Mysore Garden - Captivating Calcutta
softetechnologies
14-06-2019    338 times
Mysore Garden Calcutta

Born in the old palace in Mysore on 22 February 1863, Chamarajendra Wadiyar, the twenty-third Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore, was the third son of Sardar Chikka Krishnaraj Urs, who died about a week before the birth of his son. His mother, Rajkumari Putammani Devi, was the eldest daughter of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, who decided to adopt Chamarajendra, as he did not have a son. The ceremony of adoption was officially done on 18 June 1865 and was ratified by the British Government of India on 16 April 1867. Upon the death of Krishnaraja, his adopted son, Chamarajendra ascended the throne on 23 September 1868.

However, since 1831, the Kingdom of Mysore had been under the direct administration of the British Government in India. Later, the Privy Council of the United Kingdom revoked the decision of the East India Company to annex Mysore and by the Rendition Act of 1881 the princely state of Mysore was restored to the Wadiyar dynasty. Accordingly, Chamarajendra was officially handed the reins of governance on 25 March 1881.

During his reign for a brief period, Chamarajendra left an important mark in the history of his Kingdom. He initiated the Representative Assembly, gave primacy to women's education, established several industrial schools, facilitated the founding of Agricultural Banks to help finance farmers and initiated life insurance for government employees.  He was the man, who sponsored the historical journey of Swami Vivekananda to Chicago in 1893. It is said that he also recorded the voice of Swami Vivekananda on a phonograph imported from America.

Sir Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur
Sir Chamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur

In the year 1894, Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar visited Calcutta to meet Lord Elgin, the then viceroy of India. During his stay in the city, he lodged in one of the most elegant hotels of Lady Monk of Chowronghee. It is interesting to note that, Mrs. Annie Monk, an enterprising Irishwoman, started a boarding house on 13 Chowringhee Road, in 1870, which was once the private residence of a Colonel Grand. Gradually, that boarding house flourished to be known as the Grand Hotel.  

During his stay in Calcutta, Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar was fatally affected by diphtheria and unfortunately died on 28 December 1894, at the age of 33. As he belonged to the royal family, his cremation was planned in a different way. A piece of land was bought at the bank of Adi Ganga, adjacent to the Keoratala Burning Ghat and later a memorial was erected on the spot by Burn & Co. Consequently, a garden was created surrounding the funeral ground area, which came to be known as the Mysore Garden.

The Mysore Garden
The Mysore Garden

With the passage of time, the garden lost its beauty due to negligence and lack of maintenance. Soon it became a hideout and happy hunting ground for the criminals and the anti socials. Later, it was discovered that the miscreants had literally plundered the age old temples located in the compound of the garden. A gold pitcher on the top of a temple had been stolen, the cut glass and bronze canopy over the Vishnu idol were taken away, even the Italian marble slabs, used for the floor of the temple, were also missing.

Nevertheless, finally good sense prevailed, as the park was renovated by the civic body at the cost of 34 lakh. Apart from trees like the Weeping Deodar been planted in the park around a dancing fountain, the century-old temples of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva have also been renovated. The Vishnu temple was constructed by the sons of the Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar, a few years after his death. It was erected in the style of the 12th century Chenna Keshava Temple of Belur, in Karnataka. The temple of Lord Shiva was founded by the Maharaja of Tripura. It is said that, soon after his return to Calcutta from America, Swami Vivekananda had once spent some time in the Shiva temple while visiting the temple of Kalighat.

A band of expert masons, brought by the CMC from Murshidabad toiled hard to satisfactorily restore the artwork on the temple walls. A wall has also been erected around the newly dressed Mysore Garden and murals have been painted on it by artist Pradip Pal of Kumartuli.

The Mysore Garden
softetechnologies
softetechnologies
    Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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