HANDBOOK OF THE CITY OF MYSORE
president of Municipal Council: T.G. LAKSHMANA RAO, Esq, L.C.E.
Printed at the Wesleyan Mission Press, Mysore City, 1915
A Handbook of Mysore City—containing information useful alike to the general public and the ratepayers of the city—has been a long-felt want.
An attempt has been made in the following pages to present, in a convenient form, as much information regarding the city as could be readily collected.
In preparing the Handbook the following works have been consulted:-
i. Rice’s Gazetteer of Mysore.
ii. Morris’s Guide to Bangalore and Mysore Directory
iii. Existing Municipal Bye-laws and Rules.
Valuable information has also been kindly furnished by the following gentlemen:-
1. Sirdar M. Kantharaj Urs, Esquire, B.A., C.S.I, 2nd Member of Council.
2. The Military Secretary to His Highness the Maharaja.
3. The Deputy Chief Engineer in Mysore
4. A. Subramanya Iyer, Esquire, B.A., Deputy Commissioner, Mysore District
5. Mir Hamza Husain, Esquire, B.A., B.L., District and Sessions Judge, Mysore Division
6. B. Ramakrishna Rao, Esquire, Controller, Palace, Mysore
7. Praktana Vimarsa Vichakshna R.A. Narasimhachar, Esquire, M.A.
8. The Principal, Maharaja’s College, Mysore
9. The Lady Suprintendent, Maharani’s Collge, Mysore
10. The Rev. G.W. Sawday
11. The Superintendent, Government Gardens
12. The Headmaster, Marimallappa’s High School, Mysore
13. Superintendent, Mysore Power and Light
14. Assistant Engineer in Charge, Vani Vilas Water Works, Mysore
15. Mr H.F. Marker, Assistant Engineer, City Improvement Trust Board, Mysore
16. The Assistant Engineer, Headquarter Range, Mysore
17. The Superintendent, Ayurvedic College, Mysore.
The best thanks of the undersigned are due to them. Suggestions for improving the book will be thankfully received.
T. LAKSHMANA RAO,
President, City Municipal Council,Mysore
1. Situation and Area: Mysore is the historical capital of the Mysore State and the residence of His Highness the Maharaja. It is situated in 12° 18’ north latitude, and 76° 42’ east longitude, at the north-western base of Chamundi Hill, and is 2,525 feet above the level of the sea. The city is built in a valley formed by two ridges running north and south, and has an area of 9.5 square miles.
2. Boundaries: The boundaries of the city, as constituted by the Municipal Regulation, are given in Appendix I.
3. Principal Portions of the City: The principal portions of the city are here referred to in outline.
The Fort, in which the Palace stands, is situated almost in the centre of the city, and is surrounded by the finely laid out park, called Curzon Park (after His Excellency Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India), on the north and west.
East of the Fort is the Doddakere tank, which is used by the inhabitants of the city for washing purposes. Further east, near the Race Course, is the Karanji tank, which formerly used to supply drinking water to the inhabitants.
On the west of the Fort far away is situated the Kukkarahalli reservoir, which, for a time, was a source of water-supply to the city, before the installation of the pumping plant at Balagola.
The thickly populated portions of the city are situated mostly to the north, west, and south of the Fort, the eastern portions being occupied by the Summer Palace, Vasanthamahal Palace, the Palace Stables, the Chamundi Vihar, the Second Maharaja Kumar’s Mansion, the Doddakere and Karanji tanks, and the Race Course and gardens.
In recent years, the city has undergone much improvement. Chamarajpuram, Lakshmipuram, the Edgah, the Jalapuri and the Chetnahalli extensions, the Weavers’ Lines, the new Holageri, etc, are recent additions.
In the older parts of the city, also, the changes have been equally striking. Purnaiya’s Nalla has been filled up and its place taken by a fine wide road, called Sayaji Rao Road after the Gaekwar of Baroda. Other distinguished persons who visited the State have been similarly commemorated. There is the Albert Victor Road, the Dufferin Fountain, the Lansdowne Bazar, Hardinge Circle and Gordon Park. Within Curzon Park are situated the Rangacharlu Memorial Hall, the European Club, the Freemasons’ Masonic Hall, and the Post and Telegraph Offices.
