WEAVER'S WORLD / MYSORE / PLACES TO VISIT -4
The building has an enormous heritage value and the collection too is interesting. The lawns have interesting displays and there is a tiny retail shop that has some nice crafts from Eastern India. This museum or art gallery building was built for the future Duke of Wellington then Arthur Wellesley and the British officers and therefore was named Wellington House. This was soon after the fall of Tipoo Sultan's reign of power at the Siege of Seringapatam (1799) and the establishment of East India Company rule and the restoration of Wadiyar dynasty which Wellesley oversaw. The building is rather lovely with two entrances. One staircase leads up to the first floor and the main entrance faces Irwin Road on the garden side. Upstairs there are various paintings, in a back room leaning against the wall is an old wooden sculpted British coat of arms featuring the lion and unicorn. The ground floor housed a good collection of face masks but could undergo a change shortly.
This place is an art gallery that is big and with a lot of items to see leisurely in the heart of the city and should not to be missed by art lovers. It is situated behind main palace complex, across the Sayyajirao Road. We can easily walk down to this Palace from Mysore City bus stand and KR Circle. It is a reasonably well-maintained palace, now converted into an Art Gallery displaying the artifacts of the Wodeyar dynasty. Nice place for history buffs to relive the life of olden days. A great collection of paintings are on display (including a whole lot by Raja Ravi Verma).
Once you enter Jaganmohan Palace compound you will see an expansive portico that is utilised for performing arts, during Dasara festivals. On proceeding to its back portion there is an old palace, which was built in 1861 by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III as an additional residence for the royal family. In 1897 there was a fire that had reduced the royal palace into ashes, and then this palace served as royal residence for 15 years until the new Mysore Palace as it is seen today was completed. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV converted this palace into a private art gallery in 1915, which was renamed as Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in 1955. Since then there are two main attractions in Jaganmohan Palace, one is Sri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, functioning in old palace and secondly the auditorium found in front of the palace. This huge hall used as auditorium here was added in 1900 that was open to public in 1980. This hall is used for staging cultural events like dance, music, dramas, cultural programs and annual programs in Dasara celebrations. Yet another hall was added in 2003 to cover the problem of insufficient space to exhibit all the paintings. The Indian section of paintings housed here are excellent works by well known masters of the art like Raja Ravi Varma (the prince-painter of Kerala), his brother Raja Rama Varma, Rabindranath Tagore and others. You will ever remember the prominent painting called ‘Light of hope’ by Haldenkar. Other paintings by a British Army Officer on wars between Tippu Sultan and British army are the only visual representation of the wars that have been impressing on all patriotic spirited citizens of India. We can witness ancient weapons of war, musical instruments, sculptures, brassware, antiques coins and currencies. There are unique artifacts including French clock showing parade by miniature soldiers at every hour; beating drums mark the seconds and a bugle marks the minute. This is a wonderful clock worth viewing for more than an hour to listen to the three kinds of music and parade-mechanism. Brilliant paintings on a grain of rice that can be viewed only through a magnifier are another curious thing to see. I was keen in observing the wrinkles on the foreheads of viewers, particularly, of innumerable toys and Artifacts of various description from French musical calendar and religious bells from Nepal in this memorable museum. Close by there is Parakala Mutt, which is one of the ancient ascetic orders.
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