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Jagnmohan Palace, Mysore
Jaganmohan Palace is
one of the oldest buildings in Mysore. It is over a century and half old. Like
the main Palace, it is also an attractive palace built by the Mysore rulers.
During these 150 years, it has been the centre of several landmark events that
have shaped the modern State of Mysore, now named Karnataka. Built in 1861, it
housed the royal family when the old wooden palace was gutted in a fire in 1897.
The royal family stayed in this palace till the present main Palace was built. The installation of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV was conducted here in 1902. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India attended it. Its ornamental front portion with a hall was added to the main building at the time of the marriage of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and hence was called the Wedding Pavilion. The pavilion also served as the Durbar Hall in which Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV held the annual birthday and Dasara Durbars till the completion of the new Sejje or Durbar Hall in the main Palace in 1910. The pavilion was the venue of the Representative Assembly after 1923, a democratic set up of the people's representatives to deliberate and decide the affairs of the state, the first of its kind in a princely state, an arrangement made by the Mysore Maharajas.
The early convocations of the Mysore University were held in this beautiful hall. The hall was also a royal auditorium for staging drama and other cultural activities exclusively for the members of the royal family. It was also a venue for several important meetings and sessions till modern structures came up in other parts of the city. Even today it continues to be a venue in the heart of the city for conferences and cultural programmes, which include annual music, dance and other cultural activities, including the Dasara cultural programmes. It has two huge wooden doors on either side of which are displayed the Dashavathara, or the ten incarnations of Vishnu. The three-storied main structure was converted into an art gallery during the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. It has a collection of artifacts belonging to the Mysore rulers.
Among the art galleries in South India, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery of Mysore stands prominently because of its possession of very great paintings from the brush of the world famous artists as Rembrant, a similar of which are not found in any of the art collection in the world except Russia. Besides Rembrant, works of old masters like P.P. Rubans, Titan, Aless Caddy and miniature paintings by Gunov are also exhibited in the western section of the collections. Valuable and rare art collections made by Col.Scott, a British Army Officer, who served in the British Army that fought against Tipu Sultan, were shifted from Srirangapatna to this gallery in 1950. Gravure prints by British army men showing details of the Mysore Wars and of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan are also arranged in the gallery. A spacious hall is exclusively set apart for display of the famous paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, the famous Kerala prince and painter. The paintings relate to incidents from epics. Also displayed are paintings of Mysore, Bengal and European schools. Among the famous painters whose works have found place in this art gallery are Mysore K. Venkatappa, Nikolay Roerich of Russia, Jiladin Ville of Germany, Sterling from England and Colton from Italy.
The Indian artists whose paintings are displayed include those of Raja Rama Varma, brother of Ravi Varma, Ishwardas, Haldenkar, Subbukrishna and M. Veerappa. M. Ramanarasaiah, who was the curator of this gallery for a long time, has executed most of the paintings related to the Mysore royal family. Ramanarasaiah was the Palace Artist and was also incharge of the exhibits of the gallery. Prior to his appointment as full-time Curator, renowned artist G.Venkatachalam was the Curator. The walls of the third floor are richly covered with interesting and colourful paintings relating to Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. On one side, his Dasara procession is displayed. The Maharaja is seen going in procession in a chariot drawn by elephants, one of the earliest authentic visual records of the Dasara celebrations.
Some of the games displayed on the adjacent wall are full of interest arousing curiosity. Several games such as Devi Sayujya and Srikanta Sayujya are calculated to direct the thoughts of players heavenward. The game of chess in Indian or Hindu tradition is very largely represented on this wall. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was an adept at these games. He invented several new games, some of which are represented here. Jaganmohan Palace has also an excellent collection of musical instruments. The Maharajas, in particular Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, were using some of the musical instruments. It has also ornamental furniture, glass and Chinaware, sculptures and photographs on display.
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