The slowly dying heritage palaces of Mysuru ought to be saved soon

When it comes to listed heritage buildings, no serious attention is paid  to their periodic repairs and proper maintenance by the state department in charge of historical and heritage buildings.  In many Indian states  the same status quo prevails and  officials more often than not comes up with one common excuse: fund crunch. Consequently majority of such old structure wilt under age with no periodic care and ultimately  become so damaged resurrection  becomes a challenge. The heritage city of Mysuru already lost it sobriquet ''Heritage City'' as the city loses old structures one by one.

Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion,

According to District Heritage Sub-Committee, 65 heritage structures that are in a precarious state need  urgent intervention to save them. If not done on right time, heritage lovers have to be content  with rejoice by only looking at their pictures. Every year the onset of SW Monsoon further weakens them. Experts are crying hoarse to get funds to save  the heritage structures in Mysuru ahead of monsoon.

Vasanth Mahal, Mysuru

Vasanth Mahal, Mysuru

Above image: Vasanth Mahal, Mysuru It is havan for for anti-social elements and hobos. The building leaks heavily during heavy rains and in some places on the wall plaster falls off. Once a fine structure, is a good example of official apathy .......................

Vasanth Mahal (1842), Mysuru

The members of the District Conservation Sub Committee  after inspecting  a number of  heritage structures of the city before the recent elections  listed the three palaces – Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Lalitha Mahal Hotel and Vasanth Mahal.The former houses the folklore museum and the latter   has the teachers’ training institute. The members were of the opinion that  these palaces  need ''urgent attention’’.The committee reported that Vasanth Mahal (built on a plot of 36 acres), besides conservation,  needed urgent electrical rewiring and repairs. The iconic Lalitha Mahal Palace also need serious attention.

For some time there has been a serious concern over the fate of heritage buildings in Mysuru for the simple reason that they are not in good condition owing to official apathy, negligence and  lack of  maintenance.  A member of INTACH remarked that if  repairs of the three palaces were not taken on a priority basis, the structure would face further damages during the  monsoon.season. It is obvious additional damage would render them structurally weak. 

Among the  500 plus  heritage buildings in Musuru, 139 are in the list of protected monuments. Unfortunately, of them  60 to 65 buildings, in the absence of proper care and upkeep, are pushed to a precarious state. The only remedy is urgent intervention with adequate funds to save buildings   like the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion for the posterity.  

The following heritage  structures  need urgent conservation or atleast major repairs pretty soon.  Devaraja Market, Lansdowne Building -one of the major landmarks in the bazaar area of the city, the Silver Jubilee Clock Tower that  has developed cracks, the Mahajara’s College, Yuvaraja’s College, Maharani’s Science College – (a small portion  collapsed in the past) last year and  the Oriental Research Institute (that hoses rare  palm-leaf manuscripts). The last one leakes during rains and has to be repaired soon.

In the present political scenarios  infrastructure development, poverty alleviation or creation of employment and agriculture production get more priority than other fields related to historical buildings, monuments and their conversation, additional research in archaeology, arts, culture, etc. To avoid religating the local culture to the backstage,  the government must pay serious attention to effective conservation strategies  to save the dying heritages which symbolize our culture, history and identity. Will the new government led by the Congress Party  allot funds and save the slowly heritage buildings that represent the culture and ethos  of Mysuru.