Traditional materials like jaggery paste, limestone, soapnut, M-sand and brick powder used to plaster walls
Mysore/Mysuru: Amidst the hue and cry by heritage lovers and activists who are concerned about Mysuru’s loss of reputation as a ‘Heritage City’ in the wake of many crumbling historical and archaeologically important structures, the renovation and restoration of the heritage office of Command Area Development Authority — CADA — (Cauvery) is under progress, far from the limelight.
The restoration works are being carried out in consultation with the heritage experts and even the materials that are being used for the task are the same as the ones used when the structure was originally built. The CADA Office stands among the numerous heritage buildings in Mysuru that are in a dilapidated state and excessive usage.
The office is located on Sayyaji Rao Road and houses the office of Chamarajanagar MP V. Sreenivasa Prasad and MLC A.H. Vishwanath. In addition, the office premises houses an Indira Canteen and the campus is always busy with people. The restoration works actually began in March this year and tenders were awarded to a Mysuru-based contractor. But due to incessant rains, the repair works were not carried out. With the rains giving a break now, the restoration works have begun in earnest.
The building was constructed in 1921 by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar for the purpose of housing the Administrative Building of the Mysore Palace. Later, the building was allocated to CADA.
The repair works are being taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.65 crore and the Public Works Department (PWD) is executing the works. The money for the restoration is being released in phases and the renovation is being done after approval from the District Heritage Committee that has a final say in the matter of heritage, said PWD Assistant Engineer Harish Kumar.
The materials that are being used to renovate the structure are similar to the ones that were originally used when the building was constructed and even the heritage guidelines mandate the same. The first phase of the works began in April where the roof was restored so that it prevents seepage of rainwater. Plastering works were completed and now the plastering works of the walls have been taken up.
Materials like jaggery paste, limestone, soapnut, M-sand and brick powder are being used to plaster the walls and to maintain the distinct character of the heritage building. Four containers have been set up to mix the limestone with water to get the desired texture and the soapnut is being dried to be mixed with jaggery paste.
Once ready, all the ingredients are mixed in proportions and applied to the walls.
Before the plastering process is being done, the old plaster is cleaned so that the new coat of plaster sticks onto the walls. Notably, cement is not used in any of the processes, not even as the binding agent.
Need to reserve funds
The renovation and restoration of CADA Office on Sayyaji Rao Road is as per the heritage guidelines and there are no violations. A team of heritage experts will soon visit the CADA Office to examine the works. There are many buildings in Mysuru that need desperate attention. Deputy Commissioner Dr. K.V. Rajendra has held one round of meeting outlining the repair works that are needed. Sadly, Mysuru is just known as a Heritage City but the State Government has failed even to reserve and allocate funds for restoration of dilapidated structures. —Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, Member of Heritage Conservation Committee, Government of Karnataka and Convener of INTACH, Mysuru Chapter