is temporary.

The MCC took up relaying and redesigning of Albert Victor Road from Hardinge Circle and came up with a grandiose plan called Raja Marga. The road was dug up and new stormwater drains were laid but after nearly one year, there is not much progress as the authorities seem to have bitten more than they could chew. Similarly no work has been taken up on embellishing the Dasara procession route that includes the stretch from Chamaraja Circle to K.R.Circle, Sayyaji Rao Road leading to Bannimantap.

The K.R.Hospital complex is in decent shape and so are the public library and Cauvery Emporium buildings that are in use while the Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) building requires intervention. The Niranjan Math on Narayan Shastry Road, where Swami Vivekananda stayed for three weeks in 1892 and lectured in Mysore before his departure for Chicago to attend the World Parliament of Religions, is well documented. But the math itself was in shambles till recently though patchy restoration efforts have been done with a fresh coat of distemper.

A master plan conceived for a national memorial has remained a non-starter though the State Government made budgetary provisions of Rs.5 crore. The Wellingdon Lodge which houses the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) on Irwin Road is almost 200 years old and requires maintenance.

Well maintained

Among the better maintained heritage structures are Crawford Hall housing the University of Mysore administrative seat, the Regional Commissioner's residence and office, Jaladarshini guest house completed in 1894, and the Government Guest House which is among the oldest structures in Mysore. However, the Yelwal Residency at Yelwal, on the outskirts of Mysore and constructed in 1806, requires attention. The Police Commissioner's office and the Deputy Commissioner's office are well-maintained. So is the Mysore Railway Station and the Divisional Railway Manager's office which dominates the stretch between Jagjivan Ram Circle and Ayurvedic College Circle.

The list is not exhaustive but gives a fair idea of the rich heritage of Mysore and the imperatives of notifying the heritage regulations. For, heritage conservation as part of urban development has been recognised by heritage experts as a major driver that stimulates a city's cultural and environmentally sustainable growth. But the moot question is whether the government will act or content itself with knee-jerk reaction.