Mysore to have ‘Raja Marga’ soon

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Reviving the past glory: Sri Chamaraja Circle in front of the Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore is part of the stretch to be developed as ’Raja Marga’.
Reviving the past glory: Sri Chamaraja Circle in front of the Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore is part of the stretch to be developed as ’Raja Marga’.

Shankar Bennur

Stretch between Hardinge Circle and Bannimantap to be developed as ‘royal path’

MYSORE: In what could be described as a notable step to boost the city’s heritage image, the four-km stretch between Hardinge Circle and Bannimantap (near Torch Light Parade Ground) may soon be converted into a “Raja Marga” (“royal path”). The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) has prepared an ambitious project to develop the stretch as it used to be during the rule of the maharajas.

The ambience and décor matching the heritage monuments and structures located along the stretch will be created giving it the “royal” image. The reason for developing the stretch as “Raja Marga” is that the Mysore maharajas used this stretch during the Dasara festivities and worshipped the “Banni” tree at Bannimantap. Moreover, the stretch between Statue Circle opposite the palace and Bannimantap Circle has a heritage character since it is the Dasara procession route.

The Rs. 16-crore project has received the Government’s nod. Funds for the same will be released from the Rs. 100-crore special grant sanctioned to the MCC by the State Government. The project has been reportedly prepared by consulting experts.

Sources in the MCC told The Hindu that the people who had expertise in executing heritage projects had been approached for execution of this novel project.

“This project cannot be taken up by any contractor. It requires special care and planning since the aim is to develop the stretch giving it a royal and heritage touch. A person using this stretch should get the feel of moving on the royal path. With this intention, the project has been conceptualised and will be executed without much alteration,” the sources said.

Heritage workers and sculptors from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh would be approached and a Class 1 contractor from Andhra Pradesh, who had a team of experts, had made his bid for the contract. “Since it is a special project, we will consult experts before proceeding further,” a senior official of the MCC said.

According to the plan, sculptures resembling elephant carrying “ambari”, royal images, heritage lamp posts that once adorned the streets of Mysore during the erstwhile princely State, beautification of footpaths with exquisite Italian tiles, and many such things have been proposed under the project.

Sayyaji Rao Road, a commercial hub, is part of the stretch. It could be challenging for the authorities to execute their plan here since the footpath is occupied by hawkers. Last year, when Ayub Khan was the Mayor, the corporation proposed to widen and beautify Sayyaji Rao Road in keeping with the heritage character of the city. Barring widening of a portion of road and sprucing up of footpath with anti-skid pre-cast cement concrete tiles, nothing else was done under the project. In fact, the work did not proceed further following the issue over felling of trees to widen the road. This drew opposition from environmentalists and the project was stopped.

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