4. Principal Public Buildings: Of the large public buildings erected in the extensions, the Public Offices, surmounted by a dome, occupy a conspicuous site on the high ground to the west. Close by are the Victoria Jubilee Institute, used as Oriental Library, and the Maharaja’s College buildings, somewhat resembling a French chateau, and the Cosmopolitan Club.
Further west are the groups of the Law Courts. The Maharani’s College and Marimallappa’s High School, the Wesleyan Hardwicke College and a Wesleyan Mission Church are among other large erections in this quarter. The Railway Station, too, has been extended lately.
5. Trade Centres: The Doddapet, Santhepet, Devaraj Market, the Lansdowne Bazaar and Chikka Angadi Street are the centers of trade, and are well stocked with country provisions and piece goods.
6. Conveniences for Travellers: For the convenience of European visitors there are two hotels, viz., the Empire Hotel, near the Railway Station, and the Gordon Hotel, near the Old Post Office, both kept by Parsis.
For Indian visitors there are several chuttrams and rest houses in various parts of the city, such as Nanjaraja Bahadur Chutram, Seethavilas Dharamsala, His Highness the Maharaja’s Chuttram, Kaveripatnum Subraya Chetty’s Chuttram, Bommayya’s Chuttram, Surya Narayana Setty’s Chuttram, and Munisami Setty’s Chuttram; and travelers are fed in H.H. the Maharaja’s Chuttram, Bakshi Narasappa’s Chuttram, and Munisami Setty’s Chuttram, etc. There is also a Traveller’s Bungalow situated in Erengere, near the Mysore-Seringapatam road.
7. Climate: The climate of Mysore is very embracing and healthy neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. The rainfall averages about 27.4 inches a year. Both the monsoons affect Mysore, and the months of July, August and September are very agreeable.
8. Population: The population of the city was 71,306 according to the census of 1911, as compared with 68,111 of 1901. The following is the distribution of population.
Kanarese: 18,693 males, 18,572 females, total 37,265
Hindustani: 7,255 males, 6,743 females, total 13,998
Telugu: 3,393 males, 3,417 females, total 6,810
Tamil: 3,921 males, 3,894 females, total 7,815
Marathi: 2,301 males, 2,208 females, total 4,509
Others: 549 males, 360 females, total 909
Total: 36,112 males, 35,194 females, total 71,306
As far as it has been ascertained the average birth-rate in the city is 31.7 per 1,000 and the average death rate 27.4 per 1,000.
HANDBOOK OF THE CITY OF MYSORE (1915)
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE CITY
The town of Mysore seems to have been known by its present name from the remotest times. The archaelogical records unearthed up to date show that the city’s antiquity goes back to the 10th century, if not earlier.
The old records in and around the present city, such as the inscriptions at Belavatta (Mysore 6, of about A.D. 750), Varuna (Mysore 55, of 750; Mysore 36, of A.D. 990), Hale Bogadi (Mysore 15, of A.D. 955), Kukkarahalli (Archaelogical Report of 1908, paras 33 to 34 of A.D. 900), Chamundi Hill (Archaelogical Report for 1912, para 75 of A.D. 750) seem to point in this direction.
Nor are old inscriptions wanting which make definite references to the Mysore-nadu or district.
An inscription at Kuppehalu (Kadur 9, of about A.D. 990) mentions among the witnesses to the grant recorded in it, the officials of the Mysore-nadu seventy. Another at Nandigunda (Nanjangud 134, of A.D. 1021) tells that Nandigunda was one of the villages included in the Mysore-nadu.
The Tanjore plates, (published in the Indian Antiquiary, VIII, 212, dated A.D. 248), supposed to be fabricated in the 10th century, state that Varakodu was situated in the Mysore-nadu seventy. The expression “Mysore-nadu, of 70 villages,” presupposes the fact that Mysore was the chief place of the nadu.
There is thus conclusive evidence to show that Mysore existed as a city as far back as the 10th century.
During the Chola rule in the 11th century, the district was designated Mudigonda-Chola-mandala. The next reference to Mysore City that has been met with is an inscription in Cole’s Garden, which is dated A.D. 1499, and records a grant for the god Lakshmi Ramanaswami, of Mysore, by a subordinate Narasa, the father of Krishna-Raya of Vijayanagar.
The period of this inscription is anterior by several years to that of Hire-Bettada-Chama-Raja, with whom it is usual to commence the genealogy of the Mysore kings. After this period we come to modern history. Thus Maisa-nad, or Maisur-nad, is found mentioned in inscriptions of the 11th and 12th centuries.
