Villagers contribute to restore Lalithadripura ‘Panchayti Katte’
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Villagers contribute to restore Lalithadripura ‘Panchayti Katte’

February 8, 2023

The ‘Nyaya Panchayti’ system (Panchayti Katte) played a major role in solving disputes before the Courts came into existence and their role is very necessary even for today’s life to settle family and local property disputes through mediation.

Such ‘Nyaya Panchaytis’ provided justice to the common man in a cost-effective manner taking an impartial decision, maintaining social harmony and at the same time, reducing the burden of Courts.

Notably, this democratisation of the justice system and the age-old institutions of local self-governance was introduced in Mysuru by Raja Rishi Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. Thanks to the efforts of the villagers of Lalithadripura, the ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’ or the ‘Panchayti Katte’ built by the late ruler has been restored.

Nestled below the iconic Chamundi Hill is Lalithadripura village which was formed by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. The village is on the eastern side of the city and though there are many villages surrounding the heart of Mysuru that have completed a century, Lalithadripura is special as it was established by the Maharaja himself.

Picture shows the renovated building.

Iconic ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’

Rituals such as homas and havanas were performed to mark the restoration. Apart from delivering justice to petty disputes where the village elders adjudicate problems amidst villagers at the ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’, or having discussions about village festivals and rituals, the place will also be used as a shelter for visitors who come to Lalithadripura from outside.

The ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’ has a huge hall inside, two rooms and a courtyard. At the front portion, there is a vacant space of more than 60 ft. The village celebrated its centenary in the year 2020 and to mark the occasion, they decided to renovate the ‘Nyaya Sabhangana.’

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Speaking to Star of Mysore, former Chairman of Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) and a resident of Lalithadripura, L.R. Mahadevaswamy, said that the ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’ had reached a dilapidated state.

“The Mangaluru-tiled roof had been damaged and the walls had developed cracks. The wooden pillars that are the main attraction too had developed cracks and the places where the pillars joined the walls and the roof was shaky. The plastering had come off at many places along with limestone chips. We decided to restore the ancient structure and pooled in money,” he said.

The conservation and restoration works were done in such a way that there is no lapse in the heritage structure and its many components. New design Mangaluru tiles were placed on the roof and the entire structure is sporting a new look, Mahadevaswamy added.

LEGACY RESTORED: Villagers of Lalithadripura stand in front of the renovated ‘Panchayti Katte.’

A well-planned village

Lalithadripura has 50 small and big streets and has been built in a well-planned manner with temples on the boundaries that protect the village, a primary school, four to five lakes and ponds around the village, a trading society and storage space for grains (Agevu).

The village is around eight kilometres from Mysuru and it has an area of over 3 kilometres. There are over 6,000 people living in this hinterland and the dominant communities are Veerashaivas, Vokkaligas, Vishwakarma and Dalits.

Earlier, the Panchayti (five village elders) used to meet every month and sometimes, the Maharaja would come all the way from Mysore Palace to chair Panchaytis (meetings), say the village elders.

Now, Lalithadripura comes under Chamarajanagar Parliamentary Constituency. The village has 12 Gram Panchayat (GP) Members and comes under Alanahalli Panchayat. It is governed by Srirampura Zilla Panchayat and belongs to the Varuna Assembly seat.

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Those present during the inauguration of ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’ are Patel Gangadhar, Nadagowdaru Thammaiappa, former Alanahalli GP President Madappa, Huchchappaachari, M.B. Nayak, Lalithadripura Gowdru Madappa, Gowdru Somanna, Gowdru Ravi, Kalappa, Basavachari and others.

The well-planned streets of Lalithadripura, a model village.

Nalwadi built Lalithadripura in 1926, says Raja Chandra

Reacting to the renovation of ‘Nyaya Sabhangana’ by the villagers of Lalithadripura to commemorate the centenary celebrations (that were held in 2020), member of the erstwhile Mysore royal family Raja Chandra told Star of Mysore that in fact, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar built Lalithadripura in 1926.

Providing some original copies of the reports and extracts, Raja Chandra cited a report in The Hindu published on 16.11.1926 which said, “… the new model village, Lalitadripuram, near Mysore, established on the initiative and with the active sympathy and help of H.H. the Maharaja of Mysore, who formally opened it the other day. The experiment is one of historic importance because it indicates the immense possibilities of rural reconstruction if attempted properly.”

Another report published in ‘The Hindu’ on 27.9.1926 says, “…His Highness has commended that this village should be laid out on modern sanitary lines equipped with all modern conveniences. It is stated the entire expenditure for reforming this village will be borne by His Highness himself.”

 In fact, when the model village of Lalithadripura was built, it became national news as evidenced by newspaper reports that took info from ‘Artha Sathaka Patrika’. The Maharaja had entrusted the entire task of reconstruction of Lalithadripura to H. Narasinga Rao, Raja Chandra added, citing references.


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