Once upon a time, a 50’X50′ site for 50 rupees!

Prof A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former head of the department of ancient history of the University of Mysore, and chairman, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mysore, in Star of Mysore:

“The year 1940, after the Ugadi of that year; I was following my grandfather Mahavidwan Ardikoppam Subramanya Sastri who had a string of titles like Mimamsa Bhaskara, Mimamsa Shiromani etc. He was a highly respected person in the Mysore Palace and in Sanskrit circles being the Professor of Mimamsa (a traditional subject) at the Maharaja’s Sanskrit College located at the end of the Hundred feet Road (now Chamaraja double road)….

“The Deputy Commissioner came from the opposite direction on a horseback.

“He stopped near my grandfather and greeted him with a namaskara with great reverence. He said: ‘The Savari (Maharaja) has decided to form a new layout called Saraswathipuram to provide house sites for scholars. It is our desire that you buy a house site and build a new house.’

“My grandfather laughed and said, ‘Sir, we are Pandits and the house provided to us at the Deveerammanni and other agraharas are quite comfortable. My house is very near to the college and Palace. Why do I require a site in far off Saraswathipuram?’

“But the Commissioner insisted.

“Finally my grandpa asked: ‘What is the price?’

“‘Sir, it is Rs 50 for a site of 50x 50 feet’,” the reply came.

“My grandfather exclaimed, ‘Oh! my god, Rs 50! Where can I bring that big amount.’

“Pat came the reply, ‘Sir, you may pay in instalments.’

“Sastriji took out five silver coins of one rupee each and gave him as advance. The deal was finalised and my grandfather built a house in third cross in Saraswathipuram and named it ‘Sharada Viharam‘.

“On the day of the grihapravesha the Maharaja sent a presentation of jari dhoti, silk saree in a silver plate embossed with the royal insignia of gandabherunda.”


In picture (above), A.V. Rama Murthy, younger brother of A.V. Narasimha Murthy, poses in front of Sharada Viharam. Below, the Sanskrit nameplate on top of the house.

Also read: Once upon a time in Saraswathipuram

Saraswathipuram Andava: cuppu, conu, ballsu