Two Yadava princes from Dwaraka in Guzerat, who, according to inscriptions, coming to worship their family god at Yadugeri or Melkote, and who become the founders of the Mysore House, are said have been attracted by the beauty of the country to settle in the town of Mahishur.
But at the beginning of the 16th century its site was occupied by a village named Puragere. At this time the dominions of the Royalu of Vijayanagar, a famous city on the banks of the Tungabhandra, extended really or nominally over nearly the whole of South India.
The tradition regarding the origin of the present Mysore dynasty savours of the age of knight-errantry. The first of the line took the title of Wodeyar, and its successors gradually extended their dominions until one of them, named Bettada Thimma Raj, divided his country among this three sons.
To Chamaraja, surnamed Bol, or the Bald, he gave Puragere. Here a fort was either constructed or repaired in the year 1524, to which from Mahisharura, or the buffalo-headed monster, whose overthrow was the most noted exploit of Kali or Chamundi, the name of Mahishur (“Buffalo Town”), or, in its anglicised form, Mysore, was again given.
In the beginning of the 17th century, i.e., 1610, the then Mysore Ruler obtained possession of Seringapatam, and transferred the seat of government to that town.
Subsequently, during the rule of the Mysore State by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan, the latter attempted to obliterate all traces of the Hindu Raj, and in pursuance of this policy caused the town and fort of Mysore, the ancient residence of the Rajas, to be razed to the ground, and caused all the inhabitants to go to the neighbourhood of Seringapatam.
The stones of the Old Fort he employed in building another fortress, on a slight eminence about a mile to the east, to which he gave the appellation, still retained by the site, of Nazarabad.
After the fall of Seringapatam in 1799, the restoration of the country to the ancient Hindu dynasty, it was determined that the installation of the Raja should take place in Mysore, and the ceremony was accordingly performed there.
The Palace was rebuilt and the restoration of the Fort was completed. Owing to the presence of the Court, the town grew rapidly, and in time drew to itself much of the population of Seringapatam, which decreased as Mysore increased in importance.
# Adapted from Rice’s Gazetteer of Mysore, and revised in the light of information supplied by Mr R.A. Narasimhachar, office in charge of Archaelogical Research in Mysore.
HANDBOOK OF THE CITY OF MYSORE (1915)
Constitution of the Municipality: The present Hale Agrahar, the Fort, and Dodda Petta and the Lashkar Mohalla mainly constituted the limits of the old town of Mysore in the early days of the 19th century.
Some very fine additions still extant, in the shape of eastern and western wings, owe their origin to the days of the rule of H.H. the late Maharaja Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar III.
Municipal activity in Mysore is now more than half a century old.
In their instructions issued for the constitution of Municipalities in April, 1861, the Government of India, among other matters, said that the people should be consulted as to the form of the necessary taxation and as to the works to which funds should be devoted, and that in the Municipal Body the community should be represented in proportion to their influence or importance by one or more of the headmen of each nation, caste, trade or calling.
To give effect to these principles, a committee was formed about July, 1862, in the city of Mysore, with the then Superintendent of the Ashtagram Division as President, and five official and three non-official gentlemen as members, the latter including a Hindu and a Mahomedan.
The official members:
1) The Deputy Superintendent
2) The Executive Engineer
3) The Officer Commanding the Division
4) The Amildar, Mysore Taluk
5) The Sar Ameen, Mysore.
To begin with, what was formerly known as Kachara Terigay, levied for sanitary purposes here, was abolished, the Municipal funds being made up chiefly of town dues or Octroi.
The improvement of the town roads and drains received primary attention, a market was also soon constructed and some street lights provided, attention being at the same time provided to conservancy, as far as possible.
To enable the Municipality to extend its operations, the Government kindly transferred the local Mohatarfa collections to it from the Government Revenues, in 1869-70, on condition of the Town Police being maintained and paid from this source.
In the course of the first decade, the Municipal revenue, which amounted at the commencement to about quarter of a lakh, doubled itself, and the interest of the townsmen in their civic concerns, under the fostering care of the Government, began to mainifest in several useful ways.
During the second and the third decades, improvement became gradually perceptible, the Government having revised the Octroi taxation—-so as to define its proper scope and confine its operation to productive articles—and afforded several other local facilities.
