Refurbished Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery at Jaganmohan Palace opens for visitors
Mysuru: Mysureans have a rare chance to see and admire the 160-year-old ticking French Musical Calendar Clock that was bought by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in France. There is only one such clock in the world and is placed at a vantage position in the renovated and refurbished Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery housed inside the Jaganmohan Palace that was dedicated to public this morning.
The Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery was renovated by Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery Trust and its opening today coincided with the year-long birth centenary celebrations of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar that began in city this morning. Jayachamaraja Wadiyar is the last Maharaja of erstwhile princely State of Mysore who merged the erstwhile Mysore kingdom with the Republic of India in 1950.
The Art Gallery was inaugurated by Gopalkrishna Devdas Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a retired IAS officer and diplomat, who was the 23rd Governor of West Bengal. His wife Tara Gandhi, Member of erstwhile royal family and wife of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Pramoda Devi Wadiyar and Srikantadatta’s sister Kamakshi Devi were present during the inauguration.
Walking around the renovated Palace and the Art Gallery, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar was explaining each section, each painting, and the uniqueness of the artefacts, contribution of Wadiyars to Mysuru and surrounding regions and the invaluable paintings displayed there.
Impressed by the collection and the renovation works, Gopalkrishna Gandhi told reporters that the restoration work keeps alive the rich royal tradition and will guide the next generations. Wadiyars have left a host of paintings, ornaments, structures and Palaces. “I am glad that sincere efforts are being made to preserve all of them,” he said.
Worth seeing the clock
French Musical Calendar Clock is still in good working condition, working on mechanical mode. The clock has been overhauled and it displays day, date and month separately. The continuous drum beat indicates seconds. Every 15 seconds a solider salutes and the other blows the bugle.
Once in a quarter hour there is chiming and every hour, along with music and striking of gong, there will be a parade of an army battalion. It is worth a sight to wait for that hour to watch this spectacle unfolding.
One of the best art galleries in the world
The Jaganmohan Palace was built in 1861 by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar and it houses Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. The Gallery and the Palace have been restored to its pristine glorious condition. Palace sources said that the Art Gallery is one of the best art galleries in the world.
It is a hi-tech Gallery as there are Audio Guides to take the visitors through the various collections housed in the Gallery that has hundreds of artefacts of Wadiyar dynasty. The restoration of 160-year-old structure was a challenge which the dedicated team of heritage experts and workers has achieved.
Bengaluru-based GN Heritage Matters, led by Principal Conservation Architect Sarath Chandra, was in-charge of the restoration work.
Large painting collection
There are nearly 1,500 different painting collections, which is one of the biggest in India. There are paintings from the Mahabharata, Bhagavat Gita, and Ramayana, all from the great epics that have been picturised by Raja Ravi Varma.
In all, there are 16 original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, two paintings of his brother Raja Raja Varma. Besides, there are three paintings depicting Khedda operation (catching of wild elephants — a practice discontinued now) by Ravi Varma’s son, Rama Varma. And there is the most famous painting ‘Glow of Hope’ by S.L. Haldankar.
Nicholas Roerich paintings
The restored Gallery has been classified into sections called the Bengal School, Mysore School, Company School, Rajasthan and Mughal Paintings. There is a room that is dedicated to Tipu Sultan. There are also seven original paintings of Nicholas Roerich depicting the white and dark beauty of the Himalayan range.
There are two rooms dedicated to Mysore artists K. Venkatappa, Keshavaiah, Ramanarasaiah, N.S. Subbakrishna, Veerappa and H.S. Inamathi.
Entry fee, timings and the entrance
The earlier South-side entrance to Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery has been shifted to the North-side and visitors have to enter the Gallery through this gate. The gallery will be open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. Visitors have to pay an entry fee of Rs.150 per person and for a child it is Rs.45. A foreign adult has to pay Rs.225 and a child has to pay Rs.75.
Audio Guide will be available in Kannada, English and Hindi. The free audio guide device will be given to the visitors so that they can experience and learn about the history of the Gallery and its contents and sections through the hi-tech device.
Visitors have to deposit Rs.2,000 or $40 or Euro 40 per device. The deposit amount will be refunded once the device is returned safely.