Wadiyar Foundation to celebrate Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Birth Centenary same day
By N. Niranjan Nikam
The HH Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar (HH SNW) Foundation is gearing up to celebrate the birth centenary of the last ruler of Mysore State Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar (Sri JCW) on July 18, 2019.
There are a few programmes planned for the centenary celebrations which includes inviting a dignitary of eminence to inaugurate the celebrations, honouring people in the field of Music, Literature (Sanskrit, Philosophy), Sports, Wildlife Conservation and Agriculture (Farmer) as Sri JCW’s areas of interest expanded to all these fields. There will be a memorial lecture on Sri JCW as part of the celebrations. There are also plans to bring out a commemorative stamp.
The highlight of the centenary celebrations will be the re-opening of Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery which is being fully restored to its past glory, on the same day as the Birth Centenary celebrations of Sri JCW.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar of the Mysore royal family said, “It is with a great deal of happiness and anticipation that the royal family has decided to celebrate the birth centenary of my father-in-law Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, the last ruler of Wadiyar dynasty on July 18 at the Mysore Palace premises. The responsibility is huge as I am representing a dynasty that has given so much to the people of Mysuru and it will be a fitting tribute to the contributions of the multi-faceted Sri JCW.”
Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery restoration
The historic Jaganmohan Palace built in 1861 by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, which houses Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery is being restored to its pristine glorious condition. Once it is re-opened on July 18 to the public it is going to be one of the best art galleries in the world. The Gallery is going hi-tech, as it will soon have Audio Guides to take the visitors through the various collections housed in the Gallery. It will also have its own Conservation Laboratory in the premises along with CCTV cameras and fire alarm system.
The last Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar founded Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery Trust and entrusted the management of the Art Gallery to the Trust. Later, under the Chairmanship of his wife Tripurasundarammanniavaru the decision was taken to renovate this auditorium to be used for various activities.
It was in 2012 that Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the then Chairperson of the Trust, took a decision to turn it around. “As we were just getting ready to take up the renovation work, tragedy struck, as my husband suddenly passed away in December 2013. The responsibility fell on my shoulders. I decided that I will repair it at my personal cost,” said Pramoda Devi.
“The work which started nearly two years ago is finally being completed. But still there is a lot more to be done. However, a few museum experts who have visited the Gallery and seen the work have said that this kind of restoration work rarely happens,” she said.
New-look to the Gallery
The Gallery is being completely refurbished. The entrance to the Gallery is going to be shifted from the south end where all the shops (which are all closed now) are there, to the north end.
“Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery is entirely a private one and the collections inside it are also private. There is a misconception that it belongs to the government and this misconception should at least go now. It will always remain a private collection and if I have to restore it then let me do it without accepting any grant and that is what I have done,” she said.
There are nearly 1,500 different painting collections, which is one of the biggest in India that even the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad does not have. There are paintings from the Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Ramayana, all from the great epics that has been picturised by the great painter Raja Ravi Varma and again no where in India there are so many mythological subjects in one place, she said.
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 Operations (catching of elephants) by Ravi Varma’s son, Rama Varma. There is the most famous painting ‘Glow of Hope’ by S.L. Haldankar, said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar.
“The restored Gallery has been classified into sections called the Bengal School, Mysore School, Company School, Rajasthan and Mughal Paintings. In fact a room is totally dedicated to Tipu Sultan,” she said.
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, Ram Narasaiah, N.S.Subbakrishna, Veerappa, H.S. Inamathi, she added.
French Calendar Clock
The French Calendar Clock is 160 years old bought by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in France. There are only two such clocks in the world and one is in Europe and the other in Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. It is still in good working condition, working on mechanical mode and it has been overhauled. It also displays the 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 the army battalion. So, if one is in the museum watching, it is worth a sight to wait for that hour to watch this spectacle unfolding, said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar.
Launch of HH SNW Foundation
Earlier to the birth centenary celebrations, there will be a launch of the HH SNW Foundation in the first week of June. “We had launched the HH SNW Foundation in Bengaluru last year (2018) on Feb.20. For various reasons, the launch in Mysuru was delayed. Hence, before the birth centenary celebrations of Sri JCW we want to launch the Foundation named after my husband here,” said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar.
Two dignitaries of international renown will be participating in the launch which will be held in Jaganmohan Palace auditorium, she said and added that the soft launch of the Art Gallery will also be done on the same day.