Arrangements were set afoot to relieve the Fort of its congestion of houses. A Regulation to govern the Municipal concerns was also introduced in 1888. Relieved of the burden of Police charges, the Municipality, since 1890-91, contributes towards the grants-in-aid to the local Educational Institutions to some extent.
The fourth decade, commencing with the privilege of election, extended by the Government in regard to the constitution of the Municipal Board, witnessed further progress, which, however, suffered owing to the subsequent calamitous advent of plague in 1898.
Under the arrangements sanctioned by the Government to combat this dire disease, the city has since been fast recovering from its disastrous effect.
The Mysore City Municipality is now governed by Regulation No. VII of 1906, the “Mysore Municipal Regulation”. It is a Corporation with a President at its head. He is also the Chairman of the Boad of Trustees for the Improvement of the city of Mysore. There are, besides, a Vice-President, a Health Officer, who is also Vice-President in Sanitary Matters, and a Municipal Engineer.
There are altogether 20 Municipal Councillors, ten of whom are elected by the ratepayers, six are nominated by Government, the remaining four, viz., the Executive Engineer, Mysoe Division; the Amildar, Mysore Taluk; the President, and the Health Officer, being ex-officio Councillors.
The Councillors are elected or nominated for a period of three years. The Municipal Council has also constituted several committees, viz., the Managing Committee, the School Committee and the Health Committee.
The Managing Committee consists of nine members with the Vice-President as Chairman, and exercises all the powers of the Council under the Regulation, except those reserved by Government, or the Council, or delegated to the Schools and the Health Committee.
2. Divisions of the City: The city is divided into 7 Mohallas for purposes of Municipal administration, as noted below:-
1) Fort, 2) Lashkar, 3) Devaraj, 4) Krishnaraj, 5) Mandi, 6) Chamaraj, and 7) Nazarbad.
3. Number and Description of Houses: The total number of inhabited houses was 12,122 at the end of 1913-14. Of these 701 were terraced, 10,838 tiled, and 583 thatched.
4. Sources of Municipal Income: The income of the Municipality is derived from the following taxes, etc.:-
a) A rate on buildings at 5 per cent of the annual letting value thereof.
b) A tax on all vehicles or animals used for riding, draught or burden kept for use in the Municipality, at rates specified in the Bye-laws.
c) A toll on vehicles and animals used as aforesaid entering the said Municipality, but not liable to taxation under the clause last preceding, at rates specified in the Bye-laws.
d) An octroi on animals and goods brought within the octroi limits for consumption, specified in the Bye-laws.
e) A general water rate at 3 per cent, on the rental value of buildings and lands.
f) A lighting tax at 1 per cent, on the rental value of buildings.
g) Rents from Municipal properties, Markets, and receipts from Pounds.
h) Contribution from the District Funds and the Government.
i) Miscellaneous receipts, such as sale of sites, fines, trees, etc.
5. Income and expenditure: The total income of the Municipality for the year 1913-14 was as detailed below:-
1. Octroi: Rs 79,705
2. Taxes on Buildings and Lands: Rs 20,393
3. Taxes on Vehicles: Rs 3,694
4. Tolls and Ferries: Rs 24, 394
5. Water Tax: Rs 11,203
6. Lighting Tax: Rs 3,481
7. Conservancy Receipts: Rs 734
8. Mohatarfa: Rs 6,993
9. Other Taxes: Nil
10. Pounds: Rs 1,472
11. Revenue derived from Municipal Property: Rs 23,932
12. Grants and Contributions: Rs 33,474
13. Miscellaneous: Rs 9,931
14. Public Debt: Rs 11,288
Total: Rs 2,30,194
The total expenditure of the Municipality for the year 1913-14 was Rs 2,14,858, as noted below:-
1. Municipal Office Establishment: Rs 10,840
2. Collection and Refunds: Rs 21,976
3. Pension and Gratuities: Rs 1,548
4. Public Works carried out by P.W.D.: Rs 407
5. Public Safety: Rs 18,034
6. Public Health and Convenience: Rs 59,002
7. Public Works carried out by Civil Dpt.: Rs 72,997
8. Public Instruction: Rs 13,128
9. Miscellaneous: Rs 1,018
10. Public Debt: Rs 45,908
The incidence of taxation was Rs 2-0-7 per head of population.